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Cyclists in city enjoying amenities

The Madison County Herald: Cyclists in city enjoying amenities

LEAH SQUARE • LEAH.SQUARE@MCHERALD.COM • MARCH 4, 2010

Ridgeland has made cycling the streets easier and safer with the addition of some new amenities for riders that include bike lanes and bike detectors.

Three roadways - William Boulevard, Woodlands Parkway and Centre Street - have been striped with bike lanes, while bike detectors were installed at the intersections of Highland Colony Parkway and Steed Road as well as Sunnybrook Road and Steed Road.

Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee, himself an avid cyclist, said the additions are aimed at encouraging folks to ride their bikes, which helps save gas, power and money and provides a great calorie-burning workout.

"It's going to give families and citizens the opportunity to get out and safely exercise," McGee said. "I'm hoping it'll motivate them."

City engineer David Williams said bicycle detectors work similar to vehicle detectors at lighted intersections. The device's wires detect metal in bicycles and set off the green light.

"It keeps you moving," Williams said, though the detectors may not work for bikes made with mostly carbon fiber with little metal.

"It's important that if you use the detectors that your tires be right on top of the detector. It is painted like a bicycle, and you can see the wire imbedded in the asphalt."

City officials said they could not immediately calculate the cost of the new lanes and detectors.

As part of the city's Transportation Plan, additional bike lanes are to be added all over the city.

Ridgewood Road will eventually be widened and given a bike lane or bike path and will connect with the lane on Centre.

"And the next big one is going to be on Lake Harbour Drive," McGee said.

"The goal is in the future to make sure every subdivision in Ridgeland has a safe way to get to the multipurpose trails."

The multi-use trails were constructed over the last few years to encourage folks to exercise.

Ridgeland has more than eight miles of multi-use trail that can be used for walking, running, cycling and roller-skating. Natchez Trace officials are working on four additional miles of trail to complement what the city has already done.

Said McGee, "I'm hoping that what we're dong in the development of multipurpose trails really catches on metro-wide."