Tensions have eased considerably in the month since a committee of neighborhood activists began meeting to try to hash out a solution to a controversy over bike lanes on Glenmore and Hundred Oaks avenues.
“They have made a lot of progress,” says Metro Councilmember C. Denise Marcelle, who represents the district and helped form the committee. “They’re almost to the point of working out an agreement.”
Marcelle declines to discuss specifics about what kind of compromise the two sides may have reached or when they might have a formal resolution. The city’s chief traffic engineer, Ingolf Partenheimer, whose office has a representative on the committee, says it’s still early and several options are on the table. But at least the two sides are working together, which is a considerable improvement over the situation just a few weeks ago, he says.
“They’ve pulled in the claws,” he says. “They’ve realized it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to work it out.”
The bike lanes became an issue in late September, after cycling enthusiasts began demanding that the Baton Rouge Police Department enforce the no-parking regulation that applies to bike lanes. That angered many longtime residents of the two streets, who said they try to respect the bike lanes but want the option of allowing visitors or work crews to park in front of their homes. A petition to remove the bike lanes began circulating in the neighborhood and two heated public hearings were held before Marcelle formed the committee.
Partenheimer says among the options under consideration is construction of a multiuse path along the medians of the two streets. His office is currently conducting a cost analysis of that proposal.
Another possibility is creating shared lane for parking and bikes. A third option is to leave the bike lanes the way they are, re-do speed humps along the two streets and create better lines of communication among those who live in the area and those who bike along Glenmore and Hundred Oaks.