Bike lanes discussion set

INDEPENDENCE -- The City of Independence is looking for public input regarding a proposed addition of bike lanes along Monmouth Street.

INDEPENDENCE -- The City of Independence is looking for public input regarding a proposed addition of bike lanes along Monmouth Street.

The Traffic Safety Commission will hold a meeting to review plans at 6 p.m. on June 20 at City Hall.

Adding new bike lanes was one of the methods proposed by the commission to alleviate the traffic flow of cars and improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on Monmouth Street.

Bike lanes that currently end near 8th Street will be extended all the way to 3rd Street.

Carl Nightengale, traffic safety technician for the Independence Police Department, said he made a request for the improvements a few months ago to the Oregon Department of Transportation, which maintains Monmouth Street/Highway 51.

Nightengale said the lanes would allow cars to see cyclists more clearly. Because they would also effectively eliminate on-street parking, "it would also allow drivers to spot pedestrians without having to look over a vehicle," he said.

ODOT had previously agreed to stripe the lanes at no cost to the city, Nightengale said.

"They were here two weeks ago with trucks, ready to paint," he said. "But we want to let the public have input.

Nightengale said he has heard concerns about prohibiting parking on Monmouth Street.

"That's the biggest objection right now," he said. "There are people who have said that the city is running out of parking spaces."

If the improvements go through, the lanes could be installed this summer.

The commission had previously considered a morning parking ban out of concern for heavily used crosswalks at 4th, 5th and 7th streets and city street-sweeper access.

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