EDITORíS DESK: The meeting: Letís see how we roll
Sharrow. Arrow. Sparrow.
I'm ready to feel the bicyclists' pain at the meeting May 2, but come on. This whole program definitely got off on the wrong pedal. What gave City Engineering the idea that it could just mandate a change in the way people relate to traffic lanes - cyclists as well as motorists - without even checking the pulse of the community? I know, I wrote on this subject two weeks ago, but that was when the sharrow idea for Colorado Avenue seemed like just an interesting fluke in which now-City Councilmember Tim Leigh caught a high-ranking city staffer on the right day at the right time. But then I found out about the second sharrow plan (for 30th Street), and a trend became evident: The city, thanks to some well-organized bicyclist advocacy, had reached the conclusion that sharrow lanes are an undeniable good. And people that didn't like it could just suck it up.
Even more disturbing is the growing suspicion that staff never even worked up traffic studies to support its mandate. Welling Clark, president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) and a self-avowed lover of number-crunching, asked Engineering for such technical details several days ago and so far has received nothing.
But all that aside, I'm surprised that sharrow advocates wouldn't have welcomed a public process to help them refine their ideas. One thing that seems obvious is that if bicyclists are to share with cars, it ought to be 100 percent. Such as obeying traffic laws. Such as consistently pulling over to let faster traffic by. And (drum roll, please) paying the costs. I know the argument - it's even in a letter this issue - that most cyclists have cars so they've basically paid up already. Except that when you or I are riding our bikes (perhaps in sharrow lanes) we're taking up road space with those vehicles. Where are their registrations? Bike owners pay a one-time $4 fee when they buy a bike, whether it's a $40 department store model or a $4,000 bike used only once by Lance Armstrong. And that's all. We could start by making that fee a percentage. Sharrow the costs, hey?