When people say “keep it in the middle of the road,” they might mean “take it easy” or “avoid extremes.” But a proposed bike lane for Cleveland calls for putting it in the middle of the road--and they mean that literally. ideastream’s Amy Hansen spoke with the leader of a bike advocacy group that’s pushing the plan.
A handful of advocacy groups have long proposed a network of bike lanes for city streets in and around Cleveland.
It would make sharing the road a lot easier and encourage more people to use bikes as part of their daily commute.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Bike Cleveland, St. Clair Superior Development Corporation, and Bialosky and Partners Architects have been working for several years to create a new spin on that.
Instead of painting special lines for bikes on the side of the street, the groups want to put them in the middle of the street. That may sound like an invitation to bicycle mayhem, but Bike Cleveland's Executive Director Jacob VanSickle says it's actually safer.
"It helps to alleviate conflicts at driveways or minor intersections," he said. "If somebody comes out of a driveway, they're not crossing over a bike facility, as opposed to if it were on the side."
VanSickle also added that placing lanes in the center can increase motorists' visibility of bikers.
His proposal calls for planting shrubbery or trees on the sides of the lanes to protect cyclists from cars whizzing by.
A similar center bike lane already runs down the middle of Washington D.C.’s Pennsylvania Avenue. The Capitol's version is separated with flexible orange posts.
The groups have dubbed their first proposed lane, a one-mile spread through St. Clair Avenue, as "the Midway".
The plan’s still in the conceptual stages and unfunded, but VanSickle says his hopes is to have at least one lane in place by 2016.