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Tour de Warren?

PennDOT paving option sends Rt. 6 cyclists into city

Times Observer file photo This Times Observer file photo shows a section of Route 6 north of Starbrick. Part of the PennDOT paving projects would align Warren with other portions of the Route 6 bicycle route.

When it comes to being part of Bike Route Y — the City of Warren can take it or leave it.

Part of the PennDOT paving projects on Pennsylvania Avenue — east in 2019 and west in 2020 — would align Warren with other portions of the Route 6 bicycle route.

“As we do paving projects, we’re trying to implement the plan,” PennDOT District Traffic Engineer Brian Smith said.

The aspects of the bicycle route are included but optional.

If the city chooses to accept the wayfinding signage and sharrows — shared-lane arrows — PennDOT would put them in place and the city would be responsible for maintenance.

Photos from PennDOT These BEFORE and AFTER (pictured) images depict what the streets could look like if the city were to accept the new wayfinding signage and “sharrows” as part of Bike Route Y that aligns with portions of the Route 6 bicycle route. City officials are seeking input from residents for what could become something of an economic driver downtown.

Sharrows would be painted at every intersection and every 250 feet of roadway. That’s almost 70 locations in the 2019 project area — from the Glade Bridge to Celoron Park. A similar number would be part of the 2020 project that will pave from Ludlow Street to Laurel Street. More sharrows would be needed in the central business district to connect the two projects.

The estimated annual maintenance cost would be $4,000 to $6,000 in materials and labor, according to Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz. He said time spent working on that project would mean time lost somewhere else. He could not say exactly what summertime project might be impacted.

Adding the sharrows would allow the city to be part of Bike Route Y.

That could be something of an economic driver.

“I would think of it as an invitation — bikes are welcome here,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said. “I would like to see bicyclists come through the town.”

Photos from PennDOT These BEFORE (pictured) and AFTER images depict what the streets could look like if the city were to accept the new wayfinding signage and “sharrows” as part of Bike Route Y that aligns with portions of the Route 6 bicycle route. City officials are seeking input from residents for what could become something of an economic driver downtown.

The idea would be “to draw people off of the Route 6 bypass,” City of Warren Police Chief Brandon Deppen said.

A formal bicycle lane is not part of the proposal.

The only changes would be signs and pavement markings.

“We’re not taking away any parking,” Holtz said. “We’re not changing anything.”

The sharrows are intended as a reminder, not a change to any driving laws.

Photos from PennDOT Route 6 Bicycle Master Plan Design Guide An off road trail is recommended from PA Route 6 to Betts Park as a long term improvement for Eastbound BicyclePA Route Y. This would bypass the highway exit, conveying cyclists Northbound onto Ludlow Street.

“It doesn’t give (bicyclists) any more legality than they already have — just awareness,” Deppen said.

Regardless of the presence of signage or sharrows, motorists have to give bicyclists four feet when passing, according to Deppen.

If the city opts in favor of the bike route, PennDOT would be able to make the changes to the Pennsylvania Avenue East project because, “that contract is still open,” Smith said.

City officials did not make any decisions and are seeking input. Smith and PennDOT Assistant District Traffic Engineer for Safety and Studies Gregory Maser said they would likely need a final decision in the spring.

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