Amarillo Traffic Commission discussing wider shared roads for cyclists

Amarillo Traffic Commission to discuss policy that would widen some rpads for cyclists and vehicles.

The Amarillo Traffic Commission is discussing a policy that could widen roads to accommodate both driver and cyclists.

Mark Nair, head of the commission, spoke to us on Tuesday about how these would not be bike lanes, but shared roads.

â??What weâ??re talking about is taking a bit of space form the turning lane, and adding that to the outside lane on different roads. Outside lanes would be a little wider. Itâ??s a shared lane for cars and cyclists,â?? Nair said.

Nair said this is not official, but just a policy the commission is currently considering.

He said other cities have implemented this policy, and have seen an improvement in resident driving.

â??The traffic engineer said a lot of other towns doing this and found itâ??s called traffic calming. People drive better and slower, and there are fewer accidents,â?? Nair said.

He said this policy still needs to be thoroughly discussed and these shared roads would not be applied on every road.

â??Itâ??d be some artillery roads, not every road. We would look into some of the roads, and itâ??s up to the traffic engineering department to determine if thatâ??s a viable road,â?? Nair said.

As far as extra cost, Nair said there would not be any because any changes would be done during routine road maintenance and road striping.

Share the Roadâ??s Kenneth Graham said cycling is an important â??transportation and recreational methodâ?? for the city of Amarillo.

He said having bicycle lanes and routes are methods of making roads safer, and he has seen a great increase in cyclers since the current lanes have been painted.

â??In my neighborhood, I see people using bikes all the time,â?? Graham said.

Graham said this policy would greatly help with cyclist safety and health.

â??The more people that ride bikes, the healthier they become,â?? Graham said.

Both Nair and Graham said that cyclist must follow the same rules as vehicles, and have to make sure to follow the same road rules.

â??Stop at stop lights, use turn signals, and be mindful of your surroundings and other drivers,â?? Graham said.

The Amarillo Traffic Commission will meet and continue discussing the policy on Wednesday. If the policy were to pass and goes to city council, it wouldnâ??t be effective until 2015.