Featured Post

Part 1: Mark Baumer Reflection: Impounding Vehicles & Immigrant Rights

This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

An Improved Westminster Street

There's no shortage of parking on the West Side's Westminster Street, but there is a shortage of safe places to bike.
By JAMES KENNEDY & RACHEL PLAYE

About Sunset Boulevards

Sunset Boulevards is a pilot program of temporary protected bike lanes. 

By implementing temporary infrastructure, Sunset Boulevards hopes to accelerate implementation of biking infrastructure by giving businesses and residents a no-risk way to try them out. The program is so named because the street redesigns have a "sunset clause" to ease implementation.

Protected bike lanes for Westminster Street would be a great improvement to our city which we hope will become permanent soon, but first businesses should get to see how awesome they are in a temporary exhibition.

About Westminster Street Proposal

Sunset Boulevards would like support to implement temporary protected bike lanes on Westminster Street.

Protected bike lanes on Westminster Street would:

*Cost very little to implement permanently, and be next-to-free in their temporary form.

*Get bicycles out of the way of cars and buses on Westminster Street.

*Give a greater number of cyclists--especially small children, mixed-age families, older/retired people, people with disabilities, and people who are not athletic (see especially at 0:55)--access to the road to get to work, shopping, or home. These users do not typically use bike lanes of the sort implemented on Broadway, but will use a bike lane with more perceived and real protection from cars.

*Improve cross-walk safety (see starting at 5:00 especially) for pedestrians by creating islands between the cycling area and the cars that can be used to cross. 

*Remove conflicts between bikes and buses by having buses stay in the lanes instead of pulling halfway out of traffic and having to pull back in. Bus users can use pedestrian islands from protected bike lanes. 

*Create a barrier between pedestrians on the sidewalk and moving cars, similar to what exists with parallel-parked cars.

*Improve traffic congestion for those who stay in cars by removing many people from car traffic.
In Chicago and Portland, as much as 20% of traffic is bikes on streets that have protected bike lanes.

*Improve the business environment. Cyclists spend more.

*Help residents economize on their travel, so much so that they can often buy a house or business with their improved credit.

*Protected bike lanes on the street can be done temporarily as in Seattle for Park(ing) Day, or permanently with plant beautification as in Indiannapolis.

*Protected bike lanes can be done on narrow streets that have very few lanes, as in Philadelphia.

*Our study of Westminster Street on a peak weekday shopping hour counted only 90 spots taken up, or about 11% of the parallel parking spaces available, with many parking lots nearly empty as well. If the protected bike lanes can get 90 people to bike that didn't do so before, they will cancel out their loss of parking. 

*Studies show that protected biking facilities increase development of businesses, bringing density to an area without increasing reliance on cars.

*Many businesses are already reliant on non-car traffic for their customer bases. While the parking lanes were empty the day we counted cars, the businesses were not.

*When options are given to not use a car, surface parking can be repurposed as buildings (this whole video is great, but see especially the last few minutes).

*Bike lanes are a conservative and market-oriented approach to using road resources, and will save on road maintenance, thus lowering taxes.

If you are a resident or business owner on the West Side, we would like your feedback and support for this project!

~~~~

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Providence is 35% without cars, citywide. The actual percentage of non-car ownership is 23%. Providence is high on the list of American cities where car ownership is low.


No comments:

Post a Comment