After a couple of hours of testimony from mostly 13th St. neighborhood residents about how dangerous it is crossing and using 13th Street, the city council voted unanimously against the resolution to stop the proposed improvements. The street re-design from four lanes to a two-plus-one with bike lanes will go ahead as planned. Many of the residents who spoke said that they primarily bicycled, or drove and bicycled, but everyone focused on how dangerous it was to both cross and use the street. One resident from the Near South neighborhood said that 54 crashes could have been prevented had this re-design already been in place. The plan was approved two years go after much traffic study. A traffic engineer who testified said that four-lane undivided streets like this section of 13th are seldom built anymore, except in special circumstances like bridges and viaducts, or closed access segments. Another who testified said that the anti-change website which had been set up tried to promote a culture war between motorists and everyone else, and that it would be harder to get in and out of downtown, but for whom? As of to drive the point home just today there was another bad collision at 13th and E Street.
The LIBA representative was the only testimony for the resolution to halt the project, and he seemed lukewarm after so much testimony. He did mention the many proposed changes in on-street bike connections, and said that LIBA was hoping it could support the bike network plan we saw unveiled last week. We’ll wait and see about that, but I hope that whey will indeed support the plan. Now let’s get out there and ride!