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Cyclists: New Norwalk Bike Lane Is An Improvement

NORWALK, Conn. – Calf Pasture Beach Road has grown quieter, according to one avid Norwalk cyclist who sees a "definite improvement" with the freshly painted lines on the road.

More people are riding their bikes to the beach since the city installed a shared bike lane, the result of months of activism and political debate, Ed Torres said. Drivers aren't honking at cyclists anymore, he said.

The outside lane has been widened to 14 feet and the inside lane narrowed to 10 feet after a decision made at the July 31 traffic commission meeting to favor "sharrows" over other options. With sharrows, signs indicate that drivers must share the road, and symbols indicate that the outside lane is also for cyclists.

Rosemary Bianco, a Norwalker who was at the beach Thursday, said the signs changed her behavior right away. She automatically goes to the inside lane, because she needs to be there anyway to show her beach sticker to the attendant.

Other beachgoers hadn't noticed. "I did not see that, but I am glad to hear about it because I like to ride my bike here," said Betsy Conti.

But "there is still a long learning curve ahead" for both drivers and cyclists, one activist said. Drivers are still speeding in the outside lane when cyclists are there, Mike Mushak said. Bikers are not sure whether they should follow the arrow directly or stay to the right.

"I had to stop to explain to a biker in the left lane that the 'share the road' signs still meant bikers needed to follow the rules of the road, which is stay to the right, and not drive down the middle of the road!" Mushak said in an email.

Another activist, Peter Libre said in an email, bikers would have preferred a dedicated bike lane. "But there are positive aspects: paint and signage on Beach Road acknowledges cyclists, and the city is beginning to consider that roads should work for all users, not just motorists," he said.

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