I'm sure we've all seen them, places where for no really intelligent reason, someone building a sidewalk, retaining wall, or painted bike lanes that ended up narrowing (or eliminating) the bike lane.
I've found several... Hall and the Railroad Crossing in Tigard,
the Planter Strip on 99W (east of Hwy 217, near the new Dutch Bros' Coffee house),
Looking West at the planter strip on 99W.
and now a new one... on WB 99W.
So, Where do you find yourself between autos and a hard place?
Well, I went out and took some photographs of the most obvious pinch points around my neck of the woods in Vancouver.
Let's start with the one just up the hill from my place. This is NE 97th Ave between NE 6th & NE 9th Streets. Down the hill to the north, there are bike lanes. To the south, there is a northbound shoulder, although not technically a bike lane. In between just 20' of asphalt or so.
Next is NE 136th Ave northbound on a stretch from Mill Plain to NE 9th that I ride almost daily. The bike lane is already narrow at only 4'. On this corner, it narrows down to a minimum of only 3'. Even worse, drivers thoroughly enjoy cutting this corner as they speed past.
On McGillivray coming up to 136th Ave from the west, we have another stretch that randomly pares down to a measly three feet. Here it happens to be right next to on-street parking that is always filled with cars from the adjacent apartment complexes.
Speaking of cutting corners, this is on Parkcrest Ave where I head to Mill Plain every day after school:
And if you thought three feet was narrow:
Try going from 5'6" down to 2'.
The most annoying part is that you can clearly see that there used to be quite a bit more space:
That's on SE 7th Street right in front of Crestline Elementary heading eastbound. Heading westbound between 117th Ave and Chkalov Drive, the 9.5' travel lane inexplicably widens to over 13' putting the bike lane right next to a popular semi parking spot:
ODOT Worked On One Of My Pinch Points
Got ODOT to work on a Pinch point on 99W... About a block away from this is where the bike lane starts, and it's a standard width, that is until we get to the driveway for this strip mall. Then it gets really wide, and then suddenly narrows to only a few feet. The ADA ramp is offset, so if you don't see the curb, you could really easily plow right into it, or have a glancing blow that could knock you into 35-40mph traffic.
After looking at the images (in the emails quoted below), I still have fears (this is close to the area where I was right hooked last year). My latest proposal to them would be to have them paint the curb a different color (yellow's out, how about red?), or paint the bike lane with a skip stripe showing the narrowing of the lane... much like this one
[QUOTE=jr98664;19628]And if you thought three feet was narrow:
Try going from 5'6" down to 2'.
To me it looks more like a hard shoulder and technically not a bicycle lane. Are there "Bike Lane" markings?
Yeah, it's a bike lane, you can see the "bike" markings in this Streetview: http://goo.gl/maps/r6vjw . Also note the 8-inch white lines; those also designate bike lanes. 4-inch white lines are normal, edge-of-the-lane foglines.
I always used to ride the narrow shoulder... now I just stay in the right side of the lane due to the many close-calls that almost made me go onto the unpaved shoulder and lose control...
I should have mentioned in my previous post about SE 7th Street, I move into the car lane in front of Crestline Elementary even though it's marked by that 8" bike lane stripe. It clearly is NOT an adequate bike lane and doesn't meet any sort of bike lane standard or code. (WA does not have a mandatory sidepath requirement: RCW 46.61.770.) Heck, my wife's trike won't even fit on that stripe of paving so she HAS to take the lane.
Another really 'tupid bit of street design right there at Crestline is the clumsy sidewalk bulb-out into the westbound lanes near 130th (you can cruise down to it on that goo.gl view I posted previously). It isn't even at the street corner, not part of any obvious curb system, and it just juts right into the bike lane, forcing bikes to either hit the curb or swerve into traffic. It would be safer if signs and street markings merged bikes and cars together for that stretch in front of the school; it would even be safer for the elementary kids as bikes would be a "traffic calming" presence. Actually, all of 7th should be a "neighborhood greenway" sort of street...but that gets into a <hint, HINT!>Clark County forum</> sort of discussion. ;)
Yeah, Vancouver has a few glitches in its bike infrastructure. ;)
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