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by on March 20, 2018
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Daily Tribune, Michael P. McConnell

#RoyalOak is getting ready to establish north-south #BikeLane routes through the city this spring.

City Engineer Matt Callahan said officials are working this week to begin soliciting bids from contractors to make the bike route a reality.

“We estimate that construction would take from eight to 10 weeks,” he said, adding that a contractor would be selected in the coming months.

Royal Oak plans to add bike lanes on Campbell Road from 10 Mile to Fourth Street, which already has lanes from Campbell to the downtown.

The main north-south bike route would start on South Washington Avenue at Woodward Avenue and run to Euclid Avenue, just north of Crooks Road. The route would then run east and west on Euclid to Main Street, which would have lanes leading to Normandy at the city’s border with Clawson.

Dedicated bike lanes will be created with striping on the Campbell Road section as part of an overall road resurfacing project over the summer. On South Washington from roughly Woodward to Lincoln, about a half mile, motor traffic lanes will be reduced from four lanes to two and a center turn lane. North of Lincoln cyclists will share the road with motorists and arrows called “sharrows” will be put down and signs added to alert motorists to share the roadway. That route continues up to Euclid and heads to Main Street.

Four motor traffic lanes on Main Street to the border with Clawson near Normandy will be reduced from four lanes to two lanes and a center turn lane, Callahan said. That section of the route heading to the city’s north border covers 1.6 miles of road.

“The work is budgeted at about $1 million,” Callahan said. “But we think it may come in under that.”

Royal Oak is also seeking a $1 million grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to pay for other related upgrades, as well as some work on Crooks Road. Those would include adding a total of six pedestrian crossing islands in the areas on Washington and Main where motor traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction and a center turn lane. A traffic signal is planned to be put in at Euclid and Main so that cyclists can activate the signal to travel north on Main Street.

“We also want to time all the traffic signals along the route for better (traffic flow) so people aren’t unnecessarily stopped” in traffic backups, Callahan said.

Marie Donigan, a former City Commissioner and state representative, was among those who worked on a bike and pedestrian subcommittee to come up with the bike route plan.

“We had a non-motorized traffic plan that came out years ago” that included creating bike lanes, she said. “It’s time we did this. I think bicyclists will get off the sidewalks and look forward to being able to safely use the streets.”

A pilot study nearly two years ago put some bike lanes on Main Street, but a lack of adequate signs led to some traffic backups and complaints. Since then some residents have been concerned that bike lanes will lead to slower motor traffic and backups at lights where the roadways are narrowed.

“There will be certain times of the day when traffic is slower,” Callahan said. “But that will typically be for short periods.”

Callahan said he is hoping that all the new bike lanes will be operational by Labor Day.

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