Monday, April 18, 2011

open letter to ellen vanderslice


i enjoyed talking with you the other day at the open house for the northeast williams traffic safety project. you guys put on a very good presentation, and i think you provided a good opportunity for meaningful public feedback.

i actually like what you are proposing for segment 1, not that i myself have ever had any difficulty passing a bus on the left where appropriate and letting the bus overtake me safely where appropriate. but i acknowledge that certain formal treatments such as the cycletrack with the boarding islands to the left can actually facilitate a rational interaction between modes. and i said as much to adrian when i spoke with him.

much of what michelle and alta and PBoT have put forward is reasonably well thought through. but as i mentioned to you, and to michelle, and to adrian on saturday, i do have problems with your plans for segment 4.

if you cannot persuade the merchants to give up onstreet parking, and you choose to yield to them on the issue, then you should give up the second travel lane, simple as that. the existing configuration is unacceptable, because a narrow bike lane is squeezed between a narrow travel lane and a not very wide parking strip.

i simply will not use the existing bike lane, and an overtaking motorist can just move over to the left lane as far as i am concerned, 814.420 be damned. what PBoT should do is reinforce this reality by removing the stripe and putting in sharrows. the proposed dashed "advisory" bike lane is unacceptable, because it continues to suggest to both cyclists and motorists that it is somehow safe for the cyclist to ride that far to the right.

on a somewhat different note, let me reiterate something i suggested to you on saturday, for which there really was not time for any lengthy discussion.

by saying they cannot do without the onstreet parking, the merchants are acknowledging that they are burdening the transportation infrastructure. this is just a tautology.

PBoT is trying to address a situation here that involves a heck of a lot of traffic -- motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians --, and that has potential effects throughout the neighborhoods, not just on williams, if any substantial diversion results from anything you are doing.

to me, this almost cries out for a transportation system development charge overlay. suddenly, we are talking serious money. you can actually signalize all these intersections and put in some curb extensions, boarding islands, and so on. and you can actually deal with some of the side issues on cook or fremont or wherever, maybe build out the rodney greenway.

it is not too late to start thinking on a larger scale here. let's do it right.


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