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South Prospect Street bike lane aims to increase safety

November 19, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Hagerstown officials hope a new bicycle lane on South Prospect Street will kill two birds with one stone, giving bicyclists a safe place to ride and also encouraging motorists to slow down, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said.

"By narrowing the travel lane, it has a tendency to slow people down," he said.

The city has been working with a Neighborhoods First group on South Prospect street to find ways to slow traffic, Tissue said. They discussed many options, but most were either too costly or were not agreeable to the neighborhood residents, he said.

The line for the new bike lane was painted two weeks ago, but the markings that say "bike lane" were not added until this week because the contractor didn't have the proper stencils, Tissue said.

South Prospect Street was a good candidate for a bike lane because it is part of a 10-mile "Hub City Bike Loop" that connects to Fairgrounds Park, Tissue said. In the future, Tissue said he hopes to add bike lanes to other streets, forming a complete bicycle network throughout the city. He said he plans to discuss the idea with the Hagerstown City Council in December.

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Some city streets are not wide enough for bike lanes, but Prospect Street was a good fit based on both the width of the street and its extra-wide parking spaces, which allow enough room for people to access parked vehicles without blocking the bicycle lane, Tissue said.

The lane was designed to meet the regulations in a Maryland State Highway Administration design guide for bicycle lanes, he said.

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