Saying they want Lincoln City residents to be able to get around town without having to drive a car, or even ride a bus if they don’t want to, the city council gave their tentative approval of a new bicycle and pedestrian/hiking plan Monday night. Pictured above is a series of improvements aimed at helping motorists to more effectively share the roads with bicyclists and walkers. The plan calls for putting in sidewalks for pedestrians as well as lane sharing for bicyclists. Some of it will cost money. And some of it won’t fit within the narrow widths of many older streets in the city.
Resident Mike Meyers blasted the plan as lacking common sense in its application and excessive in its proposed fees or taxes to implement it. He said the city needs to stick to what’s needed, and avoid what is not necessary. He said that many city streets are too narrow for what limited parking there is without trying to take up space for bike lanes or sidewalks that, in some cases, would put both almost up to the front doors of some homes in Lincoln City.
ODOT representative David Helton, whose agency helped fund the bike/ped study said that Mr. Meyers brings up good points but that there will be no fees or taxes for any project that isn’t fully evaluated and brought before the city council in open public meetings. He said it’s a plan and nothing more, that lays out what the town might accommodate in the years ahead, with emphasis on “years.” City planner Debra Martzhan said that local fees or taxes are not the first choice for funding bike/ped improvements and that there are many grants and other resources that could be tapped first. The council was also told that any improvements would likely piggyback with other city projects associated with street or other circulation improvements in the years ahead and that each and every improvement will be presented to the city council who has the last say on whether an improvement is given the green light.
A representative of the Bay Area Merchants Association said their group supports the bike/ped plan, adding that it’s long been their opinion that the Taft area has been somewhat isolated from the rest of Lincoln City because of a lack of pedestrian and/or biking provisions on the street.
The council seemed okay with the plan, with some minor amendments. City staff said they would refer it back to the city’s consultants and then bring it back to the city council for review and probable approval at a future meeting.