Who should decide where new bike lanes may be installed? Should decisions about bike lanes be left to the city’s transportation engineers and planners or should City Council have greater control?
Councilman-at-large Bill Greenlee has again proposed legislation that would give Council greater oversight of proposed bike lanes, which he says would create a broader process for public input on new lanes. [pdf]
The Bicycle Coalition agrees that the support of City Council and public input are important considerations for each new lane, but they think requiring an ordinance from Council goes too far. They argue that timing is critical for bike lane projects and the delay brought by a Councilmanic approval process could kill proposed lanes. What’s more bike lanes are also major safety improvements for streets. Why should something that makes motorists, cyclists and pedestrians safer be so difficult to implement?
On Tuesday, City Council’s Streets and Services Committee approved Councilman Greenlee’s bill, with two important amendments: Council would only have to pass an ordinance if a lane of traffic or parking was removed in favor of a bike lane (which is not always the case), and a pilot phase would be required for each proposed lane (which is currently common practice). The Bicycle Coalition says they can live with these changes.
So what do you think? Take this week’s Word on the Street Poll: