Meridian Township's Road Diet- Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
Photo courtesy: Tim Potter
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Meridian Township is a bike friendly community.
"We are really proud of the trail system that we have for non motorized users. I think we have over 96 miles of trails however we have some areas where we’re still struggling," said Julie Brixie, Township Treasurer.
Bike lanes create increased safety for bikers and pedestrians.
"It's a lot of people that I have to watch out for, making sure I don’t hit them and making sure that they see me coming; especially if I’m coming from behind them," said Morgan Stinson, MSU student and biker.
Other bike advocates appreciate the qualities that bike lanes add to the community.
"Having that space on the road makes it safer and more inviting for people to actually ride their bikes," said Tim Potter, MSU Bikes manager and Township Transportation Commission Member.
But it can be hard for communities to create these spaces.
"One of the struggles that we have is the conflict on our shared use pathways between bicycles and pedestrians. And so it can be really important to try to provide a separate pathway system of bicyclist," Brixie said.
One way to achieve this is a technique called a road diet.
"When theres basically a lot more asphalt than is really needed for the current car volume, reducing that and making that part more user friendly for bicycles or even pedestrians is really a very popular thing to do," Potter said.
There are many ways to get desired results.
"I don’t think they should reduce driving lanes maybe they should squeeze it in a little more to add a bike lane," said Stinson.
But the Township has to take this one step at a time.
"We should look at each individual street and figure out whats the best way to handle bicycle traffic and pedestrian traffic in each instance."
Because it isn't always easy for bikers to reach their destination.
"Trying to get here is sometimes pretty scary. I live out in meridian township and I come up and down grand river. I’ve been spending a lot of my time thinking of how to make Grand River more safe and bike friendly," Potter said.
Sp the Transportation Commission has a lot on their plate.
"Hopefully through input from the transportation commission, we’ll start to see some more of that and things will be safer and more inviting and less hectic and crazy for everybody," Potter said.