As we all know, there are many more cyclists on the road with the boom in e-bike popularity. One of the challenges is ensuring that drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike remain safe as they interact on their commutes. Determining how we go about that is always a complicated issue with many factors to consider, but it affects all citizens who regularly commute in our town. Whether you’re a frustrated driver backed up behind bikes in the street or a cyclist who has felt a car get a little too close for comfort, we can all benefit from better infrastructure. So, without further ado, I’m turning over the rest of my article space to the fine folks over at Streets4Everyone, who are advocating for just that.
What is an All Ages and Abilities Bicycle Facility?
Bicycle facilities serving all ages and abilities provide a comfortable separation from motor vehicles and focus on intersection safety. These facilities include:
• Off-street trails – provides two-way off-street bicycle use that may also be used by pedestrians, skaters, joggers, and other non-motorized users. Bear Creek Greenway and Central Bike Path are local examples but others are needed.
• Protected Bicycle Lanes – facilities physically separated from motor vehicle traffic with concrete curbs with steel bollards and distinct from sidewalks; they may be at street level or raised several inches. Ashland has yet to build a protected bicycle lane but the Ashland Street reconstruction project includes them but only between Siskiyou Boulevard and the railroad overcrossing. Why aren’t they included for all of Ashland Street and why not on every major street in town?
• Neighborhood greenways – residential streets with low motorized traffic volumes and speeds, at or below 20 MPH, give priority to safe and pleasant bicycle and pedestrian travel. Speeding traffic in neighborhoods is widespread and a common complaint among Ashland residents. Why aren’t all neighborhood streets designed in this way – to calm traffic and make it safe for everyone?
A network composed of these facility types (off-street trails, protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways) will allow residents and visitors to travel from anywhere to everywhere in Ashland by bicycle. They will offer travel independence to the young, improve safety for all road users, and help to address housing affordability, climate change, congestion, and our faltering economy. Even people who choose to not ride a bicycle will benefit by reducing motorized vehicle traffic. This will create safer streets and less sound and air pollution.
It is past time for the city to create a practical, safe, convenient, and efficient bicycle network in Ashland. Email the City Council at Council@ashland.or.us and let them know you want bicycle facilities to and through intersections and real protection, not plastic posts, to serve as separation between people riding bicycles, and cars and trucks. That way, anyone and everyone can safely and comfortably ride a bicycle – to do errands, go shopping, visit friends/family, get to soccer practice, visit downtown, drop by the library, go to school or university, or just go for a spin around the block for FUN. Life is better on a bicycle provided streets are safe which, right now, they aren’t.
Giving priority to cars and trucks is a failed strategy familiar to most everyone who has relocated to Ashland or visited Medford. Ashland can be different but it will take a majority of the City Council to make it so and, thus, make Ashland a better place to live or visit.
You can find out more at Streets4Everyone.net.