Monday, March 2, 2015

Ross Township Bike-Ped Committee thoughts, Part 1

I have high hopes for this newly formed Bike-Ped committee, which met for the first time on 25 Feb. That's tempered by their frequently repeated wish for bike lanes. I don't want bike lanes. More to the point, I don't want to waste our time and energy pursuing something that, while all shiny and appealing, does not accomplish our goal of getting people around on a bike safely.

Similarly, the ped folks want sidewalks. Problem with that is, doing that would require either widening the right of way or narrowing the travel area on most streets. That's a fail on multiple levels: The cost is high, physically the terrain makes it difficult, and people don't want to have to maintain something forced on them. More importantly, I don't think that it's achievable, at least not as achievable as other, simpler tasks which accomplish the same goal of encouraging walking and jogging.

The fundamental problem is that we want to backfit a 21st-century livability rubric onto a mid-20-century suburban sprawl street pattern. Most of the town was laid out with the understanding that 100% of all travel would be by automobile. Absent one, travel is difficult to impossible. And getting to that is exactly what we want to accomplish.

We are not the first township in such a pickle. I suggest we identify who has faced it already, study what they tried, and what successes and failures and experiences they had.

For my part, it would help if I identified some resources, and in general track down some of what I suggest above, to be shared with the rest of the committee:
* As described in the paragraph above, who has done this before, and how well did it work?
* Videos and other resources from I Am Traffic about bike lanes
* Places in Ross where I had negative interaction with motorists while on a bike.
* Places in Ross where I have had difficulty walking
* Access to trails in Ross, at least those I find likely
* A bit about invasive species, notably Japanese knotweed, and how it might be controlled
* Write up a summary of my 27 Feb run-in with a motorist on Perry Hwy
* Summarize my #fuckinghorn experiences from @bus15237 on Twitter
* About rolling back parking minimums. Where did that originally come from? How do you reverse that?

That would be a good jumping-off point for further discussion at the second and following meetings.


  1. The new Bike-Ped Committee in nearby Ross wants to install bike lanes and widen streets. Neither is easily done, and neither accomplishes the goals of getting bikes and pedestrians around safely.

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