Portions of Herring Avenue, 15th Street and Colcord Avenue will be getting bike lanes as part of upcoming city repaving projects.
The city coordinates with the Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization, taking input from local pedestrian and cycling advocates, to incorporate bike lanes or sidewalks where appropriate into roadwork that would be happening anyway. Waco Bicycle Club member Stuart Smith said the three roads up for repaving, and new striping for bike lanes, see a fair amount of bicycle traffic.
“Those are roads that people use a lot and that are wide enough to have bike lanes,” Smith said.
They also connect to other common bike routes, he said.
“A bike lane to nowhere doesn’t help us get there,” Smith said. “I think we’re making good progress. That’s a thing that takes some momentum to get going, but we have that now.”
The new lanes on Herring will run from Fourth Street to 18th A Street. The new lanes on Colcord will run from Fifth Street to 18th Street. And the lanes on 15th Street will run from Herring Avenue to Washington Avenue. No timeline has been announced for the work.
The city has previously announced plans to add bike lanes to Washington Avenue through downtown as part of a conversion of that stretch from one-way traffic to two-way traffic. The lanes on Washington would be separated from motorized traffic by a curbed median, while the others would be created by striping.
Smith said 15th Street is a common route for cyclists looking to cross Waco Drive.
“I think people are starting to feel more comfortable,” Smith said. “I live on 15th Street, and I see lots of people riding their bikes to work. It’s a common thoroughfare, and I think I’m seeing more people.”
During a city council meeting last week, Councilwoman Andrea Barefield said it is important to make residents aware that bike lanes will be added before they are actually in place, particularly in areas like Herring Avenue, where traffic tends to move quickly.
“I live off Herring, and yeah, it’s a little quick,” Barefield said. “So I want to make sure that people on bikes are safe.”
Smith said Herring may be relatively busy, but it is wide enough that cyclists can feel safe while using it.
“From 15th to about Cameron Park Drive, it’s got a lot of capacity,” Smith said. “You’ve got to be a little bolder on Herring once you get over the bridge (over the Brazos River) on Herring going east. Part of that is an experience thing. I ride that all the time. I was on it yesterday, but I understand it would make people nervous.”
City Councilman Jim Holmes said he is excited about the new bike lanes, and about bike lanes planned along Elm Avenue as part of a sweeping reconstruction project.
“As we invest in Washington Avenue and make it the first protected bike lane with a curb … it’s important that that street connects to other bike paths,” Holmes said. “I think this is a great start to get people into the downtown area with that protected lane, and get people around that riverwalk.”
City Councilman John Kinnaird said as more bike lanes come online, he expects to see more people using them, especially when Lime brings its electric scooters to town.
“As we consider these scooters that are about to come to town I think of the utilization of the multimodal path,” Kinnaird said. “Hopefully, there will be some data-sharing alongside that with Lime, so we’ll be able to map out where we might want to provide additional facilities.”
A Lime official has said data-sharing is part of the company’s contract with the city.