On Monday, City Manager Eric Holmes brought the council up to speed on criticism of plans for the Columbia Way extension, specifically that the east-west arterial leading to the waterfront development doesn’t include dedicated bike lanes.

“It’s drawn the attention of the cycling community,” Holmes said. The conversation about how the street will ultimately look is ongoing.

“We’re trying to balance a number of interests,” he said.

The current plan calls for shared lane markings, or “sharrows.” In my story in Monday’s newspaper, I quoted a bike advocate who said sharrows and signs won’t work for cyclists because drivers may not understand the signs or just ignore them.

After Holmes’ brief update, talk among the council turned to the World Cup because Mayor Tim Leavitt gave a shout-out to the U.S. team for its 2-1 win over Ghana (Councilor Anne McEnerny Ogle said, “They beat Ghana?” and Councilor Bill Turlay said, “They got a pretty good team, from what I understand”) but Councilor Alishia Topper steered the conversation back to sharrows.

“I’m not a soccer player. Terrible at soccer,” she said. “But I am a cyclist, so I would encourage all of you to hop on your bike, go down any one-way road, or two-way traffic that has parking on both sides at 25 miles an hour and tell me if you feel safe. Try it out. Because there are people talking about how safe it will be because it’s 25. But I doubt those people are on their bike riding in traffic. Put my statement on the record,” she said.

“Okey-dokey, let’s get on our bikes,” Leavitt said.

The council will be taking an extended summer break and won’t be back until July 7. I hope Topper will ask if anyone took her challenge.

Here’s Topper in the Paddy Hough Parade.


Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at stephanie.rice@columbian.com or 360-735-4508.

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