Transit head OKs bike lanes on King Street

Transit head OKs bike lanes on King Street

By Derrick Perkins (File photo)

Despite protests from neighbors, a stretch of King Street will get bike lanes after all.

Rich Baier, the city’s director of transportation and environmental services, made the decision last month after weeks of heated debate. The project would remove 27 parking spaces on King Street, between Russell Road and Janneys Lane, while adding bike lanes and safety improvements for pedestrians.

Opponents, many of them neighbors, have argued that the parking spaces are needed. They also believe encouraging cyclists to use that stretch of roadway will make it more dangerous.

After it went before the traffic and parking board in November, members encouraged transit officials to conduct more public outreach before forging ahead. But the decision, ultimately, rested with Baier.

“I have taken every comment and concern under consideration,” Baier wrote in a letter to the public. “I walked, drove and rode my own bike up and down King Street to make sure that I experienced the roadway from the perspective of all street users. It was this experience that affirmed my belief that it is imperative to implement a plan that improves the safety concerns highlighted as part of this project.”

Work is expected to begin later this year.