The city of Lacey is exploring options for bike lanes, including a north-south route from Lacey Boulevard to Yelm Highway.
At Thursday evening’s City Council meeting, Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder addressed comments from two people who spoke in favor of adding bike lanes to College Street as part of the city’s planned widening of that arterial.
“It is a priority for this council,” Ryder said about exploring options for bike lanes in the city.
College Street, however, is not a safe route for most bicyclists because of the number of entry and exit points, he said.
Michelle Kautzman, co-owner of Joy Ride Bikes in Lacey, urged the council to advance any possible legislation that will support nonmotorized transportation.
“Let’s work together to help get the people of Lacey out of their cars and into the community,” she read from a statement.
This isn’t the first time bicyclists have called for bike lanes on College Street. Resident Vaughn Nelson of Lacey last month also urged the council to accommodate bicyclists on the same street.
“College Street is a dead end for most cyclists in the city of Lacey,” he said.
College Street, between Lacey Boulevard to just north of 37th Avenue Southeast, is set to be widened from 45 feet to 61 feet, including a 3-foot shoulder. The total project is expected to cost more than $30 million.
Public Works director Scott Egger said the city looked at increasing the size of the road shoulder from 3 feet to 5 feet to accommodate bicyclists, but it would have cost an additional $1.7 million: $1.2 million in construction and $500,000 to buy right-of-way property.
In follow-up comments online, Nelson says that lanes could be added with little change to the overall cost and without the need to purchase right-of-way property.
“I don’t want to see the city displacing anybody,” he said.
Egger said the other reason not to widen the shoulder is because bicyclists already have a north-south route on the Chehalis-Western Trail.