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Back in 1997 when work began on the Southside Plan, many had high hopes to reverse mistakes of the past. This is a student-dominated neighborhood, where 70% of residents don’t even own cars. Reverting 1-way high-speed arterials back to 2-way neighborhood streets was a no-brainer. Building a bike network was also a no-brainer too.

But then a funny thing happened. As the Plan dragged on and on for the better part of two decades, the transit, bike, and ped elements are all but eliminated. And so now in reading the Plan that Council adopted last week, it is hard to find any changes at all.

For example: Dwight and Haste are retained as 1-way speedways, though the study suggests Bancroft and Durant be “considered” for 2-way operation (planners use the word “considered” to mean “nice idea, but won’t happen”). Similarly, the bike network is largely unchanged. Don’t expect to find bike lanes on Telegraph, Bancroft, or Piedmont Ave.

The only positive aspect of the Plan is conversion of Dana and Ellsworth back to 2-way operation with bike lanes. These are relatively short segments in residential blocks. Nobody should mistake this for bold thinking.

The Plan also uses extravagant language to promote AC Transit and other transit services. But then Council killed the AC Transit BRT, making nonsense of the Plan’s transit goals too.

So there you have it: 15 years of planning to come up with a do-nothing option.

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