While I agree with the Connect Freeport vision of making Freeport more pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly, I believe the proposed 12-foot-wide paths on the two bridges being rebuilt will actually create a significant safety hazard.

Since the paths are proposed on only one side of each bridge, bicyclists heading west on Mallett Drive and east on Desert Road will need to cross all the traffic lanes on some of the busiest roads in town in order to get to the path and to return to the “correct” side (riding with traffic) of the road after crossing.

While the barrier between motorists and the path may offer some protection while crossing the bridge, it will almost certainly be safer for bicyclists to stay in the planned 5-foot-wide shoulder for the short distance across either bridge, rather than crossing multiple lanes of traffic to use the path. Similarly, pedestrians heading in the opposite directions will face the same hazard.

The Freeport Active Living Committee has considered pedestrian- and bicyclist-only bridge options for crossing Interstate 295 elsewhere in town. I believe such a pedestrian- and bicyclist-only bridge, while more expensive, would be a far safer option and a better use of our tax dollars.

I encourage Freeport citizens to vote “no” on March 9.

John Baxter

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