MLive was on the scene and got footage of this strange new layout for Winchell Avenue west of Rambling Road in Kalamazoo, a college town with a year round population of a little over 75,000. See if you can follow how to use what is known as an “edge line road.” Which is an apt name, as I’d certainly be on edge if I was attempting to bike down this street.
If you can’t watch the video it’s pretty simple—the road will now be one car lane wide with bike lanes on either side and a parking lane. While the road can technically only fit one car at a time, it will still be two way. If a car is coming from the opposite direction, the first car can just hop over into the bike lane, giving the bicyclist right of way, of course. Anyone who’s ever ridden a bike can attest they’ve felt safe and respected by cars in traffic. The city also says it will post signs and paint pavement markings describing how to drive down this bike-crushing new roadway.
While people in the area might get use to such an odd road layout, the fact that the city is routinely flooded with fresh batches of teenagers with cars, bikes, and bad decision making skills every year means that this unique road seems a risk not worth taking. The new layout is already supposed to help slow down speeding drivers in the area, who seem to take a double yellow line as an invitation to ignore the posted 25 mph speed limit. This goofy layout was chosen after residents asked for, what else, more parking.
The new street design is set to go live around August 8.