Do You Agree with the Reroute?
Our roads are public property and maintained by our local and state government entities so all people can use and benefit from them. That doesn’t seem to be what some in the community believe.
Bend Bikes recently learned that despite being the most direct route currently used by many people walking and biking, the city cut a portion of NW Milwaukee from the original NW Milwaukee Neighborhood Greenway. The new reroute includes a three block detour onto NW Lexington, including a one block jog along the sidewalk on NW 14th to get cyclists from Milwaukee to Lexington before rerouting them back to Milwaukee at along Union.
A local business, with the support of the President of the Bend Chamber of Commerce, vocalized its opposition to the greenway on Milwaukee because they believed their right to double-park trucks making its deliveries outweighs the rights of all other road users: walkers, cyclists, and other vehicles. We believe the interests of a few should not override thoughtfully laid plans made in the public right-of-way.
Here’s why we think this is bad public policy:
- Change made in bad faith
We do not believe that this re-design is in keeping with the true spirit of Neighborhood Greenways. Forcing families to ride on NW 14th street is a poor substitute for the original design, which allows for a better flow and keeps family and children on safer roads.
- Deters use of the most direct route
We do not believe forcing people to go out of their way sets a good precedent for greenways just as they are getting off the ground. If you are going downtown on NW Milwaukee, would you divert out of your way to stay on the greenway? We don’t think people traveling by bicycle will. We believe they’ll continue to use Milwaukee which means the diverted part of the Greenway is useless which works to undermine the entire program and could throw future phases into jeopardy.
- Doesn’t help people get to desired destinations faster
Part of the point of a Neighborhood Greenway is to connect residential areas to desired destinations through a low stress travel experience. A greenway on Milwaukee makes the most sense because of its proximity to the restaurants, coffee shops and other retailers along the Newport Avenue corridor. If there is a need to ride and walk safely on Lexington, then the city should take steps to calm traffic on that street, too.
- Vocal minority shouldn’t outweigh the interests of the general public
If we allow one business to derail years of staff planning and community input, how much longer will the rest of the greenway network take to roll out? Bear in mind, funds were set aside for Neighborhood Greenways in 2017 and the first two are almost complete as we write this in 2019.
Support the Original Milwaukee Greenway
We need the public to show support for the original NW Milwaukee greenway route or the city will have little choice but to concede. Here are two things you can do: