VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — The city of Vancouver wants to add more bike lanes at the expense of hundreds of parking spaces to the chagrin of many people living downtown.
The Westside Bike Mobility Project will create a bikeway running north and south along Columbia Street between Mill Plain and Fourth Plain.
The first phase of the project will get underway this summer when the city also starts repaving.
Developers of the bikeway network said the bike lanes on Columbia will be protected by physical barriers so that people on bikes won’t have to share the road with cars.
The project will also make improvements to pedestrian walkways.
In order to turn the project into reality, hundreds of parking spaces along Columbia Street will have to be removed.
Columbia is only a block away from the busy Uptown Village area along Main Street. Many customers of businesses along that stretch have to fight with residents of the neighborhood to park on Columbia and side streets.
The city of Vancouver plans to eliminate hundreds of parking spots along Columbia St in Vancouver to build a dedicated bike path. Residents here say they were not properly notified and have launched a petition drive to delay project. The council votes on it on March 25. pic.twitter.com/UOr27noRiA— Wayne Havrelly (@Havrelly) March 14, 2019
‘Outreach has been abysmal’
Some people who live on Columbia told KOIN 6 News they aren’t against the city putting in dedicated bike lanes but said officials did a poor job informing them that project would eliminate their parking spots.
“We were not at the table to discuss it,” said local resident Glen Yung. “It’s in our neighborhood — it’s going right through here and impacting us enormously — and they didn’t even think to knock on a single door.”
Yung said he had gathered more than 600 signatures on a petition to delay the project.
Local resident Michael McClafferty signed the petition.
“The outreach has been abysmal — abysmal, and that’s me being polite,” he said. “We are trying to say in the 11th hour of the 59th minute, saying ‘wait a minute, please give us a seat at the table.'”
City transportation planner Jennifer Campos told KOIN 6 News information about the project’s effect on parking was posted on the project’s website in January. However, Campos said the outreach pamphlets failed to mention parking.
Bart Hansen, a member of City Council, said he won’t support the project in its current form until affected residents get a seat at the table.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and we need to take a look at the project and how the community can accept it,” said Hansen.
The city has until March 25 to decide if it will move forward or delay the first phase of the bike lane project.