Lincoln, Nebraska’s modest efforts to improve the bicycling environment in their city are beginning to pay off, cyclists and city officials say.
Dave Cary, transportation planner for Lincoln, reports that bicycle lanes the city installed in August 2006 have made it easier for bicyclists to navigate their way through downtown traffic, and have increased the number of people doing so.
It cost the city about $20,000 to stripe the lanes and put up the bike lane signs on 11th Street south from Q to K and 14th Street north from L to R.
Officials say it was worth the cost.
User counts conducted twice in 2007 and once so far this year have shown a “significant” increase in bicycle traffic along those streets from before those lanes were installed. And though more bicyclists are taking to those streets, the number of bicycle-related crashes on those streets has not increased, Cary said.
While there are no immediate plans to put in more bicycle lanes, the Downtown Master Plan does suggest adding more bicycle lanes, and bicycle facilities will likely be incorporated into future development downtown.
“There’s a whole lot of activity about to happen,” Cary said. “Lincoln is moving in the right direction as far as becoming more bicycle-friendly.”
Beth Thacker, chairwoman of the Mayor’s Pedestrian/Bicycle Advisory Committee, says that the reshaping of downtown Lincoln offers “a unique opportunity for our city officials to create a space that is sustainable, healthy and welcoming to alternative transportation modes. This opportunity would move Lincoln closer to becoming a greener and healthier community.”
“Historically, downtown Lincoln has not been a bike-friendly environment,” Thacker says, but “heightened awareness can and will make all downtown traffic lanes less stressful for bicyclists. The advantages to creating a downtown that is welcoming and safe to cyclists are just too numerous to be ignored.”
Being known as a bike-friendly city will only enhance the appeal of Lincoln to individuals and corporations, Thacker said. The city needs to implement more bicycle facilities downtown, “so that more university students want to bicycle to class rather than congest downtown with another car. Design it to encourage those families that enjoy the facilities of the new Union Plaza to ride their bicycles instead of driving, and maybe even ride through downtown to the Haymarket area (old and new). Design it to better accommodate those cyclists who already commute to their work downtown and encourage those who currently drive to consider hopping on a bicycle instead.”
Post tags: Bicycle Friendly