Story and photos by Kristin Schaeffer
In early August bright green, newly-painted squares colored the pavement on Durbin near the corner of Durbin and 15th streets. Near the bottom, the squares contain stylized bicycle riders painted in white to indicate that the area of the street contained within the white lines to the left of the squares are for bicyclists only.
While bike lanes in Casper have been in place for some time, said Beth Andress, Coordinator for City of Casper’s Public Services Department, people were still driving in them. We wanted to use a color that hadn’t been used for anything else.
Some may consider marking existing bike lanes a step in the right direction for bicyclists in Casper. According to the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Reports on Traffic Crashes for the State of Wyoming from 2010 to 2015, 500 total vehicle crashes involving bicyclists occurred, 1.2% of which were fatal, and 9.8% of which were incapacitating for the cyclist.
“Since the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has adopted a strategy to integrate bicycling and walking into the nation’s transportation system,” according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. “WYDOT intends to integrate consideration of the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists in its planning and project development processes to produce a transportation system with true modal choices.”
When considering where bike lanes are possible, Andress said traffic studies had to indicate that the road was wide enough and “lower amounts of traffic where we could economically add a bike lane.”
The goal regarding bike lanes for Casper, according to Andress, is to provide a combination of trails and bike lanes to make bike travel possible and safe across the city.
“When you separate bicyclists and drivers, bicyclists feel safer,” said Andress. “Drivers are less frustrated. It’s better for everybody.”
Currently there are bike lanes on Blackmore, 21st Street and Center streets in addition to Durbin Street, and a new project is in the works partnering the Public Services Department with Platte River Trails to build a trail from Casper College up to Rotary Park, but at this time Andress wasn’t sure if plans were in place to put the new green markings in place city wide.
What do you think? Are there enough bike lanes in Casper? Would you like to see all bike lanes painted with the new bright green blocks? Sound off by calling in to the Streets and Parks division to let them know what you think. 307-235-8283.
Also, stay tuned for a new bicycling safety video coming soon to the Keep Casper Beautiful Facebook page.