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Bikes Gain Ground Downtown

July 23, 2019 07:53 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Getting around downtown Rochester is on the way to becoming safer and easier for bikers.

On Monday night, city council moved ahead with taking bids for bike lanes that will lead to the heart of downtown.

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“We want to make all of our commuters safer,” said Kevin Bright, Energy and Sustainability Director for Rochester and Destination Medical Center’s Economic Development Agency.

“No one wants to get into a collision, or dent their car, or hurt someone, so having access to a buffered area for bikes to ride in safely, that doesn’t inhibit car travel as well so that everyone can get to where they’re going safely is all we want as a solution,” said Matt Lynch, an avid biker and board member of We Bike Rochester, a local bicycle advocacy and education group.

The new bike lanes slated for Center Street and Third and Fourth Avenues are supposed to do just what Lynch hopes.

“Right now there’s a portion of our commuting base that isn’t safe, and I think there are more people that would try biking if they were safe or there were safe options for them downtown,” Bright said.

Adding bike lanes to existing roadways means taking up space that’s currently being used for other purposes.

“I think we hear both sides of that story, if you will, that people want more opportunities for transit or certainly bicycling. Others, such as businesses, and especially when we talk about parking and the lack of parking downtown, and that’s problematic as well,” said Randy Staver, Rochester City Council president.

Staver said the new bike lanes, which still have to be approved once more when bids for the project come back, will mean losing 200 parking spots along well-traveled stretches of road.

“The nice part about Center Street is it connects to the Silver Lake bike trail and then, pretty much, to Methodist and Gonda,” Bright said.

Bright said the lanes should benefit commuters as a whole, regardless of their choice mode of transportation.

“For folks that prefer a car, I think this will make your car trip safer by having the bikers be separate, and for folks that are considering biking, having them be separate from cars will have their travel be safer, too,” he said.

A plan that might make downtown an easier place to get around by foot, car or bike.

The city hopes to get bids for the project back in time to start construction on the bike lanes this fall.

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Alice Keefe

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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