Cyclists' Safety - Gaines Street
Because Gaines Street is a very narrow corridor, the City chose to make improvements within the existing right of way rather than widening the street, which would have been very expensive and would have eliminated many existing businesses in this area. The City has also tried to balance the design of Gaines Street between the needed physical space for cars and the safety and comfort of pedestrians and bicyclists within the limited right-of-way. In order to try to create a design that would be acceptable to the majority of users along this corridor, a workshop was held in 2007 to study various design options for Gaines Street. The current design is a result of that workshop.
To help slow traffic, provide access to businesses and create a more pedestrian-friendly district, the Gaines Street design called for new, wider sidewalks, narrowing the existing four lanes down to two lanes and providing for on-street parking. Because of space limitations and because on-street parking can create the potential for serious collisions between car doors and cyclists, the City chose not to place a traditional bike lane adjacent to the on-street parking.
Reflecting a strong concern for the safety of bicyclists along Gaines Street, the City Commission ultimately approved construction plans for all three segments of this project that include the placement of shared right of way street markings (otherwise known as "sharrows") and "Share the Road" signs. These are similar to those installed on Virginia and Call streets, as well as Killarney Way and Velda Dairy Road. These facilities are part of an overall design for Gaines Street that includes slower speeds and additional traffic calming elements such as vegetated medians, marked pedestrian crossings and on-street parking. These elements, working together, are intended to allow bicyclists to travel Gaines Street safely without placing them in direct conflict with parked cars or pedestrians.
For cyclists who prefer dedicated bike lanes, the City will include them on the FAMU Way Extension currently being designed to connect FAMU Way and Jackson Bluff Road. As part of this project, the St. Marks Trail will finally be connected to FSU on its south boundary. The City is also examining opportunities for alternate bicycle routes north of Gaines Street along Madison Street and a future extension on the south side of Gaines Street of St. Francis Street.