Dedicated bike lanes considered for Flagler Drive

Dedicated bike lanes considered for Flagler Drive

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- West Palm Beach could soon do something that's never been done before when it comes to bike riding. Mayor Jeri Muoio wants to close off a lane used by cars and make it just for bicyclists . The Mayor came up with the idea after a recent trip to Copenhagen where she studied ideas to make cities more livable, walkable and bike-able.

Local cyclist and owner of the Bicyclery , Tom Rassiga says the idea is a good beggining. "You've got to start somewhere and I think it's a great start. It's a very small section that would service very few people, but it's a start."

The city is exploring the idea of making a stretch of Flagler Drive the first roadway downtown to have separate bike-only lanes.

"We're in a unique opportunity where we can cycle year round for the most part," Rassiga said. "If there was the ability to do that I think a lot more people would."

According to the city, Flagler Drive from Lakeview Avenue to Banyan Boulevard would be redesigned down to two driving lanes. One northbound lane and one southbound lane. The rest of the space would be dedicated to cyclists.

Not everyone is on board  with the potential change.

"It would be  kind of tight," said local driver Allen Morin. "I don't know how that would work actually. You need to have something for the bikers to go in, but I mean during season it gets kind of crazy here. So that would be kind of scary actually. Having less travel lanes, you're going to have people with cars that are going to be kind of congested with bicyclists."

For local bicyclists like Rassiga, congestion is the least of his worries.

"Multiple accidents, been cut off by cars, stuff thrown at me by vehicles, people in cars yelled at to get on the sidewalk, you name it I've had it," Rassiga said laughing.

Traffic engineers are hoping to have preliminary research completed by the end of the year.

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