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Bike lane with bike path

A bike lane is situated next to a bike path along University Avenue, just west of Whitney Way.

A portion of University Avenue west of Whitney Way was recently repaved and restriped with new traffic markings. It’s peculiar that there’s a bike lane in the roadway, just feet from the newly paved bike path. Why is there the need for both?

It’s an unusual juxtaposition to have a bike lane and bike path in such close proximity but their coexistence is intended to provide different kinds of bicyclists options in one of the city’s busiest corridors, said David Dryer, traffic engineer and parking utility manager.

The unusual layout exists because of the unique challenges posed by the area.

Typically city engineers strive for a mixture of local streets, arterial streets and collector streets, which connect the local streets to the arterial streets.

The variety of streets allows bicyclists and motorists some flexibility in choosing where they want to ride or drive.

“In the University Avenue corridor west of Whitney Way there is not a good network of local and collector streets due to the lake, the railroad, and other quirks of geography and development. University Avenue is pretty much the only way to get through this area,” Dryer said.

With the new arrangement, whether you’re in training wheels or training for the Tour de France, there’s a bike route to accommodate different types of riders.

“Bicyclists who want the faster trip will use the bike lanes on the street. Those who prefer a slower, calmer environment generally will use the side path,” Dryer said.

— Jeff Glaze

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