Lakewood Looks to Become More Bike-Friendly
City wrapping up a comprehensive bike study; hopes to improve environment for bicyclists.
A plan to make Lakewood a more bike-friendly community is starting to get a little more traction.
The city is wrapping up a comprehensive bike study to analyze bike traffic — and make improvements wherever possible.
“We see bicycling as an important part of transportation, not an alternative transportation, but as part of our transportation profile,” said Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development. “We really want to start to understand who’s biking, and where they’re going."
Furthermore, he said it helps that Lakewood is densely populated, flat and most trips can be made in less than four miles.
A recent traffic count at the intersection of Detroit and Andrews avenues saw an “astronomical” number of pedestrians and cyclists, Siley added.
During one six-hour period, there were — count ‘em — 1,200 pedestrians and 400 bikes at that intersection.
“Now we’re starting to understand what this fieldwork means,” Siley said. “We’ve done surveys, we have had workshops. We really understand what’s important to the biking public and we want to make a plan that improves that — and makes biking a part of our culture.”
That’s welcome news to Lakewood resident Kevin Young. He rides his bicycle for pleasure, but he’s also part of a large part of the riding public who hits the pavement to get around town.
One of the ideas he presented — one that the city is already discussing — is to take away a parking spot to install a large bike rack, with businesses sharing the cost. Not unlike the city’s Adopt-a-Spot gardens.
After all, as many as 14 bikes can fit in one parking spot.
“It seems like a big deal to take away a parking space,” Young said. “But we’re talking about really advocating a healthy lifestyle … It would be a very cutting-edge thing to do. It’s not about being an extreme bicycler. It’s about getting out.”
Mayor Michael Summers said the city is listening.
“There are two things we need: Money and space,” he said, adding that space is likely the more difficult issue. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Ward 2 city councilman Tom Bullock has also been spearheading a council effort to improve biking in the city.
“We’re already a B-plus bicycle community — and we really haven’t done much,” he said. “Let’s put our money where our mouth is. We say we care about walking and biking, let’s see it in our budget.”
The city administration plans to debut the bike study in November, and take it from there.
Siley said some of the information it contains could determine how the city moves forward on future projects, including the repaving of Madison Avenue.
“Roads in Lakewood are a shared space,” he said. “Bikes have a right to be there.”