Three streets ready for new bike lanes
Three stretches of Rochester city streets will get new bike lanes when they are resurfaced this summer. The new lanes follow guidelines found in the Rochester Area Bicycle Master Plan, which seeks to provide bicycle connections within the city.
Three stretches of Rochester city streets will get new bike lanes when they are resurfaced this summer.
The new lanes follow guidelines found in the Rochester Area Bicycle Master Plan, which seeks to provide bicycle connections within the city.
"On all three of them, there aren’t alternate routes (for bikes)," Council Member Michael Wojcik said of the streets subject to changes.
Each project is undergoing a mill-and-overlay process to prevent further wear and tear, which is completed approximately every five years. With the new street surface, the city’s Complete Streets policy calls for city staff to consider changes outlined in various city plans, including the bicycle master plan.
The three street projects are:
• 14th Street Northeast from Broadway Avenue to 14th Avenue Northeast,
• 19th Street Northwest from Scott Road Northwest to the West Frontage Road of U.S. Highway 52, and
• Sixth Street Southwest from the East Frontage Road of U.S. Highway 52 to Fourth Avenue Southwest
Freese said none of the planned changes will reduce travel lanes on the streets. Each project uses existing parking lanes to provide space for the new bike lanes.
Council Member Mark Hickey voiced concern about the lack of public input regarding the changes.
"The people that are going to be the most impacted by don’t know it’s coming," he said, noting the conversion of parking lanes can be upsetting to residents on the street.
He asked about the status of a request last April to develop a process to notify neighbors and hold neighborhood meetings before council action is requested to change street lanes. He also suggested conducting some form of public input session before moving forward on the latest plans.
Freese said such a process could be developed but would likely fuel frustration of neighbors, since decisions are typically governed by policy rather than public opinion.
"It’s really difficult to go into a public process and tell people their opinion is valued when in most cases it isn’t going to make a difference," he said. "That’s what’s hard about this; you’ve already decided what’s going to happen on that road. You’ve adopted a plan that says what is going to happen."
Freese said each projects will have an open house before work begins to provide residents with details regarding the plan and its impact.
Wojcik said the key will be providing information on why the existing policy and decisions are important for the city.
"The right answer for the entire community is not always the right decision for individuals within that community," he said.
As the council discussed the 2012 bicycle plan and 2009 streets policy, members appeared divided on the importance of bike lanes, which Freese noted is a split seen in the community.
Even among bicyclists, he said priorities differ, with a small portion of riders not relying on the lanes, a larger set who would like more lanes and others who stick to bike trails.
"There are different user groups that have different expectations," he said.
Even with that split, as well as the council divides, Council Member Nick Campion said common ground exists.
"There’s a lot of common ground here," he said. "It’s too bad the focus is on all the disagreement. I think how we do on-road bike transit in a safe way is something we all want to find the right answer to."