ashland.news
July 21, 2024

Bike riders pitch bike lanes to receptive council

Bicyclists gathered on the Ashland Plaza for a “Ride for Safe Streets and The Climate” event listen to speaker Mike Vergeer, a volunteer with Streets for Everyone, which organized the event. Streets is part of the Ashland Climate Collaborative, a hub for community-based climate solutions. Bob Palermini photo/@bobpal
April 5, 2023

Network of bike lanes included in capital improvement package greenlighted by council Tuesday

By Damian Mann for Ashland.news

Protected bike lanes on key Ashland streets will be safer, encourage more people to embrace pedal power and lead to less carbon emissions, cycling enthusiasts told the City Council Tuesday night.

“The more people you get riding bikes, the more people you get off the road,” said Lisa Brill, president of the Siskiyou Velo Club.

Around 40 cyclists gathered in the Ashland Plaza Tuesday evening in the Ashland Climate Collaborative’s “Ride for Safe Streets and The Climate” event and pedaled their way to the council chambers to underscore the need for protected bike lanes.

Bicyclists make their way up Siskiyou Boulevard during a “Ride for Safe Streets and The Climate” event Tuesday. Bob Palermini photo/@bobpal

On a 5-1 vote, with Councilor Gina DuQuenne casting the “no” vote, the council approved a capital improvement plan for a number of projects, one of which includes the creation of protected bike lanes that would be constructed during repaving projects on Oak Street, Hersey Street, North Mountain Avenue, Siskiyou Boulevard and Ashland Street.

Protected bike lanes provide a physical barrier between the cyclist and adjacent cars.

Bicyclists make their way up Main Street during a “Ride for Safe Streets and The Climate” event Tuesday. Bob Palermini photo/@bobpal

The city identified other streets that also could be candidates for protected lanes in the future, including Crowson Road, Tolman Creek Road, Walker Street, Wightman Street, Lithia Way and Main Street. Portions of some of these streets are owned by Jackson County or the Oregon Department of Transportation.

A number of streets currently don’t have adequate width to provide a protected lane under conventional vehicle lane standards. Lithia Way and North Main through the downtown have too many vehicles to safely create a shared-lane treatment, according to the city.

Bicycle boulevards are also in the works, though the city would need additional grants to see them completed.

The two potential bicycle boulevards include B Street, from Oak to North Mountain, and Eighth Street, from A Street to East Main Street

More long term, the city is looking at a vast network of bike lanes on many major streets. The plans also include creation of lanes that would provide safer access to local schools.

Lisa Brill, president of Siskiyou Velo Club, speaks in favor of bike lanes at Tuesday’s council meeting. Bob Palermini photo/@bobpalBob Palermini photo/@bobpal

Brill said safer routes for bikes will translate into less bike versus vehicle collisions.

“I hope this happens in Ashland and I hope this happens up and down the Rogue Valley,” she said.
The creation of the lanes would offer cyclists more separation from vehicles and also could be accomplished during the course of city repaving projects. Ashland Street is already teed up for a protected bike lane lane as part of an upcoming paving project.

To properly maintain narrow bike lanes, the city is looking at the purchase of a small street sweeper that would fit into a narrow protected bike lane to remove hazardous debris that could cause an accident.

Ashland resident Gary Shaff speaks in favor of bike lanes at Tuesday’s council meeting. Bob Palermini photo/@bobpal

Ashland resident Gary Shaff, also with the Ashland Climate Collaborative, told the council that it needs to take a leadership role in pushing through the network of protected bike lanes that he estimates could cut annual carbon emissions from transportation in the city by one-third.

“We all acknowledge the Earth is in a bad place,” he said. “What can Ashland do in response to this crisis we face?”

He said protected bike lanes have been on the city’s wish list for a while but haven’t been realized despite the city’s concerns about carbon emissions.

“Good plans don’t translate into good outcomes without the leadership of the City Council,” Shaff said.
The city of Talent is the closest city with a protected bike lane, he said.

After the meeting, Shaff said he was heartened by the city’s resolve to install protected bike lanes on key streets.

“I’m pretty confident the city will build those protected bike lanes on these streets in the Capital Improvement Plan,” he said.

He said protected bike lanes, once they provide a sufficient network to get around the city, would increase the number of cyclists on the streets. A protected bike lane generally involves a concrete separation from cars as well as other signage and reflective devices.

Scott Fleury, Ashland public works director, discusses how bike lanes fit into upcoming street projects. Bob Palermini photo/@bobpal

Scott Fleury, Ashland public works director, said he’s confident the protected bike lanes will be installed as the city takes on repaving projects on certain streets.

He said the city will attempt to put in physical barriers where possible, with some kind of reflective devices to alert motorists.

Driveway access points, which are numerous along Ashland Street, would prevent installation of a continuous physical barrier, he said.

Bicycle boulevards such as B or A streets would have reduced speed limits and other traffic calming measures, Fleury said.

The details of how the streets would provide protective barriers or calming measures are still being worked out, he said.

Reach freelance writer Damian Mann at dmannnews@gmail.com.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

Related Posts...

Ashland New Plays Festival announces October lineup

Four plays among 350 submitted to the Ashland New Plays Festival will be performed during the group’s 2024 Fall Festival this October. The playwrights will be in Ashland for a week of readings, development, and collaboration and will present their plays from Oct. 16 to 20.

Read More »

Latest posts

Air quality alert issued through Monday for Jackson County

Smoke from wildfires in Douglas County prompted issuance of an air quality advisory on Saturday evening by Jackson County Public Health, effective through Monday, July 22. Depending on weather patterns and fire activity, air quality could be impacted for longer, the announcement said.

Read More >

Ashland New Plays Festival announces October lineup

Four plays among 350 submitted to the Ashland New Plays Festival will be performed during the group’s 2024 Fall Festival this October. The playwrights will be in Ashland for a week of readings, development, and collaboration and will present their plays from Oct. 16 to 20.

Read More >

Explore More...

Jennie Greenberry: “Jane (Eyre) is the kind of person I deeply admire and strive to be. So, of course I jumped at the chance to portray her."
With Oregon’s public schools staring down a fiscal cliff this school year as the historic federal investment from the last few years expires, Gov. Tina Kotek is proposing changes. She’d like to help schools keep up with rising costs in the years ahead by updating the way schools are funded.
Novelist Victor Lodato will receive a financial boost to continue touring and participating in author talks for his latest book, "Honey," after being one of 29 artists to receive Career Opportunity Program grant awards from the Oregon Arts Commission.
Four plays among 350 submitted to the Ashland New Plays Festival will be performed during the group’s 2024 Fall Festival this October. The playwrights will be in Ashland for a week of readings, development, and collaboration and will present their plays from Oct. 16 to 20.
The Siskiyou Crest Coalition, based in southwest Oregon, sponsored a unique fundraiser on July 13: a day of guided hikes at a private property on Mount Ashland. The emphasis of the day's activities was on the ecological value of the Siskiyou Crest: the unparalleled biodiversity resulting from ecosystem niches influenced by six biotic regions; its importance as a wildlife connectivity corridor; and its astonishing number of endemic botanical species.
ashland.news logo

Subscribe to the newsletter and get local news sent directly to your inbox.

(It’s free)

Don't Miss Our Top Stories

Get our newsletter delivered to your inbox three times a week.
It’s FREE and you can cancel anytime.