Once again, during the citizen participation portion of Shawnee's City Commission meeting, residents requested a sit-down discussion about a proposal that would place bike lanes along Broadway. A meeting has yet to be set up.

Once again, during the citizen participation portion of Shawnee's City Commission meeting, residents requested a sit-down discussion about a proposal that would place bike lanes along Broadway. A meeting has yet to be set up.

More Broadway Street home owners are now entering the conversation, and many of them are showing opposition to a plan that — up to now — was reported to be favorable by Blue Zones Project leaders and volunteers.

On Monday, three Broadway residents voiced their concerns to commissioners. Michelle and Randy James both shared questions and repeated their request for a meeting. Among other questions, Randy brought up concerns over street sweepers not being able to work over painted bike lanes with their steel brushes.

“What will be the cost of buying plastic brushes, and who will pay for those?” he said.

Michelle said if she loses parking in front of her Broadway home she will also lose the ability to gather her family and friends there for traditional get-togethers, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Though he is not opposed to cyclists, Gene Greenfield, another Broadway home owner, said bike lanes would be something good only for a small, specific group.

“It would be a hardship for a great number of people,” he said.

Recent high traffic, due to the annual celebration of Halloween, at times makes it difficult to get up and down the street, as well as service trucks, delivery trucks, etc.; bike lanes (no parking allowed along the road) would not allow any of that to continue.

“If you take away our parking, it's a huge issue,” he said. “It really needs to be thought through.”

Background

Talk of the possibility of bicycle lanes along Broadway Street have been in the works for about two years.

Several workshops discussing comprehensive plans for Shawnee's future have been focused around what potential there is for special treatment along Broadway, such as mini-circles, medians and/or bike lanes.

In past workshops led by RDG Planning and Design, Broadway was brought up as an easy example for creating design changes with minimal cost attached.

Adding bike lanes was just one of the ideas introduced.

Since Broadway, one of the oldest and most well-traveled streets in town, is wider than most — boasting a width of 40 feet across — certain amenities could be added or adjusted with minimal cost and/or disruption of the street, as it is now. Narrower streets would have to be widened to make adequate room for bike lanes. Other ideas were also brainstormed at the workshops, such as putting a median down the center of Broadway (to slow traffic by narrowing the street), but could potentially feature parking spaces.

Nothing was determined or chosen as a specific plan moving forward, all the suggestions were just that — suggestions.

Shawnee Planning Director Rebecca Blaine said the City of Shawnee is pursuing a beautification project on Broadway that could potentially include bike lanes.

She said the idea's focus follows in partnership with the Blue Zones Project and Avedis Foundation goals.

“The Blue Zones Project office has recently sent out mailers to promote public engagement and start citizenry dialogue,” she said. “We have yet to hire a firm to formally design this project, but anticipate firm selection and the kickoff for community meetings to happen in Spring of 2020.”

Blaine said to voice comments and considerations in writing, send to: City Manager’s Office, 16 West 9th Street, Shawnee, OK 74801 or email chance.allison@shawneeok.org.

Also, share your opinions, concerns or comments — favorable or unfavorable — on the topic with The Shawnee News-Star; email vicky.misa@news-star.com.

Watch for updates.