It has been a week since SDOT recommended changes to NE 125th, and there seemed to be little to no action from opponents. However, a smooth end to an unnecessarily rocky road project debate may not actually be in Mayor McGinn’s future.
Casey at the P.I. reports that signs have gone up urging people to call the mayor’s ofice, and Slog reports that a group has started gathering signatures to give to the mayor voicing their opposition. They also have a new reasons for not liking the plan:
But opponents to the plan still argue that bicycles won’t use the road due to its steep grade and that the eight bus routes that utilize NE 125th street will bottleneck traffic. And they have a new concern: “When 520 becomes a toll bridge, there’s going to be a bunch more traffic using NE 125th to connect to I-5,” explains Lake City Chamber of Commerce president Tracy Heims. “We’re going to have more traffic on this road and we’ll need those [two extra] lanes to accommodate it.”
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Heims says that instead of new painted lanes, the city should be investing in curbs, sidewalks, and gutters for northern neighborhoods. “Every new mayor has promised those and we still don’t have them,” he says. “Putting them in is a big step in the right direction for providing safety for walkers and bike commuters.”
I am glad to see the Lake City Chamber of Commerce pushing for sidewalks in their neighborhood. This is a worthy cause, and will require a lot of funding and political power to get off the ground. It would be great to have their help next budget season as the city looks at ways to fund the pedestrian master plan.
As for the arguments against the 125th redesign, they just don’t hold water. The new design will be safer for everyone, especially people trying to cross the street on foot. SDOT has done their homework, and their plan is tried and true. After people voiced concerns, SDOT studied it further. Here are the results:
As you can see, any small increase in motor vehicle travel times is far more than made up by improved transit efficiency. Remember, a packed bus can carry an entire traffic jam of people at once.
Here’s the full report. I think the city has done a very good job responding to the concerns of residents using traffic study data and laying out the effects as best they can (well, with their budget).