GRANOLAPARK: Bikeshare boosters bite back

GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT

Dear Readers,

Don’t they have snowshoes? Tonight’s Takoma Park city council weekly meeting has been postponed a day because of a mere half-foot of snow.

So we won’t get to roll our eyes at their green ties and face-paint, and their lame St. Patrick’s Day jokes.

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Photo from the Safe Roads Committee report showing snow-blocked Old Town crosswalk

Ironically, one of the meeting’s topics was to be snow plowing. The Safe Roads Committee’s Snow Clearing Recommendation report is on the agenda. The report is critical of how the city’s plows leave snow-banks on crosswalk entry points, and how they don’t sufficiently clear bike lanes.  As our ever-topical reporter Alex Holt reports, there are avid winter bike commuters in Takoma Park.

Bikeshare the love

Speaking of bicycles, the Safe Roadways Committee, AND our ever-topical reporter Alex Holt, the council will also discuss that committee’s report on the Gazebo Bikeshare station controversy, which “Hot-Topic” Alex also just reported on.

There’s a petition to move that station. Some people find it aesthetically displeasing. Others think it takes space away from the many arts and civic events held on the Gazebo plaza.

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Plenty of room here, says the committee.

The Safe Roadways Committee disagrees. In their report they say the row of bikes replaces some benches, planters, and trash bins – no big loss. There is still plenty of space for events. And event audiences have been using the parked Capitalshare bikes for seating.

“The station does not block pedestrian traffic, nor impact street parking or traffic flow,” says the report.

“Additionally,” it says, “reports across the Bikeshare network indicate that businesses with Bikeshare docking stations in close proximity enjoy an increase of customer traffic and spending, and property values and rental rates appreciate.”

The up to  $25,000 cost to move it could be better spent elsewhere, says the committee.

They urge the city council to “reaffirm its commitment to the Old Town Gazebo Bikeshare station and put its weight behind accelerating development of new Bikeshare stations, particularly stations near the Takoma Park and Fort Totten Metro stations for the system to live up to its full potential.”

This will be on tomorrow’s (Tuesday, Mary 18, St.Patrick’s Hangover Day) meeting agenda, so you have some time to compose your pro or con comment or email to the council, Dear Readers.

The Safe Roadways Committee is a citizen committee. The members are appointed by the city council. It’s role is to advise on and help coordinate transportation issues. These include pedestrian and bicycle facilities and safety, traffic issues, and transit services. The 8-person committee’s role is also to encourage residents to use alternatives to driving such as walking, bicycling, and transit.

Special election

A ordinance officially setting the Ward 3 special election for April 8th, 2014. It will be awkward it they don’t pass it, since that date has already been announced.

There are two candidates so far (that we know of): Jeffrey Noel-Nosbaum and Kate Stewart.

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Kate Stewart (l) and Jeffrey Noel-Nosbaum (r).

Noel-Nosbaum has the experience of running for the same seat in 2011.

This is the first time for Kate Stewart, but she seems well organized.

Also on the agenda is a Board of Elections report. This is one of those “here’s what we did all year to justify our existence” reports that all committees and boards submit once a year – if they know what’s good for them.

Big eyes

There will be YET ANOTHER legislative update. Gotta keep an eye on that tricksy state legislature. As the council explained in the March 5 televised roundtable discussion moderated by the local press (The Voice and the Gazette), the state gives the city a lot of money and their laws can jerk us around – so the city council has to drive up to Annapolis to make big-eyed, pleading puppy dog faces at our delegates and senators.

We’d link to that roundtable, but it’s not available on the city website (yet?).

– Gilbert

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About the Author

Gilbert
Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.