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Downtown Bike Facilities Proposed

The Centre Region has an extensive bikeway network. The major deficiency of the network, and the factor preventing its function as a coherent bicycle transportation system is its failure to connect bikeways coming from the periphery into the downtown Central Business District and the Penn State campus. This deficiency is the most common complaint heard from local cyclists, and is the reason for not riding cited most frequently by would-be bike commuters who are not comfortable cycling on congested downtown streets without on-road bicycle facilities. Centre Region Bicycle Coalition presents this proposal to the Borough of State College for resolving the deficiencies and transforming our disparate bicycle facilities into a true transportation system. The elements of the plan include:

  • A bike/bus only lane on College Avenue to be created by removing parking on the campus side of the street. The lane would connect to the bikeway from Lemont when it is developed by College Township . It would extend to the west of Atherton Street to serve the West Village as it develops. This facility will improve both transit and bicycle travel downtown, and will enhance the capacity of College Avenue by creating three travel lanes, two of which are free of buses. This project could be accompanied by widening of the sidewalk on the south (downtown) side of College Ave.
  • A bike lane on Beaver Avenue from the Ferguson Township boundary to the College Township boundary.
  • Creation of a westbound bike lane on Calder Alley to allow bikes, but not cars, could go both directions. Such contraflow bicycle traffic on one-way streets is in successful use in several cities in the U.S. and Canada . Alternatively, reversing the direction of one way traffic on Calder would accommodate eastbound bicycle traffic on Calder with westbound traffic on College Avenue .
  • Extension of the Garner Street bike lanes to College Avenue to connect with the Shortlidge Street bike lanes currently in planning by PSU.
  • Bike Lanes on Burrowes Street to connect with the planned PSU Burrowes bike lanes.

Police to Enforce Bike Lights

State College Police Chief Thomas King indicated last week that a targeted enforcement effort will be directed at cyclists violating the law requiring lights on bicycles operated at night on streets. This safety measure is being undertaken because of increasing numbers of cyclists riding at night without lights. Ticketing will begin in a few weeks. King indicated that the initial phase of enforcement will likely consist of tickets which will carry no fine if the offender presents proof within a short time that the lighting deficiency has been corrected.

Relevant Section in the bike code:

Section 3507. Lamps or other equipment on pedalcycles.

(a) Lamps and reflectors. — Every pedalcycle when in use between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped on the front with a lamp which emits a beam of white light intended to illuminate the pedalcycle operator’s path and visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front, a red reflector facing to the rear which shall be visible at least 500 feet to the rear, and an amber reflector on each side . Operators of pedalcycles may supplement the required front lamp with a white flashing lamp, light-emitting diode or similar device to enhance their visibility to other traffic and with a lamp emitting a red flashing lamp, light emitting diode or similar device visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear. A lamp or lamps worn by the operator of a pedalcycle shall comply with the requirements of this subsection if the lamp or lamps can be seen at the distances specified.

New Campus Bike Plan Unveiled

The current campus ban of bicycling on sidewalks would be eliminated.

PSU Director of Transportation Teresa Davis and landscape architect Thomas Flynn presented Penn State’s new campus bike/ped traffic plan at CRBC’s January meeting. If approved and implemented, Davis and Flynn said the plan should improve safety and better connect campus destinations while improving links to the regional bikeway network. The current campus ban of bicycling on sidewalks would be eliminated, but bikes would not be allowed on sidewalks adjacent to roads. Bikes traffic would mix with motor traffic on campus streets.

The plan includes:
•  Bike climbing lanes for steep uphill road sections (Burrowes and Shortlidge Streets).
•  Showering and changing facilities within a five minute walk of all major campus destinations.
•  More Bike racks on campus
•  Covered bike parking within five minutes of major destinations.
•  Large bike parking courts at major destinations.
•  Secure bike parking rooms in residence halls.
•  Bike paths along Park Avenue and University Drive .
•  On-road bike lanes or separated paths around the periphery of campus.
•  More effective snow clearance from paths and around bike parking.
•  A new path to connect campus to Millbrook Marsh and the Puddintown extension of the College Township Bikeway.
•  An education program for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers to ensure the plan works effectively.

CRBC has suggested a mandatory bicycle education class for all entering freshmen, similar to the successful online course in use at Cornell University. This course could be given along with the new alcohol education course required for entering PSU freshmen. CRBC members and PSU officials traveled to Ithaca three years ago to study Cornell’s bike education program and declared it a useful model for Penn State. When asked if an effort will be made to enforce the 15 mph campus speed limit since the plan forces cyclists to mix with motor vehicle traffic, Davis and Flynn said they were advised that 15 mph speed limits are not enforceable in Pennsylvania. It was pointed out that 15 mph is enforced in school zones and that PSU is a school.