At the council meeting on March 8th, Councilors Huda and Kennedy will make a motion to remove a ¼ mile stretch of bike lane and return parked cars to the curb. This in spite of the unanimous objections of the Planning Dept, Parking & Traffic Safety committee, New Hampshire DOT, Seacoast Area Bicycle Riders, and foremost national expert of safe bike lane design, Toole Design group. Everyone agrees: removing this stretch of lane makes Middle Street less safe.
At the same meeting, city staff will report on the cost of minor improvements to the project, after study by Toole Design (see their report). We thank assistant Mayor Splaine, and Councilors Lazenby, Tabor, McEachern, Whelan, and Trace for asking what it will cost to make the project better, rather than worse. Putting aside an already-funded new flashing crosswalk beacon, the cost is $1,400, as most adjustments are included in upcoming road repaving.
We at Seacoast Area Bicycle Riders are very concerned because five of our nine councilors oppose these protected bike lanes without making any reasonable case for their position. On March 8th, we have to make our voices heard!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Take your full 3 minutes. Public comment is early in the meeting so your time commitment can be short.
SOME TALKING POINTS
|Safety||Experts agree that the council’s proposal makes the road less safe for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians — nobody benefits|
|Money||Their proposal will cost taxpayers $320,000 in additional and wasted monies|
|Volunteer effort||SABR — a nonprofit dedicated to making bicycling more of our way of life — has had to expend hundreds of volunteer hours when they’d rather be pursuing their mission|
|Time||This council has spent more time (and is willing to spend more money) on removing bike lanes than it has on COVID recovery|
* Cost estimate is based on: $242,000 detailed in the city council’s packet for the meeting, plus the $80,000+ that the city spent to augment the original grant, which will have to be repaid to the state should the council’s motion pass.