Metro council member conducts personal study on bike lane usage - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Metro council member conducts personal study on bike lane usage

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bikes and cars constantly compete for space near downtown Louisville, even though certain lanes are set aside for cyclists.

Louisville is adding several miles of bike lanes - about 40 by the end of 2015 - but some believe they're a waste of money.

"It reduces the number of cars on the road and helps some people get through," said Metro Council Minority Caucus Director Stephen Haag.

Earlier this year, the city took out an entire lane for drivers down Breckinridge and Kentucky Streets.

Hagg says public works did a study to count bikes at several intersections, but a council member wanted his own data.

Council member Kelly Downard sent one of his interns, with a video camera, to the intersection of Kentucky and 3rd. The intern found 59 bikes in the area between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on August 12th.

"Our report shows fewer people use the bike lanes than were reported by public works,” said Haag. “The other thing that was kind of a surprise to us, was how many of the people were not even using the bike lanes but using the car lanes."

Haag says Council President Jim King had similar findings from an off duty sheriff's deputy who also tracked the numbers.

Cyclist Jackie Green, a current write-in candidate for the office of Louisville mayor, owns a shop on Market Street and says, "Louisville does not have the first bike lane that's done correctly."

He says they're too close to traffic, the speed limit's too high, and the lanes are not clean.

"Roofing tacks, glass, and cyclists will then pick that up in their tires and they'll have flats," Green explained.

Issues that council members will continue to address as they approve funding for road expansions or future bike lanes.

"The fact is, this community benefits when people are using their bikes and bike lanes to go to work, but we don't want to cause traffic congestion on animosity between both bikers and drivers in doing so," said Haag.

Public works is expected to release its final numbers on its bike traffic count numbers to council members on Thursday.

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