This article was first published by The Rapidian.
This week, Grand Rapids announced plans to add 26 miles of bike lanes across the city within the next year. This came alongside some long-term plans, too: officials want to add 17 miles of bike lanes each year until 2017, eventually giving cyclists a 100-mile network of bike lanes.
The first phase of the project, which will add 16 miles of lanes, starts this week. The second phase will see the remaining 10 miles added in the spring. The expected completion date is within nine months and, if approved by the city commission, will bring the total miles of bike lanes in the city to 33.
An MLive article stated that the project will request $71,100 from the city’s budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. According to City Manager Greg Sundstrom, the city will seek an annual amount of $90,900 to add to the network while maintaining what is already in place. Since cycling infrastructure is a prioritized part of the city’s sustainability program, many believe that this plan will be approved.
In the announcement, the city noted that the first bike lanes in Grand Rapids, located on Lake Drive, had seen an increase of 36 percent in the number of riders using them since last year. During peak times, this increase equated to a little less than 50 riders per hour.
In 2009, the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) designated Grand Rapids as a Bronze-level bicycle-friendly community. At the time of the recognition, only Traverse City and Ann Arbor had also received such awards from the LAB, making Grand Rapids the third city in the state to be recognized by the league as bicycle-friendly.
The Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition (GGRBC) advocates for bicycle safety and accessibility in the city and the surrounding region. The group’s Interim Director Thomas Tilma said he is happy about the city’s plan to add to its biking network because bike lanes make riding in the street safer and more accessible for cyclists.
The first phase of the project (16 miles of bike lanes) will be implemented in the following areas:
- 2.6 miles with sharrows on Covell Avenue NW, from Walker Avenue to O’Brien Street
- 2.3 miles on Knapp Street, from Monroe Avenue to Dean Lake Road
- 2.2 miles on Burton Street, from Division Avenue to Plymouth Street
- 1.9 miles on Century Avenue SW, from Wealthy Street to Burton Avenue streets
- 1.6 miles on Leonard Street NW, from Remembrance Road to Covell Street
- 1.4 miles with sharrows on East Fulton Street, from Carlton Avenue to Cascade Road
- 1 mile on Lake Michigan Drive NW, from Fulton Street to Seward Avenue
- 0.7 miles on Wealthy Street, from Garfield Avenue to Front Street
- 0.7 miles on Monroe Avenue, from Leonard Avenuve to Ann Street
- 0.7 miles on Front Avenue NW, from Leonard Avenue to 4th Street
- 0.6 miles on Monroe Avenue, from Coldbrook to Trowbidge Road
- 0.1 miles on Butterworth Street SW, from Front Street to Lexington Avenue
- 0.1 miles on Winter Avenue, from Fulton Street to Watson Street
- 0.1 miles on Watson Street, from Winter Avenue to Front Street
Sharrows are shared-lane markings that indicate a traffic route where bicyclists may use the entirety of the lane.