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At a glance
Fort Wayne plans to install three sets of bike lanes through some of the city’s main arteries as pilot projects:
•Wayne and Berry streets will have 5-foot bike lanes running from South Anthony Boulevard through downtown to Thieme Drive and the St. Marys pathway of the Rivergreenway; will not eliminate any lanes of traffic or parking, and federal money will pay for up to $200,000 (about 80 percent) of the project; could be completed in August
•Bike lanes will run along both sides of Rudisill Boulevard from Foster Park to McMillen Park; through lanes for cars on each side of the street will be reduced from two to one with a center turn-only lane; street will need to be repaved, and city has applied for stimulus money to pay for the project, projected to cost about $1 million
•Bike route will be made that will start on Reed Road and use Vance Avenue, Tennessee Avenue and residential streets to connect to the Rivergreenway; project would use existing road with combination of pavement markings and signage features for bicyclists at high-traffic intersections; if done by the city, the project would cost less than $20,000
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Scott Allen, right, of Northwest Allen Trails, points out highlights of a rails-to-trails bike path to Fort Wayne Bike Summit attendees Saturday.

Mayor unveils plans for 3 bicycle lanes

Bicycle riders, begin to rejoice.

Mayor Tom Henry announced three pilot projects Saturday that could place bicycle lanes through several main arteries of the city this year. The announcement drew applause from more than 100 bicycle riders who packed a conference room of the Allen County Public Library.

The gathering was part of the Fort Wayne Bike Summit, and the announcement of the projects came on the heels of a survey the city conducted last fall that was answered by thousands. Their message: They wanted to ride their bikes.

To work, to the park, throughout the city, it didn’t matter where, Henry said. People said they wanted to ride their bikes everywhere. But the lack of lanes caused safety concerns, according to Henry.

“Bicycles reduce congestion on our streets, improve air quality by being not low-emissions, but no-emissions and give bike riders a built-in workout,” Henry said. “Better bicycle infrastructure is really a solution to many of our urban challenges.”

The bike lanes will be built on Wayne and Berry streets, in the Reed Road area and along Rudisill Boulevard. The projects will be mainly financed with federal money and require a “minimum” of taxpayer dollars and pavement construction, Henry said.

The proposal for Rudisill, a four-lane road, will remove a through lane on each side and make a center turn-only lane for vehicles all the way along the street. Bike lanes will be placed on each side of the road from Foster Park to McMillen Park. The city has applied for stimulus funding for Rudisill to be repaved, a must for the plan.

Shan Gunawardena, city traffic engineer, said the Rudisill project could cost about $1 million and Rudisill would go on a “road diet,” causing a few delays.

“It will take some getting used to,” he said.

The city, though, called that part of the project a “win-win” by improving safety for drivers and bicyclists. Gunawardena said the center turn lane will allow drivers a safe place to initiate a turn on some of the side streets, whereas they would stop in a through lane otherwise.

The city might decide to add more lanes if the changes work well, city spokesman Rachel Blakeman said. And though they’re called “pilot projects,” there’s no danger of the lanes disappearing after a short time, she said.

The lanes are to be there for the long haul, she said.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

Source: City of Fort Wayne

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