Summarizing Hastings Way
increased amenities for bikes, pedestrians among major talking points so far
After two public input meetings, there’s no question that there’s still plenty of disagreement and up-in-the-air items regarding the redesign and reconstruction of Hastings Way. But if you took one thing away from those meetings and hundreds of documented comments, it’s that Eau Claire wants more bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.
The public input meetings were coordinated by SEH, Inc., the Chippewa Falls contractor in charge of the $8.34 million project, and both took place at Regis High School.
The format of the introductory meeting on May 27 gave a brief history of Hastings Way/Business 53 and an overview of the process that would ensue from meetings over the course of summer and fall. An interactive portion had maps and informational materials printed on posterboard and set up on stands on the stage. Attendees were encouraged to go onstage, review the materials, and place numbered stickers on maps. Those stickers signified a comment on a specific piece of the area, which they wrote down on a comment sheet and handed in.
The roughly 70 people present yielded 150 comments, all of which were considered by the design firm and are available to see online at www.sehinc.com/online/eauclaire/.
The June 16 meeting brought 82 people. The bulk of the meeting revolved around a design workshop in which the attendees broke into groups and offered their opinions and ideas for the roadway to an engineer facilitating each group. SEH representatives prompted groups with elements to think about. “As the corridor changes in the future, what would you like to see?” SEH’s Bob Kost asked one group.
In both sessions, bike and pedestrian accommodations were major talking points, from both area residents looking to walk/bike and business owners hoping to increase patronage. Remember, Hastings Way was most recently designed to handle a volume of about 50,000 vehicles per day, and now it is expected to service half that.
Those present were also asking for: more access to businesses, more mixed use and green space (plantings at the very least), better lights and a reduction in light pollution, and fewer traffic lanes. Among the most divisive issues thus far are roundabouts and underpasses/overpasses, for which there were several both for and against.
The next public input meeting for Hastings Way will be announced soon. Keep an eye on VolumeOne.org for info.