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  1. #1
    dirtbag roadie ahpook's Avatar
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    Has anybody worked with their local city council (sucessfully or otherwise) to improve bike facilities / signage in your area? I'm quite taken with the "Bikes Allowed Use of Full Lane / Change Lanes to Pass" signs in SF that someone pointed out a few threads back. ( http://www.bicycle.sfgov.org/site/up...BAUFL_Sign.pdf ) I live near SF but my town (Campbell) is not quite the bastion of cycling enlightenment that SF appears to be.

    We have it pretty good, but there's one stretch through downtown that definitely meets the description in their study: "Class III bikeways which serve as important connectors between bike paths and bike lanes". Here's a link to the google map for the area in question:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=campbe...0.043945&hl=en
    and I've attached a drawing that illustrates what I think ought to be done.

    What I'm hoping to hear back from you, dear readers, is:

    1. Does this proposal, from a traffic engineering standpoint, make sense to you?
    2. Is there something *on the merits* I should be doing differently? (Sign placement, number, etc)
    3. What do I need to do to make the most effective case?
    Last edited by ahpook; 06-22-05 at 01:23 AM.
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  2. #2
    H23
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    What's wrong with Campbell? Is going east on campbell across railway a dicey proposition? I'm not sure I understand what problem you're trying to resolve. Is there a hill involved?

    The wordy "bikes allowed..." sign you mentioned is probably too complicated. Old or non-english speaking drivers will get confused by anything but the most minimal traffic sign.

    A diamond with a bicycle icon is enough, I think.

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    Why bother? Unless Big Brother decides to post a sign specifically prohibiting bikes, put your bike on any street, anywhere, and anytime.
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

  4. #4
    dirtbag roadie ahpook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H23
    What's wrong with Campbell? Is going east on campbell across railway a dicey proposition? I'm not sure I understand what problem you're trying to resolve. Is there a hill involved?
    The problem is that there are lots of bikes in the area due to the N/S MUP trail that goes past Campbell Park, but once you get off the trail in either direction onto campbell ave, to hook up to surface road bike lanes, you have to ride in the road. This is not a problem for me, but almost all of the other cyclists I see end up riding on the sidewalk. This is especially dangerous on the Hwy 17 underpass/tunnel because it's extremely narrow and there's a lot of foot traffic - so cyclists going through the tunnel on the sidewalk often collide or near-miss with peds.

    The BAUFL signs are good because they're educational for both motorists AND cyclists.
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  5. #5
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    Hello Ahpook,

    I suggest that you contact the City of CampbellTraffic Engineering Division in writing (E-mail : publicworks@ci.campbell.ca.us) to request the signage.

    After you hear back about the signage, I also suggest that you attend the next The City Council meeting (first and third Tuesday of each month in the City Hall Council Chamber, 70 North First Street, at 7:30 p.m.) to either thank them for the signs or express the needs for the signage and ask for their assistance. Measure the curbside roadway travel lane to have some supporting evidence that the current road does not support simultaneous vehicle/cycle traffic (you need a min width of 14 feet if speed limit is 35 or under with only moderate traffic and limited bus/large vehicle traffic measured from edge of lane stripe to start of gutter/curb foundation higher traffic/oversized vehicle/faster speed = 15+ foot width).

    Find out when they review/update their transportation capital programs and at that time request a new project that widens the curbside lane to accommodate vehicle/cycle traffic or to add a bike lane. If you can generate some community support, your request may fare better in the selection process with all the other requested projects.

    If you have the time to commit, you can raise the awareness of the issue and hopefully improve the cycle facilities in Campbell.

    FYI - In my area, I bicycle to the various applicable City Council & Transportation Commission meetings in cycling apparel in an effort to reinforce the idea that cycling is a means of transportation and not just for kids riding around the neighborhood on the sidewalk.

    Good Luck,
    Jim Hunt
    Kirkland, WA

  6. #6
    dirtbag roadie ahpook's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information, Jim. I will attempt to get a tape measure across the lane without getting run over! (Probably just use the crosswalk at the nearest stoplight)
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  7. #7
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    Jim's strategy is quite good. The decision-making process ends with the councillors, but more often than not they rely on the information passed on to them by the officers in the form of background information and recommendations.

    Meetings are fine, but too often the detail is lost in preconceived ideas and different interpretations of what is being put forward. I have found the only and most effective means is to get the officers to meet you on site and do an inspection. Bring along a camera, and if you are any good at graphics, you can actually import the signs and other furniture you want installed to show what you mean. But the on-site inspections really do help with orientation... and often a sketch plan will be done on the spot for recasting back in the office and inclusion with the recommendations.

    I haven't bothered to look at your scheme, simply for the reasons I have detailed in my previous paragraph. The traffic officers generally should be reasonably skilled at identifying problems with your proposal and will likely put up all sorts of philosophical obstacles either because (a) they aren't predisposed to cycling facility development or (b and rarely) they are playing devil's advocate to see if *you* know what you are talking about and have researched your proposal sufficiently.

    Be also aware that advocates' gut feeling about traffic flows and car/bike volumes can be blown entirely out of the water by actual surveys, so you will need to conduct your own to substantiate your claims. It means sitting there for a few days and counting cars and bikes... mundane, but despite many advocates' ideas, traffic management does rely to a large extent on formulas and numbers.

    In my experience, issues such as this are dealt with at committee level, and that is where you have to do the hardest lobbying work. Identify who the councillors are on the committee. If you have made it through the officer stage without stumbling, and worked with them to draft a suitable, soundly based recommendation, it should be a lot simpler.

    There's also a maxim in local politics -- one letter can be ignored, 10 letters make a campaign. Get some supporters of your idea to write some non-emotive letters supporting the concept and putting their reasons why. You can do a certain degree of coaching, but the letters should be sufficiently different to reflect people's personalities. And they should have experience of riding through the area. Some stories of close calls are useful, but they should be expressed matter-of-factly, succinctly and without much emotion. My experience with traffic engineers is that emotion can't be converted into numbers and incorporated into formulas.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Rowan; 06-22-05 at 07:40 PM.

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