City of Opelika Adding New Bike Paths, Striving to Become More of a Bike-Friendly Community
The city of Opelika is striving to become more bike friendly. Right now, Alabama ranks as the worst bicycle friendly state in the nation.
“We did find out that Alabama does rank 50 out of the 50 states,” said Shirley Lazenby with the Opelika Bicycle Advisory Committee.
It’s been frustrating for bicyclists like Lazenby.
“Even the bike lanes we have currently, people park in them, there’s yard debris, so like we were discussing before, we need to actively but gently push the bike culture to let them know we need a part of the road like the cars and yard debris,” said Lazenby.
The sidewalks and places where there should be a bike lane are not safe for bicyclists. So, folks like Lazenby have been pushing for the city to change that.
“When you repave the road can you make room for a bike lane? When you repave bridges can you make room for a bike lane?” said Lazenby.
The city listened.
“What we don’t have is bike roads in existing roads especially around downtown,” said Opelika City Engineer Scott Parker.
They will be adding the first one on S. Railroad Ave. from 5th St. to Samford Ave. The second will continue down Samford Ave. ending near Fox Run Parkway intersection.
“We call this “Destination Downtown” because the bike paths lead to Downtown Opelika,” said Parker.
Construction is well underway and they project to have the bike paths open by May, which is bike month and right in time for their Cinco De Bico ride led by the mayor.
Lazenby believes with these new paths, it will start the trend and more and more people will embrace the bicycle culture.
Last year, Opelika was one of the Alabama cities that received honorable mention from the League of American Bicyclists as one of the Alabama cities that received honorable mention from the League of American Bicyclists as cities acknowledging the needs of its bicyclists.