If you're traveling through downtown Kalamazoo, don't be surprised if you see a new barrier for a stretch of bike lanes.

A new pilot project for a two-way cycle track has just been erected in Kalamazoo, as shared by the Facebook page ModeShift Kalamazoo, a small community collective that focuses on making walking and biking a safe and easy transportation choice.

The project utilizes a wave delineation system from a company called Saris in order to provide a kind of barrier between the cyclist and motorized traffic. They look like this:

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Where Are They in Downtown Kalamazoo?

This kind of pilot program has been used in major cities like Philadelphia, New Orleans, Minneapolis, and more, according to the product page at saris.com. Since this is a pilot project, these barriers are limited to a couple of streets in Kalamazoo.

The first track, which is bi-directional, is on Lovell St between Kalamazoo Mall and Park Street. The second, which is uni-directional, is for westbound only bike traffic between Park Street and Pearl Street.

A Couple of Things to Note Abou this Pilot Project

First, for now, this is temporary. If it goes well, it's safe to assume that further plans will be made to either make these wave barriers permanent or add additional ones throughout the city. The project timeline is August to September of 2022.

Second, this will impact parking on Lovell Street. Specifically, along the north side of the section of Lovell Street where the barriers have been placed. Make sure you plan accordingly. See more below:

To give you a better visualization, here's a picture of the barriers that ModeShift Kalamazoo recently shared:

Again, because this is a pilot project, opinions and suggestions are being welcomed. In the Facebook group ModeShift Kalamazoo General Discussion Group, ModeShift Kalamazoo made a post welcoming the members of the group (which is public) to give their input. So far, the feedback seems to be mostly positive:

Tried it Mall to South St. Dig the barriers. I know they won't stop a car careening out of control, but they're better than a white line, and probably better than flexiposts. - Mark W. 

It’s nice to see so much physical space rebalanced for other road users. I’ve seen pedestrians, people on bikes, roller blades, skateboards, and users of wheelchairs all utilize this space. It “feels” more inviting to be downtown on a bike. - Dustin B.

I love the concept it’s a great start. - Baily Q. 

Personally, I would love to have the confidence in my ability to safely cycle around town. Perhaps, these barriers are just the thing needed to allow non-motorized transportation to become more accessible in the Kalamazoo area.

If you're often in the downtown area you may have noticed certain letters on top of street signs. If you don't know what they mean, this should hopefully offer some clarification:

Downtown Kalamazoo Districts

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