Road diet opposition
November 23, 2009 · 1:33 PM
I have been a Mercer Island resident for over 15 years. I regularly enjoy riding my road bike both on and off of Mercer Island, and regularly ride with a number of friends who are also Mercer Island residents. I am adamantly opposed to the suggested Island Crest Way road diet.
First, I and my Mercer Island biking friends are unaware of any popular request from Mercer Island residents to install bike lanes on ICW. The simple fact is that the overwhelming majority of bike riders on Mercer Island travel on East and West Mercer Way. Conversely, neither I nor any of my biking friends ride on ICW. In short, there exists no reason to constrict ICW for any reason remotely relating to bicycle use, particularly since this action will obviously result in much heavier traffic on East and West Mercer Way, which as we all know, is precisely where cyclists do ride.
If our city possesses any concern for the safety of bicycle riders, it absolutely defies common sense that one would take actions which simultaneously (1) place bicycle paths on a relatively high-speed road that cyclists rarely use in the first place and (2) cause a substantial increase in traffic on the very roads which are heavily used by cyclists.
The illogical proposal regarding bicycle lanes as a justification for the ICW road diet should be supplanted with efforts to make the roads where cyclists do travel more safe. Both East and West Mercer Way contain many curves and/or places where shoulders are almost non-existent. Money spent on such roads would make them more safe.
Common sense ICW safety concerns such as better crosswalks, etc., may indeed promote safety. However, the road diet proposal, which undoubtedly will put more cars on East and West Mercer, will further endanger both cyclists and pedestrians who use these streets. Who on our City Council possesses any common sense?
David W. Schiffrin