Overland Park’s extensive bike network has officially been implemented, despite objections of some council members.
At its meeting Monday night, the city council voted 8-4 to fund nearly 20 miles of bicycle infrastructure for $250,000.
Bike lanes and shared lane markings will be constructed along with street resurfacing projects already in the works for south Overland Park this summer.
They include parts near Lamar Avenue and 123rd Street; from 119th Street to 135th Street on Nieman Road; and along Switzer Road from College Boulevard to 127th Street.
It is the first step in the bike plan, which will take several years and $27 million total to complete. The network will create 165 miles of bicycle lanes throughout the city, as well as buffered bicycle lanes, shared use paths, shared lane markings and signed bike routes.
The network is expected to be constructed simultaneously with existing street resurfacing and reconstruction projects.
Not everyone on the council was excited about initiating the first step of the plan.
Councilman Terry Goodman, who has opposed the plan since its conception, doesn’t think Overland Park residents are clamoring for bike lanes.
He would rather see the city use $250,000 towards more immediate priorities, such as fixing curbs and sidewalks.
His sentiments were echoed by Councilman David White.
“We have more people on our sidewalks than we do biking on the streets,” White said. “We need to fix the infrastructure we already have. I feel bad when I tell people we can’t fix their dangerous sidewalks, but at the same time we’re striping bike lanes.”
Councilman Curt Skoog, however, said he thought a quarter of a million dollars is an appropriate amount to test the bike plan.
He siad that cities ranging from Seattle to Topeka have bike lanes.
“We’re not doing anything revolutionary here, we’re simply painting our streets,” Skoog told the council. “We’re getting our feet wet in a world where we’re already behind. This is about building a city for the future.”
Councilman Jim Kite agreed with him.
“We’re here to build an interconnected network where bikes can be used for commuting or going to the store,” he said. “Until we build that organized infrastructure, it’s never going to grow. This is a step in the right direction.”
City traffic engineer Brian Shields told the council that staff will analyze the new bike lanes over the next several months and report back to the Public Works Committee on areas such as accidents, speed, traffic volume and use.