Attention Ashland Transportation Committee!
Please move forward to add protected bike lanes on North Mountain.
May 23, 2023
We are writing to the City of Ashland Transportation Commission on behalf of the vocal constituency of Ashland residents who support moving forward expeditiously to create a protected, connected bicycle network.
We implore the City to move forward with the addition of protected bike lanes on North Mountain. We understand your reluctance to invite controversy by recommending to the Council the removal of parking on the “upper part” of North Mountain (above the hill). But that is essential in order to fit protected bike lanes on North Mountain within the existing 36-foot-wide curb-to-curb width.
Adding protected bike lanes on major streets, including North Mountain, is essential to creating a bicycle network that is safe for everyone; including kids, women, minorities, and people with disabilities. The long-term vision is to create a connected system of protected bike lanes to include major streets (collectors/arterials or boulevards/avenues) and other streets with high volumes/speeds coupled with bicycle boulevards on selected residential streets. The most cost-effective way to create this network is to add this protection when streets are repaved. The repaving project on North Mountain will set the precedent towards obtaining this vision of a functional and safe bicycle network.
North Mountain is a critical bicycle route because it connects the eastern half of Ashland to the Bear Creek Greenway (when it is extended to Mountain). Additionally, the route will enable kids to get to baseball or soccer practice at North Mountain Park without being shuttled by a parent. We are aware that reducing vehicle miles traveled is a long-held objective of the Transportation Committee. Helping people to substitute a motor vehicle trip with a biking or walking trip will allow the Committee to achieve this goal. However, people will only make this decision if the bicycle network is as safe and convenient as the car/truck network.
Let’s Not Miss an Opportunity
The redesign and rebuild of North Main and Hersey using only paint to distinguish between the motor vehicle travel lane and the bike lane was a missed opportunity that we cannot afford to repeat. Painted bike lanes do not serve “all ages and abilities” except on very low volume / low speed routes. North Mountain is not that.
We understand that the removal of parking is a large endeavor to undertake and can be contentious. The community has previously voiced their support for this protected bike lane. We urge you to continue collaborating with the community to accelerate this work. Protected bike lanes will benefit all residents, including those who would never ride a bicycle. Please let us know how we can be of assistance. We can be reached at email@example.com
Thank you again for the opportunity to provide these comments. Attached you will find a cross-cut street diagram of our recommended changes.