Allen Mahler of 19,300 Peach Road appeared before the Culver Town Council this week with concerns on the Lake Shore Drive improvement projects. 

He said he stopped in town hall and asked for a print of the project.  He questioned the design which shows two 5-foot bike lanes with two 10-foot driving lanes.  He questioned, “Do we need bike lanes when we had a bike business here in Culver that’s no longer in existence?”  He also questioned if they weren’t used a bike lanes would they be used by golf carts and said the lanes are 5-feet wide and a golf cart is 4-feet wide and Mahler thought that was a dangerous place to be on the road.

Lake Shore Drive at Academy Road

Allen Mahler’s concern was if a golf cart were in that lane, that also has a 6 inch curb they wouldn’t be able to pull over for an emergency vehicle thus hindering emergency vehicle traffic. 

Police Chief Wayne Beam said emergency vehicle don’t have to stay in a lane, they can pass vehicles to get around the continue traveling on to the emergency situation. 

Town Manager Ginny Munroe said the project is trying to deal with water runoff on the east side of the road and trying to widen the road.  She said she trusts the professional engineers that have designed the project.

Lake Shore Drive (middle section)

Mahler said widening the road will move the crown of the road 5-feet to the east which means when you come off of State Road 17 and Academy Road you will have to jog 5-feet to the east.   

Mahler told the Culver Town Council, “I spoke to Mr. Ty Adley, Marshall County Planner and also the Sheriff’s Department and they think this is a poor design.”

Council President Bill Githens asked Mahler if he had a remedy and he said, “Yes.  Have you ever driven down the north end of School Street? Take a look, and do exactly what you did on the north end of School Street. There is no curbs.  The lanes are 13 or 14 fee wide.  No restrictions.”

Lake Shore Drive at State Road 10

Munroe explained that the driving lanes cant be wider because there is only so much room with the right-of-way.  She said the town’s road system was laid out years ago and many of the streets are narrow. 

Mahler suggested that the driving lanes could be wider without the bike lanes.

The Culver Town Council thanked him for his input but took no action on his recommendation. 

Seeking clarification on the alleged comment of County Plan Director Ty Adley to be “poor design” WTCA asked Adley for clarification.  The following is his comment:

The conversation that I had with Mr. Mahler and the concern that he had with emergency vehicles passing golf carts and/or bikes due to the inclusion of bike lanes and standing curbs on N Lake Shore Drive was rather extensive.  For Mr. Mahler to sum my comments into identifying the proposed cross-section as “a poor design” would be a poor synopsis.  I felt and understood where Mr. Mahler was coming from in his concern for the response capabilities of emergency vehicles and whether or not there was sufficient space to pass golf carts/ bicycles.  During the conversation with Mr. Mahler, I never got to review the engineered cross-section, but took his description at face value.  There were many caveats to my comments including but not limited to; the management of stormwater is often used under sidewalks, the narrow width lanes restrict speed in order to promote safer pedestrian friendly environments (which are often apart of a complete streets initiative), and ability for emergency vehicles to use more than the driving lane designated to respond to emergencies were all potential reasons behind the design of N Lake Shore Drive.  Roadways, specifically in Towns/Cities, should be designed by an engineer to accommodate all users for the safe use and accessibility that the Public Right-of-Way is intended for regardless of mode of transportation or desired destination.  At the end of the day the Town of Culver has a vision for where they are wanting to guide the Town and how they want to promote the health, safety and general welfare of its residents.

Marshall County Sheriff Matt Hassel told WTCA, “I do not know anything about the Lake Shore Drive improvement project.