We all know that America is filled with people who weigh too much, don’t exercise enough and who use their vehicles to travel 200 feet to the store. But slowly, city and county planners have been making it easier for Americans to envision a different kind of neighborhood, where walking and bicycling are not only possible, but safe and inviting.
Lincoln City planners Monday night debuted their proposed city-wide walking and biking plan to the city council. It was well received and roundly praised at successfully pulling many Lincoln City residents into the process of assessing the walking and biking needs of the city, where they could be constructed and where to go shopping for the money to make it all possible.
Nobody said it was all going to happen soon. They agreed that it’ll be a long slog, especially as the country tries fitfully to pull out of the worst recession in over 80 years. Cities and counties are having trouble enough paying for the things that are “must haves” as opposed to what are nice to have to improve the community’s quality of life which bike and walking paths would be a part of.
However, planners reminded the councilors that there are many no-or-low-cost options to be explored with the city’s own public works department, and certainly with the Oregon Department of Transportation, which has control over Highway 101 – the main transportation corridor through town. They say a few immediate improvements could come from just laying down some paint where appropriate.
To be sure, shared lanes, discreet lanes, sidewalks, pedestrian pathways, all come at a price. And certainly the more pricey ones may take a while to build. But that’s what planners said is so good about the city’s nearly-adopted plan. They say it was formulated after a series community meetings and discussions that examined what’s on the ground now, and what would make sense projecting out five to ten years to connect Lincoln city’s scattered neighborhoods without having to jump in a car. They said funding for these non-automotive ways of getting around will likely come from a number of sources; federal, state, private foundations, local contributors and yes, even taxpayers, if they can be convinced of the value. So having a plan with specific sets of expectations, of what should be put where, will help focus the work of raising the money.
The plan’s comprehensiveness exceeds any one news story’s ability to even scratch the surface. You really should read the plan. But before your eyes glaze over, click on the link at the end of this story and see for yourself how very readable and easy to understand it is. It’s well made so everyone can get a good sense of what’s in the offing and of ways to move it forward. There are detractors who think it’s all a bunch of expensive fluff that the city can’t afford, but if you spend some time with the plan you’ll get your own view of the possibilities. Although the plan was presented to the city council Monday night, the council postponed adoption of it until at least one more public hearing can be held 6pm, Monday, October 22nd, to give more Lincoln City residents a chance to weigh in on the discussions.
At any rate, here’s the plan: Click here.