Archive for Thursday, September 3, 2009

Can compromise be found on 83rd Street bike ban?

September 3, 2009

Although they are often viewed that way because of our association with them from our childhood, bicycles far more than a toy. They are a wonderful technology that extends our human physical capabilities in a simple way. They’re great exercise and an environmentally friendly transportation.

Unfortunately, many of our roads were simply not built with bicycles in mind. And, regretfully, 83rd Street in De Soto east of Kill Creek Road is one of those roads. In fact, the old state highway dating from the 1930s wasn't built for today's traffic. It's narrow, has little or no shoulders, its hills are uncut and low points unfilled.

When it voted to retain the ban on bicycles on the stretch of 83rd Street in east De Soto, the De Soto City Council agreed to revisit that decision when improvements to the road are complete. Though the work is far from finished, the new curb and guttering on the road did nothing to widen the road and only provides visual emphasis of how narrow the road is.

The ordinance the council was to consider to lift the ban conceded the road was dangerous for bicycles and that cyclists were advised not to use it. That wording alone seems an argument to retain the ban.

It's unfortunate no other viable route links De Soto with Johnson County cities to the east and that reality is not likely to change anytime soon. It's a situation that angers bottled-up cyclists to the east yearning for the great riding that is to De Soto's west.

It doesn’t appear the ban should be lifted, but there could be room for compromise that would allow cycling during weekends when traffic volume is low and local motorist could be made aware of their possible present. We would encourage the council to search for such a compromise.

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