Clinton Greenway Meeting March 6, 2015
Hello all! Here are some notes on the meeting with Margi about the Clinton greenway:
The meeting went well. It was a little abbreviated at 30 minutes (scheduling issues), but I think it was positive and productive. Margi & co wanted to know what our biggest concerns were, and if we were interested in "easy" traffic calming efforts for the short-term, specifically speed bumps. I personally dislike speed bumps when riding (I think they're unnerving for novice riders, they jostle your cargo (be it groceries in a basket or children in the back), they're physically uncomfortable to mount, and they must look monstrously large to children), and Margi agreed that there are already a lot of speed bumps on the west part of Clinton, and adding more would be a bit much. We discussed how the east part, however (approx. east of 39th) is a good candidate for speed bumps (Terry indicated there is support from those neighborhoods too). The conclusion reached was that we (Bike Loud) wouldn't consider speed bumps in western Clinton to be much of a win.
Terry and I both pushed for diversion as the main force behind traffic calming, and emphasized that the stretch from 21st to 28th eastbound is our biggest concern (most cars, largest speed discrepancy between bikes and cars due to the hill). Terry requested a NW to SE diagonal diverter on 28th in conjunction with the already-funded 20s bikeway and the diverter at Powel and 26th, and while this was perhaps our biggest want for the Clinton greenway, we also acknowledged that it would need to be in conjunction with something at 21st, be it diverter or a SE 52nd at Division (northbound)-style "buses and bikes only" entryway (a "functional semi-diverter" if you will).
We also discussed the need for behavior modification, as aggressive and reckless driving behaviors (drivers ignoring oncoming bike traffic when passing a cyclist, going around the wrong side of a roundabout, etc.) are, in my opinion, a bigger issue than speeding when it comes to making cyclists feel safe on greenways. Margi mentioned the possibility of education, perhaps through drivers' ed programs, but we also discussed additional signage. When asked what we would ideally like to see on Clinton, besides diversion, I half-suggested a cars-only stop sign (we all acknowledged that would solve a bunch of problems, but is generally unfeasible). However, they seemed receptive to the idea of more already-utilized signage, such as "children at play" and perhaps greenway-specific signs to tell drivers that this is a designated cycling route. It sounds like they're currently working on signage to go under stop signs as part of their soon-to-be-revealed overall greenway plan (I wasn't able to ask why the signs would be pared with stop signs, as the idea of a greenway is to eliminate stop signs where possible).
Unfortunately due to time constraints we were unable to discuss topics such as extending the Clinton greenway except in passing. Margi & co's takeaway from the meeting--I hope--was that we want something done as soon as possible, particularly for the 21st-28th stretch, but that something should not be more speed bumps. We want diversion, and we would like greenway-appropriate signage to make drivers aware that this isn't a typical street. We also discussed Better Blocks,
I asked if there is anything specific we should be doing on our end to help, and Margi highly recommended going to the businesses in the commercial strip in Clinton. It didn't sound like there was a specific process that needed following, but if we could go into the businesses, introduce ourselves, say we're cyclists trying to start a discussion about making Clinton more cycle-friendly via infrastructure... however we want to go about it, but to make it friendly rather than aggressive. Basically, Margi indicated that businesses (and to a lesser extent neighborhood associations) are going to be what stands in the way of our getting diversion, so if we can garnish positive support that will help the city out greatly.
There are so few businesses on Clinton, I can't imagine that reaching out to each and every one of them is out of our scope in the least. Back in February there was a meeting about making Clinton more cycle/pedestrian/etc. friendly, and the topic of going to businesses to gauge support was brought up as something we, Bike Loud, should be doing (along with rush-hour traffic measurements) and we even came up with a list of volunteers who were willing to go door-to-door to businesses. Unfortunately nothing every came of that (there wasn't really a point-person in terms of leadership to get the projects rolling), but I'm sure we could utilize that list and get things going (I know that I was on the "visit businesses" volunteer list and my S.O. was on the "measure traffic" list).
I think that just about covers the meeting, but I'm going to baton-pass this email off to Terry for his additions/corrections on anything I missed/misrepresented.