New Bedford Seems to Have More Bike Paths Than Bike Riders
All of a sudden, New Bedford has a bunch of bike paths – but I don't see many people riding bikes on them. The Mitchell Administration promotes the bike paths on its Destination New Bedford webpage by telling potential tourists to "Discover New Bedford and stay fit!"
The New Bedford Bike Committee has published a "bicycle tourism map" which has "all the current bike lanes, and racks and the various attractions nearby in New Bedford."
Some of these bike paths, though, take riders right down the middle of busy streets.
I contacted Mayor Jon Mitchell's office to inquire how much taxpayers paid to paint white lines and little stick people on bicycles on the streets, but my inquiry went unanswered.
City Council Finance Committee Chair Linda Morad didn't respond, either.
Council President Ian Abreu did respond but didn't know the answer to my question. Abreu said he believes the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) may have picked up the tab and that the agency may be responsible for the upkeep.
In other words, keeping the paint looking fresh.
Judging by the fading painted lines on the bike path on Church Street, MassDOT has failed.
The chairman of the Council Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhoods, Councilor Brian Gomes, said he is "very concerned" that bike paths have been painted on some streets but "crosswalks, double yellow lines, and directional arrows at some key intersections" have not. Gomes said his priority is "keeping motorists and pedestrians safe."
Most of us rode bikes when we were kids. I had a Schwinn Stingray. There were many more bikes on the streets back then, but no one felt it necessary to create bike paths.
It all just seems a bit crazy to me, and maybe a new way to waste money?