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Waco transportation plan to expand bike lanes

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TWC News: Waco transportation plan to expand bike lanes
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City leaders in Waco are charting a course for mobility over the next fifty years.

On Wednesday, Waco City Council approved the first reading of the city's Master Transportation Plan—a plan which provides a big future for bike lanes and walking trails in the city.

Bennett Crow said he would ride his bike on Waco streets more often, but he doesn't feel safe.

"People look at you as a second-class lane user. They seem to think that you don't have as much right to be in the lane as they do," he said.

So for now, he spends most of his time riding off-road in Cameron Park.

Avid cyclist Dave Guyer has the same experiences.

"We've got some unsafe things happening and I know some friends that have been hit by cars," Guyer said.

Guyer decided to make a difference. He helped organize the Heart of Texas Safe Roads Coalition and with their input, the Waco City Council expanded bike-and-hike options in the city's Master Transportation Plan.

"It's ideal if you can build an infrastructure that will allow people, for those short, less than two mile trips, to either walk or bike to their location," traffic engineer Norman Hogue said. “Some bike lanes are already in use, but the system could expand to connect outlying areas to the central city.

Studies show bike lanes are cheap and effective.

"Bicycles are going to attract people to the downtown, to have access to downtown Waco and the parks," he said.

And it tells drivers that bikes have a right to the road, too.

"Well, it gives you six feet and it gives you the legal right to be there, even though you have it," Crow said. "All great cities in the world have nothing but bike lanes and Waco doesn't."

Waco's Master Transportation Plan is expected to get final approval from City Council next week.

Starting in February, the city will hold neighborhood meetings to work out the details of bike lane locations and designs.

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