Backlash against bike lanes brewing in Bellingham

A rival likens the city’s proposal to a classic 1980s video game.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Ken Mann isn’t the type of person you’d expect to cause a backlash in a bike lane.

“I’m having an identity crisis,” he said. “I’m a cyclist. I’ve supported bike lanes in the past, but only those that make sense.”

Mann lives along Eldridge Avenue. This is one of five areas of the city where the City of Bellingham wants to eliminate parking and add bike lanes.

Mann believes that eliminating parking on both sides of Eldridge will only encourage people to drive faster.

“People have been speeding on this street all the time,” Mann said. “If you eliminate parking, you remove the only visual cues that you have to think about slowing down.”

Mann likens traffic to the classic 1980s video game “Frogger,” except in this version everyone from pedestrians to delivery truck drivers has to jump for safety. .

“If the parking lot was taken away, they would have to park across the street and play Frogger across the four lanes of fast moving vehicles and bicycles,” says Mann. “It’s navigating all these cars and the bikes going too fast. That’s very dangerous for everyone.”

The five sections being targeted by the city are:

  • West Illinois Street from Sunset to Lynn
  • The meridian between East Victor and Western Illinois
  • Girard Street from Broadway to Young
  • Cornwall from Laurel to Pine and Eldridge between Broadway and Nequalicum.

The plan prioritizes cyclists and pedestrians as they are the most vulnerable commuters in Bellingham, according to city planners. According to Public Works Director Eric Johnston, Bellingham has added more than 40 miles of bike lanes since 2014.

The new proposal seeks to help connect them, Johnston said.

“These types of enhancements have beneficial safety effects for all users,” says Johnston. “Traffic smoothing that accompanies these types of proposed changes also improves safety for road users.”

According to Johnston, new sidewalks and elevated walkways will also be installed.

“Our community is rethinking how we use our existing roads to allow people to feel safe when moving around town, including pedestrians, cyclists and cyclists. , ride, take public transport and drive,” says Johnston. “Bellingham is at the forefront of making these kinds of changes.”

Mann simply hopes the changes don’t mean “game over” for the safety of his neighborhood.

“The city really made the decision to prioritize people who commute from the city into town over people who live here,” he said. “That doesn’t feel great.”

Bellingham City Council held a public hearing on the recommended parking removal on October 3 and will consider the matter at their October 24 meeting.

Clock: Seattle mayor wants millions to improve traffic safety on the busiest roads Backlash against bike lanes brewing in Bellingham

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