Tonight the Memorial Link goes to city council a second time. This time administration will recommend that the selection of a north-south cycling corridor be rolled into the ongoing Transportation Master Plan study. This is a mixed bag. On the one hand we’re glad the city is acknowledging the need for a safe north-south cycle route because it means that construction of such a route is inevitable (eventually). Further, integrating the study of the route into the TMP helps to remove politics from the decision making process. But there are several issues with this path forward as presented by administration.
- The memo clarifies that there’s no current plan for a North-South bike corridor within a reasonable time frame. Even the route outlined on the existing Active Transportation plan is not scheduled to be completed within 5 years. Given that a study of routes was already done more than 2 years ago it’s clear there’s a history of kicking the can on this critical infrastructure issue.
- The only route with demonstrated public support is May-Memorial (this campaign and our petitions, letters of support and endorsements)
- The May St segment represents 30% of the route and was designed to accommodate bike lanes already — it’s a cheap paint retrofit.
- There memo says nothing is preventing the Memorial Link from happening (no “insurmountable” issues) except political will and funding. The route connects the most businesses and provides the shortest connection between the historic downtowns by a large margin and whether the TMP selects it or not will not change these facts.
- In light of this the path forward is to have the project shovel ready so that when funding becomes available we’re first in line.
- It makes sense for council to agree with the memo (of course) but also to simply add the route to the existing Active Transportation Plan at the earliest possible date (now). This was one of our asks last year and hasn’t addressed.
I’ve written a piece on the Memorial Link and published it today. We will be represented at city council tonight.