by Victor Lopez
ODESSA - One of the definite pros of these two existing bike lanes is both the lanes on Maple and west 22nd go right in front of elementary schools, encouraging kids to safely ride their bikes to and from school.
"It's a health aspect. We want people to get out. We want people to exercise more. It's going to save them a lot of money on gas. There's a lot of pros to it."
Aside from the obvious, Andrea Goodson with the City of Odessa says there are many more pluses to the new bike lanes, than people realize.
"The primary goal is, on the bike routes, to get the cyclists to get off the less traveled roads on to maybe a little more safer environment for them," Goodson added.
Goodson says the city was approached by U.T.P.B. and the Permain Basin Bicycle Association years ago. Now, it's up to cyclists to help them determine how many more bike lanes will open up.
"It's probably going to take a good year or so of collecting data, observing etc., to determine if it's worthy to move on to the second phase," Goodson said.
And the second phase includes, "More lanes, more routes, expanding it," Goodson added.
David Ham, with the P.B.B.A. says, this is welcome news for him and bike riders in general.
"One of the main things that people want is more places to be able to go ride your bike. A lot of big cities have them; Midland and Odessa are kind of behind on that. Hopefully we're coming up and we'll see more of these in the future," Ham said.
But these lanes come with rules to follow, just like everything else.
"You're still involved with traffic, you still have stop signs you still have traffic that's crossing. You still have to be aware of your surroundings," Ham said.
"We want drivers to respect the cyclists who are out there," Goodson said.
The City of Odessa plans an official grand opening for these bike lanes in the future. For now, Goodson says, it's pretty much a situation of, "we've built it...will you come?"