Bike lane survey set

BAR HARBOR — A plan to build bicycle lanes on the Crooked Road took a step forward last week when councilors approved the expenditure of up to $32,000 from the sidewalk repair account to survey the road.

The funding was approved on a split 4-3 vote. Councilors Clark Stivers, Gary Friedmann, Anne Greenlee and Peter St. Germain supported the action. Burt Barker, Paul Paradis and Matt Hochman opposed.

Town Manager Cornell Knight said he was asked during budget review meetings last month to bring the survey proposal forward. He said building the bike lanes had been listed in the council’s goals in previous years.

“This project is particularly germane now,” Friedmann said, “with new bike access on Route 3.” The state Department of Transportation project to rebuild four miles of that road includes wider shoulders and a multi-use path separate from the roadway, both of which make cycling safer. “If we have bike lanes on the Crooked Road, you’ll be able to commute by bike from Town Hill into town with relative ease and safety,” he said.

Other councilors balked at the lack of information about next steps. An engineering study also would be needed at a price tag of around $100,000, and the project itself could top $1 million, said Paradis, council chair.

The land survey will be useful to the town whether or not bike lanes are built, St. Germain said. “We don’t know where [the road] is” precisely enough, he said.

Public Works Director Chip Reeves agreed that the survey would be “good information to have.” The $32,000 budget includes right-of-way acquisition costs in some areas, he said.

Resident and Parking Solutions Task Force member Mary Booher said building more bike lanes “fits into the big picture for parking.”

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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