Folks living and driving along Route 347 in the Smithtown-Hauppauge area have no doubt been excitedly watching the road work taking place there. What is under construction is a new bike and pedestrian lane aimed at providing protecting for these people, while allowing cars room to safely pass.

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of pedestrians and bicycle riders using New York roadways lately. this has been happening in both rural and urban areas. City leaders have begun addressing concerns of the dangers of mixing these two groups by funding projects aimed at providing a safe place for each different group to progress without interfering with the other.

However, not everyone is happy about the changes. Driving safety advocates say the reduce lane sizes caused when some road surfaces are turned to “bike only” cause increased driving congestion which leads to more vehicle vs vehicle accidents. Bicycling advocates say what they need are their own roadways, not roadways they need to share with speeding cars and aggressive drivers.

Pedestrians continue to use sidewalks where available and lobby for more sidewalks where there are none.

New York state has a population of more than 19 million people, most of whom are very active. They bike, walk, jog, run; drive their cars to work or use public transportation. This creates the perfect storm of mobility, where different people traveling at different speeds tend to interrupt each other. Frustration rises and accidents happen, with each side pointing at the other, and legislators caught in the middle.

Perhaps these new bike/pedestrian lanes will help alleviate some problems, but if history is any judge, it seems they are more likely to simply cause more problems.