Letter: Consider cost, stats of sidewalksWe are very opposed to the Hallquist/Eunice Avenue sidewalk project. We firmly believe that adding sidewalks in our neighborhood will not only fail to make the area safer for walkers and bikers but will actually make it less safe.
By: Cyndee Marcus, AJ and Sara Voigt, Matthew and Teresa Eich, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
We are very opposed to the Hallquist/Eunice Avenue sidewalk project. We firmly believe that adding sidewalks in our neighborhood will not only fail to make the area safer for walkers and bikers but will actually make it less safe.
Over the past weeks our neighborhood has emailed the mayor and City Council many articles on “Calming Streets” and “Shared Streets” options. Statistics prove that by adding sidewalks to wider streets like Eunice and Hallquist avenues, motorists get a false sense of security that they don’t need to share the road and the speed of traffic actually increases. If the council’s main concern truly is pedestrian safety, sidewalks are not the best option.
Some people are also concerned with the issue of safety for bicyclists. According to www.sharetheroadmn.org, bicyclists may ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted, bicyclists should ride on the road, must ride in the same direction as traffic, and are discouraged from riding on the sidewalk.
A 1996 study determined that bicyclists are 25 times more likely to experience an accident when riding on a sidewalk than riding on a major street—even one that neither has a designated bike lane nor is designated as a bike route.
Bicycle Crashes/Million Kilometers Traveled
Street with bike lanes: 26
Street with signed bike route (no marked lanes): 32
Major street - no bike facilities: 41
Minor street - no bike facilities: 59
Multi-use trail: 88
Off road/unpaved trail: 282
Source: William E. Moritz, “Adult Bicyclists in the United States,” in Transportation Research Record 1636
Obviously, sidewalks are not the best option for bicyclists either.
We need the City Council to keep an open mind, actively research and seriously consider alternatives and embrace new ways of dealing with issues that make more sense in the current environment.
Please contact your City Council member and urge them to support the less costly and less environmentally damaging option of shared streets as the best alternative for safety and connectivity in our neighborhood. If sidewalks are installed before considering the alternatives, it will be too late and the destruction cannot be undone.
AJ and Sara Voigt
Matthew and Teresa Eich