City Council vows to adopt better bike lane standards
POSTED: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 5:45pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 8:00am
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The Sun City will continue spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to make El Paso more a more bike friendly community. A plan is moving forward to build more than 50 new miles of bike lanes in the city. But those lanes aren't cheap -- which is why City Rep Michael Noe wanted to take another look at the plan.
In this part of Central El Paso a bicyclist shares this lane with the bus and with very little room to share -- cyclists may opt for the traffic lane. Which is why some residents say these kinds of lanes are a waste of money -- and Michiel Noe agrees.
City Rep Michiel Noe wants the council to take a good hard look at how they spend money on bike infrastructure.
"I shined a lot of light on a problem that we have. I unfortunately couldn't get a commitment that we would completely stop wasting money on bad lanes." His proposal -- stop spending city money on bike lanes, striping, and maintenance. Which divided the council and led many in the cycling community to speak out. His motion failed but his actions brought the conversation to the surface. "I think that overall the city's going to get a much better design and much better maintained bike lanes because of what I did today."
The city agreed to adopt NACTO standards for new bike lanes -- standards which include wider lanes with a divider between the bike lanes and traffic. "We want to continue to provide for this infrastructure. If there's room for improvement let's do it."
Bicyclists are pleased with the outcome -- even if it did create a little heat between them and Noe. "Gives us an opportunity to say ok, these are bad bike lanes we can now point to that and say this is what not to do."
And there's one thing both groups agree on.
"The bike lanes haven't really been maintained all that well."
"The bike lanes are supposed to be to provide safety but if they're full of debris they create a safety issue right there for the bikers."
When a lane isn't taken care of -- it's not used. Noe estimates that it costs $130 per mile to clean a street. That happens four times a year -- but for cyclists it may not be enough. Hazards that motorists can driver over -- could cause damage to bikes.