By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – Motorists who use parts of Main and Fort Wayne streets are likely heading into a crash course on bike lanes.
Representatives of the Ride-Walk committee announced plans Monday night, Sept. 21, that new bike lanes on parts of both streets will be spruced up with markers and yard signs to help educate drivers about navigating along marked bike lanes.
The program comes as the city continues to establish more bike lanes.
As of Mid-August, a new buffered bike lane was installed on Main Street traveling west from North Colfax Street and ending at North Park Avenue.
Based on feedback, it’s become apparent that drivers are unaware of the intent of the bike lane and are driving in them.
Due to the infrequency of buffered bike lanes throughout the city and surrounding regions, the confusion provides an opportunity to increase awareness of cyclists, as well as educate motorists, said Assistant City Planner Jonny Latsko in a memo released to city council.
Latsko proposed the temporary deployment of free-standing delineators to separate vehicles from the bike lane.
A delineator will be placed at each intersection within the target area from North Colfax to North Park, within the buffer of the bike lane. Additionally, the bike lane on East Fort Wayne Street will have them placed along each intersection from North Park to North Bronson. Each delineator will be placed 20 feet from the intersection.
The delineators will alert drivers that bike lanes are not intended for motorized travel while turning onto Main.
Informational yard signs will be placed along key intersections drawing attention to the new items, as well as directing people to where they can learn more.
The program is expected to start soon and will continue until the end of October, Latsko said.
Costs of the program will be paid through cigarette tax revenues.
In other business, city council:
- Approved a tentative budget for 2021. The entire $27 million budget is tentative and will be reduced significantly in the coming weeks, according to Mayor Joe Thallemer. The city expects to see significant savings in its health care costs, but is still waiting to learn how much of a loss there might be from road tax revenues and income tax as a result of the pandemic.
- Approved tentative salary proposals for police, fire and elected officials. The current plan is for all employees to receive a 1 percent hike in pay.
- Heard an update on the deer reduction program overseen by city councilman Jeff Grose. The annual program is underway and the deadline to register to participate is Friday, Sept. 25. The program is only accepting trained archers this year.
- Learned they will begin providing a non-binding review for Warsaw Community Library’s annual budget as a result of growth in the city. The change is required by state statute. Kosciusko County Council previously had that role.