EAST LANSING, Mich. — With more than 50,000 students returning to campus in just a few weeks, the safety of bicyclists is getting a big boost.
Almost a half mile in one lane of southbound Bogue Street is now a two-way protected bicycle path separated from vehicles by a combination of surface-mounted curbs and break-away bollards. The change is part of a pilot project to determine if pedestrian and bicyclist safety is improved by the separation in the high-traffic area.
“Spartans are always looking for new and innovative ways to solve the world’s problems – even right here on campus – so I look forward to seeing the results of the effort. Perhaps this can become a new standard for us,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “It is also an excellent example of the city and university working together to benefit students, area residents and MSU employees.”
Previously the stretch of Bogue Street from Grand River Avenue to the MSU River Trail, near Owen and Van Hoosen halls, involved bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles all converging at the same point. The hope is the dedicated path will encourage bicyclists to use the lane instead of the sidewalk as approximately 90 percent of bicycle crashes on campus happen on sidewalks.
Success will be measured by reviewing data from traffic cameras and incident reports to see if intersection backups are reduced, if there are no crashes in the bicycle lane and if more bicycles are using the lane versus the sidewalk.
“Our community is constantly seeking safe, sustainable transportation options and new area housing developments will increase that demand,” said East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows. “This is the perfect time to try something brand new and it’s a first for mid Michigan.”
The Bogue Street protected bicycle path will be open through October. If safety improves and results of public feedback are positive, the dedicated bicycle path may become permanent next year.
Already designated a silver-level Bike Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists, MSU offers 20.5 miles of on-street bicycle lanes, two secure bike parking facilities and eight do-it-yourself repair and air stations. The university also hosts a bike shop in Bessey Hall that sells, rents and repairs bicycles. The City of East Lansing has been designated a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists and continues to encourage non-motorized transportation through a variety of projects and initiatives.