Thursday, May 16, 2013
The City Council reversed its decision to redesign the striping of Rose Street based on a “huge public outcry,” according to the Union-Bulletin. Are City Council decisions made according to who cries out the loudest and gets signatures on a petition? Is it an “us vs. them” thing, or are we a community?
Walla Walla is a community. City engineers — the experts — were considering the community as a whole as they proposed the change, citing research as to improved safety. I saw the excellent presentation at a City Council meeting. They were considering motorists, those who ride Valley Transit, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Mayor Jim Barrow, who reversed his earlier decision of voting for the two-lane traffic plan with a center-turn lane, seemed to contradict himself when he said, “Unless it is immoral, illegal or unsafe, I think we have a duty to represent the people.” The change proposed for Rose Street was presented as a means to improve safety for all of those who use travel through, including bicyclists.
Telling bicyclists to use another route (stated by a Council person who was against the plan) is not accident prevention. Bicyclists will still use Rose Street.
Shane Laib and Conrado Caveros were absent at the City Council meeting I attended where the plan was originally approved, 3-2, after seeing a well-researched presentation by city engineers. Is it right for them to show up at a later meeting and have a recount?
The striping of a bike lane seems to be of contention for many. However, I have found that as a motorist, it works as a visual guide that improves traffic flow. It is not there simply for the sake of bicyclists.
The U-B report added a person gathered signatures from “approximately” 125 residents of Golden West Estates Manufactured Housing Community. I live there also. I would like to ask my neighbors if they were thinking “us vs. them” when they signed the petition, or were they thinking “we are community?”
Also, is it fiscally responsible for the City Council not to consider the question that remains open, as to whether keeping the four-lane striping design will affect state and federal grants that will pay for 80 percent of a traffic light project, before it went ahead and recounted?
Please, make sure you do your research and think “community” before signing a petition. It is not only about “me.”
Sharon K. Schiller