The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Bicyclists get some respect: Pavement markings may designate lane-sharing on some downtown streets

In Brian Fagan, City Hall, Tom Podzimek on March 23, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Bicycle season is all-but here in a place where bicycle-riding City Council members like Tom Podzimek and Brian Fagan want to help promote bicycling and want to make it easier for bicyclists to use streets.

In that regard, don’t be surprised if you see some fresh paint on the street in and around downtown as the city experiments with identifying lanes of traffic as those to be shared by vehicles and bicyclists.

Ron Griffith, a traffic engineer for the city, says such things actually have a name -sharos.

Podzimek, who has been a promoter of people using bicycles as a way to get to work, reports that putting paint on streets – with shared lanes or special bicycle-only dedicated lanes — doesn’t necessarily make it safer for bicyclists.

But what the paint and the lanes do, he says, is make for more bicyclists. The suggestion is that more bicyclists on the road makes it safer for all of them. Motorists then come to expect them and to share a lane of traffic with them.

Out into the future, Griffith says the downtown might see more bike racks and bicycle lockers and even showers for bicyclists who need to hose down before heading to the office.

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