Columbus city engineers using bikes to better survey roads

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City of Columbus engineer Daniel Moorhead was hired to have a focus on bicycling. Moorhead routinely joins a group of colleagues to design bike lanes. Not in some downtown office, but while riding bikes.

What these engineers can detect from the seat of a bike is far more advantageous than anything they learn behind a desk or traveling by in a car.

Steve Wasosky is a design engineer for the city. On a recent ride, he determined the pavement condition on the edge of the road was in disrepair.

It is exactly where bikes would travel in a new lane being designed for completion next year.

"This is a little worse condition than typical that I see on the edge of the pavement," Wasosky said about one particular stretch of Indianola Avenue.

The engineers call it ground truth: feeling the real stresses of being out in traffic on bikes right alongside the cars.

The professional development rides are the brainchild of a local non-profit group, Yay Bikes!.Catherine Girves is the Executive Director and instituted the rides last October.

She says the engineers are professionals interested in doing a good job and the rides give them a better perspective to do that.

Transportation specialist Bud Braughton is old school. He spent forty years designing roads from an isolated office.

Now he says he has more of a focus on the whole concept of what a bicyclist is going to encounter on the streets.

There is a plan in place for Indianola to join the existing 34 miles of bike lanes already being used in Columbus.

People who live in the neighborhood hope the result is safer streets that promote community cohesion and make it more likely for people to get out and walk or bike where they're going.