Her's my two cents on the road diet.
There are a few in this community who have visions of grandeur. They look into their crystal ball and see hundreds of people biking down Carpenter Avenue. They see hundreds of others walking down Carpenter Avenue, a street vibrant with life and activity. They call it "being progressive."
I look into my crystal ball and I see:
(a) Traffic moving at a snail's pace.
(b) Road rage.
(c) Extremely limited access for emergency vehicles.
(d) Six bicyclists a month.
(e) A youngster falling off his/her bicycle into the traffic (I pray this never happens).
The reality is that this is a very bad idea. One which has not been clearly and carefully considered. I can recall the days when Carpenter Avenue had but one lane in each direction. I remember all too vividly how difficult it was to get around particularly in the morning and evening at peak traffic times.
It would be ridiculous to go back to those times. That is not progressive. What needs to be understood is that Carpenter Avenue is a main thoroughfare connecting Iron Mountain with Kingsford and communities in Wisconsin. Carpenter Avenue is a very heavily traveled roadway. This is not a place to have children or adults riding bicycles. I can't think of anything more dangerous for the youth of our community.
A road diet on Carpenter Avenue would certainly show traffic down. As one writer put it "the additional time that may be added to the drive will be an insignificant imposition."
There is some small truth to this statement, however do we want to delay emergency vehicles response time when an ambulance, a fire truck or police services are needed? There are times when seconds, not minutes are the difference between life and death. I, and I know my fellow citizens, want the fastest response times possible in an emergency situation.
Is not the main purpose of a roadway to move vehicle traffic from one point to another? Other modes of transportation have a right to use our streets, however, the auto is the principal user of our roads and streets.
It is the duty of our police department to handle all traffic concerns not the citizens. They do a great job, so let them continue to do so without interference from well-intentioned citizens.
Any person riding a bicycle can do so on any street in our city. It would be extremely irresponsible to allow or to entice bicyclists to such a heavily traveled roadway where automobiles and large trucks travel regularly and in large numbers. Why would anyone want to walk or bike in an area heavy with auto and truck exhaust fumes?
I don't think we should inconvenience the majority so that a few can ride bikes on Carpenter Avenue. As a member of the Iron Mountain City Council, I cannot support such a reckless proposal.