Washington Street bike lane kerfuffle

Dozens of comments have appeared on MSV in recent days discussing various views on the impending Washington Street redesign.

A special meeting on the Washington Street redesign is set for Monday night at City Hall.

Central to those comments is the possible negative impact, some say severe with the inclusion of bicycle lanes and reducing two car lanes on Washington Street.

Bike lanes on Washington
to be or not to be,
that is the question.

One commenter, Indiecom summed up the dozens of views earlier today thusly:

I guess I don’t understand why so much time has been wasted trying to market, promote, convince everyone that bike lanes are so critical and so necessary for Washington Street – not to mention thousands of dollars paid to consultants. How many of us see tons and tons and tons of bicycles on Washington Street (road or sidewalk?) I’d say the answer is: none of us. There is no critical mass happening here; no overwhelming cry from the community; it’s just something the Mayor, the girl scouts, Bike Hoboken, the many “professionals” that will get lucrative contracts want.  

On the other hand, I don’t think anyone in town questions the need to fix the infrastructure, the overhead traffic signals and the paving of Washington Street. Interest in having these things done is absolutely at critical mass.  

So the question is – why not separate out that on which there is universal agreement and pass a resolution without the bike lanes. At this point it appears that the physical barriers have been removed so they truly could be added at a later time – no harm, no fowl. I’d also suggest pulling out the 1mm for the sidewalks; that can be done at a later time as well.  

It is not relevant whether NYC have them or Seattle, or (insert any city name) have them. There simply is no emergency reason to bundle the controversial/contested item into the resolution. Let’s face it, there are questions about traffic congestion and a little research would probably demonstrate that there are places where narrowing the streets for bike lanes has caused this. No one wants to be sitting in traffic, on a bus, on their way to NYC for work, while staring at empty bike lanes. 

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