Pittsburgh's mayor, Bill Peduto, jokingly referred to a "bikelash" when some residents reacted unfavorably to his push for a citywide network of bicycle lanes.

People approach the issue of a bike lane "through a cultural lens of whether they use it or not," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in March.

"Never underestimate the anger directed at bicyclists," Janette Sadik-Khan, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, wrote in a March 2016 article in New York magazine. "They ride too fast, terrorizing pedestrians. They ride too slow, dangerously obstructing drivers. They don't wear helmets or reflective bike gear, jeopardizing themselves. They shouldn't ride in streets, which are hostile, car-only zones."

In Los Angeles earlier this year, a group of commuters threatened to sue the city to force removal of 4.3 miles of bike lanes that narrowed a heavily traveled street.

From coast to coast, efforts to make streets more bicycle-friendly have made people angry.

Will Koehler says it doesn't have to be that way in Clintonville.

A member of the Clintonville Area Commission's planning and development committee, Koehler has become the public face for the Neighborhood Greenways Project, set to be instituted next year with Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund dollars from the city. The bike network along neighborhood streets would use signs and pavement markings to guide even casual riders along safe routes.

Koehler said he doesn't like to think of bicyclists and motorists existing in separate camps.

Rather, he prefers to think of people who ride bikes and people who drive cars -- and often that describes the same person.

"When we put people in buckets, we can start demonizing each other," Koehler said.

Angry reactions to bike-friendly projects, such as Neighborhood Greenways and the recently completed Indianola Avenue road diet, are the result of "car-centric thinking," said Ed Miner, a Clintonville resident who owns a South Side bicycle shop and heads the organization Bikes for All People.

"It's the whole thing where people feel they pay taxes and they pay for the roads and bicyclists don't pay taxes," Miner said. "They think roads are for cars."

"Indianola is one example of how you can make a street safer for all," Koehler said.

That's not what some predicted in the months leading up to the road diet, which transformed the four-lane road between East North Broadway and Morse Road into a street with one travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane and bicycle lanes along the edges.

Among those who spoke out against the project, a few had to admit the finished product hasn't been so bad.

"So far, I think it's been going so good," Tim Monaghan said. "I think it's working fine, which is good. I'm glad it's working. I think people are adjusting fine."

Monaghan, a Clintonville resident, previously expressed concerns about the study used to determine the road diet's potential impact on traffic.

"I think it will be interesting to see if there is an increase in traffic or backups once (the bridge over Glen Echo Ravine) opens up and people are using that again.

"I will say, it seems like High Street seems crazy. I don't know if people are avoiding Indianola," Monaghan said.

The Glen Echo bridge is scheduled to reopen next month, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation, which is repairing the 102-year-old span.

Clintonville resident Michael Ossing, who voiced his thoughts in a letter to the editor to ThisWeek Booster last year, said he hasn't seen an increase in bikes using Indianola since it was revamped.

"We're outside a fair amount, with yard maintenance and whatnot. We've seen people use the center lane to pass north- and southbound traffic. I suspect that's where accidents are going to occur if they haven't already," Ossing said.

"Traffic has slowed down, obviously, and I know that was the intention, even though it wasn't stated. It has slowed down."

CAC District 9 representative B.J. White, who joined the commission in July, said the road diet's objective is not to cater to cyclists, nor is it "anti-motorist."

"It is a safety measure," White said. "It is an initiative to calm traffic and reinforce that the speed limit is 35 miles an hour."

With the road diet in place and the Greenways Project in the offing, Koehler said city officials may be looking at Clintonville as the prototype for making Columbus friendlier to people who ride bikes -- without angering people who drive cars.

"They see it as a model," Koehler said. "If they can make it work in Clintonville, they can show people in other neighborhoods this is what it looks like when there are lots of people on bicycles."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1