I really didn’t think I was going to need to post anything more about the re-striping plans since the city had solicited public opinion and the overwhelming concensus was to go with the simplest re-striping option for our section of H-street this July. That plan was known as Option 2 and consisted of creating onside parking on both sides of the street, leaving 2 lanes, and a turning lane in the center. In addition, the two lanes would have ‘sharrow’ markings to remind drivers they share the road with cyclists. Since this is relatively short term change until the real renovation occurs for our section of the street, I liked this plan for it’s simplicity, ability of cars/buses to go around cyclists and cars that parallel park, by going ino the center turn lane. In addition, the onside parking on both sides would create the most traffic calming (in my opinion).
The cycling community supported Option 3 which consists of onside parking on our side of the street, 2 lanes of traffic with a center turn lane, and a double sized bike lane on the north side of the street instead of onside parking. I can live with that, but I would prefer Option 2 because I believe onside parking slows traffic down more than an open bike lane and we can use more parking around here anyway. Apparently, it doesn’t matter what the public voted for because the cycling community has the political power to get what they want on this issue, so it looks like a bike lane is inevitable. When I initiated this idea with Councilor Crowder last July, it was only intended as a stop gap measure to calm traffic until our turn for the real streetscape came in the future, which of course would include bike lanes. In other words, if we hadn’t done anything, there would be no bike lanes until the real renovation happened. But that is behind us now and I’m told the political reality is there will be a bike lane. Personally, I think it may be a political liability for the councilors to go with option 3, as 10k+ drivers a day will be frustrated as they are slowed down due to a mostly empty double bike lane. But that is their decision.
The part I’m worried about now is there are various compromises being floated by councilors Crowder, Stephenson, and Cameron Park. Most of these proposals involve removing the turning lane except at Woodburn and Park in order to accommodate both parking and bike lanes on both sides. I’m not comfortable with this proposition as it sacrifices a lot convenience for us (another personal opinion). Anyway, I wanted everybody to be up to speed on what is happening because there is a Comprehensive Planning meeting this Monday at the City Hall chambers at 3pm. If you have a strong opinion, this may be your last time to voice it. To be honest, I don’t know what is going to happen. Feel free to call me with questions if you like.
212 Cox Ave