I was stunned by the ignorant comments made by Rep. Duane Quam regarding the successful reconstruction of 2nd street SW. Rep. Quam never made any attempt to attend the dozens of public meetings, contact me or any other staff member about why the road was constructed the way it was.
Here are the facts:
From 23rd Ave to the West we did what is called a “road diet” or 4-to-3 conversion. In places where vehicle counts are less than 18,000 per day the 3-lane option is usually more efficient than 4 lanes because of the improvements in left turn motions. After 18,000 vehicles it is more of a grey area. The area we changed has about 9,000 trips per day. The key thing is that the 3-lane design is safer for cars, peds, bikes, and transit. The city and the neighbors believe that is a good thing.
We added bike lanes to 2nd street SW however that decision is independent of the road diet. We could have added bike lanes without doing the road diet. Rep. Quam believes that on street lanes are more dangerous that off street ones, the problem is that if he had actually checked with actual data from other cities (which is readily available) he would have found that just the opposite is true. He also suggested that a parallel road could have been used, which is great if one actually existed…
Dozens of meetings were held, where we listened to people, like my friend Andy who was hit by a car crossing 2nd street. Together we came up with a compromise design. Since the changes were made, some property values are up more than 30% and neighborhoods have embraced the changes. A local day care provider is bringing kids to the park for the first time in years because the kids can now safely cross the street.
I make no claim that everyone is happy. There have been 3 vocal critics including 1 council member. They also choose to actually ignore data. But the overwhelming response is that the neighborhood is far better off.
Rep. Quam didn’t just express a lack of understanding about the design changes, he went so far as to throw out a crazy conspiracy theory that I was deliberately increasing congestion to promote biking and transit. (Completely ignorant of the fact congestion did NOT increase).
Duane, please take off the tin foil hat. Willful ignorance is dangerous and my community deserves safe and effective transportation options. Perhaps you should stop by Shorewood Senior Campus and talk with many of the seniors that were involved in making their neighborhood safer.