Recently a reader board was put up on Bowdoin Way, notifying people to check out a website regarding bike lanes on Bowdoin Way. Today, we had a small notice hung on our doorknob announcing a public online meeting to be held in 2 days to provide feedback to the city. I went to the website and must say that this is the worst excuse for a website I have ever encountered. If the city’s mission was to confuse, obstruct or hide the information, they did an excellent job. There are no directions as to how to access the “interactive map.” There is a survey, also without direction, but giving you the option of marking your choices-without any explanation of the choices. It appears that the city is not really interested in people knowing the options or in really hearing their opinions.
I am not illiterate when it comes to computers, and it took me a good long time and several attempts to try and figure out what the options were. I also had my adult and very computer-savvy daughter try and she agreed it was one of the worst sites she had ever come across and she works in the IT Department of a large employer. Her view was that the city didn’t seem very interested in sharing the details of the plan as they made no effort to make it easily accessible or understood.
Last summer when this topic came to light at a city council meeting there was much discussion about the plan. At that point the plan that was publicized was no parking on Bowdoin at all. I decided to begin tracking the numbers of cars and bikes on Bowdoin. Here is the information I gathered:
Number of data episodes: 50 times between mid-August to late October 2020
Hours: data collected at various times between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Area viewed: The entirety of Bowdoin Way
Average # of parked cars: 17.6 Range 16-27 cars
TOTAL # of bikes over all 50 times: 11
Range: 0-3 bikes per episode
I question why we need bike lanes at all. Have there been many bike accidents on Bowdoin? Again — over 50 times of driving on Bowdoin only eight times were there any bikes on the road. Street parking is a necessity for many of us. There are at least two businesses on Bowdoin — a group home, with visitors, staff and medical and social services workers and an adult family home which also has visitors and professionals who need to park nearby. There are not side streets nearby where there is accessible parking. There are condos, apartments and rental houses that have multiple cars and need street parking. There are also older homes who do not have garages, or have limited driveway space.
I cannot see how the city ever thought that removing all the parking on Bowdoin and Walnut was ever a reasonable option and why would it even be an option now? Why is no bike lanes not one of the options? And, why did you create a website that was nearly impossible to navigate?