Do We Really Need A Bike Lane On London Road, As Proposed?
The proposed London Road project has become a little heated in the neighborhood. The Minnesota Department Of Transportation has proposed that roundabouts be put in at 26th Avenue East, 40th Avenue East, and 60th Avenue East. A lot of residents are split about how they feel about the roundabouts. One of the things that may be overlooked is the plan to narrow lanes on London Road to create a 5-foot-wide bike lane.
I'm all for progress, but I also think that we should be realistic. London Road is a very busy section of road. According to MNDOT, 20,000 vehicles pass through this area every single day.
Narrowing this road and parking spaces to create a bike lane is just not needed when there is the Lakewalk bike path just feet away. It's less than half a block away from London Road, and wasn't the Lakewalk created for this exact reason?
The Duluth News Tribune [paywall] recently published an article about the criticism of the plan. Much of the complaints have been about the roundabouts and how they will change how the neighborhood looks. But, some residents also are upset about narrowing busy London Road to accommodate a bike lane.
The proposed plan will have the bike lane between the vehicle lanes and the parking lane on London road, but some bike lane supporters would like to see it configured like Duluth's West End recently was. That's where the bike lane is protected by the parked cars in the parking lane. As you see here:
I'm not saying Bike Lanes are a bad idea in general, but in this case, it is just so unnecessary for this area. Wasn't the point of the Lakewalk right next to London Road to make it easier for bicyclists and pedestrians to go from Lakeside to Downtown Duluth? Also there are months where bike lanes aren't used in the winter, and narrowing London road could make snow removal and winter travel difficult.
What do you think? Is the Lakewalk enough for bikers to commute, or should London Road be narrowed to accommodate a bike plane?