WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The City of White Plains is continuing with its plans to make downtown more accessible and pedestrian friendly.
The city received a $1.2 million grant from the state to make improvements in downtown White Plains which will see added bike lanes and upgraded pedestrian access.
The protected bike lane will be installed at Martin Avenue, running from Court Street to Lexington Street. A protected bike lane will put a four food median in front of the lane to give cyclists more security.
"We have not in the past been as bike friendly," Mayor Tom Roach, who called the move a "game changer," said. "This will encourage more people to ride their bikes. There are people who use bikes to get to work and get to the train station. We need to accommodate them."
Improvements will also be made at pedestrian crossings along Main Street, particularly on the route from the train station to Mamaroneck Avenue.
"It's a three block walk, but people will always say it seems a lot longer," Roach said. "It's very dry, there's nothing happening. You have the death star Verizon building and the gray wall of the galleria. That's a superblock and that's not something you really want there."
Roach said the new owners of the galleria are planning to do a lot with the space and the improved pedestrian crossings will make it safer to get around downtown White Plains.
"We're excited about all of this," Roach said.
The mayor said he has heard from both sides of the bike debate and he understands many drivers get nervous when they see bike lanes.
"Bikes are permitted on the road the same as cars," Roach said. "When you have a bike lane, you're letting the driver know where to find bikes so they can respect them."
Roach said there is a lot of demand for bike lanes and that he sees a lot of bikes locked up at the White Plains tran station.
"I think it's the future," Roach said. "We're moving with the times. It will be a tremendous asset. It reduces traffic and it's good for the air."
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