Upon returning to campus this semester, constituents of Case Western Reserve University noticed a new addition to the main academic quad. White stripes along the borders of the sidewalks created a lane specifically for bicycle riders to travel to and from classes without interfering with pedestrians on foot.
As some of you may have noticed, the bike lane isn’t always used as it was originally intended. Often, students meander within the bike lane, obstructing the path and forcing bicyclists to veer out in front of unsuspecting pedestrians to avoid hitting the people walking in the lane. More often than not, this forces at least one of the parties to stop suddenly, possibly drop his or her books and lunches in panic, or leap off his or her bike and generally create a disruption.
While we commend the CWRU Police Department for the novel idea of bringing the bike lane – a staple in our own city’s streets – to fruition on our campus, students are not observing the rules associated with it.
Perhaps it would be beneficial to add an “ONLY” to the bike symbols painted on the quad in order to clarify that they are not to be used by people not on bicycles.
Another issue the bike lane has created is that it isn’t very uniform. Around corners and at intersecting sidewalks, the painted lines slope in opposing directions or sometimes disappear altogether. This makes the bike lane more of a maze than a helpful demarcation for bicycle traffic.
Additionally, the bike lane is hazardous for the bicyclists at times when it is marked on parts of the quad peppered with potholes and water drains.
The creation of the bike lanes on the quad was announced to the CWRU community by The Daily on Aug. 17, and over one month later, people still aren’t using it correctly.
Unlike the main quad, the binary walkway leading up from Euclid Ave. was not restricted with bike lanes along its borders. However, about two weeks ago, signs stating “NO BICYCLES ALLOWED” appeared at the ends of CWRU’s main walkway – thus making the binary usable strictly for foot travelers.
These unapologetic signs appeared with no forewarning. The main problem this created is that bicyclists didn’t know they weren’t allowed to ride on the binary until they got to it, and even less constructively, no alternate route was provided or pointed out.
While bicyclists could plausibly ride up Adelbert Rd. and take the sidewalk beside Adelbert Hall to the quad, or ride down Euclid and go through the parking lot by Crawford Hall, both of these options take more time than riding the binary walkway, and put bicyclists in close quarters with vehicular traffic.
Currently, the Undergraduate Student Government is working to soften the language of the signs, which were also put up without any student input. While the bike lanes could end up being a great addition to our campus infrastructure, currently they are more hazardous than helpful.