Tennessee Department of Transportation and McMinnville officials are pedaling forward with plans to include a bike lane on Morrison Street in 2020.
“TDOT has looked at what the road can handle and come back to us with what is feasible,” said city planner Katie Kemezis to members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. “It’s essentially a combination of strategies.”
The 2.79-mile stretch would have a mixture: 1) a designated bike lane where the shoulder of the road is wide and allows it, and 2) a shared motorist-bicyclist lane when the street’s shoulder is lost to provide a turning lane.
On Fernando C. Boyd Sr. Bridge and through Westwood’s turning lanes, approximately 1 mile, there would be shared lanes instead of bike lanes. TDOT would paint “sharrows” – shared lane pavement markings that are bicycle symbols to indicate motorists should expect to share the lane with bicycles.
The remaining part of the route – until Central Office Drive – would be repainted to have bike lanes on both sides of the road with solid six-inch white lines between the road lane and the bike lane. The turning lane into Warren County School’s Central Office would be repainted to accommodate a combined lane.
McMinnville is required to purchase and place all pole-mounted signs. Included in the list of signs proposed by TDOT were “Bike Lane” signs along the route and “Bike Lane Ends” signs on both ends of the project. Estimated cost is $500.
“We are going to have to do some public education about cars and bicycles sharing lanes,” said Alderman Everett Brock.
Kemezis agreed that a public awareness campaign will be necessary and urged the city to invest in all the recommended signs.
“Some of the signage is optional and some is required,” she said. “All of it is going to make that first step much safer. I recommend that we invest in all of the signage.”
TDOT has a planned 2.79-mile resurfacing project coming in 2020 on Morrison Street. The road will not be widened. A bike route will be included when the resurfaced street is repainted.
According to TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn, the project has a Feb. 7 letting date – meaning bids will be open for the project – and if the schedule holds, the paving project will begin in the spring or summer of 2020.
McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved TDOT’s design plans and up to $1,000 for the purchase of signs.