Thanks to all the Bike Concord members who set aside their Wednesday evening to come to the public meeting tonight on the Downtown Corridors plan and Project 2277 (Downtown Bike Lanes). We turned out at least 18 people. At the previous meeting for the Downtown Corridors plan there were about 3 or 4.
The outcome is still unclear. Project staff presented Project 2277 to attendees without acknowledging that Bike East Bay and Bike Concord had met with them weeks ago to go over a detailed proposal for changes. In order to get any response to our proposal, we had to speak to staff in separate conversations after attendees were dispersed to look at displays around the room.
Attendees were reconvened at the end of the meeting to hear reports from staff on what they had heard from attendees in the separate conversations. But our detailed proposal was still not acknowledged, and no mention was made of several of its proposed features. We were given an opportunity for a few very brief comments after the staff reports, and asked to restrict our comments to things we had not talked about yet with staff, even in the separate conversations.
I (Kenji) got up to inform the group about our earlier meeting with staff and detailed proposal, gave a brief summary of the features in our proposal, and said we are expecting a detailed public response. This was contrary to the request from the facilitator, but I felt it was important to make that proposal a public matter, since staff had not chosen to do so in their own presentation.
We were told in our separate conversations with staff that our proposal is being looked at, that there will be another public workshop on Project 2277, and that we will receive some kind of response to our proposal at that workshop. Cynthia Armour of Bike East Bay and I will be following up with staff in a couple of weeks to ensure that this is on track to happen, that the response will be in detail, and that we will have an opportunity to make a second-round proposal to try to address any objections to what we’ve already proposed.
Thanks again, everybody, for turning out. In spite of the vague assurances we were given, I think it’s important to keep the pressure on, and turning out a lot of people at the meetings is a big part of that. It makes it harder for nice-sounding words to simply evaporate without accountability, when a lot of people hear them. That is also why it’s worth insisting that staff hear and respond to our input in a public forum, and not just in private conversations.