Bike plan draws big crowd

MOUNT PLEASANT — More than 200 people dropped in at Town Hall on Wednesday night to offer their input on what the town needs to better accommodate bikers and pedestrians.

Many of them scribbled suggestions on maps laid out on tables.

The proposals ranged from bike lanes for the Shem Creek Bridge to making Mathis Ferry and Rifle Range roads safer for the two-wheeling crowd.

Town Councilman Chris Nickels said the night was historic because the town has never before sought to address the issue in a comprehensive way.

“I know that our council is dedicated to seeing this through,” he said.

Town Engineer Kevin Mitchell said the bike plan is a tool to guide future development.

Sandra Parkhurst advocated that the town educate motorists about safety around cyclists. More bike riders and walkers will mean a healthier community and less traffic, she said.

Ken Byrd said he has been riding a bike for 20 years in Mount Pleasant.

“It’s kind of late isn’t it? They’ve already paved the roads,” he said.

Byrd said that he would like to see more paved shoulders built into the roads.

Ute Florian said bike riding is very common in her native Germany because of high gas prices and steep taxes.

“There’s no road without a bike path,” she said. “You can ride anywhere by bike.”

She was shocked at the lack of bike paths in town but still leaves her car at home at least one day a week to pedal her way wherever she needs to go.

“The two important words to us are connectivity and safety,” said Pat Sullivan.

The town will take the suggestions from residents and incorporate them into a bike and pedestrian plan that is currently under development.

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