Bike lane hearing Sept. 11

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 9/6/2018, 6 a.m.
Want bike lanes on Brook Road? Hate the idea? Next Tuesday, Sept. 11, residents can speak their minds about the ...

Want bike lanes on Brook Road? Hate the idea?

Next Tuesday, Sept. 11, residents can speak their minds about the proposal to reduce the four-lane road to two lanes for traffic, with one lane in each direction reserved for cyclists and parking.

City Council members Kim B. Gray, 2nd District, and Chris A. Hilbert, 3rd District, whose districts include Brook Road, will host a public hearing on the proposal at 6 p.m. at the Richmond Police Training Academy, 1202 W. Graham Road, next to the Virginia Union University campus.

The council members have introduced legislation to stop construction of the bike lanes on Brook Road between West Charity Street and Azalea Avenue. The bike lanes have been in the works since council approved a bike master plan in 2015. Ms. Gray was not on the council at the time.

Work is not expected to begin until next year, but the plans would be halted if City Council approves the legislation.

Officials have said about $1.2 million in federal funding is earmarked for the project, which would create bike lanes similar to those on Franklin Street that have reduced vehicle traffic mostly to one lane between Belvidere Street and 9th Street.

Ahead of the public hearing, Ms. Gray and Mr. Hilbert issued a letter to Mayor Levar M. Stoney renewing their request for an independent traffic and safety study to consider the impact of the bike lanes.

This is their second request for a study. The Stoney administration has yet to respond, Ms. Gray and Mr. Hilbert said.

In the letter, Ms. Gray and Mr. Hilbert noted that the administration opposes their ordinance, but also noted that the administration has not provided “any acknowledgement of the legitimate safety concerns of the residents, business owners and motorists who use the Brook Road corridor.”

The council members stated there are “many ongoing and unresolved safety issues” involving existing bike lanes, adding that “these significant safety issues must be addressed comprehensively before any new bike lanes are added.”

They stated they have no answers for constituents who want to know what would happen when four lanes narrow to two lanes at busy intersections along Brook Road.

Some people who park in driveways at their homes are worried about being able to back out safely through a bike lane and into the one lane reserved for vehicle traffic, the two council members stated.

Supporters have argued the installation of the bicycle lanes would force traffic using Brook Road to slow down.