Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Want to Make a Difference That Lasts?


Now is your chance. Next Monday night the City Council will take public testimony to spend $50-75k to put bike lanes and signs on SE Blvd. When finished, this will create a sign/lined route from 34th AVE and Regal to 2nd and Sherman.

If you've been in the SE Blvd area this summer then you know that this street is in the process of being completely resurfaced. This is a major piece of roadwork that will likely not be resurfaced to this extent for at least another 50 years. So we need to get it right and we just have a sliver of time to get the funding so the materials for lines/signs will be on site at the right time in this project.

By the way, Mary Verner is the council person that is sponsoring this project. And it's no small commitment for her to take up. I've said before: who you vote for matters.

The Comp Plan bike map specifies this bit of road as a bike-laned route. The street bond monies that are financing this $2.2 million project are not to be used for "amenities" on existing road ways that are not pre-existing -- regardless of what the Comp Plan defines for a given road. There's not enough room to go into all the implications of that last sentence -- because there are many issues there that need sorting out -- but there's a brief explanation here about the basic issue of not requiring the application of the Comp Plan on resurfaces.

You may not like or need bike lanes. You may think that SE Blvd is not the ideal place for a bike lane.
You should still find the time to get down to the City Hall on Monday and testify that we need these lanes.

Why?
The goal is to create more cyclists. Bike lanes encourage new cyclists to give utilitarian riding a shot. Bike lanes slow traffic. Communities with bike lanes portray a sense of optimism; economic investment loves optimistic communities. Why SE? Because it's low-hanging fruit. There are other routes on the Comp Plan that route up this area, namely Rockwood, but it's not being resurfaced.

Note that $75k (upper range of potential lines/signs cost) represents less than 3.5% of the overall cost of this project. Three point five per cent. Give me a flippin break. What kind of city do we want to live in here?

The incremental cost for doing this work now, while the crew and project is on the ground is much smaller than retrofitting. And as a bonus, if you lay the lanes now, you can do a more permanent strip that goes down after the asphalt is laid. The semi-permanent/reflective strip lasts for years, while painted stripes require yearly or every two year updates.

What You Can Do
In a messed up twist of fate, many members of the Bicycle Advisory Board, including me, will be unable to attend next Monday (Aug 6th) City Council meeting. Arrg.


Please, if you can make it down there, go down to City Hall at 6pm. There will likely be a sign-in sheet to testify. When your name is called, tell your story. This isn't the Gettysburg Address -- it's just you telling folks why these bike lanes are important.

If you can't make it. Email your council person and tell them as a cyclist, you think finishing the SE Blvd piece is a no-brainer. Don't know who your council person is? Check out this map (with associated council person emails). All City Council folks vote on this, so even if you are not represented by a council person in the SE Blvd area, it's still critical (actually more so) to get your council person on board with this work.

2 comments:

CountD$ said...

The need for a Comp Plan is punctuated in my office because my VP got hit by a car last night. Classic right turn cut off, my boss rolled with it but unfortunately came off the bike. He went to the ER with a nasty knee contusion, but otherwise he's o.k. Thankfully, an SPD cruiser saw the whole thing and the driver was ticketed, although a little taser practice and nightstick action would have been nice to hear about.
The Comp Plan is important because we need more visibility (take that as you will) in the community. Let's make it happen! ...But don't forget to keep that U-lock handy in the meantime...

Barb said...

Victory! At least on the funding side. Now they have to work with the neighbors along SE Blvd. to get their okay on the change.
I went through a similar change in my old neighborhood, and people fought the loss of the parking in front of their homes. Later, I hope they came to appreciate the increased safety that resulted when people stopped blocking traffic to back into parking spots.