Hastings Changings

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UPDATE

Last Thursday (Sept. 9) SEH presented three options for the design of Hastings Way (Business 53) before a crowd of more than 70 people, and is now collecting public input before it comes forth with a preferred alternative in October.

Quite simply, the only difference between the three alternatives is how this thoroughfare will deal with cyclists.

  • Alternative 1 (click here to see alternative 1)
      Sidewalks on both sides of the road would be eight feet,
      enough room for pedestrians and cyclists to share the walk.
  • Alternative 2 (click here to see alternative 2)
      The sidewalk on the east side would accommodate
      pedestrians exclusively at six feet wide, while the west
      would be 10 feet to serve both.
  • Alternative 3 (click here to see alternative 3)
      Shows bike lanes on the street, but in areas where there
      are turn lanes, bikes would be forced to ride sandwiched
      between cars.

No matter the route, the general outline for the project showed four lanes, a 35 mph speed limit, inclusion on the bus transit route, minimal green space (a small grass median), pedestrian-scaled traffic signals, two possible roundabouts, and two possible over/underpasses.

After the presentation was over, the general reaction we gathered from eavesdropping on comments was that some people were very satisfied, while others felt the design aspects rather ho-hum. The former voiced excitement over things like the future land use outline, which shows an increase in mixed use and residential, while the still-commercial-heavy corridor has more businesses moving close to the road with parking lots in back. The latter cited standard aesthetic options like ornamental fencing, benches, both pedestrian- and roadway-scaled lighting, and clay pavers.

Will it be an improvement, and more multi-modal? There's no question. Will it give travelers the impressive gateway into Eau Claire feeling, or give locals the impression of a destination? There is question.

"The feedback, comments, and input we've received since May has given us a better understanding of this particular corridor arguably more than any other in the city," public works director Brian Amundson said. "That doesn't mean you're going to agree with everything we're going to present here tonight."

With that in mind, there's still plenty of time to contact SEH and give them a piece of your mind. And when they come forth with a preference in April, public comments will still be taken into account before the project breaks ground in April for a November 2011 completion.

Check out a huge list of of visual aids, mock-ups, and other information from, the meeting, available for download from SEH, Inc. (scroll to the bottom).

posted 9-20-2010

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