As construction continues, so does fight over Madison bike lanes

Though construction is underway to add bicycle lanes on Madison Avenue in Midtown, and supporters thought it was a done deal, the matter was up for discussion again Tuesday during a city council committee meeting.
Though construction is underway to add bicycle lanes on Madison Avenue in Midtown, and supporters thought it was a done deal, the matter was up for discussion again Tuesday during a city council committee meeting.

(WMC-TV) - Though construction is underway to add bicycle lanes on Madison Avenue in Midtown, and supporters thought it was a done deal, the matter was up for discussion again Tuesday during a city council committee meeting.

When the massive paving project is complete, cyclists will have their own lane to make their way up and down Madison Avenue.

"I'd like to go on record as saying I'm not trying to interfere," council member Janis Fullilove said.

But despite the progress, Fullilove has come up with an idea that would limit when bike riders would have their own space.

"Why not have shared lanes Monday through Friday, and then on the weekends have designated lanes in order that the bike riders can ride at that time," Fullilove said.

Cyclists at the meeting said sharing lanes would make their ride even more dangerous.

"I'm not really sure why they are still arguing about this, because it seems like you put some bike lanes in and be done with it," Christopher Reyes said.

Fullilove argued that bike lanes would hurt businesses, and that even their construction is already impacting their bottom line. At least one business owner agreed.

"The lanes are already torn up, and people are not able to get to the businesses like they should," said Lois Bryant, owner of the Pyramid Beauty and Barber School.

Kelly Johnson, the manager of Molly's LaCasita, strongly disagreed.

"Business breeds business, so actually it will bring a lot of business to that area," she said.

Fullilove requested an opinion on the issue from City Council attorney Allan Wade, who advised that road improvements are funded with federal stimulus money. Therefore, Wade said the decision to add bike lines is up to Mayor A C Wharton. It is against the city charter for the council to interfere.

Fulliove said one business owner told her just since the paving process started, his profits are down 17 percent

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