[Vision2020] Quality of life on Third Street and bicycling the corridor
moscowcares at moscow.com
Fri Jan 19 00:28:31 PST 2018
Courtesy of today’s (January 19, 2018) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
His View: Quality of life on Third Street and bicycling the corridor
By David Pimentel
The Third Street Bridge, now formally approved, continues to be controversial. By routing traffic onto Third Street, it threatens to alter the character of that neighborhood. Third Street is a critical stretch in Moscow, as it links downtown with the 1912 Center, the high school and East City Park, as well as the newer housing developments east of Mountain View. The Transportation Commission is considering how the Third Street Corridor can be configured once the bridge goes in. "Plan C" represents the best hope for mitigating the negative impacts of the new bridge.
Plan C involves turning Third Street into a bicycle-friendly stretch, with a two-way dedicated bike lane, physically separated from the automobile traffic. It is the type of bicycle lane you find in the Netherlands and other bicycle-friendly communities around the world.
Plan C, by according more space and protected space for cyclists, would result in narrowed lanes for automobile traffic. But the key impact of narrowed lanes is it has been shown to slow traffic, precisely the effect we need if we hope to keep Third Street safe for the rest of us.
Plan C would also provide the greatest degree of safety for those who bicycle our streets. Cyclists would not be forced into traffic as they now are to avoid parked cars. They would have a buffer between them and the moving cars, and would be separated from parked cars, which pose risks in the form of car doors that may get opened suddenly.
Perhaps most importantly, however, Plan C would encourage more people to ride. One of the great fallacies about investments in bicycle-friendly infrastructure is the idea it benefits a comparatively small group people who bicycle, and that it does so at the expense of the rest of the community and car-drivers in particular. The opposite is true. Every person you put on a bicycle takes one car off the roads, and everyone benefits from that.
The benefits for the community as a whole - not just for cyclists - are both manifest and manifold:
- Calmer and quieter streets.
- Less traffic congestion.
- Less wear and tear on the roads, and therefore less spent on maintenance and repair.
- Reduced need for parking (an important issue downtown and at East City Park).
- Conservation of fossil fuels and preservation of air quality.
- Increased public health, as more cyclists means more people are out getting exercise.
- Empowerment of those lacking financial means - if they can navigate Moscow safely and easily without a car, they can liberate a large portion of their household budget and repurpose it to other priorities.
- Empowerment of young people, who would be less dependent on parents and other adults to shuttle them around to their various activities.
- The liberation of parents, as their kids can safely get themselves to and from school, sports and other activities.
- And greater safety for pedestrians and cyclists alike.
This last point deserves special mention. In a bicycle-friendly town, there is a well-documented "safety in numbers" effect - when there are more cyclists on the roads, drivers expect them and watch for them, and take extra care.
The consideration of options for Third Street should emphasize making Moscow a bicycle-friendly community. This is not pitting the interests of cyclists against the interests of non-cyclists. This is a common sense approach to the Third Street traffic challenges, encouraging more people to bicycle, and thereby improving the quality of life for everyone in Moscow, including those who never mount a bike. Plan C for Third Street is the approach that best promises to get us there.
Comment on the Third Street Corridor is open until Sunday and can be sent to thirdstreet at ci.moscow.id.us
More information concerning the Third Street Corridor Plan is accessible at:
“Third Street Bridge”
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
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