City officials hosted a public meeting Wednesday about the possibility of implementing a wider bike and pedestrian lane on Old Ranch Road 12.
Shaun Condor, senior engineer for the City of San Marcos, led the meeting and informed attendants of the project’s history.
In 2010, the city was awarded $99,000, which San Marcos matched by contributing $101,000 to begin bike and pedestrian improvements on Old Ranch Road 12 from Hughson Drive to Holland Street.
Plans fell through, and in 2013 the project was extended from Craddock Avenue to Holland Street by widening the road and adding water, sewer and quality features, Condor said. The project was delayed once again in 2014.
“There was a dozen reasons why it made sense to delay the project, but the biggest one that stood out was there was so much construction going on and this seemed to be the easiest one to stop and let the other construction settle down,” Condor said.
The city searched for residents’ opinions via surveys, asking if they would support implementing road features to increase biker and pedestrian safety.
Condor said the implication of safety for pedestrians and bikers seemed to be a major concern for residents.
At the meeting, officials and residents discussed the placement of a buffered bike lane on Old Ranch Road 12. The other option would be to widen the sidewalk and have pedestrians and bikers share the same path.
In a recent survey, 49 percent of residents who voted wanted to make the sidewalk wider, while 51 percent voted the city should create another lane for bikes.
City officials decided to implement a buffered bike lane. Condor said the city is planning to create two 5-foot wide bike lanes and two sidewalks of the same width.
After Condor’s presentation, some residents voiced concerns about the existence of a bike lane. They cited a lack of safety would come if bikers travel too close to automobile travel lanes.
Condor mentioned the city may eventually consider extending a bike lane on Holland St., but some residents said they would like the area to be a “no bike zone.”
Councilwoman Lisa Prewitt, Place 1, said she traveled by bike when visiting a convention in Portland about “smart growth.”
“I was impressed by the vehicles slowing down at every intersection for bikers,” Prewitt said. “I felt safe and had no fear as cars always stopped for pedestrians. It’s a cultural shift.”
Alan De Anda, San Marcos resident, said he supports the implementation of a buffered bike lane.
“I think it’s a good design and people should feel safe with the buffer lanes,” De Anda said. “If they don’t feel safe you can also share the sidewalk, since it isn’t legal to bicycle on sidewalks here.”