What should be a game-changer looks like it might just be another study.
|Union St Bikeway out on 25 year horizon|
|Playing Card from Salem's All-American Street Game|
Story and Photos at Salemis
But it shouldn't be surprising, alas. This is also an expression of popular priorities. If vast numbers of people were asking urgently for better bike lanes, we'd get plans for them.
Instead, a cry of "No more parking tickets!" fires the imagination right now. Even the bike shops downtown are on that bandwagon. Untrammeled Carspace is still more important than creating robust options for people who might wish to feel safe and comfortable biking downtown.
We remain in thrall to autoism and cars.
Anyway, I don't know how important it is to drill into detail at this point. This final draft is the result of compromise, politics, negotiation - there are always nits, and in the big picture they may not matter much.
|Imperfect Solutions: Would you like your buffer|
traffic-side or parking-side? Stuck with bike lanes,
how much do these details really matter?
(But do we really need 15 foot travel lanes?)
Still, some details popped out:
|10 year vision: Sharrows on Union and Winter, bike lanes on|
High and Church, two-way conversion on cottage
I worry that this 10-year vision is composed of the projects and pieces that were most easy to sell politically - that it is too tactical and does not constitute the first stage in a strategic plan for downtown mobility.
The light at Commercial and Union is key, of course. But that doesn't help with downtown so much. The bike lanes proposed for High and Church will do much more to help people who already bike downtown than help attract new riders downtown. These lanes will not be very family-friendly. On High Street, there's also a significant gap between Union and Marion streets, and stretches of High with 15-foot wide car travel lanes. If one of the goals is to encourage some number of people who are currently driving cars to downtown to substitute bike trips instead, this 10 year vision may not be very meaningful.
If the horizon were shorter - if this was something to start working on NOW with some of the bond surplus, for example - then it would be easier to accept as a temporizing measure while the City and downtown advocates work on assembling a funding plan for a more ambitious 10-year plan. Whey aren't the 15 and 25 year visions compressed into something more immediate, dramatic, and game-changing?
Politics, politics. That's why. (Which also means that the politics can change: People could demand that the 25 year horizon be compressed and sped up. As with so many things, these are deliberate policy and funding choices, not the inevitable result of destiny, fate, or otherwise mysterious processes.)
Did you attend the open house? What stood out to you? How does the vision cohere or not for you? What details stood out positively or negatively?
(For all notes on the downtown mobility study see here.)