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Bike lanes on Granby Street? Norfolk City Council expected to vote on measure this month.

The city received $822,000 from SMART Scale to fund the bike lanes project in 2016.

NORFOLK, Va. — Michael Merritt rides bike on Granby Street quite often. Even though he’s biked almost all his life, he said the ride on Granby can get tense.

“Sometimes cars come dangerously close,” he explained.

The push for safety along the road hits home for him.

“Our son, he rides his bike to Granby High School and he was -- luckily not seriously -- grazed by a car riding home one day, coming home from school. Because there’s no safe spot for him to ride his bike on,” he said.

That’s why he and the group Bike Norfolk go to every city council meeting to advocate for the Granby Street Bike Lanes Project.

The project would convert the outer lanes on each side of the street to a bike lane.

“It’s a much more leisurely, relaxed ride," Merritt said. "There’s no fear of being hit by a car.”

Residents would see the change on Granby Street from Willow Wood Drive to Admiral Taussig Boulevard.

City leaders included a plan to make that stretch safer for pedestrians and drivers, too. 

Nearly six years ago, the city received $822,000 from VDOT and must accept the money by March. Norfolk City Council is expected to vote on that funding at the Jan. 25 meeting.

The city will also look for additional funding for the project for pedestrian improvements. City leaders say those improvements could cost around $1.8 million.

Some people have concerns about cutting Granby Street down from three lanes to two. Councilman Tommy Smigiel is worried the project would increase traffic, especially when a train rolls by.

“When you get a long train heading north on Granby Street, you get backup traffic all the way to the funeral home at Wards Corner, and now it’s going to be worse because you’re down two lanes,” he said.

Merritt remained optimistic Friday morning, hoping to see a safer ride in the future.

“Having a safer, slower road, would be beneficial for all residents in Norfolk, not just the drivers," he said.

If Norfolk city leaders approve funding for the project, they could start working on the design for the project in the coming months.

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