Burlington officials say bicycle infrastructure a priority

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The city of Burlington in recent years has made major strides in improving its bike infrastructure and advocates are pushing for more.

The city says they've expanded the bike lane network in Burlington by 23 percent over the last 18 months. They say improving infrastructure is a priority and they don't want to leave the bikers behind.

"Burlington is not a big city to navigate, it's at most three miles to any destination," said Liam Griffin, a Burlington resident.

Griffin lives in the New North End of Burlington and he prefers to take his bike around the city. He says a lot of time it cuts down the travel time.

"A lot of destinations where you do have a bike lane, you're not going to get stuck in traffic if there is some," said Griffin.

But the problem for Griffin is there is no consistent bike lane for his commute into downtown.

He approves of the new bike lanes on North Avenue, but they stop at the corners of Washington and Berry street, creating a narrow lane of traffic until he's in downtown.

"So from here to downtown, you have to ride with traffic, you have to navigate alongside parked cars," he said.

Studies show cars leave less space for cyclists when there are no painted lanes or barriers, something Griffin has noticed.

City officials say safety for bikes is something they are always looking to improve.

"We've been bullish about expanding our bike lane network as we've been reinvesting," said Chapin Spencer, the director of Burlington Public Works.

They are taking notes from what's been working and what hasn't, specifically on Union Street where the first barrier was taken down.

"Sometimes in the winter time, the white plastic bases were hard to see among the snow. Cyclists wouldn't see them and it would not go well," Spencer said.

Griffin says there's not always space to put in a bike lane and when that happens, he wants drivers to understand bikes are people commuting, too.

"An hour from now I might have to run an errand and I might be in my van. We are all trying to get somewhere safely and we are all trying to get there efficiently," he said.

Other people that we spoke with say they feel more comfortable riding on bike paths where they don't have to worry about traffic and cars.