City leaders encourage bike use

Thursday, May 15th 2008, 5:54 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

Oklahoma City leaders are hoping people will leave their cars in the driveway on Friday and hop on their bikes.

Friday is the city's annual Bike to Work day. Leaders have hosted the event for several years as a way to encourage people to use bikes. Now, they are trying to make the city more bicycle-friendly.

Hal McKnight is an avid cyclist who serves on the city's trails advisory committee. McKnight said the city is slowing changing the mindset that cars rule.

"We've just recently got the Oklahoma City council to accept and approve the Oklahoma City bicycle transportation plan that calls for 220 miles of trail to be delineated on city streets," he said.

The trails would resemble bike lanes like the one on N Shartel Avenue between NW 30 and 50 streets. As part of the Share the Road project, the lanes will include markings and sings that indicate the lanes are designated bike routes, said Susan Miller with the Oklahoma City planning department.

The first phase of the Share the Road project will create bike lanes throughout the core of the city from Main street downtown, west to Portland Avenue and east to Eastern Avenue. A second phase will add another 300 miles of lanes reaching farther out.

"We hope that people will start using bikes for riding to work, for recreation, for all types of reasons, but more people feel comfortable on the roadway network," Miller said.

The Share the Road program is being funded through the latest bond issue. Officials said it will be two to three years before construction of the lanes begins.