Hiawatha Bike Trail Lighting
Last Friday night, a constituent of mine was attacked and robbed on the Hiawatha LRT Bike Trail. Here is the account he posted to the Seward E-Democracy list:
I was just mugged on that path last night in a very dark area near 24st. I wasPublic Works submitted a proposal to the City's Capital Long-Range Improvement Committee (CLIC) this year to install lighting on this trail and extend the trail from the Greenway south to 32nd St in 2013. CLIC zeroed this project out in their recommendations. However, I have heard from one of my CLIC appointees, who serves on the transportation subcommittee, that most of the CLIC members' concerns regarded the trail extension, not the lighting.
biking south on the path from the cedar riverside area to the greenway. Around
24st two guys came out of the darkness on either side of the road and one of
them tackled me off my bike. They then proceeded to kick and hit me after I
They didn't take much. Not even my bike which is in pretty bad
shape from the crash. The drivetrain is messed up and the back wheel in now
untrue. Though they hurt me pretty bad and I'm also messed up from the
Because it was so dark I didn't get a good look at them and I think
that they were able to ambush me because of my headlight.
That area needs
better lighting and call boxes. Some approaching bikes scared them off while
they were trying for my phone. If that hadn't happened it would have been much
worse I'm sure.
Here are the numbers that Public Works submitted to CLIC. The estimated cost of the lighting portion of the project is $1.2 million. The estimate for the whole project (lighting and trail extension) is $2.1 million.
There are a number of good reasons to light up this trail. The City's Bicycle Advisory Committee ranked it first of six potential projects the City could fund in 2013. It had a count of 800 cyclists/day in October of last year, more than the Greenway at West River Parkway, more than the bike lanes on Marquette and Second. We are investing through the Non-Motorized Transportation program to build a good connection between this trail and downtown, which we expect to increase usage even more.
If we are serious about increasing our bicycling mode share, people need to be able to rely on our infrastructure at any time of day and year-round. I have heard from a number of constituents that they do not use this trail after dark, because it feels so unsafe. And now it’s clear to me that this trail is unsafe as it is now. This isn’t just a transportation or environmental issue, it’s a public safety issue. And the more incidents like this occur, the less the trail will be used, in turn making it more unsafe and undercutting our good efforts to increase bike mode share.
We need to light this trail.