[*BCM*] Bike lanes, actually
Thomas John Vitolo
tjvitolo at bu.edu
Sun Oct 30 07:57:43 EST 2005
Both of those two pictures rely on a situation that generally doesn't exist in
Boston or Cambridge: no parallel parking.
If you have parallel parking and a bike lane, you have the following (ASCII
ARTist I am not) where there is a 4 way intersection flowing through the top
right of the "art"
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
bicycle lane |
- - - - - - - - -+- - -
parallel parking | | |
sidewalk | | |
------ ----- ----+ |-+
stores | | | | |
=============+ | | |
| | | | | |
So, let's look at all of the distinct problems:
1. Cars have to pass through bike lane to park.
2. Cars have to temporarily stop on bike lane to parallel park.
3. Cars love to double park.
4. Driver side door abuts bike lane, resulting in door becoming a verb.
5. Pedestrians have to cross bike lane, car lane, car lane, bike lane to cross
a street. Pedestrians rarely abide by jaywalking laws. Pedestrians take a step
into the road before really looking. Pedestrians tend not to see bicycles as
easily as cars. All of this begs for a cyclist to swerve into faster traffic to
avoid the pedestrian, getting hit by a car. Or, alternatively, bouncing off of
the pedestrian and again, getting hit by a car.
In both of the photos below, a wall separated anybody in the car-space from
everybody in the walk/bike space, thereby reducing the bike/walk space to a dual
use instead of a treble use space.
In general city block scenarios in Boston, Cambridge, NYC, etc, creating a
bicycle lane creates treble use space since you can't separate pedestrians from
cars. Interestingly enough, I think the best space for bicycle lanes is in the
center of the road, not the edges. This keeps cyclists away from cars and
pedestrians except when the bicycle is beginning or ending his trip, when he can
merge through traffic like we do now anyway.
But still -- the speed limit in city block cities doesn't exceed 35 mph, and is
often 30 or 25. So, riding behind a cyclist for a few blocks doesn't really
slow down vehicles, once you consider the traffic signal slowdowns that happen
All of this breaks down in the "problem roads" which are designed to be faster
use than city block roads. The intersections are farther apart, the size of the
roads is larger, and there isn't parking to keep people driving slower. This
isn't any different than riding across the Mass Ave or Longfellow bridge -- and
I ride the Mass Ave bridge 6 times a week. Just hold your ground, focus on
balance and not hitting debris and potholes, and pedal briskly. If a car has an
issue -- just ignore, or politely smile.
Support a few technologists in Washington. Go to:
> Tom Landers said:
> Here's a shared path where it's quite obvious which bit you walk
> and which you ride on. They added the pedestrian/bike lane under a
> bridge after community feedback :)
> And here it's also hopefully obvious:
> The boardwalk is necessary for about 100m so they don't kill those
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