To the Editor:
The St. Louis Park City Council seems in denial of the facts that the Wooddale portion of the Southeast Bikeway project is not safe.
For those bikers willing to brave such a bike lane, you may want to think twice. Nearly three of four people who bike to work are men, according to the U.S. Census, and three of four biking fatalities are adult men, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. And worse, of mid-block crashes, six of 10 categories are haphazard or due to cyclists at fault, according to an interpretation of a National Transportation Safety Board chart.
Also, the plan is discriminatory to kids, elderly and disabled who will have reduced access to home care and a lack of reasonable walking distances for parking or delivery vehicles. Wooddale has tiny one-car garages and no alley. On-street parking is a better land use. The Federal Highway Administration guidance states that cities need to build community support when considering bike lanes that would affect parking and trees. The administration states that fewer driveways and intersections reduce conflict points and that locations with limited sight lines increase crash risk. Wooddale has 38 driveways in two blocks and short sight-line intersections.
The highest authority in transportation safety in the United States, the National Transportation Safety Board, published in November 2019 a complete and objective study of over 100,000 cyclist crashes. It includes 100 pages of statistics and guidance, and yet the city used a one-page graph to establish road volume and speed. The NTSB clearly shows that roads at 30-35 mph speed limits have higher fatality rates (65% higher fatality rate per crash than 25 mph) and higher crash rates (45% of all bike crashes.) What’s the point? There are plenty of options, but it appears there is no appetite to dampen auto speeds and volumes; wait a minute – our city vision is pedestrian first, biking second, auto fourth?
St. Louis Park