Majority opposed to new traffic pattern proposal on Lander’s Main Street
(Lander, Wyo.) – Around 60 community members were present for the second public meeting regarding a new traffic pattern proposal which would add dedicated bike lanes on Main Street from the intersection of Highway 287/789 to the 5th Street intersection. While the majority of those who spoke during the public comment period were against the proposal, there were a few who expressed interest and favor towards the proposal.
The study team will utilize $25,000 in study funds to implement temporary structural solutions that are meant to improve safety and accessibility. These temporary measures could be in effect from Memorial Day to the end of September. Afterwards, the committee will make recommendations to WYDOT and City Council.
- 100 Block – Loss of 7 parking spaces
- 200 Block – Loss of 8 parking spaces
- 300 Block – Loss of 6 parking spaces
- 400 Block – Loss of 3 parking spaces
- 500 Block – Loss of 0 parking spaces
Overall, most people who spoke during the public comment period were against these proposed changes. Multiple Main Street business owners expressed concern over losing so many parking spaces to an already overcrowded parking situation on Main Street. Another concern expressed is the proposed shortened turning lanes at the intersections. Many wondered if commercial vehicles, school buses and trailers would have enough space to make a left-hand turn at the intersections because the proposed change includes a turn lane of just 3.5 car lengths. A representative from the Fremont County Fire Protection District said he was concerned over losing the center lane between the 100-500 blocks. He noted many drivers use that lane to pull over to allow emergency vehicles through, and during busy times of the day emergency vehicles utilize the middle lane as a lane of travel.
A few opposing comments were followed by an eruption of applause from the audience. “We’re looking at spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to create bike paths and walking paths where there has historically been very little or no problem,” said one commenter. “I don’t see that as good planning or good fiscal management, and I don’t see that as a good thing for the community as a whole.”
Another said, “It seems like this is a change for image, not a change for purpose.”
On the flip side, there were a few individuals who were in favor of the new traffic pattern proposal. One person reminded the audience that the proposal includes just temporary measures and we can’t know something until we try it. Another spoke of the “traffic calming effect,” meaning this change would slow traffic and allow drivers more time to see what Main Street has to offer. A cyclist spoke about her excitement for dedicated bike lanes on Main Street as right now she bikes on Main Street and often questions her safety. However, she’s also a business owner on Main Street and expressed concern over losing parking space. Another person said she was in favor of adding dedicated bike lanes, but not necessarily on Main Street.
The Committee will be implementing and testing the preferred alternative and monitor bike and pedestrian safety during the summer and fall of 2017. The team will gather data from users, compile relevant statistics and analyze the temporary measures. Then, in December of 2017 the team will make recommendations to WYDOT and City Council.
Written comments on this proposal may be given to RaJean Strube Fossen by calling the City of Lander at 307-332-2870, extension 2, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Public comments will be taken up through 5 p.m. April 19.