With more than 70 people responding to our poll, as well as several leaving comments, it is quite apparent that folks living along Foster Road desire improved and increased modes of transportation.
Given the option to add either a streetcar, bike lanes and facilities, or both, respondents overwhelmingly opted for change. Only 5% percent who voted felt that more bikes and/or a streetcar were not wanted.
As PDC and PBOT meet with consultants and conduct outreach in the community to refresh the Foster Streetscape Plan, our recent poll would suggest inclusion of a plan to expand the city’s streetcar line to and down Foster would be quite welcome, as 23% percent felt this was a better option than adding bike lanes or nothing at all. However, if given a choice between bikes and streetcar, 26% feel bikes are the best choice for Foster Road. As one commentator stated, “Bike facilities are a no-brainer. Foster Road would be an excellent route for bicyclists due to its “as-the-crow-flies” orientation….it seems the addition of bike lanes, bike boxes, and parking shelters would require relatively little disturbance to existing infrastructure.” Indeed, adding facilities for bikes would be far less expensive than planning, preparing, and constructing a streetcar line.
To be sure, however, the preference of bikes over a streetcar only exists if given the choice between one or the other. When given the option of both, the choice was clear, as 45% of respondents expressed a desire to see bikes and a streetcar rolling down Foster. But what would this look like? As Nick Falbo stated, “Foster could be known as the best street in the city. World class bikeways, streetcars and sidewalks.” Nick’s assertion may seem bold, but not necessarily that far off, especially when considering the width of Foster Road, and the wide sidewalks that sandwich it. Consider this, for example: a street wide enough to accommodate a streetcar, while also adding safety measures to make biking a viable option, too. To go further, envision the various modes of transportation accompanied with sidewalks wide enough to support pedestrian activity and outdoor uses such as cafe/restaurant seating, street art, benches, and aesthetically pleasing light posts. All of this, too, while crowds someday lineup outside the Bob White Theatre…or even catch the streetcar to 92nd, where Lents hopes to land a grocery store someday soon.
Perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but it seems this idea is being echoed by our readers. Many see a Foster Road with endless potential. And if getting bike facilities and/or a streetcar could nudge us a little toward realizing that potential, it’s quite possible the city’s idea of a 20-minute neighborhood could be had in FoPo. When the time comes to share that vision with the city, please feel empowered to do so. We’ll certainly let you know when that opportunity arises.