Bike lane markings removed from Big Four Bridge - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Bike lane markings removed from Big Four Bridge

Markings for a bike lane on the Big Four Bridge have been removed. (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News) Markings for a bike lane on the Big Four Bridge have been removed. (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News)
Jolene Bowman (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News) Jolene Bowman (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News)
Rayna Masterson (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News) Rayna Masterson (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News)
Rory Gallagher (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News) Rory Gallagher (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News)
Mike Kimmel (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News) Mike Kimmel (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you've taken to the Big Four Bridge lately, you might have noticed some changes. While some new additions are in the works, it's what's being removed that's become the talk of the town.

At the base of the Pedestrian Bridge, foot and bike traffic are welcomed aboard. Beyond the ramp and atop the bridge, however, lines are being blurred between being within the right of way and in the way.

"We stayed in the middle on the way back," said Jolene Bowman of Iowa while out for a shared bike ride with her granddaughter Thursday. "When we went across we stayed on the right side."

With its painted emblems etched away, gone are the days of a designated center bike path along the Big Four Bridge. Avid walkers like Rayna Masterson welcomed the change, hopeful it would help keep her family safer.

"My daughter likes to run," said Masterson. "She's three and she likes to run to the other sides and she almost got hit one time you know when they're coming too fast."

Turns out, speed is just one problem ramping up between pedestrians and bicyclist atop the Big Four Bridge. The move to unmark the bike lane is as much a lesson in courtesy as it is an allocation of needed space.

"For five-and-a-half months we're going to be taking sections of that deck away from both the pedestrians and the bicyclists," said Mike Kimmel, deputy director for Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation .

According to Kimmel, a LED lighting project will, at times, restrict certain travel lanes across the bridge. Maintaining a bike only lane, he said, simply would not provide enough space for foot traffic.

"Pedestrians could not stay out of the bike lane and there's some bicycle folks who thought they should be able to go whatever speed they wished," said Kimmel.

Does no more bike lane mean no more speeding bikes? Avid bicyclists said that likely won't be the case.

"It's not a bike lane anymore but we still, I think everybody still kind of uses it like that." said Rory Gallagher who rides almost daily with his son in tow.

With or without markings, Gallagher said it is possible for bicyclist and pedestrians to easily, and courteously, share the bridge.

"I mean, I'll just gently say something or if my wife's with me," began Gallagher, "she has a bell and she'll ring it. Most of the time they hear you coming, especially when I'm pulling him."

Masterson, however, would like to see that courtesy go one step further to ensure a safer experience for all that cross the Ohio River as paths narrow over the coming months.

"During the peak hours, maybe on Fridays and Saturdays and stuff maybe they should just go ahead and walk their bikes," said Masterson.

According to Kimmel, the lighting project is expected to wrap up in January. Whether the bike lane designation will return at that time remains up in the air.

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