Although bike lanes are a common sight on many urban streets, the third- largest city in Massachusetts only recently opened its first designated lanes for bicycles. But plans are in the works to make Springfield a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly city
About a dozen bicyclists braved the below freezing weather Monday afternoon to peddle along the newly marked bike lanes on Springfield’s Plumtree Road with encouragement from Mayor Domenic Sarno. The mayor joined city residents, bicycling advocates and urban planners to celebrate the completion of the bike lane project.
The bike lanes were completed this fall when the Springfield Department of Public Works repaved Plumtree Road—a 1.4 mile- long tree-lined street through the residential 16 Acres Neighborhood.
Jimmy Pereira, a coordinator with the statewide bicycling advocacy organization MassBike, said opening the bike lane is a big step toward making Springfield a better place to bike.
Springfield resident Liz Stevens said the bike lanes demonstrate that bicycles are valued as a means of transportation in the city.
Jim Scheffler commutes by bicycle between his home in the city’s Forest Park neighborhood and downtown. He said the city’s streets are not a good place for novice bikers.
The opening of the new bike lanes occurs at the same time that a bicycle and pedestrian plan for Springfield is being developed, according Josiah Neiderbach, a land use and environmental planner with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.
The plan to make Springfield more bicycle and pedestrian friendly is part of a larger initiative to promote healthy eating and active living that is being funded by a $2 million grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There is an online survey for people to provide suggestions on bicycling and walking in Springfield