An initial survey of Lake Road bike lanes will look at everything from left-turn lanes along the street to having bike lanes continue through intersections, said Avon Lake Public Works Director Joe Reitz.

The city hired Shaker Heights firm Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. to complete two studies of bike lanes in Avon Lake. The first will be of Lake Road, the location last year of two serious bicycle versus car crashes, one of them fatal.

The estimated cost of the study is $23,500. City officials and the consulting firm have yet to finalize the scope of the citywide study, meaning the cost might change. Officials estimated it to be $21,000 in June.

Consultants asked to study a couple of Lake Road surveys the city completed several years back, Reitz said. The first looked at all rights of way along Lake, including things such as driveways. The second is a city traffic study done a few years ago, according to Reitz.

Mayor Greg Zilka previously outlined the two incidents serving as the impetus for the studies.

On June 6, 2019, a car driven by Sheffield Lake resident Sharon Carr, then 66, struck former Avon Lake Planning Commission Chairman Randy Knilanis, 66. He died the next day at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. Carr later pleaded guilty in Lorain County Common Pleas Court to aggravated vehicular homicide, failure to stop and OVI. The court sentenced her to 3½ years in prison.

The second case involving a cyclist allegedly struck is still in the county court system. Allison Spoerl, of Avon Lake, age 21 at the time of the accident, is charged with assault, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless operation and possession of criminal tools after an incident May 15, 2019. Officials allege Spoerl struck Patty Banks, then 51, of Bay Village, with her car. Banks survived.

A pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept 4 in Common Pleas Court.

The second planned Avon Lake study will look at the connectivity of bike lanes within city borders as well as connections to lanes in neighboring communities. Legislators earmarked money for the first study in this year’s budget. The plan is to place money for the second study in the 2021 budget, Ward 4 City Councilman David Kos said early this summer.

Kos chairs council’s Safety Committee.

The first study may take three to four months. The second will not happen until next year. Mannik & Smith’s initial survey of Lake will take two to three weeks, Kos said late last month.

The state plans to repave Lake Road in 2023, which adds impetus to the bicycle studies. “This is the time to make some safety improvements and we are moving forward with that,” Kos said. “We are putting everything on the table.”

Consultants are charged with identifying possible funding sources for any recommended improvements, with dollars coming from organizations such as the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. ODOT potentially could supply up to 90% of the funding needed, amounting to anywhere from $5 million to $10 million. Addressing bike and pedestrian safety issues is an ODOT priority, consultants said.

“Mannik & Smith has a tremendous record of success in obtaining funding for their projects,” Kos said.

The study scheduled for next year will determine the number of bike lane miles.

Contact this reporter at tcorrigan@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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