PDA

View Full Version : bicycle boulevards


geoff
09-06-2007, 11:32 AM
In light of the recent, intentional collision on Clinton, I have been thinking about ways to discourage angry, frustrated people in cars from using the bike boulevards to avoid traffic.

The speed limit on most of these roads is 25, and many of them already have speed bumps. Speed bumps don't help. All they do is make a car slow down for a few feet in front of the bump. As soon as they are over them, they are already accelerating back up to speed.

Why not just reduce the speed limits? Cars that travel on designated bicycle boulevards should have to drive at the same speed as bicyclists. I propose that there is a new 15mph "bike zone" for all cars traveling on designated bicycle boulevards. That way bikes could fully take the lane and have no problem whatsoever "keeping up with traffic."

Do you guys think this would be a good idea? If so, how do we start the legislation process?

Psyfalcon
09-06-2007, 02:09 PM
It wont work.

If cars are already speeding, lowering the speed limit is not likely to slow them down. Its the completely arbitrary nature of speedlimits that keeps people from following in the first place. People drive as quickly as they are comfortable doing based on traffic and road configuration. Simply lowing the limit will not make them drive slower.

You could sign an Interstate tomorrow at 5mph, but drivers will still drive 70+ on them. Similarly, long straight roads signed at 25mph BEG to be driven faster.

You need to provide a reason for the drive to slow down. "So you wont hit a bike or child" wont work. Drivers pass to many bikes and kids over their life to see it as "dangerous" to pass either a bike or residential street at 35 mph. The road needs to be physically narrowed, made twistier or rougher, or have extreme speed inforcement. I like speed inforcement least, ticketing cars doing 30 in a 25 (or 20 in a 15) just builds animoscity to police and those damn bike riders that wanted it.

Making people slow to half a reasonable speed (30mph is reasonable for many streets signed 25) would just create more angry, frustrated drivers who can't get to work on time. They wont stay on the main road unless its doing over 15mph, otherwise they will take their chances running your boulevard at twice the limit.

toddistic
09-06-2007, 03:23 PM
just make more "bike only" turns and divert all traffic off the boulivards. every two or three blocks divert the drivers.

bikerinNE
09-06-2007, 04:24 PM
just make more "bike only" turns and divert all traffic off the boulivards. every two or three blocks divert the drivers.

Yeah, I agree, Just like on SE 20th and Ankeny, by citybikes co-op. Bikes can go forward through SE 20th, but cars can't. have all bicycle blvds like that intersection. That would be great, Keep the speed limit at 25, just make the street impassable to cars for more than 2 blocks, and right turns only to them.

brock
09-06-2007, 05:16 PM
That's exactly what bike boulevards should be - impossible for cars to use as through streets.

NE 7th is the "bike boulevard" I'm most familiar with. At evening rush hour time, the traffic calming circles and wide speedbumps have the opposite effect and just create more of a hazard as cars speed by in tight spaces, only to have to slow to maneuver around the traffic furniture.

mattmeskill
09-06-2007, 09:40 PM
just make more "bike only" turns and divert all traffic off the boulivards. every two or three blocks divert the drivers.

This gets my vote as well. I think it works best and there's no gray area for cars. They simply cannot go through.

wsbob
09-07-2007, 01:22 AM
"just make more "bike only" turns and divert all traffic off the boulevards. every two or three blocks divert the drivers." toddistic

The ramifications of doing this are fascinating. "boulevards", in this instance, of course, would be secondary and smaller neighborhood streets rather than motor vehicle arterials; in other words, cut-thru streets motor vehicle drivers use to avoid traffic backups on the arterials. I wonder just how much more car trips doing something like this would add to the arterials.

I live near one of those cut-thru streets out here in the Beav. It has the traffic calming speed bumps or hummocks. I think they really do help slow down traffic. I drive it in my pickup, and ride it on my bike. 20mph is about it for me in the truck. Even that is dramatic for me, and the trucks suspension. I can't imagine drivers going much faster over them, but who knows... . They're really not problem at all on the bike at 15 or 20.

The big issue though, is the volume of cut-thru motor vehicle traffic. There's a lot of it. Fewer cut-thru's in general would probably be most preferred, but I'd bet neighborhood residents would consider it quite an improvement if the people cutting through were riding bikes instead of being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Jonathan Maus
09-07-2007, 10:55 AM
just FYI, although the stretch of SE Clinton where the cyclists got hit is marked with those little white bike dots, it is not technically designated as a bike boulevard.

this is a confusing situation that deserves more scrutiny (as I've pointed out in my coverage) .. .but in this case, PDOT is using the white dots merely as wayfinding devices for cyclists, not to designate anything official about the classification of the street.

toddrun
09-07-2007, 12:59 PM
Diverting cars on residential "bike boulevalds" makes sense. I think the streets should be marked better too. Vancouver BC puts a bike icon on the street name signs - their street markers (the little white dots) are also much bigger. Let drivers know that they're using a street made for bikes. At the same time, make it easy for bikes to avoid streets that are designed for cars.

If we all agree that cycling would increase if safety was improved, then we need to look at ways to separate cars and bikes. While they CAN co-exist, both are happier if they are separated.

Something I haven't heard people in Portland talk about much is switching the parking and bike lanes on busier streets. Instead of traffic, bike and then parking, use a traffic, parking then bike arrangement (having a barrier between parking and the bike lane improves this even more). This helps separate cars and bikes without having to create separate streets.

mi7d1
09-08-2007, 05:55 AM
just make more "bike only" turns and divert all traffic off the boulivards. every two or three blocks divert the drivers.

This gets my vote as well. I think it works best and there's no gray area for cars. They simply cannot go through.

I like this idea as well and would like to see it implemented more. My bikes main use is for transportation. I'm not usually out for a "Sunday drive" and if the speed limit was lowered below 25mph, (school zones aside) the speed that I cruise at on the flats, then I would just ride on non-bike boulevards.

Schrauf
09-08-2007, 05:37 PM
Traffic, parking, and then bike lane road alignment? Seems like turning would get messy. Cars would have more difficulty seeing bikes and make righthand turns into them. And bikes turning left across traffic would have difficulty as well. And bikes would always be avoiding people stepping out of cars.

But I'm sure it some circumstances it would work well - maybe for multi-use paths typically wider than your average bike lane, or for longer stretches with few cross streets.

Something I haven't heard people in Portland talk about much is switching the parking and bike lanes on busier streets. Instead of traffic, bike and then parking, use a traffic, parking then bike arrangement (having a barrier between parking and the bike lane improves this even more). This helps separate cars and bikes without having to create separate streets.

Tbird
09-09-2007, 07:50 AM
Toddrun has it right... The only way to manage bike/ auto interface is by separation. Remove parking, or at least move it off the curb and place bikes against the curb. How to deal with left turn? Easy! Make the turn a right of way for the cyclist. I have mentioned this ad naseum on this board. It seems to get little traction, because we all know the American POV is to change what ever the rest of the world is doing to make it unique here, even if it is less effective and possibly more dangerous.
The facts are... this can and does work in a majority of the bike centric cultures we hold up as benchmarks.

As far as the original discussion, I agree that diversion of 'thru traffic' is essential on bike blvds. Ladd's and Clinton would be good routes for this. The 'tree circles' are already in, as of now they create more of a hazard than they prevent.

fetishridr
09-09-2007, 08:02 AM
make it such a pain in the ass for thru traffic that it doesnt go through. that means bumps not humps, narrowing, curbs preventing right of way, but most of all, no opportunity to drive faster than a higher volume street. if it takes longer people wont cut through.

jleiss
09-27-2007, 03:21 PM
Unless I missed it, no one has mentioned stop signs as a way to control traffic. Loading bike boulevards with 4-way stops (with "except bicycles" signs for bikes on the boulevard) would certainly slow down through traffic, and probably be cheaper and less of a hassel than constructing new curbs and obstructions.

Only problem? It would only work if bikers actually stopped at regular stop signs, and sadly, I don't think that is about to happen. (I've been passed multiple times when I came to a rolling stop at a stop sign and bikes behind me zipped through - that's just dumb. Everybody can come to a rolling stop, and I might have stopped for a reason - oncoming car, etc - that I could see from where I was.)

I think that we bikers need to get better at observing traffic laws and signals before we start ranting about cars.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
09-27-2007, 04:02 PM
Unless I missed it, no one has mentioned stop signs as a way to control traffic. Loading bike boulevards with 4-way stops (with "except bicycles" signs for bikes on the boulevard) would certainly slow down through traffic, and probably be cheaper and less of a hassel than constructing new curbs and obstructions.

Only problem? It would only work if bikers actually stopped at regular stop signs, and sadly, I don't think that is about to happen. (I've been passed multiple times when I came to a rolling stop at a stop sign and bikes behind me zipped through - that's just dumb. Everybody can come to a rolling stop, and I might have stopped for a reason - oncoming car, etc - that I could see from where I was.)

I think that we bikers need to get better at observing traffic laws and signals before we start ranting about cars.

So, you do a "rolling stop" and others zip through, huh? I'm not sure whether you understand the stop sign law because you are in violation of it when you "roll" through a stop sign. The law says you have to stop, not slow down and roll. It's the same fine regardless of how fast (or slow) you go. So perhaps, as you suggest with regard to motorists, you also get better at observing traffic laws before you start ranting about people who don't.

jleiss
09-27-2007, 04:13 PM
I concede the point to A.O. I still think stop signs would be a good way to go on Blvds, and I will more closely observe my stopping behavior.