New bikeway connects UNL, downtown to community trails

New bikeway connects UNL, downtown to community trails

The N Street cycle track along N Street in downtown Lincoln features a dedicated two-lane bike path separate from traffic and pedestrians. The new route opens the week of Dec. 21.
Troy Fedderson | University Communications
The N Street cycle track along N Street in downtown Lincoln features a dedicated two-lane bike path separate from traffic and pedestrians. The new route opens the week of Dec. 21.

Bike commuters will have a new, safer path through downtown Lincoln when the N Street cycle track opens the week of Dec. 21.

The cycle track is Nebraska's first protected bikeway, offering a dedicated two-way bike path that connects downtown Lincoln — including UNL's City Campus and Lincoln's Haymarket district — to the community bike trail system. It runs 17 blocks along the south side of N Street, from 23rd Street to Arena Drive and is separated from automotive traffic by paint, curbs, medians and on-street parking.

"The separation of bikes and motor vehicles provides an extra measure of safety," said Chris Beutler, mayor of Lincoln. "It's very important for the public to learn how to navigate this stretch of N Street, which includes traffic control devices at every intersection for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians."

Information about the cycle track — including an instructional video — is available here.

The cycle track also is a good fit for the Bike UNL initiative, a student-led campaign designed to promote biking and biking education within the campus community.

"The N Street bikeway really makes sense as it connects UNL's City Campus with existing bike lanes on 14th and 11th streets, and to the trail system to the east and west of downtown," said Jordan Messerer, assistant director of UNL's Outdoor Adventure Center and a member of the Bike UNL committee. "It also increases safety for everyone — cyclists, pedestrians and drivers — as they move through downtown."

UNL is one of 127 higher education institutions in the United States to be named a Bike Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. UNL earned the award in 2013 through the Bike UNL initiative.

Alongside the Bike UNL education/promotion campaign, the university also offers a variety of bike services, including a full-service bike shop, rentals, safety and education courses, and registration with campus police. UNL is also exploring ways to identify a portion of City Campus' 12th Street Mall (from R Street to Memorial Stadium) as a bike lane.

UNL and the City of Lincoln are also partnering to launch a bike-share program, which will offer bikes at specialized stations that can be used for short-term transportation needs. The bike-share program is being designed to offer 15 bike stations across Lincoln, primarily downtown. Both City and East campuses are planned to host bike-share stations.

The bike-share program is tentatively scheduled to launch in fall 2016.

For more information on Bike UNL and related campus programing, click here.

The $3.2 million N Street cycle track was funded through both public and private sources, including a $340,000 donation from the Great Plains Trails Network. A dedication is planned for spring 2016.