Councilor wants city to rethink 'unsafe' bike lanes on Dillingham

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 8, 2014 

Mike Owen/ mowen@ledger-enquirer.comCyclists riding from Phenix City to Columbus on the Dillingham Street Bridge will be riding into oncoming traffic.

Columbus Councilor Judy Thomas wants the city to do something about the “unsafe” dual bike lanes recently painted onto the Dillingham Street Bridge following its resurfacing.

During Tuesday’s Columbus Council meeting, Thomas asked City Manager Isaiah Hugley if the city has any plans to restripe the bridge.

“We are taking a look at that,” Hugley assured Thomas.

Thomas suggested that someone from the city seek input from the cycling community, some of whom have expressed concern over the configuration. Instead of having individual lanes on each side of the bridge, with cyclists traveling with the flow of traffic, the bridge has both lanes on the north side, which means the east-bound cyclists ride into west-bound vehicular traffic.

“It is an unsafe situation, knowing that typically, bicyclists are supposed to ride with the traffic,” Thomas said. “When driving west-bound and a bicyclist is coming at me east-bound, it is a concern for me as well as for that bicyclist.

Hugley assured Thomas that he would have someone look into the matter.

In other action, Council was poised to vote on the Manchester Overlay District that has caused some concern in the past two council meetings, but voted to delay action on it. The issue first came before council early in June, but after considerable debate from both proponents and opponents of the measure, council voted to delay the first reading on the matter.

The first reading was held in late June, then the second reading and vote was slated for Tuesday. But before a motion could be made to vote, Councilor Mike Baker moved to delay the vote until Council’s July 22 meeting.

Baker said he wanted to delay the vote, “just to make sure we understand everything we’re doing and to clarify a couple of issues.”

The overlay district would apply to a corridor on either side of Manchester Expressway from Highway 80 to County Line Road. It would place restrictions on development and advertising, and require certain standards for construction and landscaping within the district.

Council also voted to authorize a $590,000 contract with Alexander Construction Co. of Fortson, Ga., for road and drainage improvements on County Line Road.

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