City Opens New Cycle Track for Downtown Huntsville
December 14, 2017
Mayor Tommy Battle held a ribbon cutting Dec. 14 to open the City’s first cycle track, a dedicated bicycle lane on Spragins Street, marked by curbs and wide green stripes.
The cycle track is a pilot project that emanated from public requests through The BIG Picture master planning process for better and safer cycling routes. The Spragins route will help determine if cycle tracks could be used in other areas of the City.
“Better cycling paths are one of the most requested amenities from our residents,” said Mayor Battle. “It’s more than just recreation. It provides affordable transportation, healthy activity, is environmentally friendly, and reduces the need to build more parking lots and garages.”
The Spragins Street cycle track was the missing gap in providing multimodal connective to many of the City’s existing public spaces and new redevelopment sites in the downtown area.
Although the new segment is only three blocks long, it will add to an existing network of multiuse paths beginning at Bud Cramer Park (near Meridian Street), through the Gateway Greenway (adjacent to the Lumberyard, Veterans Park and the Huntsville Depot), on to Big Spring Park East. From there, cyclists may enjoy connections through Big Spring Park, across Williams Avenue to the coming food halls at City Centre to connect directly to Twickenham Square where people currently live, work and play (see map below).
“Although the new cycle track is only 1,000 feet in length, it will provide safe multimodal connectivity for 1.5 miles to many destination points in downtown Huntsville,” said Kathy Martin, Director of Engineering.
To minimize the cost to construct the cycle track, the City coordinated the work to coincide with a resurfacing project for Spragins Street and upgrades to traffic signals. This held the cost to about $250,000.
“Cycle tracks aren’t as simple as slapping down some green paint,” said Dennis Madsen, Long-Range Planner. “There are special bicycle signals and engineering features that serve to ensure safety of cyclists and motorists.”
Madsen says planners will continue to look for “targets of opportunity” as outlined in the master plan to focus on areas where the City can maximize taxpayer dollars and invest in significant connections that help realize Huntsville’s multimodal goals.
Departments and contractors involve in the project include the City’s Urban Development divisions – Traffic Engineering, Engineering, Planning, and Public Works; Alta Planning, and Reed Contractors.
Martin says there is still some minor finish work left on the project, some of which is dependent upon warm weather such as the permanent green pavement markers. “Our safety features are complete and we wanted cyclists to go ahead and enjoy using the segment this winter.”