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Bike-Ped Manager
02-10-2012, 02:05 PM
So...the multi-million dollar question: Do we - as a community - have the fortitude to take advantage of this opportunity?
http://www.bikesbelong.org/bikes-belong-foundation/green-lane-project/
We've had a lot of discussions lately about whether we're really ready to be a gold-level bike-friendly community (http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/communities/). As Andy Clarke has said, "You have to be willing to piss a few people off in order to make real progress." We have until March 9th to decide if we're ready for that.
Feedback please!

WillStewart
02-10-2012, 03:22 PM
Dumb question: What happens March 9th?

chris_s
02-10-2012, 05:40 PM
Dumb question: What happens March 9th?

That's the Green Lane Project application deadline.

acc
02-10-2012, 09:32 PM
I believe this forum has a quorum of participants capable of pissing off others.
It looks like this project would increase the safety of cyclists. If the perceived level of safety goes up, more people standing on the sidelines will join.
If one area gets this project, it's likely that surrounding communities will feel pressured to keep up.
What are you proposing?

FYI: Related - http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/giving-city-streets-built-in-safety-features/


ann

Riley Casey
02-12-2012, 08:46 AM
Green pavement might make the potholes easier to see. Sorry to be flip but if you can't get a city to fill in the holes in the streets that might toss you on your face bigger ambitions might be a bit out of reach. Sorry, I'm just grousing about the poor condition of the 15th St cycle track - or maybe I am grousing about the inability of a city like DC with a supposed commitment to cycle infrastructure not being able to do the simplest levels of maintainence on the existing facilities.

Arlingtonrider
02-12-2012, 09:36 AM
I would have difficulty buying into this without knowing where it would go, whether there is a need for it and what it would involve. A green lane for the mere sake of having a green lane??

acc
02-12-2012, 09:48 AM
Oh, the power of a green lane. Without road markings a cyclist is something to be tolerated, or not, by drivers. A green lane is visual reminder/educator that bikes belong. They also "narrow" the street and that brings speed down. It's also an enticement, a reminder, an idea that there is another way to get around town. Oh, and paint is cheap.

ann

jrenaut
02-12-2012, 10:04 AM
Am I reading it wrong? It sounds to me like they're not just talking about painting green lanes, but also a lot more comprehensive improvements in cycling infrastructure.

I agree about the 15th St lanes (especially southbound, right against the curb). The pavement there is pretty nasty in parts.

Arlingtonrider
02-12-2012, 10:22 AM
More information would be helpful.

KLizotte
02-12-2012, 02:42 PM
Text from the website is below. Note that "green lanes" are a euphemism for cycling improvements.

I'm more than willing to pitch in to help but I think an official from BikeArlington and/or the county govt would have to have serious input and/or lead the initiative since there are already plans and governmental institutions for cycling improvements and these would have to be coordinated. Also, there is very little time to pull something together at this juncture.

Website text:

The Green Lane Project is a new effort that will work closely with six U.S. cities to help them build world-class cycling networks on city streets. These will be cities that are poised to make significant progress over the next two years in installing cycle tracks and related improvements, which we’re calling Green Lanes. The Project will facilitate a partnership between the cities and provide them with resources and technical assistance, while expanding the knowledge base and sharing it widely.

Focus cities: The six focus cities will be selected by the Green Lane Project team by the end of March 2012. These cities will have a plan or vision that is supported by elected officials, leading staff, and the community. Interested cities are invited to apply by March 9, 2012. More information and the application form can be found here.

TwoWheelsDC
02-12-2012, 04:17 PM
Is this stuff like normal road paint? I've had too many close calls on slick paint to look positively on the idea of being stuck on a bike lane that is covered with it.

Dirt
02-12-2012, 05:07 PM
Text from the website is below. Note that "green lanes" are a euphemism for cycling improvements.


Is this stuff like normal road paint? I've had too many close calls on slick paint to look positively on the idea of being stuck on a bike lane that is covered with it.
I've never slipped on a euphemism before. ;) Totally joking about that.

I think DC has the need and the push to support more and better infrastructure. I think really working to educate people about what we have is a good idea. Both goals will take a little dent out of the virtually insurmountable problem that we have... the "I'm more important than obeying traffic/pedestrian laws" syndrome that affects the vast majority of the population of this area.

This might be a good second step.

Chris Eatough
02-14-2012, 07:24 AM
For clarification:
The original post by Bike-Ped Manager IS from an Arlington County Planning staff member. He is looking for a gauge of interest in cycletracks and other innovative facilities for street design and separation of bikes and motor vehicles. The NACTO/Bikes Belong Green Lane Project fosters these advancements and showcases 6 projects in 6 progressive cities across the country. Arlington is considering applying. The question is, does the County have enough public support to implement these kinds of facilities. Will there be major complaints about the changes, possibly including a reduction in car parking or travel lanes?

DismalScientist
02-14-2012, 08:09 AM
I generally don't like the idea of cycletracks because, as segregated facilities, they encourage drivers to think that bicycles do not belong on the streets. This is a problem with bike lanes as well as drivers have told me to move into the bike lane when riding so would be dangerous. Parallel facilities include bike lanes and cycletracks (and sidewalks) often lead to left and right hooks as bicycles "come from where drivers do not expect them." Last year, there were a spate of accidents on the Penn. Ave cyclotrack (U turning cars), 15th street cyclotracks (drivers hooking across the cyclotrack with properly assessing bicycle traffic, and bicyclists riding on sidewalks getting struck by turning cars at intersections. My belief is that in the vast majority of cases, I think the preferred infrastructure is sharrow with wide outer lanes if possible.

Another problem with cyclotracks that is shared by multi-user trails is that they force two-way traffic into relatively narrow areas. Generally I find riding on the MUPs is much more dangerous than streets due to the variation of speeds (of both cyclists and pedestrians) and unanticipated behavior by users. On such narrow "roadway" there is often little room to avoid collisions.

PS: Does anyone find it interesting that the cover photo in the New York Times piece on Green Lanes shows a cyclist salmoning in that facility?

Greenbelt
02-14-2012, 08:34 AM
Dismal, my experience in Montreal is the opposite with cycletracks. The cycletrack system, coupled with the Bixi bikes, led to an explosion of bike riding in the city. Literally tens of thousands of cyclists on the roads. The cycletracks helped get newbies oriented, and helped slower riders feel safe. Eventually the tracks got crowded in rush hour, and faster and more experienced riders often use the main traffic lanes. But instead of facing hostility to "get off the road," drivers have just become accustomed to seeing bikes everywhere, and have adjusted. The cycletracks make riding comfortable for those who would otherwise be too intimidated to ride on the roads (like myself, in parts of DC). It seems to me that the same thing is gradually happening in DC, although on a much smaller scale at this point. Drivers seem much more alert to bikes each year. The protected cycletracks and CaBi are getting more people out on bikes, and drivers are starting the notice that bike are out there, and are sharing better all the time I think. At least in DC. The suburbs, not so much.

DaveK
02-14-2012, 09:21 AM
Dismal, my experience in Montreal is the opposite with cycletracks. The cycletrack system, coupled with the Bixi bikes, led to an explosion of bike riding in the city. Literally tens of thousands of cyclists on the roads. The cycletracks helped get newbies oriented, and helped slower riders feel safe. Eventually the tracks got crowded in rush hour, and faster and more experienced riders often use the main traffic lanes. But instead of facing hostility to "get off the road," drivers have just become accustomed to seeing bikes everywhere, and have adjusted. The cycletracks make riding comfortable for those who would otherwise be too intimidated to ride on the roads (like myself, in parts of DC). It seems to me that the same thing is gradually happening in DC, although on a much smaller scale at this point. Drivers seem much more alert to bikes each year. The protected cycletracks and CaBi are getting more people out on bikes, and drivers are starting the notice that bike are out there, and are sharing better all the time I think. At least in DC. The suburbs, not so much.

This has been my experience as well. Riding in DC is transformed since CaBi went live in 2010 and really since spring 2011 when it took off. I think part of the reason CaBi is able to do what it has is facilities like Pennsylvania Ave and 15th St.

chris_s
02-14-2012, 09:54 AM
I would love to see Arlington apply for this project - I'm willing to commit to being out there advocating with the rest of the community for why better bike infrastructure is good for everyone, whether you bike or not.

So many people would like to bike but don't feel safe starting off with nothing (or nothing but paint) separating them from car traffic. I think some protected, separated infrastructure would allow a lot more people to get other there cycling and as they do so, they will become more comfortable biking in traffic and the net change will be more people biking on the roads, not less. I agree with the point Allen has been making a lot lately too, which is that more Bike Boulevards can help immensely in this pursuit as well (at significantly lower cost). Bike boulevards increase cycling visibility in the community and also create facilities that feel safe for new folks to ease-in with.

eminva
02-14-2012, 11:11 AM
Thanks for the clarification, Chris.

I know there are pros/cons for bike lanes and cycle tracks, but overall I am in favor of them for the reasons Greenbelt cited. Like DismalScientist, I prefer vehicular cycling myself, but I understand the purpose here is to get more people out cycling, not accomodate the die hards like us who are already out there. I think (hope) the incidence of right hooks, etc. will go down as drivers get more accustomed to interacting with cyclists.

Of all the local jurisdictions, I think Arlington is best positioned to take advantage of this opportunity and I would love to see the county set an example for other parts of our region and our continent. Having said that, I am not an Arlington resident so I'm only shouting for the sidelines here.

Liz

DismalScientist
02-14-2012, 12:46 PM
There is an ongoing controversy between the Ohio Bicycle Federation and the League of American Bicyclists as to what constitutes safe bicycling infrastructure. See http://www.ohiobike.org/advocacy.htm Before advocating more infrastructure, I would like to know what it is.

I read somewhere that bicycle facilities in Europe (and Montreal) are designed for slower speeds than to what American cyclists are accustomed.

KLizotte
02-14-2012, 12:54 PM
In the Netherlands, there are cities/towns with 40-60% biking mode share(!). The Netherlands has a much lower incidence of traffic accidents overall (bike, ped, auto) because they believe in combining only "like with like". That is, bike trails/lanes are only for bikes, sidewalks are only for people, streets are only for autos, etc. Most buses get their own lanes. Their policies may be summed as follows:

- Keep cyclists away from cars absolutely as much as possible.
- Make all residential streets no-go areas for through traffic (preserving segregation of modes without cyclepaths).
- Provide bikes with more direct routes than cars.
- Remove cars from minor rural roads.
- Produce a high degree of subjective and social safety everywhere.

They also believe that "green means go"; that is, cars should not have to stop or slow down because traffic is cutting across their lane. Therefore, they do not allow cars to make right turns on red nor left turns at intersections on plain green (not sure if they have green arrows though most intersections are round-abouts with cyclepaths anyway). They also strongly believe in segregating traffic according to speed. Traffic engineers major aim is to reduce "interaction opportunities" at all times between like-like, and like-unlike, modes.

They also have sensors that automatically detect the presence of bikes/peds and will stop traffic almost immediately so they can cross; this has the effect of virtually eliminating jaywalking (since bikers/walkers don't get impatient waiting for the light to change). In busy intersections, all traffic stops for bikers/peds thus allowing bikers/peds to make diagonal crossings which speeds up the number of people that can get thru an intersection at one time (it's safer too since all auto traffic is at a standstill).

The US could learn so much from the Netherlands on how to make our streets safer. An excellent blog from across the pond on this subject is http://hembrow.blogspot.com/

dasgeh
02-14-2012, 01:07 PM
I'm a firm believer that the way to make cycling safer is to get drivers to expect bikes to be there. The way to get drivers to expect bikes is to (1) make cycling a visable part of the infrastructure; (2) educate drivers (signs, campaigns); and most importantly, (3) get more people out on bikes. It seems like green lanes would do that...


I would love to see Arlington apply for this project - I'm willing to commit to being out there advocating with the rest of the community for why better bike infrastructure is good for everyone, whether you bike or not.

So many people would like to bike but don't feel safe starting off with nothing (or nothing but paint) separating them from car traffic. I think some protected, separated infrastructure would allow a lot more people to get other there cycling and as they do so, they will become more comfortable biking in traffic and the net change will be more people biking on the roads, not less. I agree with the point Allen has been making a lot lately too, which is that more Bike Boulevards can help immensely in this pursuit as well (at significantly lower cost). Bike boulevards increase cycling visibility in the community and also create facilities that feel safe for new folks to ease-in with.

What Chris wrote is pretty much the rest of what I would have written. Thanks, Chris!

Greenbelt
02-14-2012, 01:51 PM
I read somewhere that bicycle facilities in Europe (and Montreal) are designed for slower speeds than to what American cyclists are accustomed.

In Montreal, I think it's a mix. The cycletrack system is really not that extensive, but it was designed smartly so that you can use a cycletrack to get almost everywhere in the city -- at least within a mile or two of any destination. Montreal is more spread out than a typical European city, and one of the cool things they've done is extend the cycletracks/bike trails well out into the suburbs. So you can actually go pretty darn fast once you get out of the center city. Within the downtown area, it's slower, of course, but not much slower than traffic. Montreal is sort of like DC in some respects, built around the same time L'Enfant designed our place. A few wide boulevards, but mostly medium-sized streets. Mostly a grid.

I think of Montreal as a solid three-mode city. If all you want to do is drive, you can. Traffic isn't horrible and lots of people drive everywhere. Parking is pretty available, though not always free. If all you want to do is bike, you can. Cycletracks are sufficient to get you close to any location, and there are good suburban commuter routes. If you just want to take transit, that's fine too: they have a good Metro like ours and a decent bus system. (It's a nice city to walk too, but not in mid-winter...) So if you want to drive, it's not bad. But if you don't want to have a car, that's fine too.

A big part of reducing traffic is persuading people to buy fewer cars (one per family instead of two or more etc.). If all the infrastructure is designed for cars, people buy cars! Otherwise, they're wasting taxpayer funded resources. And once you've decided to carry the sunk the cost of an extra car, people feel obligated to use them!

For a North American city, Montreal does a nice job of allowing the choice to own a car or not, depending on your preference.

Arlingtonrider
02-14-2012, 03:33 PM
Is Alexandria looking into this too? In general, I think a cycletrack would be most helpful in areas that aren't currently accessible (or nearly so) by trail and that are not easy or safe for biking.