Democrats put bicyclist convenience over public safety
Allowing cars to cross Seventh Street safely is a common-sense policy goal, and public safety should be a priority.
The very first time I drove down Seventh Street after several stop signs were removed, I knew that automobile crashes would increase. I did not need to commission a traffic study to know this, nor did I need to consult urban planning experts. All I had to do was call on thirty years of driving and walking through Bloomington. I am not some sort of genius: Everyone knew that removing the stop signs would cause more crashes. Obviously, we were right:
Pre-project crash numbers in the 7th Street corridor averaged around 6.25 crashes per quarter; but after the project was built and stop signs were removed, crashes averaged around 10.2 per quarter. After the stop signs were reinstalled at Dunn and 7th, the average crashes per quarter dropped to around 6.5 per quarter.
When the stop signs were removed, it became more difficult for vehicles on Washington, Lincoln and Grant to cross Seventh, especially during peak traffic times. Turning right from the south was more difficult due to the concrete barriers surrounding the bike lanes. Large vehicles, including buses and fire trucks, also had more difficulty navigating the narrowed street. This was for a dedicated bike lane that covered a minuscule percentage of all street miles in Bloomington, doing virtually nothing for the vast majority of bicycle traffic.
The city council passed an ordinance to put the stop signs back, but it passed with a narrow 5-4 majority. Mayor Hamilton vetoed it, and it would take a 6-3 majority to override the veto. The stop signs will not return. While cyclists may like the uninterrupted run on Seventh, public safety should take priority. Not everyone agrees:
Volan added, "To say that restoring the stop signs is for the sake of pedestrians crossing is, I find, to be an unfortunate excuse for continuing to allow cars to cross."
What exactly does that mean? Should we not allow cars to cross at all, or just keep the added difficulty and danger to public safety? Allowing cars to cross safely is a common-sense policy goal, and public safety should be a priority. Of course, crossing Seventh on foot is more difficult - and dangerous - now than it was before the stop signs were removed. That is not something that should be brushed aside.
The "progressive" block on the city council, along with Mayor Hamilton, is putting a narrow ideological "green" agenda and pandering to special interests above public safety and sound transportation policy. It is unlikely that will change in January. The only real solution is for voters to put more Republicans on the council, but that opportunity is lost until at least 2027.
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