Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516

    Advocacy Advice Needed - Bad Road Design Coming

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    Dear TE Friends:

    I could use some advice on something. Our town started a plan for traffic calming on a street I ride every day in 2001. The plan (from 2001) involved neck downs. They put one of these in, and it's a disaster for cyclists. DH and I have both had really close calls in it. In 2006, our town adopted a Bike Plan calling for bike lanes on that road, and our state has adopted a Complete Streets plan (which, as I understand it, doesn't apply to this street because it's a town maintained street). The original 2001 plan was just resurrected, and the city is planning to put 5 more neck downs in next year. Every cyclist I know agrees it will be dangerous (including our bike ped commission, which has spoken out against it), and they city has publicly stated they are prioritizing pedestrian safety over cyclists. They have also said that since no one has presented better plans (whose job is it?), they are moving ahead with this.

    The really sketchy part is that the DOT director has given the neighborhood association (a voluntary group limited by residence and requiring payment of dues) veto power over the plans - they won't change it unless this group says so. In a closed, unannounced meeting, they decided they want to keep the current plan. I'm sending a letter expressing my issues with all of this to our council, DOT, etc. I am also sending a records request to see if I can figure out what they are thinking. But I wondered if anyone else had been in a similar situation and if I had missed anything? Any thoughts? Thanks!!

    (I'm happy to share specific links to the mess that is going on via private message. I prefer to keep my location a little more private on the public boards).
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
    Posts
    2,600
    [quote} In a closed, unannounced meeting, they decided they want to keep the current plan.[/quote]

    Are they even allowed to have a closed unannounced meeting over planning? And I think you should make a stink over the veto power of the association only at the council meeting. The street belongs to the community and not just the association. The street obviously impacts those who do not live within the association.

    Neck down of the street is a common method being adopted often. My old town adopted it but the street is more than wide enough to accomodate it. The street was almost wide enough for two lanes in each direction.

    Also contact some well known bike advocacy group like the ones in NY or one here in Portland, they may be able to give you some idea on dealing with this.

    Problem with the planners is that they are still very much car-centric and pedestrian/cyclist is only an afterthought. Stay calm and logically work out an argument as to why they need to change their decision. It's hard, but it can be done. You may have to use their bylaws against them things like when are they allowed to have a closed and or unannounced meeting, why is that the association is the only group with the veto power when others in the area use the road, why isn't there a comment period for the change etc.

    Take a deep breath think of an argument where you can corner them, or where their action of installing a neck down might lead to increased liability for the city. Other calming techniques are using a small islands in the middle of the intersection, a mini, turn-abouts is the way to think of these. Check this idea with BikePortland group.

    wish you luck!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    What is a neck down?...I'm on lunch at work.

    Whatever stuff is being devised, at some point to also have several supportive media/writers involved. Do you belong to a cycling advocacy group as part of this effort to work out a better plan?

    The tough part is working out a design /plan that doesn't sideline pedestrian needs.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    There is a City/County advocacy group, but they are having no luck getting traction at all. The media has been brutal to the City, but they don't seem to care.

    Neck downs narrow the street at pre-defined points. Theory is that pedestrians have less distance to cross and cars will 1) slow and 2) actually stop for people. Hasn't happened. Problem for cyclists is it forces them to take the lane - which pretty much causes road rage in every driver here. DH and I have had some close calls in the existing one (people trying to pass even when you are taking the lane and swerving into you or acting very aggressively). The cyclists don't want the pedestrian needs to be completely ignored - just that their own needs not be completely ignored.

    Smilingcat - the road is very wide - but they aren't willing to give up parking on one side (currently parking on both sides). If they would, we could have neck downs and bike lanes. Ugh. Sometimes I am so ready to not live in the south.

    Thanks for the thoughts - please keep them coming
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    We have one of these just outside our "downtown," in a very busy area in front of a private school. There are cars parked along the curb, people pulling in and out of the school driveway, and a crosswalk. When I ride through here on my commute, there is still residual traffic from rush hour in my direction, and the other direction is full of cars.
    When they put this in, a well known elderly man in town drove his car right into the thing and was injured, because he "didn't see" it. It caused concern, but nothing was done. I get in the lane just about every time I ride here. Of course, people here are used to cyclists doing this, and there's a huge amount of cyclists. But, once in awhile, you get someone who is aggressive like you describe.
    I just make sure I stop for the peds in the crosswalk there, so I am not seen as part of the problem.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    We have lots of these things in Arlington, but they call them something different -- bump-outs, I think. But they also keep adding bike lanes and sharrows, too.

    There are a couple of intersections where I often nearly drive into the bump-outs because I don't see them until I'm nearly on top of them -- the roads are not actually very wide, and you try to drive on the right side (there are no yellow lines), and suddenly there's a curb in front of you.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    Yep, same here. I often find myself almost driving into the thing, so I make myself really concentrate now. It's not such a problem on the bike, because I am already concentrating hard in a high traffic area.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    They just added one in a nearby town a couple of years ago, with a sharrow in the gutter ten feet away, pointing directly at the curb flareout.

    Sigh.


    No input on the legalities. Good luck...
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    We do have one in the neighbourhood. Remarkably the road was so wide, that a 2 way separated bike lane was installed also. This is normally a quiet area and gets peak rush hr. traffic during work days.

    Just wondering if you went onto youtube and searched for Dan Burden, a consultant on traffic calming...he's done a lot of charettes with local U.S. communities. See if there's something there.

    The big question is....why not put a bike lane if the road is wide enough anyway and it makes sense.. Not all roads are eligible for bike lanes.

    If your community is in the south with less/no snow, then traffic calming circles may work in wide quieter residential street junctions where neighbourhoods truly want safety.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    Quote Originally Posted by shootingstar View Post
    The big question is....why not put a bike lane if the road is wide enough anyway and it makes sense.. Not all roads are eligible for bike lanes.

    If your community is in the south with less/no snow, then traffic calming circles may work in wide quieter residential street junctions where neighbourhoods truly want safety.
    This road is odd - it's a "major thoroughfare" but also a residential street. Circles can't go in because of emergency vehicles, and the traffic volume limits how much calming can be done. Studies have shown that what they are putting in reduces speeds by 1-2 mph. The neighborhood won't agree to bike lanes (though there is enough room) because they would have go give up parking on one side or the other. *sigh* I'm working on it!
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    You said it was primarily a residential street....and they still want curbside parking on both sides. Sorry...if there are already parking garage space/stalls or underground parking for residential buildings. AND if this street area is close to public transit ...then some residents are overplaying the curbside parking needs. They just want free parking..unless there are parking meters already. If they have visitors....well, do the visitors really come every day. Give us a break..

    It is an argument that is heavily debated whenever the bike lane idea comes up. In Vancouver and Toronto, some people cheat by just parking overnight..when they should pay for parking. Sorry because the municipality must spend money sweeping, removing snow and road repair.

    People scream and shout wanting parking right at the doorstep of businesses and if it's near their home..what for if they already have a driveway? Sorry. What happened in our area...they removed a few parking stalls ...and added a small parking lot with meters 1 block away. Too bad. Walk, healthier for you.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    Quote Originally Posted by shootingstar View Post
    Too bad. Walk, healthier for you.
    Not possible for everyone.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    Quote Originally Posted by shootingstar View Post
    You said it was primarily a residential street....and they still want curbside parking on both sides. Sorry...if there are already parking garage space/stalls or underground parking for residential buildings. AND if this street area is close to public transit ...then some residents are overplaying the curbside parking needs. They just want free parking..unless there are parking meters already. If they have visitors....well, do the visitors really come every day. Give us a break..

    It is an argument that is heavily debated whenever the bike lane idea comes up. In Vancouver and Toronto, some people cheat by just parking overnight..when they should pay for parking. Sorry because the municipality must spend money sweeping, removing snow and road repair.

    People scream and shout wanting parking right at the doorstep of businesses and if it's near their home..what for if they already have a driveway? Sorry. What happened in our area...they removed a few parking stalls ...and added a small parking lot with meters 1 block away. Too bad. Walk, healthier for you.
    We aren't nearly as densely developed as you. This is mostly single family - and I haven't identified any without private driveways. Side streets have plenty of parking. There is a church - but the fact that their lot isn't large enough is not my concern. Sadly, we aren't that close to public transit - I ride my bike 1.5 miles to pick up a bus to my university. We're a few blocks from local bus service (but they are very walkable blocks - problem is here, people scream if they have to walk 10 feet....). I'm ready to live somewhere more advanced
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    Then we must ensure there are curbcuts for wheelchairs, walkers.. Not every house and residential building has immediate front door access. NYC and Toronto have streets like those. My parents had a house in Toronto ....they had to pay the city for parking spot curbside annually. There was not parking garage, driveway nor laneway at all. Many downtown older streets can be like that...not all. So they sometimes they walked a block ....finding a parking spot...was what was available at the time of parking along the street.

    Short term front door parking (for a few hrs.) makes sense for hospitals, retirement homes, grocery stores, shopping malls, hotels, etc.

    There are alternative street reconfigurations which is just not bike lane but putting a boulevard strip in the middle of road (or hey, it becomes a separated bike lane) or turning 1 side of the road 1 way....if it makes sense. That actually happened in our neighbourhood....

    I am focusing on unrestricted free parking on a residential street... not metered paid parking. Where I live it's a 2 hr. limit. And they tow cars away that exceed the limit. I've seen the tow car.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    Quote Originally Posted by Blueberry View Post
    We aren't nearly as densely developed as you. This is mostly single family - and I haven't identified any without private driveways. Side streets have plenty of parking. There is a church - but the fact that their lot isn't large enough is not my concern. Sadly, we aren't that close to public transit - I ride my bike 1.5 miles to pick up a bus to my university. We're a few blocks from local bus service (but they are very walkable blocks - problem is here, people scream if they have to walk 10 feet....). I'm ready to live somewhere more advanced
    I just happen to live downtown near an extensive bike-ped path park system. (Yes, that did heavily influence my decision to live in the area. And why not?)

    Most parts of the city is actually like your area..particularily as soon as one gets out of the downtown area. It continues to shock me to cycle on very wide suburban residential streets with single detached homes and their own driveways, on the street that are 2 way and ...most of the time, quiet in terms of car traffic. There's no need for that. Not at all. It's expensive for any city to maintain such expanse of pavement that is not used heavily.

    Lest, I sound too urbanite.. I owned and lived in a condo in the suburbs in Metro Toronto for 14 yrs. But I lived across the street from the subway station and 1 km. away from access into the ravine bike-ped pathway system that led me into downtown where I worked.

    Most interestingly, 4 wks. ago, a neighbourhood just northwest of us put up their own traffic calming signage..slow down to 40 km. per hr. The residents were tired of fast cars, etc. There were families with children living there. The city asked them to remove their signs..because it was illegal.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 08-23-2014 at 01:31 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •