I attended last night’s meeting about
bike lanes on Madison Avenue re-imagining the Madison Avenue corridor and surrounding areas and was very pleased and impressed with how it turned out. The meeting began with some introductory comments by a member of some the architecture firm Looney Ricks Kiss. But unlike the first meeting, back in February, the introduction set a generally positive tone for the meeting and even elicited a few laughs. The speaker made a few points I really appreciated, among them that:
- Regardless of what happens to Madison Avenue, not everyone is going to get everything that they want. Â Hopefully though, 80% of us will get most of what we want.
- Everyone has a stake in the future of Madison Avenue, even people who use it only as a commuting corridor.
- The issue of the evening is not bike lanes per se – that one has been talked about enough already – but how to improve Madison Avenue.
At one point in his introductory comments, the gentleman from LRK asked how many people lived or worked within 1/2 mile of Madison Avenue. Â About half the crowd raised their hands. Â Then he increased that distance to one mile, then two. Â By that point, almost the entire crowd had its hands in the air. Â He then pointed out that 1/2 mile is a reasonable walking distance, one mile is an easy bike ride, and two miles is a short car trip. Â I really appreciated how he asked us to self-identify based on how close we lived to Madison, not whether we were business owners, cyclists, residents, and/or commuters.
He then asked how often and fast we drove down Madison. Â Again, the idea appeared to be to recognize that we all had a stake in the future of Madison, regardless of what brought us to the meeting.
After talking a bit about the history of recent developments on Madison – turns out the bike lanes have been in the works since last summer, but whatever – and reviewing the four basic sections of Madison, the LRK representative presented some options for what could be done with the street surface itself. Â The first option presented was to do nothing, but every option after that included bike lanes. Â The number of lanes and amount of on-street parking varied across the several options, but it was good to see options presented other than bike-lanes-or-no-bike-lanes.
After the initial comments, we split up into focus groups and began to discuss our answers to three questions the architects had posed. Â Paraphrased slightly, they were:
- What changes would you like to see on Madison?
- How will you know when those changes are complete and successful?
- What is your greatest concern?
I was really happy with the answers my group (GROUP 3 RULEZ!!) came up with. Â They covered everything from crime and safety to accessibility to appearance and identity. Â Everyone agreed that we wanted more businesses on Madison and an end to the vacant lots. Â Several great ideas were tossed out about bike lanes, but those were by no means the only matters we discussed.
I was particularly happy that a Madison Avenue business owner was in our group. Â I really wanted to hear his concerns and thoughts on how to better Madison. Â It turns out that everyone agreed on the main points about how to do this, with no acrimony. Â Such a nice change.
I’ll blog more about this later – busy week you know – but here’s a few pictures I took at the event. Â Cheers, and thanks for reading.
Also, check out this website for more information and to voice your opinion.
Arriving at the meeting, my little caravan found a number of bikes already there. Â Awesome!
The crowd awaits.
Our break-out group. Â I was very happy with the number of voices we heard and the ideas we discussed.
One of the other groups. Â I think there were five total.
Leaving the meeting, I saw even more bikes. Â Minglewood Hall – where’s your bike rack?