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Bike lanes in Brainerd

A recent writer complained about the cost of including a bike lane on Willow Street, and reducing South Sixth Street to three lanes and making it passable for bikes and pedestrians.

If the writer had been informed about the issue, and read the Dispatch July 2 article, he would have learned that the only cost involved in the Willow Street bike lane was paint, that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will be reconstructing South Sixth Street regardless of what the city does, and that three lanes will save tax dollars compared to five lanes. The city council, and the Walkable Bikeable Committee, of which I am a co-chair, adopted a plan on Willow Street which will work for all interested parties, including the church.

Traffic volumes are down on South Sixth Street compared to when the street was last re-done. If MnDOT keeps the five-lane width the street would need to expand a few feet, cutting into homes and businesses which are already close to the traffic. As a business owner, and owner of four rental units on South Sixth Street, I would much rather see a route that does not expand, allows for people to walk and bike safely, and costs less money.

Successful cities make it easy for their citizens to get around without being in a car. Look at cities that are thriving, you will see lots of people outside, on foot, bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, wheelchairs. We are fortunate that the current city council majority is not listening to the angry minority who wants to turn back the clock to the 1950s.

Ed Shaw