Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 8th, 2010 at 10:07 am
is no designated bikway.
(Photo: Jim Parsons/BikePortland)
Bikes advocates in Beaverton were shocked when a meeting of that city’s Transportation Commission on Thursday night ended in a 5-1 vote against putting bike lanes on SW Lombard Avenue.
On the agenda was a proposal to stripe bike lanes on a one-mile stretch of SW Lombard Ave between 1st Street and Denney Road. The Commission was also set to hear a related proposal to remove motor vehicle parking on SW Lombard between 7th St. and Allen Blvd.
The bike lanes were supported by the Beaverton Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) and the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District (THPRD). After the meeting last week, Barbara Chapnick, a member of the Beaverton BAC fired off an email to Mayor Denny Doyle and members of the Commission saying she had “some bewilderment and puzzlement” about their vote. She wondered, “Are we all on the same page in this community as to a Transportation Plan and a Community Vision?”
“I was very surprised [at the vote] and I was surprised that the Commission seems to think they don’t have any rules to follow.”
— Wendy Kroger, Trails Advisory Committee Chair, Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation Department
BikePortland West Side correspondent Jim Parsons was also at the meeting. His feelings echoed those of Ms. Chapnick. In a report he posted on the Portland Bike Forums, Parsons said, “Tonight was a real disappointment for me and other safety minded cyclists.”
According to Parsons (I don’t have official transcripts but they are recorded on cassette tape only and have not been transcribed yet), Traffic Commission Vice Chair Patrick Reynolds voiced some strong opinions about bicycling to go along with his no vote. “He went on that too tired rant about how bikes should be licensed and registered, and that too many cyclists are scofflaws.” Another attendee, Chair of THPRD’s Trails Advisory Committee Wendy Kroger, likened Reynolds’ comments to “a mean spirited lecture on bicycles and bicyclists.”
Other objections to the project brought up by the Commission were a lack of evidence that there is demand for bicycling on Lombard and that the property value of homeowners on the street would be lowered if their “rights to parking” were taken away.
Transportation System Plan showing
Lombard as a “designated bikeway.”
Advocates feel the vote against the bikeway is not in line with Beaverton’s Transportation System Plan (a point made by Commission member Steve Harris, the only person to vote “yes” on the project). That plan labels Lombard as a “designated bikeway,” and it states Beaverton must accomodate for, “Connectivity for alternative means of transportation from city to city on safe routes by means of bike ways, bike paths and bike lanes.”
Kroger testified in support of the project because it’s an important connection between the Beaver Creek and Fanno Creek trails. After the meeting, she told me, “I was very surprised [at the vote] and I was surprised that the Commission seems to think they don’t have any rules to follow.”
BAC Chair Chapnick and a group of project supporters will testify at tonight’s Beaverton City Council meeting. Chapnick says she’ll present more data about traffic patterns on Lombard and she’ll request that Council delay any decisions about this project until more information is collected.
City of Beaverton spokesperson Amy Miner says there are two options to get this project back on track. The Traffic Commission’s decision can be appealed (there’s a $250 fee and it must be filed by 3/15), or the CIty Council could decide to hold a public hearing on the issue.