Call to Action – Plan to Put Bike Lanes on W. Main Under Attack

To All Charlottesville Area Cyclists:

The plan to put bicycle lanes on W. Main is under attack.

“I don’t want the cycle tracks at all.” – Peter Castiglione, Owner of Maya

“The bike lanes are the real fly in the ointment.” – Michael Signer, Charlottesville City Council Candidate

Michael Signer’s campaign is holding a series of “solutions listening sessions” on topics, and we’ll be holding one of these sessions on bikes at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 28th at 106 West South Street, second floor. If you can come, please RSVP to David Jonas, policy director, at david@mikesigner.com.

Please come tell Mr. Signer that proper bicycle lanes on W. Main and the rest of the City are imperative.

Background

In Charlottesville, the W. Main corridor is the most important section of the bicycle network. It is by far the shortest and flattest route between UVa and downtown. Studies have shown W. Main is by far the street most used by cyclists in the city. It is the only east/west oriented ridge in town. W. Main is the backbone for the Charlottesville bicycle route system. It is the path for the U.S. Bicycle Route System through town. Unfortunately, as well, W. Main is not safe for bicycling. In many sections, the bike lane is completely within the door zone of parked vehicles and there is not enough space for cars or buses to legally pass cyclists w/o changing lanes.

For over a year, the City of Charlottesville has been in the process of creating a plan for W. Main Street in Charlottesville. The process was run by a task force made up of stakeholders and after MUCH public input, a compromise plane was created. This plan includes bike lanes separated from motor vehicle travel lanes. The City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee has endorsed the plan which seems to be the best for both people riding bicycles and walking.

The facts are clear. The best way make cyclists safe is to get more cyclists on the street. The best way to get cyclists on the street is to create separated bicycle lanes that allow all those cyclists that are apprehensive about riding in traffic out on the road.  Bicycle infrastructure is good economics. Business thrives near bicycle facilities. The public return on investment is higher for bicycle project than any other civil projects.

Unfortunately, there is now a large amount of backlash and anti-bicycle rhetoric coming from members of the design task force. Members of the Midtown Merchants Association have said they don’t think there should be ANY bicycle lanes W. Main. Michael Signer, a candidate for city council, was recently quoted as calling bike lanes the “fly in the ointment” of the W. Main plan.

Action

So what can we do? We need to start getting vocal. We need to start letting the council members know our views. Michael Signer’s campaign campaign is holding a series of “solutions listening sessions” on topics, and he will be holding one of these sessions on bikes at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 28th at 106 West South Street, second floor. If you can come, please RSVP to David Jonas, policy director, at david@mikesigner.com.

We also need to start letting city council know our views. Please consider writing them.  Their contact information is here.

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3 thoughts on “Call to Action – Plan to Put Bike Lanes on W. Main Under Attack

  1. We need more bike lanes. Those who think otherwise are either misinformed or have a competing selfish agenda which fails to fully consider the health and prosperity of the Charlottesville community.

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  2. Here is another quote, this one from Lawrence Halprin, designer of the downtown pedestrian mall. This quote is not about West Main; Halprin died in 2009 and I have no idea what project he was discussing. But I like to think this is what he’d say to Charlottesville now if he were still alive.

    “If someone on this project had said, well, ‘It’s very important to keep this parking,’ I would have felt that’s wrong. I would have said, ‘Let’s look at this more carefully and see what the implications are…”

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