And apparently she was right. But I honestly don't understand why, of everything else that could possibly be contentious when discussing a major redevelopment plan for a neighborhood, bike lanes were what drew the most ire.
The Madison Plan Commission Monday night approved the Northport-Warner Park-Sherman Neighborhood Plan but did not confront the most controversial piece of it.
Bicycle advocates have long envisioned turning four-lane Sherman Avenue into a two-lane road with dedicated bike lanes. One option discussed is a two-lane road with turn lanes, know in planning parlance as a "TWTL."
Several commission members proposed including that language in the plan to help slow traffic on the busy thoroughfare and make it safer for non-motorists.
But Northside Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway urged the commission not to mention "TWTL" in the final document. She said it was the most divisive issue in the entire area and would jeopardize what otherwise was a good plan.
Sherman Avenue could certainly use some bike and pedestrian friendly revamping. As it stands, there isn't nearly as much bicycle infrastructure on the North side as their ought to be, and I know several residents who would benefit from a change to that fact. Heck, I travel to that part of town pretty frequently, and being able to ride safely would be a major boon.
My guess is this has to do with car commuters not wanting to share the roads at all with people on bikes. Which, if that is the case, is all kinds of ridiculous...but not surprising. In the move to make cities more alternative transportation friendly, the bikes vs. car battle rages on - with both sides harboring their fair share of irrational jerks. There is middle ground to be had here, though, if only both bikers and drivers were willing to make some concessions.
But then, backing down from an extreme position isn't something we Americans have proven to be very good at lately. It's long past time we learned how, though.
UPDATE: There's an interesting little discussion about this issue over at The Daily Page forums (minus the random outburst from the first commenter). Check it out.
(photo by BikePortland.org on Flickr)