Safely enjoying a nice walk or bicycle ride is becoming a concern around East Texas. Some residents say the lack of sidewalks and bicycle lanes on roads makes them compete with motorists, a battle they will not win.
Eric Deller is a bicycle enthusiast and tri-athlete. He rides his bike 50 to 100 miles a day and has traveled across East Texas.
“No one hits a bicycle rider on purpose, they hit them because they didn’t see them.” Deller said. “We need more bike lanes to help us stay visible and safe.”
The City of Longview is working on a plan to help the growing need of infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Longview city spokesperson, Shawn Hara, says over the next year the city will be seeking community input on where we need to focus on adding additional sidewalks and bike lanes.
They are working with a surveyor to also look for key growth areas in the city.
The City of Tyler has been working on improving infrastructure in a plan called Tyler 1st. Originally called Tyler 21, the plan is meant to help the city keep up with population growth.
Project engineer Kyle Dykes oversees construction for city projects. He tells me about the sidewalk extension program.
Grant funding will pay up to 80 percent. Also, Legacy Trails is another project that is going to be a hike and bike multi use trail.
In 1995, Tyler residents voted for a half cents increased sales tax, that money has been used for the city projects such as Tyler 1st.
Both projects are being paid for through that tax.
For state roads and highways including the Loops in Longview and Tyler, TxDOT is responsible for all additions. I reached out to TxDOT and they gave me a list of future projects…
This year two projects they are working on are:
Spur 248 from Old Omen Rd to SH 64 - Tyler: This project will widen the roadway to 4-lanes with a continuous turn lane and bike lanes. Currently under construction.
FM 2275 from SH 300 to McCann Road - Longview: this project will widen the roadway to 4-lanes with a continuous turn lane, bike lanes, and sidewalks. Currently under construction.
NEXT YEAR IN 2018:
FM 2493 from FM 2813 to FM 346 – Gresham to Flint: this project will widen the roadway to 4-lanes with a continuous turn lane, bike lanes, and sidewalks. Letting is scheduled for July 2018.
FINALLY IN 2019:
FM 2206 from Fisher Road to Loop 281 - Longview: this project will widen the roadway to 4-lanes with a continuous turn lane and sidewalks. Letting is scheduled for August 2019.
City officials want to hear from you! they tell me they are looking for resident input on what you would like to see. Remember it is your city, your ideas can go a long way!