Citizen Note Regarding North Broadway.

Here is a note that I received. This is published with the permission of the author. As we grow from a small town into a city it is important that the voices of everyone are heard. This is a little dated, but I do like to share examples of exceptional citizen engagement.

Mr. Staver and Mr. Hickey,

Based on reporting in the Post Bulletin, I believe you are misguided in your negativity and criticism of separate bicycle/pedestrian lanes and also proposed medians in the proposed re-vamp of North Broadway.

First, I feel you are micromanaging a project designed by experts in the field and by knowledgeable, good-faith city engineers and planners. These experts study best-practices across the country and work to implement them in a way that suits a changing Rochester. Yes, they need to be receptive to public input, but I saw them being very receptive — particularly to business owners — at the recent open house at Kellogg.

Second, there is a perception that business along that corridor will suffer due to the sidewalk/bicycle lane design or medians. But where is the evidence of this? It sounds like a wild guess made by nervous business owners. Broadway will change. It will keep changing. It has been changing since the 1850’s. I get that it’s kinda scary, but a good business will adapt and thrive. Yes, there are select issues that need to be ironed out, but the pig-pile of negativity is dishonest. I bet the majority of businesses will do better than they are now.
After all, existing driveway access to businesses from Broadway will be preserved, and if Broadway was actually safe and inviting, many more people would bicycle or walk to business…or park or exit a bus and walk among multiple businesses. You hardly see anyone walking or biking near it because it sucks and is extremely dangerous.

Third, there is always this false set up where if there is a benefit to pedestrians and cyclists, then cars suffer. This is so false. As the excellent designs presented at the Kellogg open house prove, there and elegant, forward-looking ways to achieve a win-win-win in term of mixed auto, bus and bicycle/pedestrian use (I drive, too, and like good roads). Also, look at the nice re-do’s near the co-op and Tyrol Sports. The roads look nice, are safer, traffic flows well and business looks to be doing great.

Fourth, as you well know, bicycles have been kicked off downtown sidewalks. As a cyclist this is sort of frustrating, but I get that it’s not the best to have cycles hitting pedestrians on the sidewalks.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a solution to this?  In fact, there IS a solution, and it is detailed in divided bicycle/pedestrian areas on North Broadway!

Fifth, I feel there are a lot of misconceptions of who benefits from great walk/bike lanes and safer Broadway crossings. It’s not just dudes in spandex. I live near the North Broadway area, and here is what I see: The elderly crossing crazy dangerous intersections to get to Silver Lake Foods. People in wheelchairs or scooters struggling to cross even side street intersections. Kids crossing Broadway on bicycles to get the Dairy Queen. Hundreds of ordinary people daily out for a stroll or trying to exercise…and confronting the ridiculous twin intersections on either side of the Silver Lake dam. I bicycle or walk to my dentist, India Garden, the shoe shop, Midas, McDonalds (with kids) to name a few — I cross Broadway to get to work, take my kids to Community Ed and just for recreation with the kids. I can tell you that not one part of North Broadway is remotely safe for anyone on foot or on non-motorized wheels. The plan for divided and enhanced bicycle and pedestrian paths and medians serves so many underrepresented people, and finally makes walking/biking along or across Broadway a fairly safe and potentially even enjoyable activity.

Sixth, I feel like you are using the Bicycle Master Plan as a foil and excuse to knock the existing plans. I very much doubt the spirit of the Bicycle Master Plan is to crimp innovation and development of safe bicycle and walking routes.

I would urge you to see other sides to this plan, other than only what is best for auto/bus transport…or for a few business owners who want the road to stay the same as it has been since 1950.



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