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Paramus, N.J. Set To Install First Dedicated Bike Lanes

PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- It's a first for one Bergen County town.

Paramus will soon install bike lines as part of a project to enhance road safety for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists, CBS2's Meg Baker reported Wednesday.

Paramus is known for its vast shopping centers off busy highways like Route 17 and the Garden State Parkway. Mayor Richard LaBarbiera said the borough was developed with motorists in mind, but now it's time to think about cyclists.

"I think a lot of this is lifestyle-driven. We do see more people recreating to include bike riding, so, yes, hopefully this will provide safer travels for them," LaBarbiera said.

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Bike lanes are planned for Midland Avenue from Country Club Road to Paramus Road, past Midland Elementary School and the library towards Bergen Community College. They would connect cyclists to popular biking trails through Saddle River County Park.

"It's a good, encouraging thing for the ... for everyone in the community," resident Anna Arakelian said.

Resurfacing work was already planned for this spring. The mayor said adding double-striped lanes won't cost much more. The project will not widen the road or require new sidewalks.

Some people said they are concerned about the added congestion on Midland Avenue.

"Midland is very busy anyways. I think it's just going to get even more dangerous," resident Kerry Geise said.

But the mayor said that won't be the case. A traffic study was conducted.

"It's basically over-sized one lane in each direction and we're now just staking a portion of that for bikers. However, studies will also tell you when you do choke down the travel way the cars will tend to go slower, so there's another benefit that could come from this," LaBarbiera said.

Midland Avenue is a pilot program he said he hopes will benefit residential neighborhoods. If successful, residents may see bike lanes leading to popular stores in the future.

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