Commuter Bike Pilot Project given green light

Four suggested commuter bike pilot program routes were recommended at a recent City council meeting to provide some forward movement in 2011 on the project.

Public Works Manager Frank Colosimo said that the map presented at the meeting was what could be done for 2011 if the City was aiming for “quick wins” or a teaser for the year.

“We looked at those routes that have minimal impact on parking and have somewhat decent connectivity to the existing paths whether it be roadways, bikeways or park paths.”

The four routes for the year were not meant to be extensive but simply meant to provide the community with some insight into what a commuter bike circuit could do within the City.

“I am quite excited to see this. I think these are good routes and I’ve like to see us do this and then evaluate how successful they are,” said Councillor Chris Stephan.

The four routes proposed for this year are on Riverside Dr. from 67th St. to Three Mile Bend access, Riverview Ave. from 60th St. to 65th St., Kerry Wood Dr. from Fir St. to Overland Place and Cronquist Dr. from 54th Ave. to Webster Dr.

Councillor Cindy Jefferies said that the implementation of the commuter bike project has not been an easy trial.

“I’m hesitant to say we’re going to count the number of people using the routes to measure success or failure, but it is a step in the right direction,” said Jefferies.

Jefferies’ concern is that because the routes are not complete that the usage won’t be as high as if the entire project was left until 2012 when it could be undertaken in its entirety.

“I think we will get a pretty good gauge. Yes, not all of the connectors are there but I can see there being a lot of uptake on people using these specific routes,” said Councillor Chris Stephan.

The four routes proposed for this year will be used as a trial run not only to see the usage, but also to see the most effective way to designate and mark the bike lanes.

“If there is a chance to make this a bit more safe maybe with barricades then maybe our seniors will feel like they can get out there and there will be a bit more uptake,” said Councillor Paul Harris.

He also pointed out, as in the past, that the bike lanes should be designed and carried out in a way that anyone from eight to 80 would feel like they are safe when using the lanes.

Craig Curtis, city manager, said the major criteria for selecting the routes for this year was that they wouldn’t have an impact on current construction projects in the City.

He also pointed out that the entire process would be a learning experience.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling agreed, adding that the community would be a key part in bringing the concept to fruition.

“The biking community will be helping us evaluate this.”