WESTFIELD, NJ — The town is gearing up for bike lanes with a plan to test out one lane and install permanent shared lane street markings on Prospect Street.

Phasing in the bike lanes follows extensive public feedback the municipality gathered for a bicycle and pedestrian plan that last year outlined a series of bike lanes that could be placed throughout the town.

“The goal is to show people what a bike lane looks like and also to give families on the north side a test of a what a bicycle friendly plan could be,” said Jay Goldring, a member of the Westfield Green Team, who chairs the group’s transportation committee. “Hopefully, they’ll like it, and it would support the implementation of the full plan.”

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Oct. 2 – 4, the town will test the lane with non-permanent markings on one side of Prospect Street between Franklin Elementary School and Dudley Avenue, Goldring told TAPinto Westfield. It will be on the side of the street leading toward the downtown, he said. Parking will be prohibited in areas marked with traffic cones, officials said.

The bike lane test coincides with a “foodie stroll” Downtown Westfield is organizing for Sunday, Oct. 4.

Goldring realizes that bike lanes can be a controversial addition — particularly when they take away street parking.

“Everyone wants bike lanes, and nobody wants one of them in front of their house. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “I think if people can see it … they will recognize the benefit.”

The town will install the permanent shared bike lane markers on Prospect Street between Dudley Avenue and East Broad Street, connecting to the temporary lane, Goldring said.

The town council had earlier this month approved installation of the shared lane markings, which are sometimes called “sharrows,” because of their inclusion of an arrow.

National design guidance indicates shared lane markings are recommended on roadways where the speed limit is 25 mph or less and limited widths and a high demand for street parking make dedicated bike lanes problematic, the council’s resolution states.

“Prospect Street from West Dudley Avenue to East Broad Street has been identified as a suitable candidate for the installation of ‘shared-lane’ markings to assert the legitimacy of bicyclists on the roadway, provide directional and wayfinding guidance and provide motorists with visual cues to anticipate the presence of bicyclists,” the resolution says.

The town has also applied for grants to fund installation of additional bike lanes, Town Administrator Jim Gildea said.

“That really kicks off implementation of the bike plan and the pedestrian plan both internally for the town and also [with] grant requests we have pending,” Gildea said.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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