At this morning's community bicycle summit, Mayor Tom Henry announced three pilot projects that could be constructed in 2009.
Mayor Henry has instructed City staff to look into adding bike lanes to Wayne and Berry streets and Rudisill Boulevard and a northeast bike route that would use existing streets.
“All of these projects will be engineered in-house by City staff and will require an absolute minimum of right-of-way acquisition and additional pavement construction,” Mayor Henry said. “It's really about using what we already have and adapting it for all transportation modes.”
The pilot projects will allow cyclists to use dedicated bicycle infrastructure while the City writes a bicycle transportation plan to help connect people to places using bicycles.
Wayne and Berry streets proposal:
'¢ A 5-foot bike lane on Wayne and Berry running from South Anthony just south of the Maumee Pathway through downtown to Thieme Drive and the St. Marys Pathway of the Rivergreenway.
'¢ Would not eliminate any lanes of traffic or parking.
'¢ The City has secured federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding for 80 percent of the project, up to $200,000.
'¢ The City is aiming to build this in conjunction with the Calhoun Street project in August, but the bike lanes are not contingent upon making Calhoun two-way.
'¢ Bike lanes in both directions of Rudisill from Foster Park to McMillen Park.
'¢ With the exception of the pavement between Clinton and Lafayette streets, Rudisill would go on a “road diet.” It would be reduced from two through-lanes in each direction to one through-lane each way, bike lanes on either side and a center turn lane. This change in traffic creates a win-win by improving safety for drivers and bicyclists.
'¢ This project has been submitted for stimulus funding for repavement of Rudisill, allowing for an easy addition of bike lanes.
Reed Road proposal:
'¢ This route would start on Reed Road, using Reed, Vance Avenue, Tennessee Avenue and residential streets to connect to the Rivergreenway at the Tennessee bridge
'¢ This project would use existing roadway with a combination of pavement markings and signage to alert drivers and guide bicyclists. Additional signage and safety features for bicyclists will be included at high-traffic intersections.
'¢ Roads for this route were selected because they have low to moderate traffic counts.
'¢ The cost for this project will be less than $20,000 if done by City employees.
Other cities have found the more options for bicyclists ' lanes, routes, trails ' the more people use bicycles as transportation.
“From speaking with other cities, bicycle infrastructure is a case of 'If you build they will come,'” Mayor Henry said. “More options for cyclists result in more bicycles on our roadways. Bicycles reduce congestion on our streets, improve air quality by being not low-emissions, but no-emissions and give bike riders a built-in workout. Better bicycle infrastructure is really a solution to many of our urban challenges.”
Mayor Henry's announcement came at the City's community bike summit. The public gathering allowed for current and future cyclists to give input to the City about how they would like to see Fort Wayne become more bicycle friendly. Nancy Tibbett, executive director of the Indiana Bicycle Coalition, also addressed participants about the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Summit.
In addition to the summit, bicycle and health-related vendors participated in an expo in the library's great hall and Three Rivers Velo Sport Club offered post-summit bike rides.
“Fort Wayne seems more than ready to have more options for bicycling,” said Pam Holocher, deputy director of community development. “This summit and the survey that preceded it shows just how much interest we have in this kind of infrastructure. Mayor Henry is ready to help make Fort Wayne more bicycle friendly.”