Cyclists work to increase bike lane safety in lower valley

El Paso News
Some cyclists in the Lower Valley are trying to ensure the safety of those who ride bikes and share the road with drivers.
 
Scott White with Velo Paso, a bicycle-pedestrian coalition, said it’s unaccpetable for the city to not prioritize widening bike lanes that are too narrow.
 
“We still need to make it a reality and that’s what concerns me. With the way things have been going on with the city is there’s always a possibility that somebody’s going to say, because of financial issues, they’re going to say, ‘we’re just going to leave it as it is’ and we can’t allow that because it is a safety issue,” White explained.
 
The Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) held a special meeting on Wednesday and discussed proposals to widen the bike lanes on Yarbrough between Independence Dr. and Alameda Ave.
 
One of the ways is to remove one car lane, and widen buffers along with the bike lanes as well. Another proposal was to also provide a physical separation between cyclists and drivers.
 
“That would mean some sort of barrier. At this point we don’t know exactly what but that’s something that’s going to be studied and hopefully implemented,” Sergio Reyes with the city’s streets and maintenance department said.
 
“Adding the physical separation, these barriers, is one of the biggest ways a lot of cities around the country and the world have increased ridership,” White added.
 
The city’s streets and maintenance department said it will see which areas are able to place barriers but are unsure if there’s money to do that. 
 
“When we consider some of the road projects that are forthcoming and out there on the horizon and looking at the price tags of those, nobody questions those price tags,” White shared, “Why is the safety of people on bikes questioned for that price tag.”
 
The proposals were approved however the streets and maintenance department needs to come up with a design to present in the next BAC meeting expected to be held in June.

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