City Council Combined Special Meeting/Work Session

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Meeting Date: 05/23/2023  
From: David Lemcke, Transportation Engineer Associate
Department: Engineering and Capital Improvements  

Butler and Beaver Pilot Bike Program Update
Staff recommend removing the separated bike lanes on both roads and replacing them with a painted bike buffer. Staff also recommend pursuing a raised sidewalk design to construction with Safe Streets for All (SS4A) grant funding to replace the separated bike lanes. 
This update is a continuation of an evaluation from June 2022. At the previous update in June 2022, Staff had recommended the separated bike lanes be removed on Butler Avenue but maintained on Beaver Street. The Council at that time felt there had been insufficient time to decide to remove the pilot project and directed staff to keep the separated facilities intact on both roadways for further data collection. The Council also expressed interest in seeing how the separated facilities would perform in a more severe winter.

Staff have evaluated the pilot bike lanes since June 2022 on the following performance measures:
  • Maintenance
  • Bicycle usage
  • Crash data
Based on the most recent evaluation, Staff have determined that the separated bike lanes should be removed due to excessive maintenance costs and maintenance complications, bicycle ridership that has either been maintained or decreased since the installation of the barriers, and an increase in vehicle crashes that has occurred on Butler Ave since the barriers have been installed. Maintenance costs rose from $51,135.00 to $89,319.00 during this last winter season, an increase of $38,184.00, and it will cost an additional $200,000 to bring the separated infrastructure back to original conditions. Since the barriers have been installed, there have been 49 reported crashes along the Butler Avenue corridor, which is 22 additional crashes over the average number of crashes typically seen along the corridor.

Staff have gathered feedback from the Transportation Commission and the Bicycle Advisory Committee, their recommendations can be seen below:

Transportation Commission:
  • A majority of commissioners support removing the Butler Avenue separated bike lanes and replacing it with a painted buffer, but feel the Beaver Street separated bike lanes should remain. All of the commissioners supported the long-term plan of raising the bike lane to the same level as the sidewalk.
Bicycle Advisory Committee
  • All of the committee members do not recommend removing any of the separated facilities unless there is a funded alternative measure to replace them. All of the committee members expressed support for raising the bike lane to the same level as the sidewalk. The committee also recommended investigating reducing the speed limit on Butler Avenue and exploring education techniques to teach people to look out for bicyclists, how to share the road, and the dangers of speeding.
Please see the attached presentation for more information.
Pilot Bike Lanes Presentation


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