Proposed Northeast Fresno bike lanes creating controversy

FRESNO, Calif.

On Thursday, council members will decide whether to add the lanes or leave the streets alone.

City officials are proposing adding bike lanes to Gettysburg between Fresno and Winery.

That means reducing the road from four lanes to two.

And while bicyclists are applauding the proposal, some homeowners fear what it could do to the area.

Starting at Manchester Center Tuesday, "It's a street we all travel on, and so it's important we're there supporting it."

About two dozen bicyclists made their way to a community meeting inside Northwest Fresno's Thomas Elementary School.

At issue: a bike lane proposal called a "road diet"; a "slimming of the roadway" that city leaders will vote on this Thursday.

A Federal grant would be used to fund the 328-thousand-dollar project to add bike lanes to a two-point-seven mile portion of Gettysburg Avenue.

"Cause we know this is a pretty controversial topic"

Council member Larry Westerlund was there.

He answered questions and filled in residents about the plan: one he's in favor of.

Larry Westerlund said, "We did try to take people's concerns into consideration, and do something that will work for hopefully the whole community."

But that doesn't seem to be the case.

"It should got to the people that are in the district"

Several homeowners in the affected area argue, bike lanes would create traffic congestion and make it more difficult for them to exit driveways.

Mike Day, a homeowner, said, "It's a waste of money and a restriction to the flow of traffic and I just don't think it's right."

Bicyclists disagree.

They say additional lanes will make it safer for them, and encourage a healthier, cleaner Fresno.

Byron Watkins, a bicyclist, said, "we were just listed as number five on the top ten polluted cities in the country, and so it's really important that we allow for people to take alternative forms of transportation, and the only way is if people feel safer."

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