‘Flex lanes’ added to section of downtown Birmingham

Updated: Mar. 11, 2021 at 6:22 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A colorful addition to downtown is encouraging you to re-think how you get around downtown.

Striping and painting started Wednesday on drawing so-called “flex lanes” on 20th Street between 1st Avenue North and 3rd Avenue.

The experiment involving REV Birmingham, the City of Birmingham and the Parking Authority, creates a temporary lane for commercial traffic or valet drop-offs and pickups.

The green strip is a 5-foot wide, dedicated bike lane.

The effort also adds some planters and tables to the sidewalk to make the area more inviting.

Work started today on drawing so-called flex lanes on 20th Street between 1st Avenue North and 3rd Avenue.

The experiment involving Rev Birmingham, the City of Birmingham and the Parking Authority, creates a temporary lane for commercial traffic or valet drop offs and pickups.

The green strip is a dedicated bike lane.

The effort also adds some planters and tables to the sidewalk.

“We’re trying to create the best of both worlds here by trying to give a lot more space back to the pedestrians but still allowing some slower, calmer vehicle traffic,” says rev Birmingham’s project coordinator Jonathan Crain.

“We do sort of want to re-set the mindset to this is not a major thoroughfare for traffic, that’s more like 19th or Richard Arrington”.

Crain says there is research that shows people who walk or bike through a neighborhood are likely to spend more money there than a driver who dashes into and out of a business.

The city and Rev seek to expand the lanes from Morris Avenue to Linn Park later this year, and eventually take the concept to other parts of the city, preparing the way for more bikes and scooters.

“Hopefully by starting downtown, more people get used to the idea of sharing the street while we’re driving” says Marian Massoud, special projects intern with the Americorp program working in the city’s transportation department.

“That’s kind of the sentiment that we want to send outside of downtown as well”, she adds.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.