Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Signs of a bike-friendly Linn County

Signs reminding drivers to “share the road” could be coming soon

Posted on Nov 25, 2009 by Adam Belz, Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Bicycle enthusiasts want Linn County to pave wider shoulders on rural roads heading out of Cedar Rapids, or at least put up signs reminding motorists to share the road.

Looks like they might get the signs, which they offered to help pay for.

Paving wider shoulders — at $130,000 per mile for a four-foot shoulder — is just too expensive for now.

“I don’t think anyone is generally opposed to them, but we have to put some kind of plan in place that allows that fiscal potential to occur,” Supervisor Linda Langston said.

Several members of the Hawkeye Bicycle Association showed up for a supervisor meeting in early November to point out that wider shoulders are safer for bicyclists, but also safer for motorists. They pointed out the health benefits of making it easier for workers to commute on their cycles.

The key roads that need wider shoulders are major routes out of the metropolitan area, like Blairs Ferry Road and Mount Vernon Road, said John Wauer, a retired Rockwell Collins engineer. Quiet rural roads in the county have less traffic, and it isn’t as crucial they get wider shoulders, he said.

“Johnson County has done quite a bit with paved shoulders, particularly in the Solon area, but there’s not a good way to get to Solon from here,” Wauer said. “It can cause a bit of congestion when you’ve got a narrow road and cars going in both directions.”

The secondary roads budget won’t likely allow for any special projects to add wider shoulders. Wauer said he thought the county could address shoulders whenever a section of road is worked on. We’ll see, Langston said.

“It’s a bit of a challenge,” she said. “How do we plan for it and balance out between everybody in the county who wants rock on their roads.”

“Share the road” signs, which bicyclists hope will encourage a more bike-friendly driving culture in the area, could be coming soon.

“We’re going to move out to that group and engage the Hawkeye Bicycle Association and try to get some indication about where they want those signs put,” Langston said.

No comments: