Posts Tagged ‘bike lane’

And speaking of bike lanes, look what Calgary did.

Chris & Melissa Bruntlett write at Calgary Buzz, “Calgary’s network wasn’t the product of a ‘top down’ approach from a single political entity. Rather, it was the result of a non-partisan, grassroots campaign (paired with a strategic measure of brokering and championing by Mayor Nenshi) that captured an entire city’s imagination, and demonstrated the undeniable demand for safer cycling facilities. …

“ ‘Putting in cycle tracks is not rocket science,’ says Thomas Thivener, the City of Calgary’s Cycling Coordinator, ‘we just had to be sure to keep it cheap and temporary.’ This meant that instead of using a lot of concrete, they opted for flexible delineators, planter boxes, and parking curbs where possible. Also, instead of hardwiring traffic signals, posts were placed on floating pedestals, with wiring attached overhead.

“This approach worked in favour of the project, which was completed two months early at a cost just over $5 million – a whopping $2 million under the approved budget. Not only is this a win for the project, but should the cycle track network become a permanent piece of the downtown transportation system, it establishes a recipe that can be replicated throughout the city.”

Get the nitty-gritty here.

Photo: Thomas Thivener, City of Calgary

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It seems to take a long time to make streets safer for bicyclists. Nicole Freedman made a great start in Boston in 2011, but riders are still being hit in 2015. At the Atlantic magazine’s “City Lab” blog, Sarah Goodyear writes about the latest techniques of vigilantes working to make New York City’s streets safer.

“They showed up on the street on the morning of October 7 — 25 orange traffic cones marking the bike lane that runs northbound on Chrystie Street in lower Manhattan. Several had sunflowers poking up out of their necks.

“The cones were the work of an anonymous group that announced its intentions on Twitter, calling itself the ‘Transformation Department.’ …

“The Chrystie Street bike lanes — one on the northbound side of the street and one on the southbound — are one of the city’s main commuter routes, providing key access to and from the Manhattan Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Manhattan. Thousands of people ride the route everyday …

“But the infrastructure remains painfully inadequate in the eyes of many advocates for safer streets. …

“Installing flexible bollards to keep cars out of the bike lane would be one example of an improvement that would not require a street redesign and that could be implemented relatively quickly, says [activist David ‘Paco’] Abraham. Instead, even maintaining the status quo has proven difficult.

“An NYC DOT spokesperson said in an email that a proposal for a two-way bike lane [is] under review. …

“The makeshift safety cone installations are the most visible manifestation of the frustration that advocates and bike commuters like Abraham feel over the disconnect between the city’s stated policies and its actions on the street. ‘We’re tired of seeing people injured,’ says Abraham. …

“The Department of Transformation has clearly captured the imagination of some New Yorkers with its efforts. This week they set up a GoFundMe page to pay for more cones and raised $1,000 in a single day. Abraham says the ever-growing community of people who ride bikes — and more broadly, of New Yorkers who want the streets to be safe for all users — no longer will be satisfied with a minimalist approach to bike infrastructure.”

More here.

Photo: Streetfilms
A cyclist uses the Chrystie Street bike lane in lower Manhattan. 

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Liz Stinson writes at Wired magazine about a bike lane in the Netherlands created to evoke Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night.

“If you happen to be near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, you can walk or bike down a glowing path modeled after Van Gogh’s masterpiece. The one kilometer lane is the work of Daan Roosegaarde …

“The Van Gogh-Rooosegaarde bike path (located near where Van Gogh himself lived from 1883-1885) uses a luminescent material that charges during the day and glows at night. These glowing bits look like little pebbles, but they’re actually not rocks at all. Using the smart coating material developed with Dutch infrastructure company Heijmans, Roosegaarde was able to create 50,000 fluorescent ‘rocks’ that he then embedded into wet concrete in a swirling, pointillism pattern reminiscent of Starry Night. …

“The big goal is to make the coating as dynamic as possible—shifting colors, markings or appearing and disappearing altogether—to account for our ever-changing urban spaces. …

“The designer suspects the path’s real draw will change from person to person. ‘Some people will come because they’re interested in safety and energy-friendly landscapes, others will come because they want to experience art and science,’ he says.”

More here.

Photo: Studio Roosegaarde
Daan Roosegaarde created a glowing bike path in the Netherlands based on Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.

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One of the biggest challenges for biking in cities is the intersection.

Liz Stinson writes at Wired, “Biking through a city can feel like navigating a video game staked upon your life. You’re avoiding pedestrians and potholes all the while making sure cars don’t run into you. …

“Even protected bike lanes have an Achilles heel: the intersection. Most protected bike lanes — lanes that have a physical barrier between bicyclists and drivers — end just before the intersection, leaving bicyclists and pedestrians vulnerable to turning vehicles.

“Nick Falbo, an urban planner and designer from Portland (one of the most bike friendly cities in the nation), is proposing a new protected intersection design that would make intersections safer and less stressful than they are today. Falbo’s design is taken from the Dutch way of doing things. … Falbo’s adapted design has four main components.”

They are the corner refuge island, the forward stop bar, the setback crossing, and bicycle-friendly signal phasing. Read what they are here.

“ ‘This design requires you to have a much tighter corner radius,’ says Falbo. ‘These large truck operators, they are professional drivers they can actually make tighter turns than these standards normally say they would. The real answer is that I think you’re going to have to be a little stricter on your trucks in any number of ways.’

“It’s a battle, but Falbo thinks implementing these bike lanes are totally possible, pointing out that protected bike lanes are just now gaining support across the country. …

“‘We’re trying to attract more riders,’ he says. ‘Some of these conventional facilities, they work and they’re safe, but they’re stressful and that level of stress and lack of comfort is what will keep the average American from feeling like they can ride.’ ”

Image: Nick Falbo
Nick Falbo designed a type of bike lane that addresses dangerous intersections.

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