Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pedestrian and Bike Trails Committee Meets

An organizational meeting was held today at the Nix Center to decide how to proceed and appoint a Chairperson (according to City Planner Johnathan Smith). Committee members are: Bob Clark, Jean Wilson, Jenny Fidler, Will Matson, Charlene Lee ("Smart Coast"), and Mike McPherson ("Trailblazers"). Lack of funding was the first issue discussed when Ms. Fidler revealed only about $60K (if that much) was currently available for such purposes from the City-- and that sidewalk construction always was an item "not normally budgeted". When Bob Clark questioned the groups worth if no funding was available, Ms. Wilson opined the purpose of the group should be to "be faithful to the Comprehensive Plan." "If we had the money, how would we do it", she added. A discussion followed about possible funding sources ("stimulus", federal/state grants, etc.) and alternative (cheaper than concrete) construction techniques ( asphalt, compacted gravel, "paths", etc.). Improving street intersections to allow easier crossing by elderly, disabled, kids was discussed-- and possible solutions raised (medians, better signals, better enforced traffic laws, etc.) Some were surprised to learn there is already a law requiring drivers to stop for pedestrians: its just not being followed. Bob Clark said he was worried about the lack of pedestrian signals downtown and had been asking the Mayor(s) for improvements for 20 years; but to no avail. He left the meeting early. Public Works Director Fidler listed priorites as she saw them: (1) connecting kids to school; (2) connecting neighborhoods; (3) following the City's Natural Resources Implementation Plan-- to connect green spaces (parks); (4) connecting lower income areas to their employers It was decided to try and co-ordinate with the Smart Coast Organization's walkable communities group (Charlene Lee)-- and seek more volunteers/help from the community at large. Jean Wilson was elected Chairperson by "default" (no one else wanted the job) and the next meeting scheduled for next month (Mar 11, 2PM). legitimate corrections appreciated


rideabike said...

Our politicians need to stop giving away so much money and start building sidewalks so people wont have to walk in the street

BeeKeeper said...

There's millions of city dollars available to build a gigantic corporate airport so rich guys can have a place to park their planes, but nothing for little sidewalks so kids can walk to school and old folks get around safely? doesn't make good sense. Somebody's got wrong-headed priorities.