City planners discuss adding more bike routes in Central Texas

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 3:32pm

For the past three days, the Metropolitan Planning Organization of McLennan County has been holding community meetings regarding the addition of more bicycle lanes. The targeted areas for placement are Hewitt, Lacy Lakeview, and Waco. Officials hope the lanes would provide more safety, increase activity, and cut down on air pollution.

"It's just a lot of fun, you know, being able to be out there on the open road," said Grayson Meek, Baylor Cycling Club President.
 

Meek feels adding more bike lanes in Waco, would be a great thing. And, this issue is extra personal for him because he's had a hip fractured in the past from a crash where a car hit him and knocked him off his bike, near Hewitt.

"It made me stronger and more passionate, definitely gave me a story and experience to tell. I don't want anyone else to go through that," said Meek.
 

So, metropolitan planning leaders have been meeting with the community to measure the demand and draw out where more bike lanes are needed. As for right now, there's about five miles of bike lanes, spread across downtown Waco.
 

"There's bike lanes on Fourth and Fifth Streets, and there's also bicycle lanes on Park Lake and Panther Way," said Felix Landry, Planner for the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the City of Waco as well as the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator.
 

The bike lanes in place now were all completed within the last two years, costing more than 50-thousand dollars. Baylor and the McLennan County Health District support the notion and have helped foot the bill. Additionally, bike lanes, officials say, aren't just for safety.
 

"It cuts down on traffic congestion. It cuts down on the need for wider roads. It also helps with the air quality issues that Waco is currently dealing with," said Landry.
 

Ultimately, the goal is to have paths that would connect Baylor, Downtown Waco, and Cameron Park. Then, down the road, planners hope to somehow connect Waco, Hewitt, and Lacy Lakeview.

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