[MissoulaGov] Fw: committee update 5-30-07

Ed Childers echilders at ci.missoula.mt.us
Fri Jun 1 09:21:19 MDT 2007

...and give me a call, I'll get in the car and meet you there. :(
I'll be the "tetracyclist." :)


Ed Childers
Missoula City Council, Ward 6

-----Original Message-----
From: missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com
[mailto:missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com] On Behalf Of Paul Sopko
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007 9:16 AM
To: John Couch
Cc: missoulagov at cmslists.com
Subject: Re: [MissoulaGov] Fw: committee update 5-30-07


I'll hop on my bike and be glad to meet you somewhere and we can come to an
agreement on a definition of "anti-cyclist". Remember, 99% of Missoulians
are not hard-core-ride-my-bike- 12 months/year-everywhere activists as you
are. They deserve a bike commuter system that they feel safe riding on. Same
with the kids we are trying to teach to use alternate modes of

Your suggestions for reducing road widths and vehicle speeds sound great for
residential streets. I'm don't think its a reasonable idea for arterials
such as Reserve, Brooks...etc. Bringing motor traffic to a standstill to
accommodate bicycle safety on arterials designed to efficiently move traffic
only increases congestion, air pollution and tempers. I don't think most
Missoula residents are ready for that. Paul S.

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Couch" <jcouch at onewest.net>
To: "Paul Sopko" <psopko at highstream.net>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 6:09 PM
Subject: Re: [MissoulaGov] Fw: committee update 5-30-07

> Paul,


> Your "parallel but separate" comment from last week and the "equal

> grounds"(apartheid?) comment today could be construed by some, perhaps a

> serious bike commuter, as "anti-cyclist" but as Bob said "I'll work on

> that". I completely agree with you and Bob the "us vs them mentality" is

> not productive however if you are a bike commuter you know it's there

> and you have to deal with it some how, daily. So, I also agree with you

> that "high speed motor vehicle traffic" is a serious problem. I would

> suggest that lowering the speed limits within the city and reducing road

> and lane widths would greatly decrease the potential for serious and

> fatal crashes between motor vehicles and bikes as well as vehicles and

> pedestrians. I'm assuming here that the majority of bicycle and

> pedestrian commuters are within the city. Oh.....and the ever rising

> price of a gallon of gas and the increasing awareness of the

> environmental consequences of burning fossil fuel the helps too.


> john


> And Alex, I appreciate the fact that City Club is taking up the

> discussion but 11:30am on a workday just doesn't work for some. That's

> why I really commend Bob Jaffe for starting this missoulagov list. We

> need a combination of all these communication venues to facilitate more

> open discussion, thanks, jc


> Paul Sopko wrote:

> > Bob,

> > Since I made comments last week questioning the city's practice of

> > mixing bicycle and motor vehicle traffic do you consider me

> > "anti-cyclist"? I hope not since I share your desire to see both

> > bicyclists and motor vehicles being able to easily navigate Missoula

> > on equal grounds. I never advocating pushing bicycles onto sidewalks

> > but to start thinking about how the current practice is unsafe since

> > collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles are similar to

> > collisions between pedestrians and cars......the cyclist or pedestrian

> > usually ends up dead. I see the bike discussion as a debate about

> > safety, not a bicyclist vs. anti-cyclist contest.

> > I wish you would refrain from promoting the "us vs. them" mentality

> > with these type of comments. It discourages constructive debate (which

> > I thought you were trying to encourage with your weekly postings) and

> > promotes the uncivil-confrontational exchanges that Missoula is known


> > Paul Sopko

> >

> > ----- Original Message -----

> > *From:* Bob Jaffe <mailto:bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us>

> > *To:* missoulagov at cmslists.com <mailto:missoulagov at cmslists.com>

> > *Sent:* Wednesday, May 30, 2007 11:34 PM

> > *Subject:* [MissoulaGov] committee update 5-30-07

> >

> > Greetings,

> >

> > In Public Safety this morning we continued the discussion about

> > bike safety. On the way into the meeting Mr. Hendrickson chastised

> > me for not stopping at two stop signs and failing to signal my

> > turns. I indicated that I was also riding on the sidewalk as I

> > approached the bike racks in front of the council chambers. He

> > reminded me that riding on the sidewalk is in fact legal and if he

> > had his way all bikes would ride on the sidewalk. I mention this

> > because the incident came up again in the meeting.

> >

> > We heard about the bike light program we did this winter. The city

> > purchased about 150 bike light sets and the police gave them out

> > to people they stopped for riding after dark without lights.

> > Overall it was a very positive experience and helped create

> > opportunities for the police to educate cyclists. We discussed

> > ways to continue such programs in the future. I indicated that I

> > agree these things are important but ultimately what will make

> > cycling safer will be more bike lanes and better infrastructure.

> > It is easy to go after anecdotal individual behavior but the

> > infrastructure that cyclists are using all day every day is what

> > will make a difference.

> >

> > In the closing minutes of the meeting John recounted how on the

> > way in he saw a cyclist roll through stop signs and neglect to use

> > his hand signals. He stated that all the infrastructure and bike

> > lanes were of no value if cyclists didn’t follow the law.

> >

> > I’ve been thinking a lot about these comments, both trying to

> > understand the sudden interest in bike safety from the

> > anti-cyclists and trying to get a grasp on how they see the issue.

> > I hesitate to put words in their mouths but “all bikes belong on

> > the sidewalk” to me says the primary transportation system is for

> > cars only and bikes need to make do with the pedestrians or

> > whatever it is that uses that area off the side of our road. I’m

> > much more of the mind that cycling as a primary form of

> > transportation is the answer to so many of our problems and we

> > should promote it in every way possible.

> >

> > I’m not sure where to start with “bike lanes are of no use if

> > cyclists don’t obey the law.” First off I should make clear my

> > position on stop signs and turn signals. I think it is absurd to

> > expect bikes to stop at all stop signs. Jim Nugent, the city

> > attorney, is the only person I know who does that. And I bet he

> > runs them when no one is looking. Robin Hamilton introduced

> > legislation to change the state law to allow bikes to yield at

> > stop signs instead of stop. It didn’t go anywhere but it makes a

> > lot of sense. Obviously, bikes need to yield at stop signs to

> > other traffic. But stopping when it is not necessary is

> > unreasonable and most if not all cyclists are unlikely to do it.

> > It takes energy to stop and start. You lose your balance. You are

> > on a bike for crying out loud, you can see what is around you and

> > you are going slow enough that it makes no difference. The

> > dynamics of riding a bike are just different from driving a car.

> > Our laws should recognize that.

> >

> > Signaling is also a hazard for a cyclist riding in traffic. In

> > general, the only time I signal is when I am stopping in a lane of

> > moving traffic waiting to make a left across oncoming traffic. I

> > want to make sure the people behind me know why I am out in the

> > middle of the road. Otherwise I find it to be reckless to take my

> > hand off the handlebars to make an obligatory signal that inhibits

> > my ability to navigate.

> >

> > Traffic laws I believe are important are staying on the right side

> > of the road; using a light at night; yielding to cars when you

> > don’t have the right of way; and probably some more I can’t think

> > of. I’m sure my critics will jump on my picking and choosing which

> > laws to follow but these bike traffic laws were obviously

> > developed by people who don’t ride bikes and are somewhat out of

> > touch with reality.

> >

> > But my main objection to the above statement is that it expresses

> > the perspective that we don’t need to share the road or build more

> > infrastructure, we just need these uppity cyclists to behave and

> > get on the sidewalk where they belong.

> >

> > Enough about biking.

> >

> > In PAZ we finished the changes to the Planning board bylaws. There

> > was some discussion about whether they should be able to move

> > forward without a quorum present. The report we received back made

> > it clear this was not OK so we scrapped the idea. There was some

> > concern that projects come forward on deadlines and shouldn’t be

> > held back just because they couldn’t get enough people to show.

> > Examining the attendance records show that it rarely happens.

> >

> > The other main item we covered was a review to the changes to the

> > subdivision regulations. The main discussion was again on the

> > definition of agriculture. The state regs say we are supposed to

> > consider the impacts of a subdivision on agriculture. So it is

> > important to define what agriculture means. The debate is over

> > whether that definition should include agricultural lands or just

> > the actual practice of agriculture. The County regs include the

> > land definition. Dave S. and I would like to see the city regs

> > match the county regs. Most people seemed to completely miss why

> > this was important or what it had to do with subdivisions. I am

> > hoping we can get a few representatives from CFAC to do a

> > presentation to PAZ about the importance of agricultural lands in

> > the valley and why state subdivision regulations say we should

> > consider the impact of development on agriculture.

> >

> > In Public Works we discussed the upcoming changes to Miller Creek

> > road. If I understood correctly there will be one southbound lane

> > as is and there will be two northbound lanes from the intersection

> > of upper and lower miller creek and Briggs. (If I have that wrong

> > someone please correct me). The right lane will then be a turn

> > only onto Briggs. The intersection of upper and lower will be

> > redesigned. The county has been charging people up there $1800 per

> > house in a transportation fee. They have about 1.5 million to put

> > into the project. The big developers up there will pick up the

> > rest. I think it is about 2 or 2.5 million.

> >

> > We also discussed a $31,000 increase to the contract with the

> > engineers doing the 3^rd and Russell EIS. They need some extra

> > money to convert the data from the wrong formats used by the bozos

> > who had the contract before them. They also needed to put more

> > hours into properly engineering the potential roundabouts at 3^rd

> > , 5^th , and 11^th . A few people didn’t think we should spend

> > money doing the engineering on roundabouts since someone said they

> > might sue us if we installed them. Steve King explained that the

> > roundabout was a viable alternative and had many benefits. It was

> > one of the proposed alternatives and needed the engineering to be

> > done for us to properly consider our options. This is essentially

> > the whole point of the EIS process.

> >

> > In Budget Committee of the Whole we had a presentation from the

> > mayor on his proposed budget. It was a good presentation on the

> > financial condition of the city. Hopefully it will be available on

> > the city web site.

> >

> > We then reviewed CIP projects for two hours. The gist was that

> > there is a bunch of stuff we need to buy that we can’t afford.

> >

> > Thanks for your interest,

> >

> > Bob Jaffe

> >

> > Missoula City Council, Ward 3

> >

> > bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us <mailto:bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us>

> >

> > 406-728-1052

> >



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