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Plattsburgh seeks input on becoming more bike-friendly

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 5:16 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Thursday was a beautiful day to get outside and enjoy a hike, walk, or bike ride. That’s exactly what the city of Plattsburgh is aiming for as it tries to become a more bike-friendly community.

“You can’t beat this weather,” said Ethan Engel, who was spending his day off at the Terry Gordon Bike Path in Plattsburgh. “It’s a nice paved path for easy days.”

There are bike paths within the city but rather than riding down to the waterfront, he packed his bike in his car because he says they don’t connect very well. “Some parts of the road can be almost sketchy with all the traffic that’s on there,” Engel said.

A recent survey of over 400 residents showed people want to get out and bike, but want it to be safer and more connected. Data from the Plattsburgh Police Department shows from 2016 to 2021 there were 53 bicycle-involved accidents, with the highest number of accidents involving vehicles and bikes along the heavily traveled South Catherine Street.

“There are accidents that are happening and we want to reduce that, safety is a big component,” said the city’s Ethan Vinson. He says the city has a three-phased approach that will cost roughly $40,000 and will create bike lanes to travel throughout the entire city for those recreating or commuting.

“We’ve seen an increase in bike traffic over the last years,” said Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest.

The plans call for a change in the structure of the roadways allowing for bike lanes and a bike boulevard. State grants will help defer the costs.

“We went out and measured and made sure that there was enough space to put a five-foot bike lane,” said Malana Tamer, the Plattsburgh city planner.

Engel says the city looking to be a bike-friendly community is a good move but he wants to make sure the bike lane rules are enforced once they’re built. “Sure, you can put the bike lanes there, but that doesn’t mean that drivers will abide by that,” he said.

Plattsburgh officials are looking to hear more from residents and will be holding a public ride tentatively scheduled for July 11 to allow people to share their concerns.

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