Campustown and city of Ames to propose new bike lanes


The City of Ames and Campustown are working together to add bike lanes to a number of roads around and to campus. The bike lanes are planned for Lincoln Way, Welch Avenue, Chamberlain Street and 13th Street. Bikers are currently using the same streets as the motorists and this proposal would help take care of this safety issue.

Ryan Leon

The conflict between motorists and cyclists may be nearing a truce in Campustown.

Campustown and the city of Ames are partnering to introduce new bike lanes into some of the major streets on campus. The proposed lanes would be potentially added to Lincoln Way, Welch Avenue, as well as Chamberlain Street and 13th Street.

“Right now, Lincoln [Way] and 13th [Street] are the only ways to get east and west all the way through Ames, and those roads are not always the most bicycle friendly,” said Richard Reynolds, president of the Campustown Action Association.

While bikes already occupy the same lanes on the streets, they are often seen as a nuisance to motorists.

“This conflict has caused many bike-riding students to avoid streets all together, which has caused an influx of bike traffic on campus,” Reynolds said.

The new lanes would alleviate the traffic in both places and give cyclists a safe place to ride on the major streets of Ames.

The bike-lane proposal will be brought up at the January Campustown Action Association board meeting, but there are already some ideas being considered.

One of the most popular ideas is to paint green bicycle lanes on some of the major streets and intersections. The city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, implemented this idea in September and has already seen results.

The lanes are painted in bright green and are visible during the day and the night. These lanes are for cyclists only but can be crossed by cars when making a right-hand turn, pulling into a driveway or parking.

The city and the Campustown Action Association need to develop a plan to deal with the lack of room for construction.

“We can’t really make room for new roads,” said Kim Hanna, director of the Campustown Action Association. “Almost all of our buildings come right up to the property line. That’s why our sidewalks are so small to begin with.”

With the current layout, new construction to widen the road is virtually impossible because Lincoln Way and 13th Street are state highways.

These ideas are meant to make the road a safer place for everyone. Campustown is already a very pedestrian-friendly place and they hope to extend that hospitality to cyclists.

Along with the lanes, Campustown wants to create better street crossings and designated dismount zones for cyclists.

“If we add new crossings and dismount zones, it will help to increase the safety of cyclists as they will be able to get on and off their bikes without disrupting traffic,” Reynolds said.

These new changes could produce major changes for Campustown travel, not only for cyclists, but for everyone on campus. Students will have to wait until January to know the final verdict.