5.10.12 Update: Adirondack Daily Enterprise
The state Department of Transportation has modified its plan to repave the Sara-Placid Highway this summer to widen the shoulders and accommodate cyclists a little better.
The department will now aim to leave as much room as possible along the shoulders of state Route 86, spokeswoman Carol Breen told the Enterprise Wednesday. She said the changes were made following input from local officials and cycling advocates.
“We have committed to re-striping the section between Saranac (Lake) and Lake Placid,” Breen said. “That would create 10-foot travel lanes for motorists, and it would add an extra foot of shoulder room for bicyclists on each side of the road.”
BIKE 86 is a grassroots coalition of local residents, visitors, business owners, and community organizations petitioning the NYS Department of Transportation to Create a cycling friendly shoulder between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. They have launched an online petition on April 25 which has generated over 1,400 signatures in less than one week. The petition can be accessed here: http://www.change.org/petitions/new-york-state-department-of-transportation-create-a-cycling-friendly-shoulder-between-lake-placid-and-saranac-lake (a full list of petition signatures is attached).
The BIKE 86 advocacy group is not advocating for a “bike lane.” They recognize that “bike lanes” have a legal definition under NYS Traffic Law and are different from “shoulders” in that they are designated with pavement markings for the exclusive use of bicycles. ”We are asking for a five foot paved shoulder wherever possible which can safely accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, or distressed vehicles.” – Bike 86 The existing paved shoulder is already 5 feet wide in some locations, but the width varies considerably along both sides of Route 86, and it is drastically different from one side of the road to another at certain locations. It is clear that the road as originally constructed included shoulders that were 5 feet along much of the route.
Additional shoulder width could be gained by reducing the width of the existing travel lane on this section, without expanding the width of the roadway. DOT spokeperson Carol Breen recently said this about the NY Works project to repave Route 86 between Wilmington and Lake Placid: “We are going to create additional room on the shoulder by reducing the travel lanes to 10 feet in width from their current 11 feet.”