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Old 12-12-05, 07:23 PM   #1
ahpook
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After reading this article in my local paper about a 3 year 1.5M project to add 20 yards of bike lanes, I dusted off my Shared Lane Marking work from a few months ago and wrote in to our local Public Works and Bicycle Advisory Committee. How'd I do?

Campbell Ave Bike Routes

To Matthew Jue, City of Campbell Traffic Engineer; Herman Wadler, Campbell Bike Advisory Committe; Stephanie Condon, The Campbell Reporter

Greetings. I read with great interest the article in the Dec 7 Campbell Reporter regarding the project to add bike lanes under the Hwy 17 overpass. As a Campbell resident and daily bike commuter, this crossing is one of the trickier areas I ride through. I definitely support improving bike facilities, especially since there are bike lanes leading up to the underpass from the Bascom Avenue side which suddenly end without signage, leaving many cyclists unsure of what to do. On the weekends, the problem is much worse with the increased bike and pedestrian traffic around the trail and through Campbell Park.

However, given the physical constraints of the underpass as well as the financial burden to the City, I wondered if you would consider making a shared right-hand lane "bike route" instead of a separate bike-only lane. This would simply involve signage, paint, and hopefully some education / awareness-raising activity which would still cost substantially less than the proposed construction.

In addition to easing financial and logistical burdens, a shared right-hand lane would help bike traffic flow through downtown Campbell, as well as the troublesome stretch under the highway. Currently, there are bike lanes northbound and southbound on Winchester Avenue, as well as eastbound and westbound on Campbell Ave west of Winchester. All of these facilities stop, however, as they go through downtown. It's confusing and difficult to navigate and, as a result, many cyclists make unsafe choices to ride the wrong way or use the sidewalk just to make it through. I would like to suggest that a shared right-hand lane be designated eastbound through Orchard City Drive and westbound on Campbell Ave / Civic Center Dr. Please see the attached graphic, which shows how a shared lane could connect the existing facilities.

For information about San Francisco's Shared Lane Markings, please see: San Francisco Bicycle Program. The Caltrans Traffic Operations Directive Policy 05-10 PDF linked from that page includes schematic diagrams for the road markings and guidance for placement. A bit closer to home, I'm including a picture of a shared lane I use at the work end of my commute, on Bowers Ave north of Cabrillo in Santa Clara. The Bowers Ave bike route is very similar to Campbell Ave, in that there are two lanes in either direction, the traffic lane widths are similar, it is used as a connector between dedicated bike lanes, and part of the route includes parallel parking. In my experience, the shared lane works extremely well, with both cyclists and motorists intuively understanding how to navigate it safely.

I applaud your efforts to make Campbell a better place for both transportation and recreational cycling and I look forward to any feedback you might provide on this suggestion.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg campbell-ave-export.jpg (80.5 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg bowers_ave_bikeroute.jpg (68.4 KB, 35 views)
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Last edited by ahpook; 12-12-05 at 08:35 PM. Reason: added hyperlink to SF Bicycle Prog
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Old 12-12-05, 07:31 PM   #2
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You'll have to let us know of any reply that you receive. It would be interesting to see how they react to a cyclist asking them to reconsider bike lanes. If this were in Philly, I would say that they would sweep this under the rug because someone's nephew probably has the contract already.
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Old 12-12-05, 07:44 PM   #3
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Great! The more I read about it, the more sense the shared lane concept makes. The symbol first of all tells cars that bikes have just as much a right to be on the road as they do. It is surprising how many drivers still believe that legally, bikes have no right to be on the road and that they must ride on the sidewalk or bike path.

With the symbol, cars now realize that cyclists will use the route and that they will have to share the road with them. It does not give the cyclist a segragated bike lane, which I believe many cars resent as an "underserved special right and privilege", causing them to drive aggresively to try to keep cyclists in their "place", the bike lane.

Once an expectation of cyclists is established with no imposition of a legnthy set of rules on cars, then, as you say, the cars and cyclists will intuitively figure out how to co-exist.
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Old 12-12-05, 07:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Great! The more I read about it, the more sense the shared lane concept makes. The symbol first of all tells cars that bikes have just as much a right to be on the road as they do. It is surprising how many drivers still believe that legally, bikes have no right to be on the road and that they must ride on the sidewalk or bike path.

With the symbol, cars now realize that cyclists will use the route and that they will have to share the road with them. It does not give the cyclist a segragated bike lane, which I believe many cars resent as an "underserved special right and privilege", causing them to drive aggresively to try to keep cyclists in their "place", the bike lane.

Once an expectation of cyclists is established with no imposition of a legnthy set of rules on cars, then, as you say, the cars and cyclists will intuitively figure out how to co-exist.

Love the idea. Basically training drivers passively to accept cyclists! Right on!
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Old 12-12-05, 07:56 PM   #5
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When I arrived in Arkansas, I wondered why the drivers gave me sooo much room; much more than was necessary by my California sensibilities. Reading the driver's manual gave me a clue.

"Give extra space to pedestrians or bicycles, especially children. They can move into
your path quickly and without warning. Do not share a lane with a pedestrian or
bicyclist. Wait until it is safe to pass in the adjoining lane."

While technically, it says share the road, it also lumps bicycles with pedestrians and tells the driver to treat them as children, and tells the driver that they must not share the lane.
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Old 12-12-05, 10:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Great! The more I read about it, the more sense the shared lane concept makes. The symbol first of all tells cars that bikes have just as much a right to be on the road as they do. It is surprising how many drivers still believe that legally, bikes have no right to be on the road and that they must ride on the sidewalk or bike path. ...
It would be better to educate motorists regarding the rights of bicyclists. Otherwise, we would have to paint the shared lane symbol on almost every outside lane.
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Old 12-13-05, 02:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Great! The more I read about it, the more sense the shared lane concept makes. The symbol first of all tells cars that bikes have just as much a right to be on the road as they do. It is surprising how many drivers still believe that legally, bikes have no right to be on the road and that they must ride on the sidewalk or bike path.

Once an expectation of cyclists is established with no imposition of a legnthy set of rules on cars, then, as you say, the cars and cyclists will intuitively figure out how to co-exist.
Did you see the link to the SF Bicycle Program? The results of the study they commisioned are in a PDF there. Very interesting reading IMO. I especially liked this finding, because it addresses a pet peeve of mine:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alta Report
" The bike-and-chevron marking significantly reduced the number of wrong-way riders by 80%. The bike-in-house marking did not have any significant impact on the percentage of wrong-way riders.
Also, to John E's point below, that they'd have to paint every road -- they are actually going to do that, for some values of "every" Just the roads that are deemed part of the bike system, and are Class III (shared/signed) facilties. Obviously some driver education (a billboard campaign, inclusion in drivers ed classes, etc) would go a long way.

In my little neck of the woods, though, I want a) to stop getting honked at for riding in the place where the chevrons would be painted, if there were chevrons painted there, b) to make it obvious for the rec cyclists I see teetering along in the gutter that they don't have to be there, and c) to save us taxpayers a bunch of money on a blue-sky bikelane project that won't fix anything outside the 20 yards of underpass.
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Old 12-13-05, 09:41 AM   #8
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Ahpook-Another advantage to marking certain lanes as bike lanes is to educate drivers that cyclists will be using that road. This will likely discourage, again without legally banning, cars from driving those roads. Most cars, especially when commuting, want to take the path of least resistance and will avoid a road where (they percieve)bicyclists will slow them down.

The paths will also educate bicyclists. Here in Miami there are several roads that have multiple narrow lanes, where the right lane is much too narrow for both a bike and a car, that are used as major commuting arteries by cars. The posted speed limit is 40 mph, but traffic will easily go 60 mph if the traffic flow allows. Yet, cyclist still ride on these roads! I cringe everytime I see them. There are parrallel streets that have very little traffic that are wider and much safer. If those side streets are marked, cyclists will eventually get the word and ride on safer roads.
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Old 12-13-05, 01:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
There are parrallel streets that have very little traffic that are wider and much safer. If those side streets are marked, cyclists will eventually get the word and ride on safer roads.
Why don't motorists use these wide near traffic free roads?

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Old 12-13-05, 05:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Why don't motorists use these wide near traffic free roads?

Al
Because they are single lane (one in each direction) with lots of stop signs.
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Old 12-13-05, 05:17 PM   #11
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The key to getting the shared lane markings widely accepted and used by more transporation departments is to get a standard for the shared lane markings adopted in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Until that is the case, most transportation departments are going to be reluctant to use these markings, which has been the case in Portland until recently.
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Old 12-13-05, 05:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Because they are single lane (one in each direction) with lots of stop signs.
I asked because we have multilane high speed arterials often with narrow outside lanes. There for some short stretches parallel roads, but they are not straight, have lots of intersections and when they cross arterials there is often no light control so it is hard to cross. I have no problem with encouraging cyclist to use these side streets in general, but do have a problem when thay are given as the solution to the aterials as there are always places when one must cycle on them. These arterials should have bike symbols (per what was shown in original post) or share the road signs before 'bike route' signs or infrastructure is put on the side streets. That is help the worst of places first as every transportational cyclist is going to have to use the 'bad' streets at some point to get from place A to B.

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Old 12-14-05, 02:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
I asked because we have multilane high speed arterials often with narrow outside lanes. There for some short stretches parallel roads, but they are not straight, have lots of intersections and when they cross arterials there is often no light control so it is hard to cross. I have no problem with encouraging cyclist to use these side streets in general, but do have a problem when thay are given as the solution to the aterials as there are always places when one must cycle on them. These arterials should have bike symbols (per what was shown in original post) or share the road signs before 'bike route' signs or infrastructure is put on the side streets. That is help the worst of places first as every transportational cyclist is going to have to use the 'bad' streets at some point to get from place A to B.

Al
Spot-on, Al.
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Old 12-14-05, 02:24 PM   #14
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The situation ahpook cites sounds very similar to the southbound Gilman Drive / southbound I-5 intersection in La Jolla. There are numerous other examples, as well. The problem is how to deal with aggressive motorists who cut in from the left, often across solid white lane demarcations.
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Old 12-14-05, 05:39 PM   #15
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Here's the response I got today:

Quote:

Thank you for your feedback concerning the Campbell Avenue Bicycle Lane
Project. Regarding the portion of Campbell Avenue under Highway 17, we
believe a separate bike lane would encourage bicyclists not to ride on
the sidewalk and thereby improve pedestrian safety. The shared lane
marking is an interesting idea that requires further investigation on
our part. Thank you for sharing this idea.

Matthew Jue, P.E., T.E.
Campbell Traffic Engineer
So, its better than a complete brush-off but I don't have any assurance that they'll actually DO the "further investigation" he says is required.

No response yet from the head of the Bicycle Advisory Committee; I probably ought to see if they're accepting new committe members and make a gadfly of myself...
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