Members of the San Luis Obispo City Council (SLOCC) recently announced they will not build protected bike lanes on Laurel Lane anytime soon. City leaders will, however, use a new $2.4 million fund to make Laurel Lane safer for pedestrians and bicyclists using other road design techniques.
Laurel Lane, which is situated between Johnson Avenue and Broad Street, is in the southern area of San Luis Obispo. The most prominent landmarks by Laurel Lane include the Sinsheimer Park Baseball Stadium and Johnson Park.
According to transportation leaders on the SLOCC, now is not the best time to invest millions in a protected bike lane for Laurel. First off, council members doubt the funds available would be sufficient to effectively put in protected bike lanes.
A few SLOCC leaders expressed concerns that Laurel was too wide for the physical barriers required for protected bike lanes. Council members said these barriers might disrupt the flow of traffic and make it especially difficult for bus and car traffic to get in and out of Laurel’s businesses.
SLOCC members said, however, that protected bike lanes on Laurel Lane aren’t an impossibility. Leaders would, however, like to see more hard research on how protected bike lanes would affect traffic in the area.
So, instead of investing in bike protected lanes, SLOCC decided it would be best to spend the $2.4 million on creating more space for pedestrians and bicyclists on Laurel Lane. The main way the SLOCC proposed it would make this happen is by reducing the current two-car traffic lanes in both directions to one lane each.
The city of San Luis Obispo is still looking for ways to effectively incorporate protected bike lanes into various streets. In the next few months, the city will take part in the Active Transportation Plan Update to assess where protected bike lanes would be best in the city.
SLOCC hopes their policies will encourage more bikers to feel safer riding on the city’s streets. City leaders want the number of daily bicyclists to increase to 20 percent in the near future. Current estimates suggest only about 7 percent of San Luis Obispo’s residents use their bicycles for daily commuting.
For more information on this and other issues in San Louis Obispo, anyone could visit SLOCC’s official website by following this link.