By Fran Korten
It won’t be long before you can experience what truly safe biking and walking feels like on one of the Island’s major roadways. That’s because the City has changed its plans for the Eagle Harbor Drive II project.
You may recall that some months ago the City announced plans to build a protected bike lane on the south side of its Eagle Harbor II project (the 1-mile stretch from McDonald to the head of the bay). But on the north side it planned to construct only an unprotected bike lane. Oops—you can ride safely going uphill but not going downhill!
Protected lanes on both sides of Eagle Harbor Drive
Advocates for separated bicycle paths, led by Bainbridge GreenWays, worked with the city council and city engineers to ensure that a safe design was applied to both sides of the road. At its July 13 meeting, the City Council approved supplemental funds to add a protected bike lane on the north side. In addition, the Council approved funds for a 12-foot-wide planted island that will provide beauty and extra protection for bikers and walkers at a particularly dangerous curve of the road. The construction for the revised plan is scheduled for mid-August.
Plans for protected lanes on Madison Avenue
There is also good news for safe biking on Madison Avenue. Originally the City planned to just widen sidewalks on part of Madison. At the City’s open house on July 7, Public Works Director Chris Wierzbicki and Toole Consultant Craig Schoenberg presented designs for protected bike lanes on each side of Madison Avenue from Winslow Way all the way to the junction with SR 305. Open house participants were enthusiastic about the protected lanes, especially since Madison can be used by many children to get to school.
Piece by piece, the dream of an island-wide network of safe biking and walking routes is coming into place.