I recently criticized an announced plan to narrow River Road to make it more bike-accessible. But since then, more details have emerged that have altered my thinking a little – at least, with a few remaining reservations.
Rather than narrowing the road, Citizens for a Safer River Road actually plan to widen it a few feet. They are still planning to narrow the driving lanes by one foot, but it will provide more overall surface for everyone and more room for bikers. It may even slow car traffic.
Now that the new Lewis and Clark Bridge is complete, along with the Big Four, there is now a continuous scenic bicycle loop uniting Kentucky and Indiana. There’s already increasing bike traffic along River Road due to this, and better weather will take those numbers even higher. I still think only a knucklehead would ride a bike along River Road, but others clearly disagree. So yes -- this is a worthy plan,
Another thing: the planners have raised all the necessary money -- $1.95 million -- privately. No government funds will be spent, they’re ready to begin, and the whole thing could be complete by late summer.
But this should only be a first stage, because even after the project is completed, several spots along the route will still require more intricate engineering to remove obstacles like utilities and drop-offs.
I think, for the second stage, city government should get involved by funding the elimination of these remaining hazards and make a good plan even better. Mayor Fischer clearly wants to be known as the "Mayor for Bike," and this would be a perfect opportunity for him to polish that image with something of real merit.
Call and share your thoughts.
I’m Bill Lamb and that’s my Point of View.