Several dozen people turned out Thursday night to question city engineers about plans for making things safer along the bayfront for pedestrians and people on bicycles.
Many of those who gathered at the Museum of Science and History know first hand how dangerous it can be while walking or biking in that area. Complaints about cyclists on Ocean Drive were heard, as well as ideas to narrow some city streets for increased bike and walking paths.
Panelists said the 50 miles of striped bike paths throughout the city are just the start for over 500 miles of streets that need such accommodations. While some in the audience complained about bicyclists on Ocean Drive, others asked why rumble strips can't be placed on the busy street.
"As I was approaching that point, I just happened to see by accident movement out of the corner of my eye, and I backed off and an adult man shot into the lane where my vehicle was, all the way across Ocean Drive, and started up the other way," resident Gene Tackett said. "I slammed on my brakes and I missed that guy."
After some asked why bike lanes disappear at intersections, panelists reminded the audience that bicyclists have a legal right to the roads, not just in marked bike lanes.
Another official said that engineers are planning to narrow Alameda Street between Louisiana and Six Points to just three lanes in order to add bike lanes to both sides.
One member of the audience said she was happy to hear that engineers are planning for pedestrian and bicycle paths in future projects.
"The progress that's been made in terms of thinking about these things ahead of time and saying you know, 'This isn't some tree hugging nut over here, maybe she's got something going on,'" resident Gretchen Arnold said. "It's a significant improvement. It really is."
Of the many things discussed, items included plans to build hike and bike trails along the Shannon Drainage Ditch and the City's intention to transform some abandoned railroad tracks into paved trails to connect different sides of the city.
City engineers say the public will see the new mobility plan on Nov. 12, and the first public hearing on the plan will be held Nov. 17.