Monday, June 14, 2021

New Survey on Union Street and Project itself Suffers from Autoist Bias Still

While for Union Street the City says "The proposed project improvements will enhance the overall pedestrian, bike riding, and vehicular safety of this street," you might conclude something different from the survey they just published as well as from the recording of the videoconference presentation and discussion last week.

The survey leads with autoist framing that will bias the final survey results for preserving motor vehicle capacity and watering down any semblance of "family-friendly" standards. It almost looks like they are slow-walking the project, even trying to compromise it, by soliciting autoist opinion and not prioritizing the opinion, comfort, and safety of those who walk, bike, and roll.

Why are we soliciting motorist opinion?

Why is this the next question?

That this is by design is suggested by comments during the presentation about increasing the radius of corner turns to facilitate truck turning movements. Why are we prioritizing truck traffic on Union Street?!

On those curb returns, we are updating all the curb returns to current ADA standards and we are rebuilding them to the roadway classification...a lot of the radiuses are too small for truck turning...we're installing larger radius for the car and truck movements....

If we are going to make progress on increasing walking, biking, and rolling, and on decreasing vehicle miles traveled and emissions, we have to start putting people first and cars last. The needs of people on foot and on wheel should come first, and we should discourage through-travel by car on Union Street, let alone encouraging truck traffic and the higher-speed turns the larger radii induce.

During the Downtown Mobility Study, nearly a decade ago now, we considered an option with traffic diverters. But the presentation showed no diversion.

Cottage and Union with traffic diverter
Concept from 2013

Separately, they also talked explicitly about trees vs. parking, and the prospect of tree removal in order to create new parking pockets. 

Very little of the presentation and survey show any awareness of the Climate Action Plan in progress, and the project's current frame is figuring out how to maintain auto capacity and car function with the bike lanes fit into whatever is left over.

What we need is exactly the opposite, fitting in auto function to what is leftover after we create a world-class bikeway. 

The project mainly just uses paint, and as a participant in the video conference said, "paint doesn't make the mamas feel any safer." Despite the words the City is using, the facilities they are proposing do not meet a full family-friendly standard.

The tone and the details here are a discouraging sign from the City, and they suggest choppy waters for Councilor Stapleton's motion to close Union Street during the Saturday Market. That information report has seemed delayed, and will be presented June 28th to Council.

See all previous notes on the Union Street Bikeway here.

Here are clips from the video. Hopefully the City will publish higher resolution pdfs of the slide deck. Later there may be more to say. At the moment it does not seem useful to drill into too much detail because it is clear the whole frame remains too autoist.

Parking protected lane, Commercial to Liberty

New signal at Liberty, two car lanes at High

Paint only between High and Church

Potential new parking and tree removal (pink)
Between Church and Cottage

New floating type bus stop at Winter

Terminus at Summer


Anonymous said...

Here is the slide deck with higher resolution maps and also a tree removal plan.

Anonymous said...

They are going to remove trees in order to provide more parking? Egad!