If you thought Coeur d’Alene would be less interested in promoting bicycle and pedestrian use because it’s a smaller metro area than Spokane-you would be wrong. “We are looking at going to the city council and requesting to expand the board to 15 members,” says Mike Gridley, Coeur d’Alene City Attorney and Coordinator of the city’s Ped and Bike Advisory Committee. Currently the board has 11 members representing a variety of stakeholders. Gridley says that they all understand the need for ped and bike enhancements.” We’ve been too car-friendly for a while,” Gridley says. “We need to look at being ped and bike friendly.”
Gridley sees the committee’s work as helping to facilitate active lifestyles with an economic development twist. “More people are looking to hike, bike and walk. Developers are seeing that trails and paths are things that people want.” As for specific projects there is a lot of “low-hanging fruit” as Gridley describes it. He’s talking about enhancements such as ped-ramps cut into sidewalks, which are a great benefit to the elderly and the disabled. Resident Bill Porath represents the physically challenged community on the board. According to Gridley the two major projects the Committee is focusing on at the moment are:
- The 15th Street Corridor: A major North/South route in Coeur d’Alene that traverses two schools. They are looking for grants for improvements and bike lanes.
- Bike parking in downtown. The committee is looking to work with the downtown business association to get more racks. “We think more people will ride if there is a place to lock them up,”Gridley says.
The group is also distributing an educational video in schools and elsewhere aimed at educating drivers about ped and bike safety issues. “A lot of it is attention to details that you may not be aware of when you are driving a five thousand pound car,” Gridley says.
Speaking as a cyclist who often shares a lane with five thousand pound vehicles all I can say to that is “Amen, brother.”
And that’s not all that’s going on in North Idaho. John Bowman, owner of Mountain View Cyclery and Fitness reports to me that he has been drafted to serve on the city of Hayden’s new ped/bike committee. Go Hayden. There’s always room on the ped/bike bandwagon.