Credit: Shannon Cornman

Last month, Edmond City Council approved a master plan to create more than 140 miles of bike lanes in and around Edmond.

City planners said the need for safer bike lanes stemmed from public interest in both the fitness aspects of bike riding and, with gas prices, the need for alternative modes of transportation.

“There are a lot of reasons why people are interested in riding bikes,” said Jan Ramseyer-Fees, Edmond city planner. “It saves money. There’s less damage to the road. No emission. It’s a great form of exercise. Plus, it’s fun.”

Creating lanes might seem like a relatively easy task, but making Edmond more walkable — a joint effort of the public and private sectors — has taken almost a year to get off the ground.

“We have to make the roads safer, a place where bikes and cars can coexist,” said Steve Commons, Edmond city manager of administration. “It’s all about education and planning. We have to make both vehicle traffic and bicyclists aware so our streets are safe for everybody.”

At an expected cost of $17.2 million, the plan calls for more visible signage, wider shared lanes and additional bike lanes on existing Edmond streets.

The project will be implemented in stages. Construction is scheduled to begin in June, with a pilot program to create bike lanes on University Boulevard along the west side of the University of Central Oklahoma.

“If you don’t have a car, like many students at UCO, a bike is a good option,” said Ramseyer-Fees. “That’s why we’re starting with University Boulevard.”

Plans also exist to make a trail for riders wishing to stay off main roads.

The Arcadia Lake Trail Coalition, a private group, intends to develop an 18-mile trail system around Lake Arcadia. Ramseyer-Fees said the Spring Creek Trail will begin at Wellness Park, go under Interstate 35 to Spring Creek Park, and then to Arcadia to encircle the lake.

The trail around Arcadia Lake will cost roughly $800,000 a mile. The coalition will host a fundraising campaign to help pay for the project.

“We need a healthier society, and bicycling, walking, and being outdoors are healthy activities,” said Ramseyer-Fees.

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