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Bicycle accessibility important for economy, environment

By Sara Humm
On November 10, 2010

The Ottawa community has seen several new improvements that benefit those who travel by bicycle.

The newly resurfaced Main Street in North Ottawa went from a total of four lanes to two lanes with two bike lanes.

While this surprised many people on their first trip on the new road, it is nice to have to get used to something that will benefit others.

Even though Ottawa may not be as bicycle populated as some cities like Lawrence, the potential and friendliness for bicyclists is growing.

With these new bike lanes, it gives

more options for travel around the

Ottawa community. These hopefully will send the message to bicyclists and others that Ottawa is a bicycle friendly town.

Even though the bike lanes aren't close to campus, that doesn't mean there aren't people from OU that won't use them.

This year there seem to be more bicycles on campus, ridden by students, faculty and community members. Whether it is just riding

through campus or coming to class for an off-campus student or professors who choose to bicycle instead of try to find a parking space, the number of bikes on campus is growing.

While there isn't a huge demand yet for bicycle access on campus, with the potential growth OU may see, that demand may grow in the next few years.

However, OU seems equipped and ready for and influx of bicyclists. With wide sidewalks and many bike racks around campus, the OU campus is already bicycle friendly.

The area around OU is also outfitted with sidewalks in all directions so getting to campus without a vehicle is that much easier.

Ottawa also offers other options for bicyclists for either travel or riding for fun.

The Prairie Spirit Trail runs for 50 miles between North Ottawa and Iola. The trail is just a few blocks from the OU campus and is just one of many options for those looking for places to ride bicycles.

Kanza Park is right off of the Spirit Trail and is a circular trail made for biking, running and walking.

Earlier this year the Sunflower Trail was opened at 15th and Ash Streets. The path was constructed from the help of a grant by the Sunflower Foundation.

Even though Ottawa is still a growing community, it seems to be ahead of the curve for something that will be needed in the future.

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