CUMBERLAND — A new $75,000 grant, with plans to add bicycle lanes to Frederick and Bedford streets, has been awarded to the city from the Maryland Bikeways Program.
The proposed addition of a bike lane will cause the extended portion of Frederick Street, which is currently two lanes, to be reduced to one lane.
“We have now become a place where a lot of bikers come,” said John DiFonzo, city engineer.
DiFonzo said that cyclists come mainly for the C&O Canal Towpath and Great Allegheny Passage.
“But they are also riding our streets,” said DiFonzo.
The largest change as a result of the addition of the bicycle lanes will be on Frederick Street.
On the extended portion of Frederick, where the surface becomes concrete and the road becomes two lanes, the new bike lane will be added on the right side. Therefore, automobile parking, which is currently on the right side, will be moved to the left side.
The addition of the 5- to 6-foot wide bike lane will also cause Frederick Street to drop to a single lane.
“I think it will be good because of the children. People were going too fast out there. I think it will slow cars down and make it safer,” said Nicole Wagoner, city councilwoman and an official with the Bicycle Advisory Commission.
DiFonzo said they do not plan to eliminate parking spaces. They also plan to leave enough space to allow cars turning left to pull over before making the turns.
Plans drawn for the new bike lanes will be on display during an open meeting hosted by the city. Officials scheduled the event to receive public comment. The meeting will be held Feb. 20 at the Cornerstone Baptist Church Institute at 930 Bedford St. in Room One from 5 to 7 p.m.
“We are hoping some good ideas will come from the meeting,” said DiFonzo.
Places like the narrow portion of Frederick Street between Decatur Street and Linden Street will have to be handled with care.
“There will be some places where we’ll have to place ‘Share the Road,’ signs,” said DiFonzo.
Bedford Street will also pose some challenges for a bike lane.
DiFonzo also said that the bike lane may have to be reduced to about 4 feet on Bedford Street to accommodate tight situations. Also, some road repairs may have to be done on Bedford to make the road smooth enough for a bicycle.
“We will have to take things block by block,” he said.
The plans will have to be approved at various stages along the way. The Maryland State Highway Administration will also have to give final approval for the project.
“Our goal is get it going by late summer,” said DiFonzo.
The bicycle lanes are an effort to continue to connect the communities’ bicycle lanes to allow for designated biking routes to be established.
Greg Larry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.