Is the green color of Del-Ida bike paths in Delray Beach too ‘jarring’?

The recently renovated roads in Delray Beach's Del Ida Park Historic District include bright green bike paths that have drawn mixed reactions from residents. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

The recently renovated roads in Delray Beach’s Del Ida Park Historic District include bright green bike paths that have drawn mixed reactions from residents. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

The road and bike path at Delray’s Del-Ida Park Historic District are now open to traffic — in case you haven’t already noticed.

The bright green bike paths along the recently renovated roadway have captured the attention — and sparked mixed reactions — from residents, some of whom have complained while others have lauded the new paths.

City officials said at a meeting Tuesday night that several question why that particular color was chosen.

“It’s a national standard,” said John Morgan, who runs the city’s environmental services department. Green bike paths can be found throughout the country,per the recommendation of the U.S. Department of Transportation .

The bike paths are made from an epoxy-based, granular material dyed green, so it can’t be painted over. The material is better for bike-tire traction, Morgan said.

Mayor Cary Glickstein said he’s received complaints from Del-Ida residents about the “jarring” color. After those complaints flooded in, other residents called to commend the new bike paths, Morgan said.

“People were asking us to please not change the color,” he said.

The color will fade to a dull green in time, Morgan added. But the hope is that the green will capture the attention of drivers and remind them that the road is not only for cars.

“Our street signs, our signs on I-95 are green with white lettering,” Morgan said. “Why? It’s easier to see. The green with white lettering is, I’m pretty sure, because our eyes are drawn to those colors.”

Other colors can be used for bike paths, but the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends green because research shows the color makes bicyclists feel safer and increases motorist awareness.

Jim Chard, co-founder of Human Powered Delray, a pedestrian and bicyclist advocacy group, said Wednesday that he was suprised by the “brightness,” but the paths themselves are “ingenious.”

“Some sort of color demarcation is essential from a safety perspective,” he said, adding that there should be a balance between the aesthetics of the neighborhood and the safety of cyclists.

The Del-Ida beautification project has been about five years in the making, Morgan said. The streets were renovated under the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization’s “Complete Streets” guidelines, part of a national effort to design roads that are safe for all sorts of transportation, not just cars and trucks.

Colored bike lanes are fairly new to the county, but quickly gaining traction, said Franchesca Taylor, senior planner at the Palm Beach MPO. Municipalities in our area are free to experiment with color, she added, but green is encouraged for consistency.

The next phase in Delray’s beautification project includes renovating the streets north of Del-Ida, from George Bush Boulevard to Northeast 18th Street, Morgan said.

The goal is to have bike-able paths from downtown Delray Beach through the city’s north end and into Boynton Beach.

The green paths too will likely continue into the next phase, Morgan said.

“It’s different, it’s a change,” he said. “It’s a new color, but I think people will get used to it.”