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Columbus Opens City’s First Protected Bike Lane to the Public

Walker Evans Walker Evans Columbus Opens City’s First Protected Bike Lane to the PublicPhoto provided by Columbus City Council.
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While cyclists have already been utilizing some of the completed portions of the new bike lanes along Fourth and Summit Streets for several weeks, the new project officially opened to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony held yesterday afternoon by city leaders. The new installment includes the first protected lane in the City of Columbus, which runs along Summit from Hudson Street to Eleventh Avenue — a major thoroughfare in the University District.

“These new protected bike lanes are an innovative way for the City to continue promoting multiple modes of transportation,” said Columbus City Councilmember Shannon Hardin during yesterday’s event. “Hopefully, this investment encourages residents to bike to work and play as a way of saving wear and tear on our roadways, promoting healthy and active lifestyles, and doing well for the environment.”

The protected lane on Summit is just one part of the larger project, which is adding standard bike lanes on Summit south of 11th Avenue to I-670, and running northbound on Fourth Street from I-670 to Hudson Street. The full stretch will also connect commuters in Weinland Park, Italian Village and Downtown Columbus.

“Yay Bikes! applauds the City of Columbus for taking a such a bold leap with street design that accommodates the many ways people get from place to place,” said Yay Bikes! Executive Director Catherine Girves during yesterday’s opening. “The engineers’ willingness to accept input from everyday cyclists gives us great hope for the future of bicycling infrastructure Columbus.”

The next phase of the project will include the expansion of the lanes through Downtown Columbus to Fulton Street in 2016, following the completion of street resurfacing work that ODOT has planned for Third and Fourth Streets in the spring.

For an extended look at what the future holds for bike lanes in Columbus, CLICK HERE to read our extended interview from last February with city and community planners.

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  • stephentszuter

    This is hands down the most revolutionary thing Columbus has done (other than the Scioto Greenways project) in a long time.

    Bravo.

    I’d like to see the success of the protected portion increase interest in expanding it further south and other places in the city.

  • This is nice, and I think needed.
    I was riding my bike down Gay Street this afternoon, came to the light at Grant, waiting to turn left, and some guy in a LandRover pulled up in the straight/right turn lane, asking me if I minded if he cut me off to turn in front of me because he was in such a hurry and couldn’t stand being behind a bike. WTH? He was behind me *for at most 30 seconds* You can’t be in that much of a hurry if you choose Gay Street as your street to travel. He also asked if I was scared to ride my bike on roads like this, and I said no, but I almost said, well maybe because of drivers like you!

    I have not had too many interactions with drivers yet, but that was annoying. These protected lanes along busier streets are important. Nice work Yay Bikes!

  • thomasjs4

    I was driving on Summit last week, leaving Wild Goose after Wake & Shake. I was making a right turn onto Tompkins. I got to thinking: how do I safely cross through the parked cars and over the bike lane? I felt a bit nervous, as there were cars moving behind me.

    • I imagine you’d make the right turn the same way you would any right turn. Slow down and put on your turn signal (both will indicate to drivers behind you that you’re slowing and turning) and check for cars, bikes and pedestrians before turning. Caution and awareness. Nothing to be nervous about. ;)

    • I drove down the narrowed (two lane) stretch on Summit this morning around 10am.

      No traffic at all. Very calm.

      I didn’t feel nervous or uncertain about the changes either. Everything seemed to be pretty self explanatory with signage, lane markings and whatnot.

      Zero problems here. The changes are working just fine.

  • welkstar

    Excellent! Keep em coming!

  • Mister MooCow

    I keep reading “first protected lane in the City of Columbus” and wondering why the long-gone bike lane along High Street in the OSU area doesn’t qualify. It ran from about Lane to south campus (at least to 12th if not further south) It was in place at least by the early ’80s and was separated from the “car lanes” by a narrow raised island strip — I recall that it was this protection feature that caused the ultimate demise of the lane (it was impossible for the street cleaners to clean the bike lanes, so they became a collection point for trash — making them often difficult to navigate for bicyclists). I think the lane was removed in the late ’80s or early ’90s.

    • “…wondering why the long-gone bike lane along High Street in the OSU area doesn’t qualify.”

      Because it’s long-gone?

      • Mister MooCow

        So it’s the “first protected lane installed in Columbus in 30 years”. But not the first .

        • Sure. If you really want to quibble about semantics. ;)

          In other news, I’m looking forward to the city’s first streetcar line someday.

  • Mister MooCow

    I had a few minutes to kill so I surfed around and found a video of High Street in the campus area ca. 1985. The video that sort of shows Columbus’s first protected bike lane is https://youtu.be/vPabRx9EPd4 (at about 0:30 – 0:49). You have to look closely and use the no-parking signs pole base as a guide for where the island is/ends. You can see the car-side edge of the island but the windshield wiper (and low resolution and poor contrast) make it hard to see the bike-side edge. But you can see the edge of the actual sidewalk, too. I [maybe?] attached a couple of annotated screen grabs.

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