Bogue Street Pilot Project Will Turn One Car Lane Into Two Protected Bike Lanes
Above: A photograph of protected bike lanes similar to what has been proposed for Bogue Street's west side.
Update, August 6: This story originally ran at ELi on July 23. We are running it again because the City announced today that the conversion of one car lane to two bike lanes on Bogue Street will happen this week.
Mixing of bicyclists and pedestrians on Michigan State University sidewalks has become a safety issue that some local experts feel can no longer be overlooked. This is especially true along campus streets without bike lanes for cyclists to move with and around cars, buses, and other motorized vehicles – not to mention pedestrians, who are supposed to be given the right of way by all.
One localized solution might be in place soon in the form of a protected bike lane on the westernmost lane of Bogue Street between Grand River Avenue and Shaw Lane.
Thomas Baumann, chairman of the Transportation Commission, introduced the Bogue Street Protected Bike Lane pilot project to the City Council at its July 16 meeting, one day after the Commission met with members of MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities and RS Engineering of Lansing.
Baumann and his team were favorably impressed and support unanimously the “advanced concept” of a first-ever protected bike lane for East Lansing, especially for very busy areas in front of the Broad College of Business, and where the River Trail meets Bogue Street.
“It will be interesting to see what the project data shows and how we can move forward with bike infrastructure that makes it safer for all users of that corridor,” Baumann said.
Robert Rayl, co-founder of RS Engineering, delivered the majority of the slide presentation to Council, during which he highlighted the key objectives of the pilot project. The pilot is scheduled to begin in mid-August and run through the end of October, so as to coincide with the beginning of the fall semester and include several home football games.
The project centers on the temporary installation of a protected, two-way “cycle track” in place of what is now the outside vehicle lane of southbound Bogue Street, between Grand River Avenue and Shaw Lane. Southbound Bogue street would go from two lanes for motorized vehicles to one to make this possible.
The snapshot below shows the protected bike lane in that westernmost lane of Bogue Street, along with the installation of new crosswalks and bike lanes near Waters Edge Drive and Auditorium Road.
Each bike lane, including the one moving north and the one moving south, would be 4 feet wide. The plan includes 2 feet of separation between the northbound bike track and the remaining southbound car and bus lane.
In short, the protected bike lane will separate pedestrians from bikes and e-scooters, and maintain pathways for cars and buses, albeit with one less southbound lane for cars and buses. The protected bike lane will provide “high visibility in mixing areas,” especially busy intersections such as Bogue Street and Shaw Lane, and Bogue Street and Waters Edge Drive.
In order to accomplish the separation, Rayl’s team will use removable tape pavement markings (shown in the image below), temporary signs, a “Qwick Kurb” channelizing system, tubular markers, concrete bollards and barricades – all of which can be removed if traffic operation or safety concerns arise.
The ultimate goal of the pilot project is to collect data during implementation, review the operation and safety, seek feedback, and determine if a permanent installation would benefit the community. If it works, the same design might also be used elsewhere.
At one point in his presentation, Rayl asked: “How do we get bikes across Bogue in a separate environment from vehicles and pedestrians?" He told Council, "the main situation is at south end where we have a lot of bike traffic and pedestrians crossing behind Owen [Hall] and McDonel [Hall] going to the Business School, and then trying to get to the River Trail.”
Council member Aaron Stephens was quick to commend the goal of reducing congestion around the entrance to campus from Cedar Village, and for making it potentially safer to cross at Waters Edge Drive.
“A great thing to look at,” Stephens said. “I cannot express enough gratitude for this effort … the Bogue Street/Business College area has needed separation for years. I remember trying to get across Bogue to the Business College as a hectic experience.”
Council member Erik Altmann said the approach here was "exactly right" in that it did not "induce demand" for car traffic, but rather invited bicyclists rather than cars with the design. Council member Shanna Draheim agreed.
When contacted for further comment after the Council session, Rayl declined “until after additional approvals from the necessary stakeholders are obtained for the project. Once these are in place, further information will be available.”
Note: Lansing Bike Party is organizing local bicyclists to attend the August 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new design. Read more here.
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