New cycle track touted as first step in improving safety in Lakeland

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A new, less than half a mile two-way bike lane aims to be the way of the future in Lakeland.

City officials held a ribbon cutting Friday at New York Avenue and Lemon Street for the new “cycle track.”

“This is a very short but very strategic piece of the puzzle,” said Chuck Barmby, transportation and development review manager for the city of Lakeland.

The cycle track cut vehicle traffic down to one lane and allows for cyclists to ride in both directions.

Polk County is one of the top five most dangerous locations for pedestrians and bicyclists in the country, according to Barmby.

The cycle track includes a cement barrier between the people riding on two wheels and those riding on four.

“Having a dedicated facility where you don’t have to worry about cars crossing a white line and encroaching in and hitting a bicyclist, I think is huge,” said Barmby.

The project cost $674,000, provided by the Florida Department of Transportation. It’s been in the works since 2012.

“With the cost of transportation these days in terms of construction costs, design costs, you’ve got to start somewhere. For the west side of Lakeland, this is a very strategic and very important step in that journey,” Barmby explained.

The plan is to connect the cycle track with a trail being planned on the west side of Lake Hunter.

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