Saturday, April 10, 2010

so is this a done deal

went to this open house the other night. the guy from PBoT was there, kyle chisek, project manager, with three easels and a bunch of huge storyboards, the first set of which introduced the idea of what exactly a bike boulevard -- excuse me, "neighborhood greenway" -- is, and sort of generally why klickitat was chosen, etc.

and at this point a naysayer puts up a hand and asks, "so is this a done deal," and then, "but it's a done deal, isn't it," when kyle doesn't all that clearly explain that sir, you did have your chance back when we were doing the 2030 plan, and if you showed up then and objected, guess what, the party has moved on. three or four people from the audience heckled "let the man give his talk," and after awhile the guy left.

i heard later that a cyclist waylaid him in the vestibule on his way out and had a civil conversation in which they concluded that they actually agreed on some things. actually, the guy says, i'd rather put more bikes on fremont and slow these speeding cars the hell down.

meanwhile kyle moves forward, talking about traffic counts and calming and the benefits to everyone, on a bike or not, and people seem receptive, actually, with the conversation occasionally nudged by one of several bike activists who have placed themselves about the room. friends of trees gonna put in some street trees.

and pretty soon we are talking about specific treatments at specific intersections and which of two or three proposed alternatives do people like or hate. a consensus actually emerged that west of 11th and maybe even as far as 19th you pretty much should be on siskiyou, and the only real question is how to get across at MLK, and there were some voices in favor of morris, which is what the storyboard indicated was PBoT's favored choice.

interesting conversation about what to do at 23rd, where one block has been closed during school hours at the magdalen school. kyle had a card suggesting some serious narrowing and maybe bollards, and if it turned out there was still a problem with cyclists blowing through a bunch of kids, maybe even a gated chicane. someone pointed out that the intrepid one percent would simply deviate several blocks in advance, and this linked back in an interesting way to the comment one resident made near the outset -- yes, there was more than one cautious to negative voice in the room -- that hey, if this is the bike boulevard, can we then ban bikes on fremont? to a lesser extent, the party had moved on from this as well.

there was more, but right about here i split. it was after eight. a little over fifty people in the room when i arrived, maybe twenty when i left.

there will be a follow up on may 6, similar format, in which however what kyle will be presenting will in fact be the done deal.

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