- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lincoln’s new 17-block-long protected bike lane has proved popular with bicyclists. But they say the route has also proved inadvertently popular with some car and truck drivers.

The $3.2 million N Street Bike Track opened Dec. 21 after almost a year of construction. It connects the Haymarket district on the west side of downtown Lincoln with Antelope Valley trails and beyond to the east.

The route makes for a safer commute downtown, city traffic engineer Lonnie Burklund told the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1RbsYcU ), saying the route has gained early acceptance.

“I’ve seen anywhere from three or four cyclists on it to a dozen cyclists,” Burklund said. “I think it’s pretty cool that people are using it.”

The bicyclists note, though, that some apparently perplexed drivers are using it as well. The lane is controlled by its own signals, marked by green paint and separated from traffic by curbs and dividers.

“The divider looks like a median,” said bicyclist Gary Bentrup. “They think it’s a median and that they need to be on that side of it.”

The city had expected some confusion. It held a news conference before the lane opened to promote an educational campaign that includes a website and instructional videos to teach cyclists, pedestrians and motorists how to navigate N Street.

The city plans to add more street striping at intersections this week to help keep cars in their designated lanes while turning. The city also intends to install more 3- or 4-foot-tall reflective plastic tubes in and near the bike lane to deter motorized traffic.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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