Public should be involved on North Madison project | In Our Opinion | June 18

Previous attempts to add bike lanes and a pedestrian path along North Madison Avenue between 305 and Day Road have failed, but a more concerted effort is now under way. A vocal minority of homeowners on the west side of the narrow roadway defeated the latest attempt, according to the city, and that could happen again unless the city involves the neighbors in the public process more than it did before.

The city has received a grant to pay for a 3-foot-wide bike lane on the east side of the road between the 305 and Valley Road and will soon begin work on it. And the City Council agreed during a study session this week to take another bureaucratic move forward involving a grant application that, if awarded, would lengthen the bike lane between Valley and Day Road.

Staff said it would like to put together a corridor plan, and it asked for permission to compile one since there is a July 12 deadline on the grant application. The council agreed, but cautioned that public participation should also begin as soon as is feasible so that the neighborhood can be involved.

While it appears a majority are for it, there is considerable controversy about the pedestrian path. The east side bike lane is basically just widening the shoulder, but the previous west side plan included a gravel pathway separate from the bike lane. Some homeowners balked at losing some of their lawns.

The proposed lanes and pathways are inside of the city’s legal right-of-way, and it’s a dangerous road for bicyclists, but it would be wise for the city to tread lightly – and publicly – on this one.

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