An open letter to city council
When I saw the signs that 68th Street was undergoing repaving, I was very pleased and thankful. Now that the job appears to have been completed, I feel very disappointed and angry.
Why has the pavement not been extended to include a proper bicycle lane, and why on earth are there bicycle symbols painted clearly on the side of a single lane road? The road looks like it is supposed to be a bike route, but there is no room to safely accommodate a bike!
The only way that this scenario could work safely is if the road was only open to smart cars, scooters and motorcycles, as well as bicycles.
The bicycle symbols are not only confusing, they are dangerous— promoting a false sense of security to cyclists, who are told that they are supposed to be there, on the side, but clearly cars cannot pass them safely without crossing the middle lane.
If this was simply a matter of telling the citizens of Grand Forks to “share the road,” that is one thing. In that case, some “share the road” signs on the side of the road would have clearly conveyed that message. The large bicycle symbols send a mixed message to cyclists and drivers. It is an invitation for a conflict, as you have created an unsafe environment for cyclists and drivers to co-exist.
I have ridden on bike routes in big cities and small towns all across North America, and in parts of Europe, and I never seen anything like this. Bike routes should be intuitive for both cyclist and drivers. As it stands, I would tell my kids to ride on the sidewalk instead of your “bike route.” The painted bike symbols create a false sense of security, and I suggest the city remove them immediately or extend the road to include a real bike lane, with a proper division line painted clearly the whole length of the road.
I sincerely hope no one gets hurt!
Astrid Kihl, Grand Forks