Tempe City Council Issue Review Session (IRS) McClintock Bike Lanes – Tempe Bicycle Action Group – Tempe, AZ – 03.17.2016
Yesterday afternoon, St. Patrick’s Day, Tempe City Council met to discuss the McClintock bike lanes, among other things. The bike lanes were definitely the most pressing matter at hand.
We had a strong showing of cyclists representing the community. By the time the event was to start, we had filled over half of the seats in Tempe City Hall, and as the meeting progressed more and more cyclists kept showing up. To the point that many were standing on the back and sides of the room.
The other side of the room was filled pretty heavily with opponents of the lanes. I was not expecting them to actually to show up. I pictured this group to be more of a complaining, emailing group; but not go through the trouble to go Downtown and bother with all of this. But they sure did!
However, we were the majority, without doubt. The helmets, water bottles and messenger bags were everywhere. Warm hugs, waves across the room, and comradery. That feeling, sitting on this side of the room and being a part of this community, was empowering.
A total of forty-nine residents addressed council about the lanes:
Total: 30 for – 19 against.
The single biggest complaint on the opposing side was: congested traffic during rush hour causing delays. Most reported delays averaging 10 minutes, some said an hour! A very distressed speaker reported a full 15 minute delay since the bike lanes went up (this particular person commutes from Phoenix to Mesa).
Mind you that the data collected by the City of Tempe shows that the average change in travel time is actually that of 2-3 minutes, and some evidence shows that that is probably caused by other factors.
We are talking about bike lanes that could save lives being shut down for a 2-3 minute delay to motorists during rush hour traffic.
A couple of opposers were just against bike lanes in general. Just no. No reason needed. No bike lanes ever, end of story.
Okaaaaaay… Moving on!
Most, if not all, suggested that we ride on the sidewalks. That’s why they were built extra wide to begin with, they reminded us.
Council decided to leave the lanes alone for now and revisit the topic again in six months.
So we won the battle, not the war… yet!
What does this mean for us?
- We have to go to town on these lanes guys. Use them!
- Let the businesses you visit in the area know that you got there by bike.
- Take pictures of your ride on McClintock and hashtag #bikemcclintock.
- Sign up for the TBAG bike count!!!
- Strava your McClintock ride and blast that info everywhere (What else is Strava for if not to be obnoxious? Don’t answer that!)
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org and express your support for the lanes.
- Organize group rides on McClintock.
- Be seen! Do everything you can to get noticed.
And six months from now, show up to the meeting! Show up, bring your helmet.