ANDERSON — With more people looking to bicycles as a means of recreation, to travel to work and to shop, the city of Anderson is adding a second stretch of designated bike lanes.
City officials have included bike lanes as part of a repaving project on Eighth Street from Winding Way to Rangeline Road,
Anderson received a $1 million grant through Indiana’s Community Crossings Matching Grant program. Total cost of the project is $2.2 million.
Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said the city will be striping designated areas for shared bike lanes. The shared lanes will allow for existing parking on Eighth Street while allowing bicyclists to travel more safely.
The bike lanes will begin near the foot of the Eisenhower Bridge on the east side and run east to Scatterfield Road and will begin at the intersection of Brown-Delaware Street and run west to Raible Avenue, Broderick said. The bike lanes are expected to be completed in October.
Estimated cost of installation for the striping and signage will be up to $35,000.
The city’s first bike lanes were completed in 2015 along Columbus Avenue.
“As we continue to improve our downtown area and work to attract young people into our community, it is important that we continue to improve the quality of life,” Broderick said. “These new bike lanes will allow for connectivity from the west side of town to the east side in a safe and effective manner.
“We have had considerable interest in the community from local businesses and residents alike for this type of improvement. Many communities are now going to the shared bike lane concept to protect bikers and motorists.”
Deborah Miller Fox, director of Anderson Now at Anderson University, said the inclusion of bike lanes does help people in the 20- to 30-age range.
“They are more receptive to riding bicycles as an alternative form of transportation,” she said. “They are interested in living in the downtown, and adding the bike lanes makes the downtown more appealing.”
Miller Fox said for eight months of the year the weather in Anderson is reasonable enough for people to ride bicycles for recreation and to run daily errands.
“As a city we have to be concerned about the placement of new businesses,” she said. “We need to change the dynamic of downtown, and bike lanes make it more attractive.
“We need to engage young people and attract them to our city,” she said. “We graduate hundreds of students from Anderson University and want to keep more of them in the community. We do need to make the commitment to develop the amenities,” Miller Fox said. “Young families want safe appealing outdoor spaces like parks, bike lanes and other activities.”
Constructing bike lanes has an impact on the future growth of Anderson at a low cost, she said.
“Constructing future bikes lanes is an investment in the community,” Miller Fox said. “Adding more lanes would be great, but it takes time. It would be a positive change.”
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said his city started adding bike lanes to city streets a decade ago.
“Anytime we resurface a street we look to see if there is a way to include bike lanes,” Goodnight said Thursday. “Even if they (bike lanes) are not heavily used it provides a benefit. It has been beneficial for Kokomo.”
The bike lanes are a constant reminder to motorists that they share the road with bicycles, he said.
“Narrow roads have a calming effect on traffic,” Goodnight said. “It makes drivers more cautious.”