Yesterday, I sent the following letter to the city manager and commissioners.
It is probably too long. All they really need to hear is that we want:
- Bike lanes
- Improved pedestrian crossings
- A solution.
Get it done. (Contact the city manager & city commissioners)
To the City Manager, Mayor and City Commission,
In November, I became aware that the 2010 road work along Eighth Street would not include improvements for bicycle commuters nor any significant improvements for pedestrians. I questioned the city engineering department and was told it was a done deal. It was further added that bicycle commuters wouldn’t be considered along Eighth Street anytime in the near future.
Later, I expressed my concern to Mayor Bzdok, as well as commissioners Carruthers and Moore. To date, I’ve not heard any positive developments on the issue. To the contrary, I’ve only heard the often repeated mantra that there isn’t enough time for a change order and that the city would risk losing thousands in federal & state money.
The neighborhoods have asked for a more Complete Street approach to Eighth Street. They have done this long before that term came into popularity and a long time before you used it in your own strategic infrastructure policy.
You have the policy. Now we want to see a re-prioritization of the implementation.
All city road projects need to:
- provide & encourage transportation choices beyond the automobile–on ALL city streets.
- serve the needs of city residents before providing exit corridors through one-dimensional streets.
- use traffic calming designs to not only provide increased safety, but as a real means of adding value to our properties.
On this last note, I’m offended that the city is so willing to treat my neighborhood as second class and risk reducing my property values to fulfill the agenda of moving cars. Enough of you should have the economic experience to understand that homes in more walkable, bikable, livable neighborhoods are worth more. In fact, a recent study found an increase of 12% in value for those homes located in what can be classified as walkable/bikable neighborhoods.
Yet, the current no-design of Eighth St. not only doesn’t offer a simple bike lane, the city engineer is continuing to encourage faster speeds on Eighth Street with design that encourages high-speeds with wider than necessary lanes, inadequate cross-walks, no bike lanes and the two new left-turn lanes at Barlow St. All of this will continue the current above speed-limit speeds.
We will be left with this design for the next 20-30 years, so it is not acceptable to me that this project goes through without changes.
I would appreciate a reply from each of you answering the following questions:
- What is the current status of the 2010 Eighth St. project?
- Does it include infrastructure for bicycle commuters and traffic calming? If not, why not?
- Do you support a Complete Street approach along Eighth Street?
- What will you personally do to attempt to salvage this project?
Note, your comments are appreciated and they will be shared.
Thank you for your service, your energy and your time.
Do you have an outline of a letter that is to the point with some bullet points? Send it to me and I’ll post it for other readers to use as a model.
Anything to help readers Contact the city manager & city commissioners
As Traverse City residents are once again in a fight over the future of one of its main corridors & bike lanes, let’s list why bike lanes are important.
Here a few of them, with alterations:
- Intentional space provided for bicycle use. Result: safety improved for motorists & bicyclists.
- Improved comfort and safety for pedestrians on the sidewalk because of increased distance from motorized vehicles.
- Extra road space may be used by motor vehicles in emergencies.
- Reduced congestion: less vehicles, more uniform speeds, less lane changes.
- Increased sight distance and turning space for all users.
- Pavement life increased as less cars on edge reduce the raveling effect.
- Improved space for bus stops.
- Air quality benefits due to encouragement of bicycle travel.
It’s not a comprehensive list. Can you think of more?
There are the cycling advocates who don’t embrace bike lanes. The vehicular cyclists hold the position that bicyclists are best served learning to run with traffic and as traffic. (James D. Schwartz at The Urban Country discussed this in a post yesterday.)
In terms of making oneself visible and riding with confidence, there is a point to be made about not separating the two users. The problem arises when one user is in a 2-ton machine traveling at high speeds with little engineering design to slow her down. Bike lanes are not the only solution to increased bike safety and use, but they are a statement of a city’s priorities & values. They encourage bicycling as an equal form of transportation. Done right, they calm the street.
Why are bike lanes important to you?
Where have you experienced the benefits of bike lanes?
Eighth Street update: The city received around 20 emails yesterday (maybe more) but need to hear from more of you, or from some of you again. I’ve yet to hear back from anyone, you?
Complete the Street! Contact the city today in support of bike lanes on the 2010 reconstruction between Barlow St. and Garfield Ave. Yesterday’s post has an overview.
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