Notes from the March 20th meeting with Portland-based consultants Cramball Arambula:
The timeframe for these updates contains a series of meetings and public forums in May, culminating in a City Council Public Hearing in June for finalization, at which time the plans would be adopted as part of the Downtown Master Plan. This means that we are right near the end of the process now. This does not mean, however, that the plans will be enacted within a year. Probably 2-3 years is a reasonable timeframe for getting it implemented.
The rationale for this update follows the “Complete Streets” model in which no form of transportation is prioritized above any other. “If you design for the most vulnerable members of a community you can catch all the rest.” This would lead to alterations in sidewalks and crosswalks as well. The presentation emphasized that bicycles should not be seen as recreation, but as transportation.
The users of this mode of transportation have varying degrees of confidence: 7% are confident and hardy enough to take on traffic in the streets as is the current setup, 60% are capable but cautious and probably don’t ride in the street with traffic and the other 33% don’t ride bikes. The goal is to target the 60% who would ride more if they felt safer; this targeting is called the “40% solution”. If bike lanes could attract 40% of potential riders (7% of which already use the streets), then they would increase ridership downtown by somewhere around 500%.
The Complete Streets concept is committed to linking assets. What that means in the case of Lincoln is linking the Antelope Valley (and, consequently, Lincoln’s trail system) with Downtown areas and especially the Haymarket. Right now our cycling infrastructure can only get you to the door of Downtown Lincoln but not in the door. Complete Streets aims to get us in the door and through the room all the way to the other side.
For cycling infrastructure, the update includes:
Protected 2-way bikeways on 14th street, 11th street and N street. These bikeways are separated from lanes of traffic by a median, landscaping and parking stalls. The North-South bikeways begin on R street and continue to N street. One question we came away with was whether they will continue as far south as K street (all the way through downtown) or stop at N street as the graphics showed.
The N street bikeway is meant to connect the trails in the Antelope Valley to the Jamaica North Trail, which according to some sketches looks to be moved or linked differently than it currently is. One lane of traffic would be removed from N street, which is referred to (awesomely) as a “road diet”. Ample signage is likely the key to signaling to cars and cyclists the proper ways to maneuver those intersections where there is turning traffic and interaction between modes of transportation.
14th street’s bikeway would be on the West side of the street and would be arranged in the same fashion with a median, vehicle parking and landscaping separating it from lanes of traffic. No traffic lanes would be lost on 14th or on 11th in this model, and the consultants were optimistic about actually having more parking than today in some of their designs for 14th street.
Several conceptualizations of these streets showed one or two vacated car stalls in the street where major bicycle parking could be directed instead of the current situation where bicycles are often reaching out into pedestrian sidewalks when locked to available parking posts. Again, this is part of the Complete Streets model, where all modes of transportation (walking, biking, driving, bussing) are given their proper space to operate as independent of other modes as possible.
Stay tuned! As soon as the slideshow from last night is made available we will post it here!