Bike lanes or bine “sharrows” on Madison Avenue?
That was one of the items up for discussion at a recent board meeting for Bike Lakewood, a local biking advocacy organization.
Right now, the city has plans to repave Madison Avenue — in either 2013 or 2014 — and paint some “sharrows” on the street.
But a few bike advocates are hoping the administration will reconsider.
Ben Van Lear, an avid cyclist and Bike Lakewood board member, has conducted plenty of research (attached at the right) to support claims that bike lanes are safe, increase ridership and benefit small businesses.
Have a glance out the letter (below) sent to city officials. And feel free to sign the online petition.
If you’ve still got some time, vote in our poll.
Dear Mayor Summers and Lakewood City Council Members,
For the past few weeks I have been working with Bike Cleveland on a proposal for incorporating bike lanes into the Madison Ave resurfacing project. (Bike Lakewood, whose board I have been invited to join, was only recently reformed and has yet to officially set goals and priorities.)
Currently within the City of Lakewood’s Bicycle Master Plan, and the proposed plan for resurfacing Madison Avenue, the recommended bicycle treatment is a series of sharrows. Studies show that sharrows do serve a purpose for creating awareness and have some minor impacts on safe riding practices, but because they don’t attract new riders and are used primarily by established cyclists, they effectively work the same as streets without infrastructure. Bike lanes have been shown to dramatically increase cycling participation which in turn makes the roadways safer for all users. The local cycling traffic is also a boon to local businesses.
Bike Cleveland and the City of Cleveland recently succeeded in getting approval for bike lanes on Detroit ave from W25th to W75th (to be implemented next year). The project provides an excellent benchmark for Madison.
I have met with Bryce Sylvester, and I understand the Planning Departments concerns about safety, and lane layouts and widths, but I believe we have addressed each of them in the attached proposal and below.
1. Concern: Truck traffic
Response: According to the 2010 traffic counts conducted by NOACA the daily traffic count is 9,900 vehicles and only 2% of that traffic is from trucks. The slightly narrower driving lanes required with a bike lane layout tend to have a traffic calming effect which improves safety.
2. Concern: Safety
Response: Bike lanes may be a little more expensive, but they improve safety. Though cycling in the city of New York more than doubled in the last four years, the number of fatal cycling crashes and serious injuries declined due to the safer bike network. New York City added 255 miles of bike lanes in those four years. Bike lanes make roads safer for all users. This conclusion is supported by findings in cities all across the country.
3. Concern: Madison is not wide enough for bike lanes
Response: Street width on Madison varies from 44ft between W. 117th and Lakewood Blvd and then increases to a range of 48 to 56 ft. all the way to Riverside Drive. The City of Cleveland is putting a bike lane on Detroit Avenue (between W. 25th and Lake Ave.) without removing on-street parking and the street width is only 48ft. Based on that project Madison can have a continuous bike lane between W. 117th and Riverside Drive.
4. Concern: There is not much time remaining in the planning stages of the Madison resurfacing
Response: We need action now.
There is a lot of great information in the attached charts. Please look them over and let me know if you have any questions or would like more information. We will also be collecting signatures of support via a petition.
I hope you will help make bike lanes on Madison Ave a reality.
-Ben VanLear, Lakewood resident and cyclist
-Jacob VanSickle, Bike Cleveland Executive Director