The city of Bloomington is considering adding a bike lane to one of the community’s main east to west roads.
The bike lane would be painted on Washington Street, when the road is repaved. It’s part of a larger project that includes connecting to other bike lanes that are already on the city’s Master Bike Plan.
At least one group of residents is opposed to the idea. Teresea Enyeart lives on Washington and, after knocking on 34 doors, has gathered 22 signatures of people who oppose the bike lane. She says the neighborhood is not against bikers, but they don’t think Washington is a safe place for a bike lane.
“We’re worried about the safety of our families. We’re worried about the safety of the bikers. None of us are anti bike,” she told us.
Her neighbor, Tim Mikesell, says the road is just too busy.
“This street is one heck of a busy street and, even as a biker, my goal is to get off of it as fast as I can.”
The group is also concerned the bike lane might cause congestion near State Farm.
Advocates, like Bike BloNo, say adding this lane would narrow the driving lanes, from 18 feet to about 11 feet. According to Michael Gorman, with the organization, research shows that narrow lanes slow down traffic and make it safer.
“What we want to do is trim those lanes down a little bit so that drivers feel more comfortable driving the speed limit,” he explained.
He also explained that research has shown the safest place for bikers is on the road, especially if they have their own space.
“When you give people their dedicated space on the street, they’re much more safe because they aren’t trying to share the same space on the street between all different modes of transportation.”
Alderwoman Amelia Buragas told us that she thinks the bike lane could be beneficial, especially when it comes to safety and increased property values. But she says the decision is not final and will depend on continued public and expert input.
The next public meeting for the proposal is June 13, at the McLean County Museum of history from 4-6 p.m.