GR to add racks, lanes, repair stands as bike use rises

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids is about to get more bicycle friendly.

Wednesday, the Downtown Development Authority approved up to $125,000 already allocated in the 2020 fiscal budget to fund new bicycle lanes, racks and repair stands, among other things.

The improvements are part of the city’s Bicycle Action Plan released in July. However, the upgrades were “put into a sharper focus” in the last couple months because of COVID-19, according to Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Planning and Design Director Mark Miller.

The need for social distancing has forced the RAPID to suspend its downtown area shuttle service, change its route schedules and limit service to essential travel. Meanwhile, sales at local bicycle shops have spiked, leading to more riders on city streets.

About $4,000 of the approved funding will go towards adding on-street bicycle lanes and connections at the following locations:

  • 4th Street from Front Avenue NW to Scribner Avenue NW
  • 6th Street from Monroe Avenue NW to Front Avenue NW
  • River Edges Trail crossing at 6th Street
  • Front Avenue from Watson Street SW to Butterworth Street SW
  • Logan Street from Grandville Avenue SW to Century Avenue SW

Nearly $19,000 of the funding is slated for improving on-street bicycle lanes at the following sections of Division Avenue:

  • North of the Michigan Street overpass
  • At Crescent Street NW
  • At Fountain Street NE

About $50,000 will go toward bicycle parking and repair stations.

The city plans to install at least 129 bike racks throughout downtown, leading to 233 more spots where riders can safely lock their bikes. At least 25 of those will be single-bicycle racks mounted to parking meters.

Roughly $52,000 will pay for data collection, analysis and designing bicycle infrastructure in five locations, including Division Avenue.

Crews are expected to start adding the bicycle traffic markings this month, finishing by June 30. The bicycle racks and repair stands will be installed this summer.