Bicyclists debut Houghton Avenue Bike Boulevard during Bridgefest

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette A bicyclist sets off from the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton Saturday during a ride inaugurating the new Houghton Avenue Bike boulevard.

HOUGHTON — The Houghton Avenue Bike Boulevard was opened Saturday with a group ride as part of Bridgefest weekend.

Dozens of riders showed up for the ride Saturday morning, receiving free water bottles.

“We’re doing a short little route this morning to show you the changes the city has made on Houghton Avenue and give you an idea of how to get up there from here, and then how to get from the end back down onto the Waterfront Trail,” said Josh Myles, part of the city’s Non-Motorized Committee.

From the park, bicyclists rode uphill to the tunnel under M-26, then up to Houghton Avenue. In April, the Houghton City Council approved changes to eight stop signs along the avenue to make it more bicycle-friendly. The city’s goal is making Houghton Avenue the main east-west corridor for bike traffic.

From Houghton Avenue, the bicyclists rode through the Michigan Tech campus, then came down to the Waterfront Trail and back to the park.

Houghton police were on hand to serve as crossing guards as riders crossed U.S. 41 near Michigan Tech. City Manager Eric Waara said a planned Michigan Department of Transportation project for 2021 on College Avenue will improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.

It was the first time on the route for James Frey of Atlantic Mine.

“I just got started in biking, and I just wanted to join in,” he said.