SA working with city on bike lanes


A proposal to create bike lanes within key areas of Brookings has been passed on to the Traffic Safety Committee.


Drivers and bikers may soon be sharing the road.

Students’ Association asked the Office of Student Affairs to survey students to find out if there is a need for bike lanes on city streets.

SA passsed the resolution April 11 because the Brookings City Council wants to see “more concrete evidence showing the need,” according to the resolution.

Since 2008, the Students’ Association has been working with the city of Brookings to implement bike lanes on some of the city’s streets. The issue came up again at the April 5 city council meeting.

“The goal of bike lanes is to find a way to connect the campus and the community,” SA Vice President Anthony Sutton said.

Sutton said SA worked with the city to put up “share the road” signs last spring. The signs are meant to encourage people to ride their bikes on the street and drivers to share the road.

However, Jameson Berreth, SA state and local chair, said the signs haven’t accomplished what they’ve hoped.

“We feel the signs haven’t been very effective,” Berreth said. “Cars will sometimes go in the other lanes when bikes are on the street. These signs just aren’t being utilized.”

Natalie Van Beek, a junior nursing major, said she doesn’t notice the “share the roads” signs very often and will normally ride her bike on the sidewalk.

“When I do ride my bike on the street, I feel like I’m in the way of other cars on the road,” Van Beek said.

Now, Berreth said SA wants to take it a step further and see lanes painted on the streets for bikers.

Sutton said SA is proposing bike lanes on Eighth Street to Western Avenue, another on 11th Street by Hansen Hall and a third on 22nd Avenue.

“For now we want to start small, then build our way up,” Sutton said.

Berreth said bike lanes would not only benefit campus, but the community too.

“The benefits of bike lanes include safety for bikers as well as everyone else on the road, cleaner air and also less pollution,” Berreth said.

According to a study by the University of Wisconsin, Brookings County is the healthiest county in South Dakota. Berreth said the bike lanes keep up with this by promoting healthy lifestyles.

“In the future we hope to see a cultural shift of people choosing to ride their bikes instead of driving,” Sutton said.

Van Beek said she would feel more comfortable riding her bike on the street if bike lanes were painted on the road.

“I think I would use the bike lanes and not the sidewalk,” Van Beek said. “I may also ride my bike a lot more.”

Sutton said he wants student and community members to feel comfortable riding their bikes on the streets. He said he wants to see Brookings as a bike-friendly community.

“Bike lanes are new to America,” Sutton said. “There aren’t a ton in the U.S. so, maybe SDSU can be on the cutting edge of this new tread.”

Adding bike lanes may also eliminate some parking on the streets. Berreth said that because some streets only have parking on one side, parking may have to be completely removed on them. This will all be determined by the city if they agree to the proposed plan.

“We brought the idea of bike lanes to the city last fall and we do have some support from them,” Berreth said.

When Berreth presented a bike lanes proposal to the city council on April 5, the council referred the proposal to the Traffic Safety Committee.