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ITD could soon be rolling-out new bike lanes in SE Idaho

As bicycling around the city is becoming increasingly popular, city and state officials are trying to make the streets a safer place for cyclists to ride.

“The more and more bicycles we get on the road, the more we need bike lanes like there are in other cities,” Barrie’s Ski and Sport manager Jonathon Hunt said.

Hunt said he is seeing riding bicycles as an increasing trend – with more people riding to work, and with the warm summer weather upon us, even more just out riding to stay healthy.

However, much of the city’s streets are narrow, not allowing room for a bicycle lane, forcing cyclists to ride on sidewalks or even just out in the middle of the road.

The Idaho Transportation Department has heard the needs of cyclists and, along with the Federal Highway Administration, is holding a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Design course on Monday in order to help help both the state and local governments consider designing streets better-suited for bicycle safety.

The ITD’s senior transportation planner Chris Peirsol said every street is different, so engineers will have to look at each roadway for each of its own specific needs.

“We are going to take a look at that and hopefully each community involved will consider ways they can design the roadways more safely for everybody,” Peirsol said.

Peirsol said they are looking at a multitude of different alternatives such as: renovating sidewalks, crosswalks, and even putting up more signs, to name a few.

Hunt estimates the city is rolling-out more than 1,500 cyclists each week in Pocatello alone.

He said, overall, the relationship between motorists and bicyclists is fairly amicable, but the safety threat is often times still present.

For now, ITD members said they will work to find a way to make the streets safer for both cyclists and pedestrians without compromising drivers’ safety either.

Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinLoukides

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