New bike lanes in Ocean View change traffic pattern, worry neighbors


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The setup along 20 newly-paved blocks of East Ocean Avenue includes new bike lanes, a center turning lane and pedestrian crosswalks.

The city completed the project in late June that cut traffic from two lanes to one lane in each direction from Inlet Road to 19th Bay Street. 

Thelma Drake, assistant director of public works, gives the new project high marks. It’s part of the Complete Streets program that aims to make roads safer for drivers, cyclists and walkers. 

“I give it an A-plus,” said Drake, who says she received an email praising the finished project from someone who voiced their opposition during construction. 

Phil Brooks, a 14-year resident of Ocean View, says the roads feel safer but he points out drivers are not following the new rules. 

Brooks says many people are using the newly-created center turning lane and bike lanes as passing lanes.

“There’s people who want to scoot on by because everyone wants to get the hell out of dodge,” said Brooks, when talking about the morning and evening commutes. 

Drake says using the center turning to pass other vehicles is illegal and drivers will be ticketed. 

“The police department is aware of it,” said Drake.”They will be doing additional enforcement, so this is a warning to everybody: do not do that.”

The speed limit on East Ocean View Avenue is 35 miles per hour. Drake says by reducing vehicle traffic to one lane they are able to better control drivers from driving above the posted limit. 

The city is eyeing up the possibility of extending the bike lanes from 19th Bay Street to the Pretty Lake Bridge, according to Drake. The city would have to put together a proposal and then seek community input.

“Go out, ride your bike, enjoy yourself and feel a whole lot safer.”

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