San Luis Obispo Installs its First Green Bicycle Lanes

The trail from Hathway Street to the Cal Poly Campus has had the highest bicycle traffic counts since 1996. The multi-use trail offers pedestrians and bicyclists a separated right-of-way from motorized vehicles. | Photo: Courtesy city of San Luis Obispo Public Works Department

San Luis Obispo is joining a growing number of cities that are taking green paint to pavement to make space for cyclists.

This week crews are marking lanes at the busy intersection of Monterey Street and California Boulevard. The new lanes are the city's first green bike lanes, according to Jake Hudson with SLO's Traffic Engineering Division.

Since bike safety is often deemed the number one obstacle to riding, creating a safer atmosphere is considered critical to persuading more people to use alternative, cleaner modes of transportation.

The city of San Luis Obispo is roughly 11 square miles and currently boasts 34 miles of on-street bike lanes, a bicycle boulevard, bicycle corrals, and about six miles of bicycle path, according to the city's Public Works Department.

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The Central Coast town has also been in the spotlight, with even Oprah taking note. The city was also identified as a "clear example of how an American community can proactively change itself to create an environment where people live longer, happier lives" in a book published by National Geographic about finding happiness.

In addition to the recent green lanes, the county bike coalition has seen increased support. In May, just in time for the national Bike Month, the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition launched the Connect SLO County initiative.

The project seeks to complete three main bike path plans -- the Bob Jones, De Anza, and North Coast paths -- in the county.

"The Bob Jones Trail has been a great success and has incredible potential," said Bruce Gibson, a county supervisor who chairs the board, in a release. "I'm excited that the Bicycle Coalition is working hard to complete that and other bike path projects countywide."

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