Traffic On Route K Bike Lanes Remains Light
COLUMBIA - Four feet wide and seven miles long, the new Route K bike lanes stretch from Columbia to McBaine.
MoDOT proposed the new bike lanes in July 2011, and completed the project last fall. Route K was repaved with four feet wide shoulders on either side of the road, and MoDOT spent nearly two million dollars of enhancement money on the project. The bike lanes provides another way for people on the south side of Columbia to reach the Katy Trail in McBaine and downtown Columbia.
PedNet Coalition staff member Lawrence Simonson said he sees several cyclists using the bike lanes in the morning.
"I use the route in the mornings sometimes and I see probably close to ten cyclists all out there before 6:30," Simonson said.
The speed limit on Route K ranges from 45 to 55 miles per hour, and the road has lots of curves and hills. Simonson said the lanes make the road much safer.
"By having that shoulder there it gives room for cyclists, but it also gives extra room for the cars-- particularly if they have a flat or something. It gives them an area to pull off so it's been a wonderful addition to the road -- increasing safety for just about everybody," Simonson said.
Other cyclists said they don't use the road to get to the Katy trail because they'd rather take the MKT trail instead of Route K. Austin Robinson rides in bike lanes if he has to, but says he'd prefer not to.
"On the trail there seems to be a lot more space and more cyclists instead of cars. It's a nicer feel, and there's more nature," Robinson said.
Scott Weiser has been riding his bike in Columbia since 2000. He said he liked the trail because he doesn't have to think about cars.
"I prefer the trail because I like to be lost in my own thoughts. The only thing that really affects biking around streets is other people in cars paying attention."
Simonson said drivers and residents should expect to see more cyclists on Route K in the coming months.
"With the summer weather and neighborhood and schools being built out there, and especially as cycling grows here in Columbia and as a whole, it's only going to get more and more people out there," Simonson said.