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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Feb. 27, 2024

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City of Vancouver wants input on Westside Bike Mobility Project

By , Columbian staff writer

The city of Vancouver is seeking comments from residents about its Westside Bike Mobility Project, a proposal that would install protected bike lanes along multiple north-south streets connecting the uptown and downtown neighborhoods.

As part of an outreach process connected to the project, the city will host several events in January — an open house, “coffee talks” and an online survey — to solicit feedback on the plan, which includes six bike-lane route options along Columbia, Daniels, Franklin and Washington streets.

The bike lanes would require removal of parking spaces. Early estimates from city staff indicate the plan would require removal of nearly 700 spaces.

The Westside Bike Mobility Project is one component of the city’s overarching Westside Mobility Project, implemented in July 2016. The broader plan pointed to a study that indicated more people would use bicycles as their primary form of transportation around town if they felt safer doing so.

The first open house will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St. Additional meetups with city staff will be held over coffee from 8 to 10 a.m. Jan. 14 at Latte Da Coffee House and Wine Bar, 205 E. 39th St., and 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at Relevant Coffee, 1703 Main St., Suite A.

Interested people can also provide feedback on the project online at www.beheardvancouver.org/westside-bike-mobility starting Wednesday. The survey will remain open through the end of the month.

Past debate

The upcoming events won’t mark the first time decision-makers at City Hall hear from people on the Westside Bike Mobility Project.

In February, the proposal drew loud condemnation from residents and businesses along the three proposed routes who worried what the project might mean for parking. The Clark County Veterans Assistance Center, where disabled veterans count on convenient parking to get to the front door facing Columbia Street, was especially resounding in its criticism.

“The vast majority of our veterans who come here for assistance are disabled in one way or another. A lot of them are in wheelchairs, or they’re on crutches or have canes,” Judy Russel, president of the organization, told The Columbian at the time. “This will effectively put the Veterans Assistance Center out of business.”

Several residents in the Hough and Lincoln neighborhoods, where closely packed historic homes leave little room for long driveways, also expressed concern.

But the plan also drew support from the area’s cyclists, some of whom claimed they didn’t feel safe commuting to work or riding with their families on existing roadways.

“I ride my bike, and I don’t want to die while I’m riding my bike,” local resident and cyclist Scott Yeager told the Vancouver City Council last year.

Columbian staff writer