Monday, March 23, 2009

City to begin bike-lane projects

Sorry not here again.

“We're making great strides,” said attendee at Bicycle Summit.

Bicyclers spoke, and the city listened.

Months after the city asked the public how it could become more bicycle friendly, a request that brought back more than 4,000 responses, the city held a Bicycle Summit on Saturday at the downtown Allen County Public Library.

There, Mayor Tom Henry made the roughly 250 bikers in attendance happy, announcing three pilot projects that would place designated bicycle lanes in three main city streets.

For a city with plenty of recreational biking routes but void of any road lanes dedicated to urban transportation, those plans represent progress.

“(Residents) are currently using our Rivergreenway and other trails and paths to get around, but they also said if we were to work with them in developing an infrastructure that would allow them to have a safer route to get to their points of destination, they would ride their bikes to work, they would ride their bikes to the shopping centers, to the malls, to the parks and so on,” said Henry.

The lanes set for Wayne and Berry streets will run from South Anthony Boulevard through downtown to Thieme Drive, connecting the Maumee Pathway to the St. Marys Pathway. The lanes would not eliminate any traffic lanes or parking.

Rudisill Boulevard will receive designated bicycle lanes on both sides of the street, and will run from McMillen Park to Foster Park.

Those lanes will slice the boulevard, halving it from two through-lanes in each direction to one each way.

The north side of the city will find routes on Reed Road designed to connect to the Greenway at the Tennessee Bridge.

The lanes will be built on existing roadways. The lane projects will be of “minimal” cost to taxpayers, as well.

The Wayne and Berry street lanes already have 80 percent of the cost covered federally; the city has applied for stimulus money to fund the $1 million cost that city traffic engineer Shan Gunawardena said the Rudisill lanes would cost, and the Reed lanes have been estimated at less than$20,000.

But based on the turnout of the standing-room-only summit, cost took a backseat to the progress the city is making.

“Definitely we're making progress,” said Nancy Tibbett, executive director of the Indiana Bicycle Coalition.

“I do believe that the vision is here with the city's leadership. We're not Portland, we're not San Francisco, but we're making great strides.”

Henry said the projects are very early in their planning, and he could not provide a timeline on when construction could begin.

Henry also said more lanes could be on the way, as the city will continue to work with residents in summits like Saturday's.

For avid biker Tim Zumbaugh, the more lanes, the better.

“There are some good things going on that will help some of the routes I usually get into and are used quite a bit, but I think we need a lot more,” said Zumbaugh.

“There are a lot of city roads that aren't very bicycle friendly. I've been to Columbus, Ohio, and Milwaukee, places that have a lot of bike lanes, and you see a lot of use of those. But, I'm encouraged.”


Anonymous said...

What no committee?
A city that takes feedback from the public and does something with it!
Big plans?
Cost took a back seat?

riderone said...

For the first time, I saw cyclist on Governors Drive (on the Monte Sano portion). Since this is the major E/W road, what is BASC doing to making cycling on Governors Drive safer? I have not seen any signs. Has a bike lane been planned? Going over Bankhead or Cecil Ashburn is not an acceptable alternative for most folks. These days a significant population lives East of Mono Sano & need this route for commuting. Also many road cyclist ride in the Cherry Tree area and are forced to drive over since their is no acceptable route. Previous suggestions have been poo-poo'd... I can hear the naysaying shouting costs now-- HEY what about planning? Make the plan. Even a not this year plan.

clintpatty said...

When I lived over there I used Cecil Ashburn regularly as an acceptable alternative.

Bello Velo said...

Considering it is the same administration as before minus loretta. I would say that planning is not one of Huntsvilles strong points. Consider the Jail

I wonder why other cities are able to get funds and projects in the works while here it's not a priority.

I am thinking we should sell our bikes and play disc golf:)