On Sept. 10, the City’s first bike lanes were completed along Smith Street, as well as “sharrow” marked bike routes along Winona Avenue and McKinley Street. These new markings and signage created 1.8 miles of new bicycle facilities and were made possible thanks to grant funding to the City from the K21 Health Foundation.
On July 20, the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety accepted a grant from the K21 Health Foundation for $24,000 to incorporate bicycle facilities into the Smith Street resurfacing project and to continue those facilities to Winona Lake and a planned trailhead site on McKinley Street.
The effort to improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities is being spearheaded by the Ride+Walk Advisory Committee, a 17-person committee comprised of community members and government officials from Warsaw, Winona Lake and Kosciusko County.
“The K21 Health Foundation is proud to partner with the City of Warsaw and Ride+Walk Advisory Committee on this project to introduce some of the first dedicated bike facilities in the city,” said Rich Hadded, president and CEO of the K21 Health Foundation. “Part of the mission is to improve opportunities for citizens to pursue healthy lifestyles and decisions. This project supports that mission by not only providing a safe facility for recreational riding, but also a safe facility for commuting to school, work and shopping versus taking a car.”
The new markings and signage connect to Lakeview Middle School, the Kosciusko County fairgrounds, Winona Lake and the future Krebs Trailhead Park along McKinley Street.
Smith Street features dedicated lanes for bicycles on each side of the road. The lanes have bike symbols with arrows pointing in the correct direction of travel, which is the same direction as vehicular traffic. Black Bike Lane and green destination way-finding signs have been added along Smith street.
While it is recommended to ride in the bike lanes, cyclists still have a right to the full vehicular travel lane and should signal and merge when planning a left turn.
Winona Avenue and McKinley Street feature bike routes marked with “sharrows.” A sharrow is a bicycle symbol with two chevrons that indicate the correct direction of travel, safe riding position in the lane, and that motorists and bicycles should share the road. “Share the Road” signs line these streets, and remind everyone to always safely share the travel lane and allow at least three feet of passing space. “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs serve as reminders that bikes have an equal right to as much driving space as they need to be safe.
The type of appropriate facility for a road is determined by traffic counts and speed, the type of traffic, the width of the road, and other safety-related factors. When riding on any bike facility or road, cyclists are expected to follow the same laws and rules as cars, including stopping at stop signs and signaling turns.
For more information on these new bicycle facilities, safe riding, or the Ride+Walk Warsaw+Winona Lake efforts, call Staci Young at (574) 372-9554 ext. 224, email [email protected], or visit www. facebook.com/RWWWL.