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Mon, Dec. 09

Editorial: Education, not lanes, make biking safer

Members of the Prescott Alternative Transportation organization received a "Do Not Pass Go" card from the City Council this past Tuesday concerning proposed changes to Grove Avenue between Gurley and Schemmer streets.

The PAT wanted the city's endorsement of a half-million-dollar federal grant application to pay for changes that would include reducing the driving lanes between Gurley and Sheldon to three (one in each direction and a center turn lane), and the addition of bike lanes.

The Prescott council, with Mayor Jack Wilson leading the charge, commended PAT for its efforts but said they need more details and that the request was coming a little too late. The deadline for the grant application was two weeks away at the time.

The council instructed the group to submit its plans through the proper channels.

We agree; however, we would add two things.

First, the intersection is not on the radar screen - call it a budget - for this fiscal year. The city's portion - $60,000 to $70,000 - is not available.

Secondly, the idea does not wash that the bicyclists in the area would not be a problem or would not be breaking the rules of the road if the stretch had bicycle lanes and the intersection was better.

Common sights on a drive north on Grove Avenue from Gurley Street include bicyclists riding south in the northbound lanes (or vice versa) and bicyclists riding through the intersection without respecting the traffic signals there.

The energy that PAT put into the proposal would go further if organizers would host a few bicycle education clinics before tackling half-million-dollar grants for lane reconfiguration projects.

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