Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bikers Battle for Space despite Gains, Cars Still Rule

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bikers Battle for Space despite Gains, Cars Still Rule

Article excerpt

Three years after Jacksonville committed to build more bike lanes and install bike racks for the first time on buses, the city's small but avid corps of bicyclists say it's a little easier to get around, but cars still rule.

About 100 people participated yesterday in the annual Bike to Work Day, joining in group rides that started in different parts of the city and converged at Hemming Plaza downtown.

Even when gathered in groups, the bikers remained a distinct minority on the roads during the morning rush hour. But the cyclists said they think more people would ride in Jacksonville if the city had a system of interconnected bike lanes.

"What will happen is you're going along and then suddenly the bike lane stops, and then what do you do?" said Joan Schwab, who wore a vest with "One Less Car" written on it.

"We spend a tremendous amount of money to make it easy to get in your car and zoom everywhere," said Stan Sanford, owner of Champion Cycling and Fitness. "But we still haven't done all the details for bikes."

In 1996, the city enacted a requirement in its comprehensive plan for the addition of bike lanes whenever a road is built or widened. But that has not caused any overnight improvement, since roadwork typically takes years to plan, design and build.

But in the coming years, bicyclists will find more lanes opening up for their use as the state Department of Transportation, Jacksonville Transportation Authority and the city Public Works Department widen and lengthen roads citywide.

For instance, the widening of Atlantic Boulevard from four lanes to six will add bike lanes for almost five miles between Florida 9A and San Pablo Road.

It is scheduled for completion later this year, as is the Baldwin-Jacksonville Rail Trail on the Westside, which will feature a 14.5-mile mile paved trail for biking.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is also moving ahead with plans to put bike racks on all its buses. …

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