Two 1.8-mile-long bike lanes could soon be along a section of Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston if a plan unveiled at a public hearing Tuesday night materializes.
The bike lanes would be built on the riverside of the boulevard from the Patrick Street bridge to Magic Island. The lanes would share the same section of new asphalt but would be split by direction -- one eastbound and one westbound.
The plan would keep all four lanes on Kanawha Boulevard but eliminate the median and reduce the width of each vehicle lane to 11 feet. A grass strip varying in width and an 8-inch-high curb would separate the two 4-foot-wide bike lanes from the boulevard.
An existing asphalt path for pedestrians would remain part of the project. Five crosswalks would be added between West Side streets and the pedestrian path, though the crosswalks wouldn't be part of a traffic light.
"This is all going to come down to budget," City Manager David Molgaard said.
The project is only in the planning stage. A cost and a timeframe have not been set, but construction could begin as early as next spring. The city wants to gauge public opinion and gather input on the project before creating a final design and budget.
"This is going to happen," Molgaard said. "Something will happen."
The two bike lanes would begin near the Patrick Street Plaza and would then follow the Boulevard to an overlook at Magic Island. From there, cyclists could continue east or turn around at Magic Island and return west.
The design also calls for new parking spaces near Drug Emporium and Lovell Street. Parking has also been discussed under the Interstate 64 overpass.
"This project is compatible with any expansion," said David Clevenger, a principal at Charleston-based TRC Companies, Inc., which helped with the initial design of the bike lanes.