Conwell St. Bike Lanes Move Forward
After years of starts and stops, bike lanes are finally coming to (part of) Conwell St. On Monday, November 9, the Board of Selectmen approved the "preferred alternative" design for a sidewalk on one side and bike lanes on both sides of Conwell St. from Cemetery Rd. to Route 6. The vote was 5-0-0 in favor of this design.
Provincetown DPW deputy director Eric Larsen and James Fitzgerald, the project engineer from Environmental Partners, presented three 30% design alternatives to the selectmen at their November 9 meeting.
The preferred alternative includes a 5.5-foot sidewalk on the western side of the street and 5-foot bike lanes in each direction on either side. At the intersection of Cemetery Rd., the plan includes a green-painted bike lane across Conwell St. to guide people on bikes from Cemetery Rd. to the northbound bike lane. Other alternatives showed a street with 5-foot bike lanes without the sidewalk and 4-foot bike lanes without the sidewalk.
The sidewalk in the preferred alternative starts at the corner of Cemetery Rd. and continues to the existing crosswalk at the slip lane on Route 6 so people on foot will have ADA-compliant access across the slip lane to the signalized crosswalk and then across Route 6 to Race Point Rd.
Assistant Town Manager David Gardner noted that this project began with a petition from over 70 residents on Conwell St. and Race Point Rd. and this segment is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore's plan for a bicycle connection from Beech Forest to MacMillan Pier. He said the remaining segments include Race Point Rd. to Beech Forest and Cemetery Rd. to Alden St. to Bradford St., which would be "share the road" with signage, though the details of those segments were not included in this presentation.
The green-painted bike lane drew some criticism and confusion from at least one selectman. Mr. Fitzgerald pointed out that the bike crossing is not a crosswalk, as there are no sidewalks on either side of that section of the street. The engineer pointed out that the sightlines for crossing the street to the bike lane are the best at this location, where a person on a bike can see oncoming cars in both directions. Selectman Cheryl Andrews countered this saying that she rides her bike on the wrong side of the road to a location further up the street where she feels safer to cross.
Curb cuts for businesses also entered the discussion and the project engineer explained that specific details will be forthcoming as the design progresses beyond the 30% mark.
Town Manager David Panagore requested that there be two more "check-ins" from the engineers during the next phases of the design process, though the form of those meetings was not defined. He also noted that this hearing was not required by law and that while the meeting was noticed in the newspaper, abutters were not directly notified by town. He suggested that future meetings on this project be noticed directly to abutters.
Town Bicycle Committee chair Roger Chauvette spoke in favor of the plan and said that while the current committee has not voted on this project, there was a vote in favor at the beginning of the project several years ago.
This project is being funded by a federal grant through the Cape Cod National Seashore. The town is expected to make a contribution to the project of about $24,000.