City opens first protected bike lanes on Summit Street

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus is becoming a more biker-friendly city than ever before.

The city has recently unveiled its first protected bike lanes on Summit Street from Hudson St. to E. 11th Ave.

The addition of a protected bike lane will mean lanes open to car traffic will decrease from three to two. There will be a lane for parking, which will act as a buffer between car traffic and cyclists in the bike lane.

The City of Columbus studied the new configuration and concluded the changes could still accommodate all car traffic on this road. Columbus Public Service spokesperson Rick Tilton says the changes to Summit St. will also decrease the speed of cars on this road.  He noted speeding cars has been an ongoing complaint of residents in this area.

Cyclist Daniel Teutla says this new addition will encourage others to ride their bikes.

“For overall health of everybody living here, it is better to promote biking than everyone driving around in a single car polluting the air,” she said.

Cyclist John Hoge tells NBC4 he feels much safer with protected bike lanes.

“I love them. I mean it is great they have a protected parking lane right here along the biking lanes all the way downtown. I just feel so much safer using them.”

Some drivers tell NBC4 the changes are confusing and make driving on this road more dangerous than ever before. Joe Kortheus said it seems more dangerous.

“…you can’t see the bikers if they are turning,” he said. “Also, it is hard to turn if you are coming off a side street like 18th. It is harder to turn because you can’t see cars coming.”

Tilton says the new configuration will require an adjustment period. NBC4 spotted a car driving in the bike lane, as well as pedestrians walking in the bike lanes. Others tell NBC4 cars still park in the bike lanes, too.

An unprotected bike lane will be extended from E. 11th Ave. to I-670 in the spring of 2016 on Summit St. and N. 4th St.

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