City and town planners across the country are facing an increasingly tense battle—a trifecta of balancing the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians, and automobile drivers.
It can be a planning nightmare, but Mystic Community Bikes, a three-year-old bike sharing program, hopes it can work with planners to create and promote a bike-friendly community that works for all even those not on two wheels.
“Bikes aren’t a solution if they create another parking problem,” said Board of Directors President of Mystic Community Bikes Rich Froh.
The growing bike sharing program faces many of the same issues bicyclists and other bike sharing programs face—promoting a sustainable and active alternative to the car that is safe and enhances the quality of life of all involved.
At each of the ten-bike distribution centers throughout town, bikes come with a helmet and lock. And the program worked with the Mystic Mobility Study to create more bike lanes and more bike parking.
Two members of the Mystic Community Bikes Board of Directors were part of the .
The Mystic Mobility study examined the transportation network throughout Mystic, including how residents and visitors get around. With input from residents, the study made a series of recommendations for improving transportation options.
Stephen A. Gazillo, Director of Transportation Planning for the URS Corporation and member of the Mystic Mobility Study, describes the recommendations as a “‘roadmap’ for developing a more sustainable, livable community in Mystic.”
And while funding to implement any of the recommendations of the Mystic Mobility Study has not been established, part of the recommendations to create a “more sustainable, livable community in Mystic” include improvements for bicyclists.
During the study, Gazillo said they found several trouble areas for bicyclists and would recommend several improvements including:
- Provision of bike racks at all Mobility Hub locations
- Inclusion of bike racks on the trolley vehicles
- Ability of Informational Kiosks to provide bike share information and interface if implemented by bike share at some future point
- Improvements to pavement markings and signing to enhance bike routes. This includes adding “sharrows” in some locations (sharrows are markings that indicate where bikes and cars can share a lane)
- Construction of bike lanes along Coogan Boulevard
- Inclusion of bike route signing and pavement markings throughout the study area
While the study was not directed at the bike share program per se, but rather all cyclists, Gazillo said the mobility hubs, a type of transportation hub providing information on the area, could include bike racks for the bike share program.
“We want parking at the mobility hubs,” Froh said, also mentioning the possibility of advertisements at each hub to let people know where the next bike center was.
Gazzillo pointed out that there is “no universal agreement on the best way to handle bicycle traffic in or adjacent to traffic lanes.”
For now bicyclists, cars, and pedestrians will all have to share the road.