September 08, 2010

2nd Avenue Quandary

Soooo...I occasionally go through a bout of doubt.  I doubt anyone cares.  Mostly this means that I don't have much I care to say.  Thus the break.  I'm back though...for today.

Despite my lack of writing, my mind has not been blank.  In fact, I've been mulling over the quandary that Spokane has drummed up...proposed bike lanes on a major one-way, 3-lane arterial street.  The bike lane has been proposed by the bicycle activists.  The City Councilmen that love cycling have latched onto it with a death grip.  They really really really want a dedicated bicycle lane on this major street despite the facts that have been placed before them. 

The facts are: 
  1. 2nd Avenue is a congested route to travel.  Based on an engineering study conducted by the City of Spokane, the current level of service of the street as it stands rates from A to C level. (Think school grading system here.)  When you take away a lane to dedicate it to bicycles, the predicted level of service drops to the range from C to F.  That's failing, by the way.  That's not the general goal here.
  2. 2nd Avenue is a dangerous route to travel.  From the same engineering study, it was reported that the accident rate is at 10.5 accidents per million vehicles.  Compare that to this:  the most dangerous streets in the big cities of America have accident rates around 3 accidents per million vehicles. 
And yet when the engineer recommended not removing a vehicle travel lane based on the result of this study...the councilmen immediately responded that we should definately NOT walk away from this idea.

That's when the issue turned to the social networks of Twitter and Facebook through our friends at Bike to Work Spokane.  No doubt flamed on by some of the City Councilmen. 

I am flummoxed by the blind eye and deaf ear of these councilmen.  It kills me.  I have ridden on 2nd Avenue and I generally try to avoid it.  I've driven on 2nd fact I used to drive it daily.  It's not a street that needs a diet.  It is a mover and a shaker.  A lot of drivers depend on that street, and it should not be cut back to serve a few bicycles.

I am a cyclist.  I don't want to ride on 2nd Avenue.