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Archive for the ‘Buffered Bike Lanes’ Category

Opinions are like assholes – everyone has one.  When it comes to bicycle infrastructure, assholes seem to be the reigning force.  I, of course have my opinions as well.  However, a big deal for me when I discuss my ‘opinions’ is that I do the research first.  I ride the current topic of infrastructure discussion instead of just ‘winging’ it.  I’ll go to that area, ride around, sit and look at human interactions with that area, desire lines, parking, signage, lighting, speeding, speeding, and speeding.  Once, I’ve finished my research, I’ll make my conclusions and give my ‘opinion.’  I’d rather give you m opinion based on actual experience than sitting behind a desk and thinking I know what I’m talking about b/c I live in the next neighborhood over and drive through it everyday.

Change is the number one constant in life.  People HATE change.  People get really sensitive when you come into their neighborhoods advocating for better streets; safer and slower streets.  I’m car-free and so are many of my friends and more and more are choosing to take this way of life.  I can’t live in all neighborhoods but I sure as hell bicycle through many of them.

I don’t think I need to remind anyone who reads this that we have an obesity issue here in our city; adults AND kids.  When it comes to playing outside, its night and day difference when I was young.  Its sad.  I work with youth therefore, I’m attending Elementary Schools and Middle Schools regularly and there are days I’ll get home and just become a pile of sadness b/c of how overweight some third grader is and they are already getting their fair share of fellow student heckling.

Our streets in our neighborhoods need to be updated so families and kids can feel safe playing and WANT to be outside.  Bicycle infrastructure helps.

If you all have been asleep with regards to what I’m passionate about, open your eyes and read this:  I’m passionate about making our streets enjoyable, slower, and safer in order for more families and women to feel confident enough to make the choice to ride their bikes to the YMCA instead of driving (arbitrary destination I chose).

Engineers still design roads in the mindset of men, why – b/c most engineers ARE men.  Another profession still heavily dominated by men.  We need to alter that to where they are thinking:  Will my grandmother feel safe riding this street to get to church?  Can Molly take her two kids on this street to get to Magic Mountain?  8 to 80 – the age range that engineers need to have burned in their brains when redesigning streets.

So…..  along with my bigger ‘2 Wheels & Heels’ ladies ride, I’ve come up with another more intimate ride.  Lots of new infrastructure is being built here in Columbus and a lot MORE will be popping up -very soon.  I thought a good idea would be to take small and intimate groups of women to experience the new infrastructure around town.  I take them there, we ride and then at the end we discuss.  They discuss.  They tell me how THEY feel – as mothers, as sisters, as grandmothers – as WOMEN.  I actually write up their experience as detailed as I remember and submit them to our city engineers which they HIGHLY appreciate.

This recent ride was experiencing the newly built and very contested Tamarack Circle roundabout bike lanes.  Residents are saying that congestion is happening b/c a travel lane has been removed in order to have a dedicated bike lane built.

I’m from this area, I was raised on the north side of town.  When the new infrastructure was built, my mum drove me over here so that I could see it.  Again, driving next to it and actually experiencing it – two different animals.

So, this past Tuesday, myself and four other women were able to make time and ride over to the area to get a feel of this new infrastructure.  We parked at the YMCA and rode down the new lanes on Sandalwood and then took our time and rode the roundabout. The final result in our evening was overwhelmingly unanimous.  The ladies were extremely pleased with the infrastructure.  The bike lanes were a comfortable six feet in width.  There is a buffer throughout the roundabout that separates the parked cars from the bicycle lane.  That buffer is a comfortable six feet.  This gives not only the person on a bike comfort that they won’t be door’d but it gives peace of mind to the driver who gets out of their car as they have ample room to get out and not immediately be in the bike lane and worry about any conflicts.  The cars were courteous.  They slowed and yielded to us when they needed to make any right turns.

I think the successor of the evening was the buffer.  Normally, you see three feet buffers between parked car lanes, bike lanes, and / or travel lanes so have six feet of buffer was like riding on puffy clouds.  Buffers give off that extra sense of safety that so many folks are looking for.  Again, this isn’t just directed towards people on bikes, its directed towards the drivers exiting / entering their cars as well. The drivers who need to keep their door open to strap in their child to the backseat child seat.  Even with three foot buffers (which is about the length of a car door) they don’t need to feel rushed in order to not impede a bike lane.

We all rode with leisure.  We rode slow, with no feeling of having to ‘hurry up’ for the cars behind us.  I rode with my hand in my back pocket.  We took our time and laughed.  When you create streets in which people riding bikes can ENJOY, that street then becomes a  destination.  And yes, the street will be the destination and not a ‘pass through.’  That’s what makes city streets come alive – when you make the streets themselves a destination place of their own.

Be safe and keep riding

The lovely ladies who joined me.  Thank you

 

Shot of the six foot wide bike lane down Sandalwood.  ROOMY

 

Clearly marked.  Proper boundary width.

 

Entering Tamarack roundabout

 

You can see above the parking lane and the six foot wide buffer and the bike lane.

 

We all pulled over and discussed how we were feeling and now we’re hoppin’ back on our bikes.

 

 

A shot of the girls with a car next to them.

 

Six foot bike lane with the buffer to the right

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Ya know, I can’t fully complain the way that I normally do when winter strikes Columbus b/c our winter this year has been quite mild.  If winters were like this every year, I’d be a lot less moody (not really).  Every winter, I find myself saying the same thing, ‘why do I still live here?’  I have however, noticed a difference during my commutes that there are a lot more bicycle riders out commuting than say last year.  Again, this probably has to do with winter being much, much warmer.  Or, are people starting to realize that the bicycle is a reliable tool, easy to use and sometimes even more accessible than a car.

During my commute home to G-ville, I caught this woman.  It looked as though this woman was headed to the grocery store??  Not sure but the fact that she appears to be running errands on her bicycle provides a great vision that multi-tasking via bicycle WORKS.

The photo below is a couple I caught riding down the bumpy and desperately in need of being repaved, Oak St.  Oak St. is another street with great potential of being an east/west bicycle path.  A safe, stress-free and separated cycle track would be a success

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First off, did you sing the subject line like Frank Sinatra’s, ‘I’m in the mood for love’ song because that’s where I was going with it 🙂

I’ve been given the privilege of reading top secret biking data recently.  Well, maybe not top secret but it hasn’t been published yet so I feel honored 🙂  Anywho, I noticed a picture in the reading that just made me swoon.  I think it was of Ninth Ave. in NYC.  It was the epitome of a ‘Complete Street’ – imo.  A dedicated lane for buses, a dedicated lane for cars, a dedicated lane for bike riders and enough walking space for pedestrians.  I tried to find it on Google to show ya’ll but I couldn’t 😦  But, it lead me to this post.  I absolutely LOVE dedicated/buffered bike lanes, one-way cycle tracks, two-way cycle tracks…  you name it – I love them.

I ride all year.  I donated my car and chose to be a car free woman in Columbus.  People think that I’m one of those ‘no fear’ bicycle rider when that’s totally not true.  Sometimes, I hate riding on the roads especially speeding wastelands like Broad, 3rd, 4th, and High st.- south of Livingston Ave.

People bitch about bike lanes and dedicated this and that.  Well, the reality is is that the majority of the people who ARE interested in riding will not UNTIL there is decent infrastructure like cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes.  When I commute to the West Side, my whole body feels a sense of relief once I hit those bike lanes.  Cars have their dance space and I have mine.  I have yet to have a car zoom passed me, cut me off, swear at me, etc. when I’m in those bike lanes and I can ride at MY speed not at the feeling of obligation to go as fast as I can so that I don’t hold up traffic too badly.

People bitch about the cleanliness of buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks saying that everything gets dumped and left in our lanes… well, there’s definite truth to that.  I’ve found myself calling/submitting 311 requests to clean the bike lanes on Broad on a few occasions but that’s what you do.  You take the time to report the issue.  If cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes DO come into downtown Columbus, sooner than later I’d like to confidently say that maintenance would be a priority.  And if you feel it slipping, stop being a lazy, complaining ass and submit the 311 request yourself.

That’s my five cents for today.  I added a few buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks for folks who may not have a clear vision of what they are, below:

Keep riding… IN THE ROADS 🙂

V St. Cycle Track in good ol’ D.C.

Ninth Ave in NYC.  How could you NOT like this view?  This ease.

Montreal.  Bike riders enjoying their safe space

Zebra painted intersection for a cycle track.  The paint helps with visibility and the sharrows help the bike riders maintain their path

Bogota cycle track.  You see, build it and people WILL use it

This is a snap shot of the video taken of me during my commute home – down 3rd.  Nice and disgusting, eh?  Rows of single occupant drivers in isolation around their 2000 steel box.  Then there’s me.

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