Future of bike lanes in Downtown Chico uncertain after experiment gets mixed reviews

The heart of downtown Chico is back to normal after temporary striping was removed that was being used to create experimental bike lanes.

For about one month, Third Street from Flume to Salem Streets heading west, and Fourth Street heading east from Salem to Flume were condensed from two to one lane of vehicle traffic.

Bicyclists seemed to like the change.

"It was an easier way to get around without having to worry about too many cars," said one bicyclist.

But motorists, especially at the corner at Main and Third street dealt with added congestion.

Ellen Stephens, who owns Heavenly Blue at Third and Main streets could look below and see motorists having difficulty making a right hand turn onto Main Street from Third Street.

Kathey Squyers, who's owned an antique store on Third Street for 45 years, saw congestion directly from her businesses storefront window.

"The idea has merit, but just not on this street," said Squyers. "There are so many businesses on both sides that are affected by it."

Bikram Kahlon, a civil engineer with the City of Chico who helped oversee the experiment, noted the traffic snafus but also pointed out that three times as many bicyclists drove these streets with the bike lanes than without.

Some would like to see the lanes lengthened to Bidwell Park.

A permanent decision on bike lanes is years into the future and would need additional funding.

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