Big Plans for Improving, Creating, Bike Routes in Erie
Pennsylvania is focusing more on bicycle tourism and its attention is centered on Erie County. PennDOT and the Department of Community and Economic Development have designated two bike routes in the county as U.S. Bicycle Routes.
What was once known as "BicyclePA Route Z" will now be called U.S. Bicycle Route 30. It follows the Seaway Trail near the shores of Lake Erie. BicyclePA Route Y, which follows Route 6 in Erie County, will now be known as U.S. Bicycle Route 36 on the Heritage Trail. The designations mean the state will remove any obstacles to bicycle tourism along those routes.
"It's really great for tourism,” says Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper. “It brings more people to our community. People are looking for that vibrant community where they can get out and ride their bikes or hike. That just adds to the richness by having that designation."
There's even more plans in the works that should make bicycle riders very excited. According to Adam Trott, President of Bike Erie, it's long been the group's dream to have a loop around the City of Erie comprised of designated bike lanes. This Outer Loop would run from Frontier Park, over the Bayfront Highway, south along the Bayfront Connector, West on 38th Street, and back to Frontier Park on Greengarden.
38th Street now has a shared bike lane with motor vehicles. Trott says all that's needed for a designated bike-only lane is some paint.
"When you look at 38th from McClelland to Greengarden, most of the bike lane effort is simply striping the shoulder, and putting a bike lane graphic every so often so people know that is a designated bike lane,” he said.
According to Trott, there's not much that has to be done to Greengarden either.
"I'd say over 90% of Greengarden is ready for bike lanes now. It has width already there from curb to curb. It's just a matter of striping,” he said.
The government entity that prioritizes transportation projects, the Erie Metropolitan Planning Organization, has already given its blessings to the Outer Loop.
Trott says he expects the Outer Loop to be fully designated within two years. Then, he says, that would open up the inside of the city to other bike routes. Not just for recreation, but for travel to work, school, and other destinations.