Monday, July 21, 2008

Does Fort Wayne need Bike Lanes?

When I thought about starting this blog, it was originally because I have the great luxury, on my commute to and from work, to bike along the St. Joseph River for roughly a mile. I often see animals such as Heron, or Beaver, or other birds that I have to look up in the bird book when I get home. I know that I am lucky. Some of my commute takes place on the Rivergreenway system. It is relaxing and safe and I have time to look around at all of the natural sites. That time that I spend is the polar opposite of the time that I spend on the street. There is very little time to do anything but pay attention to what is going on around me with respect to other vehicle traffic.
So, I got to thinking, there is no way to have the Rivergreenway experience on the road, but how could some one's bicycle commute be improved? One way that I see that a bike commuter's experience could be improved would be the installation of bike lanes. I have lived in other cities that have bike lanes and it really helps to take a lot of the stress out of the commute. There is just something about that white painted line that separates the Bike commuter from the motorized vehicle traffic. So that is the thought for today. Bike Lanes.
Now I am fairly certain that the City of Fort Wayne does not have a bicycle plan for future addition of such lanes so will we ever have them? Where would you start? It is a big, hard problem to solve. You would have to look at where people live and where they would bike to, right? Or would you just put them everywhere? It's just Paint, right? Hardly. In many cases the major roads have Right-of Ways that are too narrow to paint in a bike lane. So you would be looking at acquisition of ROW and that gets expensive. You could eliminate park strip in areas to allow for the bike lane but most people (including myself) like trees in the park strip. There does not seen to be an easy solution and you can come up with a heck of a lot more issues once you open that can o` worms. But in the age of $4 + gas prices shouldn't we be looking for solutions in order to make Fort Wayne a great place to live now and into the future?


Mitch Harper said...

Fitness and commuter bicyclists are going to use the roadway. And, indeed, research going back many years demonstrates that riding on the roadway is more safe than riding on a parallel path for bicyclists going faster than is safely possible on the pathway.

That is, bicycle riding on paths with pedestrians causes safety dangers for the pedestrians, too, as well for bicyclists who have a motor vehicle suddenly turn into a driveway from the roadway.

Expanded shoulders not unlike the buggy lanes in northeast Allen County should be encouraged and supported for more roadways.

fwbikecommuter said...

Great comments Councilman Harper!
Thanks for reading.