Monday, July 21, 2008

Let's Not Get All Vigilante On The Bike Lanes

Spokesman-Review Letters to the editor
Connect disjointed bike routes

Spokanites are aware of the health benefits and cost efficiency of commuting by bicycle. But why do we only have 0.8 percent of riders in a population our size? It is because we are not providing our residents a network of bike routes that are connected fluidly.

I have been riding my bike every spring and summer month since 2004 and have noticed that most routes just don't connect well to each other at all. Bikers such as myself are forced to take the side streets and intersections, which, according to the 2007 Washington State DOT, were the spots in Spokane where 70 pedestrian and bicycle accidents occurred.

Currently, a study is being done in order to add new routes, updating Spokane's 30-year old bike master plan. But this plan might not be the best action to take. A length of time is needed to finish and implement the study, then a good sum of money will be needed to add new bike routes. It seems more logical to make the current bike routes more accessible. My proposal consists of the following: One summer day, a handful of volunteers, buckets of white paint and brushes. Connect the lines.

Malia Ambata
Spokane


Ms. Ambata, we agree with your point that we need to connect the bike routes, and there are indeed plans in the works (besides the City's Bike Plan, there is also a recently-completed Regional Bike Plan, the Spokane County Trails Plan, and talks are underway concerning possible 'bicycle boulevards'), but what if everyone grabbed some paint and connected the lines? You wouldn't be able to pass other cars for one thing, as all the lanes would now have solid lines, making them no passing lanes.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.