The county will designate and mark more than 11 miles of bicycle routes on the Flat this summer in addition to new lanes Uptown, and more could be added over the next few years.
“I think this will be an ever-evolving bike-lane network,” said Public Works Director Dave Schultz.
County officials, public and private engineers and biking enthusiasts have been discussing and working on plans for more than a year. This summer – probably in June and July – the signs will go up and streets will be striped.
The county will spend about $138,000 on signs and paint designating routes on the Flat, Schultz and county Road Engineer Nick Sandford told the Council of Commissioners Wednesday night. Most of that is grant money from the state-run Community Transportation Enhancement Program, and the council OK’d the expense last May.
The county plans to spend its own money on initial bike lanes Uptown, as well as a major expansion of angled parking that will create more than 140 additional spaces for motorists.
Cyclists will have to share their routes on the Flat with motorists. Lanes will be marked with “sharrows” – markings placed in the center of travel lanes to indicate that a cyclist may use the lane. The painted symbols look like bicycles, with arrows indicating the direction cyclists can travel.
Schultz said the streets chosen on the Flat weren’t wide enough to have separate bike lanes on both sides by themselves. Many U.S. cities have shared lanes for cyclists and motorists.
In this initial phase, streets were chosen because they connect to trails, schools and parks, Sandford said.
Four of the routes are more than a mile long – Ottawa Street from Massachusetts Avenue to Continental Drive; George Street from the walking trail along Silver Bow Creek to Garfield Street; Warren and Hill avenues from Meadowlark Lane to Dewey Boulevard; and Blacktail Lane and White Way to Four Mile Road and Burlington Street.
Other routes include stretches of Lexington, Florence, Texas, Sheridan, Georgia and Oregon avenues.
The routes Uptown will mostly be designated bike lanes and include Granite Street, Mercury Street, Main Street and Washington Street. Main Street will be the route that connects Uptown to the Flat.