In Wichita, there is renewed optimism that the city could be moving toward a bicycle-friendlier future. According to the Wichita Eagle:
Douglas and other streets could be repainted in the future to include room for bicycle lanes.
Some Wichita City Council members are beginning to see bicycling not just as recreation but as a form of transportation, a partial solution to an increasingly obese population and a way to reduce air pollution.
That philosophical shift could lead to more streets with bike lanes that separate bicyclists from vehicles, which would likely make the road safer for riders and less frustrating for drivers.
However, not all council members were enthusiastic about the idea. Council member Paul Gray said that biking isn’t a major form of transportation in the city, and that connecting countywide routes may be a “fantasy idea.”
“I don’t want to overshoot the bicycle demand or potential demand in lieu of the existing demand we have for vehicular traffic,” he said.
But Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer said that when he visits other attractive cities, he sees more bike lanes and bike paths. “Why is it that other cities find it appealing and they have it and use it?” he asked. “I see that there’s a huge need for it.”
Of course, bike lanes are just one component of making a city bicycle friendly, and many would argue, not the most important, but kudos to Wichita for considering the idea. Now start making it happen!