Locals weigh in on the new bike lanes on Medford’s Main St.

MEDFORD, Ore.- The new bike lanes on Medford’s Main Street are open to riders and not everyone is happy about it. Some folks say they’re already tired of the adjustment.

The addition of the bike lanes was a part of a plan that was developed years ago to revitalize the city. Before construction took place, the city had no dedicated bike lanes in the downtown area.

Crystal Chavez, the General Manager at Four Sisters Irish Pub says she doesn’t see many bikers around.

“I’ve never seen anyone use the bike lane since it’s been here, not one person,” Chavez told NBC5.

“I’m kind of a little bit mixed on it,” Adrian Elkind, an Optimization Engineer said, “In the last, like, twenty minutes or hour that I’ve been sitting in the coffee shop, I don’t feel like I’ve seen a whole lot of bikes actually passing by”.

In order to create these bike paths, the city had to take space from the existing road. Specifically, from one of the three traffic lanes. According to city officials, the new bike lanes were supposed to make Downtown Medford a little more visitor-friendly, but local businesses are told NBC5 it’s actually making it harder for their customers to come in.

“Parking has been a nightmare for our customers,” Chavez said, “there’s not a whole lot of parking around the block and so that makes it even more harder to kind of get a spot.”

“It took away more parking and took away more traffic, you know, more lanes,” Sol Keen, a Tattooer at Dependable Tattoos, said, “I think… we could have used money in the city probably for something a little more constructive than that”.

“I drive a big truck and it seems like it’s so much more difficult to get around and make corners.” Local man Jeff Gitzen said, “If we’re a growing city, I don’t know why they made the road smaller”.

The City of Medford tells us that contrary to public opinion, the number of parking spots has not decreased due to this project. They added that there may not be many bikers right now due to the cold weather.

“For sake of efficiency, I don’t immediately see it or understand it, but I also haven’t done the studies myself to kind of see the ‘oh okay this makes more sense or less sense’,” Elkind added.

On the other hand, one local man tells us he believes the bike lanes will make drivers, riders and pedestrians safer.

“I think they’re great, you know, at least it keeps bikers from riding in the middle of the road,” Trevis Pollman said, “I don’t think people should be riding their bikes on the sidewalks. I mean, you know, that’s pretty dangerous, I would think”.

In the past, the city told NBC5 the Main Street project might be an adjustment for drivers. But for some locals, this adjustment is too much for them to handle.

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NBC5 News Reporter Lauren Pretto grew up in Livermore, California and attended University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with a double major in Film/Digital Media and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lauren is a lover of books, especially Agatha Christie and Gothic novels. When her nose isn't buried in a book, she knits, bakes, and writes.
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