25 SEP 2007: St. Joseph bike/ped access on parkway system under attack

MOBikeFed sent the following alert to our contacts in the St. Joseph area on 25 September 2007:

[MOBIKEFED ACTION ALERT: Please forward widely through Friday, 28 Sept 2007]

The future of safe access for those of us who walk and bicycle on St. Joseph's Parkways (streets like Cook Road and Riverside Road) is now being discussed.

Eliminating bicycle and pedestrian access on these roads is a very real possibility--unless supporters of safe streets for walking and bicycling speak up.

You can help two ways:

* Contact Dawn Probasco of St. Joseph City
Email: dprobasco@ci.st-joseph.mo.us
Phone: 816-271-4648
Please cc: director@mobikefed.org (so we can track citizen support)
Message: I support making St. Joseph's parkway system safe and
accessible for those who bicycle and walk.


* Attend the upcoming Planning Commission meeting
Thursday, Sept 27th, 2007
7:00 PM
Council Chamber, 3rd Floor
St. Joseph City Hall, 1100 Frederick
The issue of bicycle/pedestrian access on parkways will be discussed
**and voted on** at this meeting.

More details, from Wes Revels
of Quad State Trails, St Joseph Chapter
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There is an important meeting at City Hall in the Council Chambers this Thursday evening at 7:00PM. It could determine if sidewalks and bicycle lanes currently being planned for areas such as Riverside Road to be changed or eliminated. Yes, the worse case scenario would be eliminating current sidewalks and bike lanes being planned for Riverside Road.

. . . bike/ped paths are now a part of our parkway system. But those who would eliminate any further development are ever expressing their desire to remove sidewalks and bicycle lanes from new construction. One example would be where they are needed most: Riverside Road. . . .

Please read and represent those who want sidewalks and bicycle lanes included on Riverside Road by coming to City Hall at the Council Chambers this Thursday at 7:00PM. That’s September 27th at 7:00PM.

Wesley Revels
Quad States Trails, St. Joseph Chapter
Saint Michael’s Meadow Trail Foundation


Further details about bicycle &
pedestrian access on the Parkway system
----------------------------------------

Although the Planning Commission appears to be supportive of institutionalizing the fact that Cook Road and Riverside Roads, roads designed as being elements of the new parkway system, should include bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, others may appear opposing that view. Typically the foes of progress are NIMBY’s (not in my back yard), builders, developers, and people that don’t like change.

The matter for debate Thursday night is whether or not to adopt a definition for new parkways that formally codifies what these roads should look like in the future. That is, roadways with sidewalks, bike lanes, very wide planting strips (the area between the curb and sidewalk), and heavy tree plantings. If codified, it is much more likely that the vision will be achieved as time goes forward instead of being argued and challenged in front of various groups for the next ten years, each time winning and losing. Thus, the vision will be lost.

The challenge for bike and walking advocates is to obtain Planning Commission support and then City Council support for building these streets correctly. Looking toward the future, this would someday mean that a person could easily get on the bike and travel along Cook Road from the Riverfront to Word of Life Church in a bike lane. Then one could turn south and travel along Riverside Road in a bike lane all the way to South 169. Building streets right from the get-go eliminates the need for retro-fitting projects later. It adds safety and a quality of life to the entire area.

There is a point of confusion when people say “parkway” though. What’s being described here is how to design and what a street will look like. It’s an avenue or boulevard. In St. Joseph, we’re used to describing the parkway as a road, but really it’s the linear park that contains a curvilinear road, trails, parks, and a large natural area. If Cook Road and Riverside were constructed as boulevards, the City would need to move forward over time to acquire public lands in the Riverside corridor to begin to approximate the look and feel of the existing parkway in the future. In the meantime, like Ashland and Noyes, the boulevards will provide the links from the old parkway to the new areas of the City.


Contact info & message:

* Contact Dawn Probasco of St. Joseph City
Email: dprobasco@ci.st-joseph.mo.us
Phone: 816-271-4648
Please cc: director@mobikefed.org (so we can track citizen support)
Message: I support making St. Joseph's parkway system safe and
accessible for those who bicycle and walk.

THANK YOU! Citizen input and comments has made a HUGE difference in making communities across Missouri friendlier for walking and bicycling.

City planners and leaders need to know that citizens support streets that are safe and inviting for walking and bicycling.

It's part of what makes a city a great place to live--and in St. Joseph you are building on a tradition of doing just that.