Council votes to continue expanding bike lanes

Bike lane expansion to continue

     To bike or not to bike. That's the question that faces many cycling enthusiasts in the city. Bike lane advocates say that the lanes aren't properly maintained, and often aren't designed to keep cyclists safe.

     The issue of how to handle bike lanes in the city came up again at City Council on Tuesday. City Rep. Dr. Michiel Noe sought to tackle that issue with a proposed measure to halt building new bike lanes in the city until the issues with existing ones, such as design, maintenance and cleaning can be addressed, and a better plan laid out for the future.

     Supporters of bike lanes say that while there are safety issues with some lanes currently, preventing the expansion of El Paso's bike lane network will hurt the future prospects of bicycling in the city. They also say that the city's transportation planners have agreed to only build new bike lanes following national safety standards.

     "We need to move forward," said Rick Moya of EP Cyclists. "The roads department, Fred Lopez and his team have committed to anything that is produced this day forward is going to meet the NATCO standards, so we can safely know we're doing the right thing, I think that's important."

     But Noe says that until the city takes on the issue as a whole, problems with construction and cleaning could continue.

      "To put a moratorium on these narrow bike lanes," Noe said, "these bad bike lanes, until we can sit down and come up with a budget that will build the correct bike lanes where they're needed, and maintain them the way they should be. And until that happens, we're just throwing more bad money after the first."

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