Some Rochester streets are friendly to cyclists. They have bike lanes or good shoulders, they aren't heavily traveled, and their intersections are relatively easy to pass through.
Other streets are inherently difficult — even dangerous — for cyclists. They may have heavy traffic or little room between lanes of moving cars and lines of parked ones. But they still serve as routes to get people to important places.
It's with the second set of streets in mind that the City of Rochester is looking to the concept of bicycle boulevards: side streets that could serve as alternate, parallel routes for major, tough-to-bike roads.
The city plans to hire Alta Planning + Design to develop a bicycle boulevards plan. City transportation specialist Erik Frisch says the plan should take between nine months and a year to put together, and that the city hopes to move quickly on the plan's recommendations.
The first step will be to identify some of the tough-to-bike roads as well as parallel routes, Frisch says. He uses Clifford Avenue as an example of a road that's inhospitable to cyclists, but where an alternative may exist.
Clifford has two busy 12-foot-wide lanes and two well-used 8-foot-wide parking lanes. But Fernwood Avenue, a less-traveled street, runs parallel to Clifford between North Goodman Street and Portland Ave. The city could identify Fernwood as a bicycle boulevard, Frisch says, and determine whether there are changes that would make Fernwood more hospitable to cyclists and less attractive, potentially, to cut-through drivers.