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Old 01-10-06, 06:18 PM   #1
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John Forester on "Freeway history"

Here is an article posted today by John Forester on the BTI-list (a VC advocacy forum) on the topic of the history of freeways and cyclist prohibition, and how that relates to cyclist prohibition on non-freeway roadways. The main point of the article, I think, is in the middle:


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Forester
"Freeways have the design characteristics required for
continuous high-speed travel, which characteristics justify
prohibiting slow traffic. No other roads have those characteristics.
Therefore, there is no justification for prohibiting slow traffic,
which includes bicycle traffic, on any roads but genuine freeways."
If you ever run into a local movement to prohibit cyclists on some non-freeway roadway, remember this argument. It's powerful, and right on. No road that allows other slow vehicles, has driveways, allows parking, lacks a physical division between sides of the road, has at grade intersections, etc., can support the kind of high speed travel that would justify cyclists (as well as other drivers of slow vehicles).

Anyway, to me, this article is quintessential bicycling advocacy, and exemplifies why I admire Forester's contributions to our cause.


From: John Forester <forester@...>
Date: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:47 pm
Subject: Freeway history and characteristics

Peter Rosenfeld is another of those who are concerned that if
cyclists admit to the rationale for the prohibition of cyclists from
urban freeways, they are opening themselves to being prohibited,
according to the same argument, from normal roads and streets.

Peter specifies his concern with the following question: "Are
bicyclists banned from limited access freeways for safety reasons,
motorist convenience or both? And why do these reasons not apply to
surface roads? Is it a matter of quality ( the nature of the design)
or quantity ( speed differentials crossing some threshold, perhaps)?"

Nobody can answer the reason why cyclists are prohibited from
freeways, which in this context are defined as divided highways
without intersections at grade. Nobody can provide an answer because
the reason was never properly given at the time of the enactment of
the prohibition. However, the objective being sought was the design
and construction of highways that permitted continuous travel at high
speeds, and the prohibition of slow traffic was part of the concept.
It just happens that bicycle traffic is part of the slow traffic that
was, and still is, prohibited. The two highway design features that
enable continuous travel at high speeds are physical separation of
the opposite directions of travel and absence of traffic on
conflicting paths, as at intersections at grade and at driveways.
These considerations dictated the basic design: divided highway, with
all intersections being grade separated, and without driveways.

It was recognized at the time that construction of a new highway, and
more particularly the conversion of an existing highway to a freeway,
would destroy the value of the land that abutted to it, by denying
the owners of that land highway access to the rest of the world.
Therefore, one provision of the law was that a freeway could not be
built unless the owners of the adjacent land had given up their right
to enter the freeway through driveways. Basically, they gave up their
right of direct access to the freeway in return for being given
access to a local road that connected to the freeway at a
grade-separated intersection. That law got turned around to say that
slow traffic could be prohibited from a highway only when the owners
of the adjacent land had no right of access to the highway. Whether
that turn around of purpose was carelessness or nastiness is
completely unknown.

Anyway, whatever the past history, the kind of road design that
evolved as providing service to only fast traffic (except for traffic
congestion, snow storms, fog, and the like) does not permit the
admixture of slow traffic to it. Slow traffic probably could have
been accommodated by the provision of separate "fly-over" bridges for
the slow traffic; this would have been a very large expense relative
to the small volume of slow traffic to be expected on such trips,
and, in any case, the pre-existing roads provided for that slow traffic.

There is absolutely no doubt about the purpose of all of this. The
purpose, clear, obvious, indubitable, frequently stated, etc., etc.,
was to provide for safe travel at the completely unprecedented
highway speeds that automobiles made possible. All the other
characteristics are the result of this purpose, and have produced the
high-linear-cost, widely-spaced system that we recognize.

The concern that admitting the validity of the freeway system, with
its prohibition of slow traffic, somehow weakens our ability to
respond to prohibitions on other roads is not only unjustified, but
in fact that admission protects our ability to respond to other
prohibitions. Freeways have the design characteristics required for
continuous high-speed travel, which characteristics justify
prohibiting slow traffic. No other roads have those characteristics.
Therefore, there is no justification for prohibiting slow traffic,
which includes bicycle traffic, on any roads but genuine freeways. It
is that simple, completely logical, legal, and in accordance with the
engineering facts.

Furthermore, there is one valid exception to the prohibition, based
on engineering facts. The highway system can have developed so that a
freeway is the only reasonable connection between points that are
otherwise on the highway system. This occurs when there is no
development of the adjacent land (or water), and therefore no local
roads. In this case, bicycle traffic can use the shoulder of the
freeway between adjacent intersections without crossing motor
traffic, and should, under this particular circumstance, be allowed
to do so, even if, say, horse-drawn wagons are not permitted because
of their greater width and, shall we say, lack of demand by
wagon-drivers for this service. If there are a few intersecting roads
in this largely undeveloped area, they are very likely to carry only
low volumes of traffic, and hence bicycle traffic may be allowed to
cross the off-ramps and on-ramps with little concern. Otherwise, the
bicycle traffic must cross the intersecting road at grade, which
might involve installing a demand-controlled signal for this very low
volume traffic.

Contrariwise to this discussion is Ken's proposed policy that all
freeways should be open to bicycle traffic for all movements. Ken's
proposed policy is based on opposition to the ability of motor
traffic to travel fast. No other conclusion is reasonable about his
proposed policy. And I say that the consequences of such a policy
will be to arouse all the opposition to bicycle traffic that it is
possible for motorists to create, for no benefit to anyone. By
admitting to the justice of the freeway system when properly
administered, we are strengthening our principle that cyclists ought
to act and be treated as drivers of vehicles on all the roads on
which slow traffic is permitted. That is a great benefit to us.

John Forester, MS, PE
Bicycle Transportation Engineer
7585 Church St.
Lemon Grove, CA 91945-2306
619-644-5481 www.johnforester.com
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Old 01-10-06, 06:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Forester
"Freeways have the design characteristics required for continuous high-speed travel, which characteristics justify prohibiting slow traffic. No other roads have those characteristics. Therefore, there is no justification for prohibiting slow traffic, which includes bicycle traffic, on any roads but genuine freeways."
Be careful with this line of argument. Some newer roads in suburban areas, while not true freeways, are being designed with freeway-like characteristics, including free flowing right turn lanes, entrance and exit ramps, etc.
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Old 01-10-06, 06:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
Be careful with this line of argument. Some newer roads in suburban areas, while not true freeways, are being designed with freeway-like characteristics, including free flowing right turn lanes, entrance and exit ramps, etc.
Actually, I've been thinking about that, and its ramifications, since I read the article. The example in San Diego is Kearny Villa Road.

Of course, for the justification to apply, the road must have ALL the characteristics of a freeway, not just some of them, including no driveways, no at grade intersections, no signals, no parking, physical separation (not just a stripe) from oncoming traffic, long sight lines, etc. etc.

Just one violation of any of the above characteristics, and the justification for a slow vehicle ban (including cyclist ban) disappears.

However, this is why slow vehicle (and thus cyclist) bans are sometimes justifiable on bridges and tunnels.
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Old 01-10-06, 07:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
Be careful with this line of argument. Some newer roads in suburban areas, while not true freeways, are being designed with freeway-like characteristics, including free flowing right turn lanes, entrance and exit ramps, etc.
There's a few of those here. Stubner-Airline and a couple of throughways downtown come to mind...
I call them "streets of sudden death", and try to avoid them, or take a bus going along them. There's an uncomfortable number of major "sueside" intersections that are risky by bike, and you have to have a deathwish to cross them by foot.
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Old 01-10-06, 07:31 PM   #5
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Glad you are thinking of that prime example, KV... now how about the flipside argument... that a road that is not a limited access freeway should be limited in speed to serve those vehicles not able to access high speed limited access freeways.

A prime example is Miramar road with all the driveways and businesses that can cause motorists to slow while seeking addresses and said business driveways... such a road should have a limited speed due to it's multiple accesses.

As a side note, have you seen what they have done to KV road lately? The speeds are still 65MPH, EXCEPT at the location where the two cyclist were killed. There it was lowered to 50MPH. The bike lanes have also been moved further to the right, toward the shoulder with a 4 foot width "buffer" added in most locations between the travel lanes and the bike lanes. There are still "pinch points" however where a prudent cyclist should "check their 6."

There may have been a couple new "Share the Road" signs added too.
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Old 01-10-06, 08:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Of course, for the justification to apply, the road must have ALL the characteristics of a freeway, not just some of them, including no driveways, no at grade intersections, no signals, no parking, physical separation (not just a stripe) from oncoming traffic, long sight lines, etc. etc.
I wouldn't count on this either. For example, how much distance before you can say there are no driveways or intersections? Even the freeway has portions where it stops being a freeway.
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Old 01-10-06, 08:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
Glad you are thinking of that prime example, KV... now how about the flipside argument... that a road that is not a limited access freeway should be limited in speed to serve those vehicles not able to access high speed limited access freeways.

A prime example is Miramar road with all the driveways and businesses that can cause motorists to slow while seeking addresses and said business driveways... such a road should have a limited speed due to it's multiple accesses.

As a side note, have you seen what they have done to KV road lately? The speeds are still 65MPH, EXCEPT at the location where the two cyclist were killed. There it was lowered to 50MPH. The bike lanes have also been moved further to the right, toward the shoulder with a 4 foot width "buffer" added in most locations between the travel lanes and the bike lanes. There are still "pinch points" however where a prudent cyclist should "check their 6."

There may have been a couple new "Share the Road" signs added too.
You really need to get on the sdcbc list. First of all, the 50 mph speed limit sign on s/b KV Road is old. Not sure how long it's been there, but I know it was there shortly after (a week or two) the recent cyclist death. Lowering the speed limit to 50 was not part of the bl realignment plan that I fought since it was in the planning stages.

Here is a recent post on the topic, and my response:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip

The bike lanes on Kearny Villa Road have been restriped. Today
I took a ride up and down the road to take a look at the results.

South of the interchange with Highway 163, and north of the FAA Tracon
driveway, there have been no changes.

Between the Harris Plant Road bridge and the FAA Tracon driveway,
Kearny Villa Road has very broad shoulders. In this area, the
old bike lanes have been turned into cross-hatched "no-drive" areas,
and new bike lanes have been striped along side them, a little
farther from the center of the road:

http://www.efgh.com/temp/22882.jpg

The new lanes begin at the ramp from Harris Plant Road to
northbound Kearny Villa Road:

http://www.efgh.com/temp/22878.jpg

Northbound bicyclists do not have to exit and re-enter Kearny Villa Road
at the Harris Plant Road interchange:

http://www.efgh.com/temp/22876.jpg

However, southbound bicyclists are supposed to exit at Harris Plant Road
and re-enter:

http://www.efgh.com/temp/22888.jpg

Where bicyclists cross Harris Plant Road, the pavement has been swept
clean:

http://www.efgh.com/temp/22895.jpg

(I wonder how long it will stay so clean, with all the sand and gravel
trucks passing through.)

Crossing two ramps, one an entrance ramp from Harris Plant Road, and
the other an entrance ramp to Highway 163, has always been the biggest
challenge to southbound bicyclists. Is it now easier or harder?
Take a look:

http://www.efgh.com/temp/22903.jpg

IMHO, it's now easier. (Jim Baross is sure to disagree.) This photograph
also shows why riding along the dashed line between the on/off ramp
and the adjacent through lane is not a good idea.

Southbound bicyclists can still pass under Harris Plant Road. There
are no signs or markings forbidding this maneuver. However, the marked
bike lane has been scraped away.

Throughout this area, added signage and curb markings make it clearer
than ever that bicyclists are sharing this road:

http://www.efgh.com/temp/22886.jpg
And my response:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Great pictures, Philip. Thanks. This one in particular really tells the story:

http://www.efgh.com/temp/22903.jpg

Perhaps I can describe what I did on this road relative to this picture and the vehicles in it.

First, I agree that the photo illustrates why riding the striped line between the rightmost lane (that soon splits into a 2-lane onramp to 163) and the rightmost through lane is not a good idea. But the day I observed on this road, that's where most of the cyclists were riding, or just to the left or right of this stripe, which is just as problematic. The "flow" of the traffic headed for 163 south goes right across this line of travel.

However, I also think it shows the problem with crossing from the bike lane. If you leave the bike lane too early, see above. If you stay in the bike lane to the very end, and no one lets you merge left (which is quite likely in such a small window), you will quickly run out of pavement, and have to stop and wait for a gap to cross. That's far from ideal, especially at rush hour.

What I don't like about the new striping is that it encourages the stay-in-the-bike-lane approach above, and discourages the approach I think works best. As references, I'll refer to the vehicles in your photo: a white pickup, followed by a sedan, and then by what looks like a maroon pickup. If you don't get off at Harris Plant Rd, and continue along KV Road under the HP Rd bridge, start looking back over your left shoulder before you get to where the maroon pickup is. The goal is to move into the LEFT portion of the rightmost through lane.

Exactly where you merge depends on the level of traffic, the availability of gaps, and the need to "create" a gap. That's why you have to start looking back early. Looking back serves two purposes. In addition to letting you assess the situation behind you, it is a communication mechanism. Motorists approaching from behind a cyclist who see him looking back like this, know that he is at least contemplating moving left. It's issuing a turn signal without taking either arm off the handlebars. However, while looking back often is all it takes to get someone to let you in, sometimes you may actually have to signal a left turn signal with your arm. In any case, once you have a gap, or someone slows down from their 55ish mph (speed limit here is 50) to your 15-20, you can move into the lane and establish your position in the LEFT portion. Obviously, this is no time to be dilly-dallying.

But once you're positioned in the left portion of the lane, through traffic can pass you on your left - they have a whole lane to do this, and 163-headed traffic can pass you on the right, your presence perhaps requiring them to start moving over right a bit earlier than they might if you weren't there. But note that the maroon pickup is alrady merging right anyway, so if they have to adjust to deal with your presence, it's not much. Anyway, riding near that left stripe you should have hardly any impact on the flow, if any. You do have to be okay with impeding traffic, because you might, and you have to be comfortable with being passed by 55 mph traffic on both sides, which could take getting used to. Issuing a slow/stop arm signal while you're "out there" is also remarkably helpful in terms of getting them to notice you and even slow down as they pass you. As soon as you've passed the point where the 163-headed traffic is merging off, about where the white pickup is in the picture, do another shoulder check, this time over your right shoulder, and move to the right side of the through lane when it is safe and clear to do so. Riding near that stripe this late in the game is fine, again for reasons made obvious by the picture.

To review, look at the picture and imagine cyclists riding to the left (east) of the white s/b pickup and the two cars behind it. That's what I'm talking about. This approach is completely discouraged by the new striping (and I realize many would say for good reason). YMMV. I'm not a lawyer, but legally speaking, I believe the 21202 "keep to the side" law does not apply here due to the exception that kicks in "whenever approaching a place where a right turn is authorized", which, arguably, is the situation here (with the right turn being the onramp to 163). The whole point of that exception, as I understand it, is to allow/encourage through cyclists to move LEFT when approaching such a place, to get out of the "conflict zone" with traffic that is turning right.

My 2 cents,
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Old 01-10-06, 09:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Actually, I've been thinking about that, and its ramifications, since I read the article. The example in San Diego is Kearny Villa Road.
Practically all of the new communities here in the Los Angeles suburbs are designed with a main "highway" interconnecting a lot of small, housing communities. Those communities are built behind sound walls so there are no driveways dumping into that main "highway." As I was driving in those areas visiting friends, I kept thinking how bicycle unfriendly those planned communities are. Of course, they say you should bicycle within the community since there's so much less traffic, but that's only a few miles in circumference. I guess city planners assume no one rides their bike over a few miles.
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Old 01-10-06, 09:55 PM   #9
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out west many freeways are the ONLY roads around, without even frontage roads

l-70 in eastern Utah, I-15 in eastern california, I-76 in colorado some allow bikes and are marked, some don't
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Old 01-10-06, 10:53 PM   #10
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Those Kearny villa pictyures makes me appreciate I live in the downtown/uptown core. They just look so uninviting to cyclists. Not that urban areas are any better, but at least, you can expect cagers to be a little slower.
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Old 01-10-06, 11:04 PM   #11
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The city of Houston has many roads that are four to six lanes wide, with no parking allowed, and bumper to bumper traffic running at 40 mph to 50 mph. Trucks and buses are wider than the marked lanes, and so their right side tires run within a foot or two of the curbs. The curbs are stained black where vehicles have struck the curbs while trying to maintain a position in the too narrow lanes.

There are no laws forbidding someone on a bike to ride on such roads, but I've never seen anyone insane enough to attempt it. Of course "sanity" has never meant much to folks who worship John Forester.
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Old 01-10-06, 11:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
The city of Houston has many roads that are four to six lanes wide, with no parking allowed, and bumper to bumper traffic running at 40 mph to 50 mph. Trucks and buses are wider than the marked lanes, and so their right side tires run within a foot or two of the curbs. The curbs are stained black where vehicles have struck the curbs while trying to maintain a position in the too narrow lanes.

There are no laws forbidding someone on a bike to ride on such roads, but I've never seen anyone insane enough to attempt it. Of course "sanity" has never meant much to folks who worship John Forester.
Most of the 40 mph to 50 mph roads in my area are like that, but the lanes are 12 feet wide and a bike lane is provided. But there is a one mile section on my commute with three 12 foot lanes in each direction and no bike lanes. I can't honestly say it's the most pleasant part of my commute, but I've never had any major problems from motorists when "taking the lane".

But I do think a key difference between these kinds of roads and true freeways is that motorists expect to have to slow down or stop on occasion for things such as traffic backed up at a light or a stopped bus - unlike a free flowing freeway where you don't have such things.
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Old 01-11-06, 12:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
Most of the 40 mph to 50 mph roads in my area are like that, but the lanes are 12 feet wide and a bike lane is provided. But there is a one mile section on my commute with three 12 foot lanes in each direction and no bike lanes. I can't honestly say it's the most pleasant part of my commute, but I've never had any major problems from motorists when "taking the lane".

But I do think a key difference between these kinds of roads and true freeways is that motorists expect to have to slow down or stop on occasion for things such as traffic backed up at a light or a stopped bus - unlike a free flowing freeway where you don't have such things.
Right. The problem on Kearny Villa Road south is that 90% of the traffic is headed for s/b I-15, and they \don't expect to have to stop or even slow down. They're in "freeway onramp" if not "freeway" mode already. It is traffic flow comprised of drivers with that mentality that cyclists have to cross. That's why I recommend getting to the LEFT of them as soon as possible... early.
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Old 01-11-06, 01:24 AM   #14
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New Jersey is full of "semi-controlled-access" highways which don't expressly forbid bikes -- but on which I've never seen a bike (except occasionally on the shoulder, often against traffic) and on which I don't think I'll ever ride. North Carolina has some of these monstrosities (and many other states do too, I'm sure).

Usually these roads have
  • High speed limits (50+)
  • Dividers (Jersey barriers, median)
  • Few (but some) signal-controlled intersections
  • Many ramped entrances/exits, often to actual freeways
  • Freeway style signage
  • No bike lanes, share-the-road signs or other reference to bicycles
  • Aggressive, impatient drivers in full freeway mode
A classic example for New Jerseyans, would be US Hwy 1 between Newark and Trenton.

I don't like driving on these things, and I will go miles out of my way to avoid them on a bicycle.

I don't know the solution. Accept the situation, ambiguous as it is? Assert our rights to use these roads? (If so, after you, please. I insist. ) Modify these roads to facilitate safe cycling ( la KV)? Allow bicycles to be prohibited from such roads, as long as reasonable alternate routes exist?

???

Last edited by budster; 01-11-06 at 01:31 AM.
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Old 01-11-06, 01:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
Most of the 40 mph to 50 mph roads in my area are like that, but the lanes are 12 feet wide and a bike lane is provided. But there is a one mile section on my commute with three 12 foot lanes in each direction and no bike lanes. I can't honestly say it's the most pleasant part of my commute, but I've never had any major problems from motorists when "taking the lane".

But I do think a key difference between these kinds of roads and true freeways is that motorists expect to have to slow down or stop on occasion for things such as traffic backed up at a light or a stopped bus - unlike a free flowing freeway where you don't have such things.
The boneheads here in Houston ram busses on a fairly regular basis. They ram the light rail trains even more.
Slow down? Heh! It's some doing keeping them from racing down residential streets. Alan can back that up, I think.
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Old 01-11-06, 08:17 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
Be careful with this line of argument. Some newer roads in suburban areas, while not true freeways, are being designed with freeway-like characteristics, including free flowing right turn lanes, entrance and exit ramps, etc.
I was thinking the same thing. My concern arises from the tendency to build roads in suburban areas that have freeway-like characteristics. In my neighborhood, even though the speed limit on one of these pseudo-freeways is 40 mph. and peppered with traffic lights and driveways (even homes,) it's common for the speed of general traffic to approach freeway speeds.

This creates a bleed-over effect on older roads designed for even slower residential traffic. Drivers accustomed to flying along at up to 150% of the posted speed limit tend to do the same thing in residential areas where the posted limit is 25 to 35 mph.

The end result is the intimidation of cyclists and potential cyclists through excessive speed.
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Old 01-11-06, 09:37 AM   #17
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Here is a related link just for reference.
http://list.massbike.org/archive/199709/0037.html
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Old 01-11-06, 11:58 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by chicbicyclist
Those Kearny villa pictyures makes me appreciate I live in the downtown/uptown core. They just look so uninviting to cyclists. Not that urban areas are any better, but at least, you can expect cagers to be a little slower.
It is a fast road, and on weekends and anytime off of the rush hour commute, it is a lightly traveled road (as it is paralleled in it's entire length by limited access freeways). From a cyclists perspective, it is a blast to ride... with the exception of the large (many trucks) fast (65MPH) close (much closer than if it were a limited access freeway) traffic. Remove that traffic (such as on a weekend) and it becomes a very fast nearly flat ride. I findmy self doing about 20+MPH on that route every time. It is a good spin for anyone that really spins.

The real problem with it is in fact it's isolated nature and the speed... motorists look at that road as a shortcut and become complacent about their driving on it... and it is 65MPH for much of it's length. The road should really be "calmed" and given over to cyclists as primary users... there is little reason for the motoring public to use it at all... a nice wide freeway was built within a 1/2 mile to facilitate the needs of the motoring public... and initially the old road was marked at 45MPH... over time that creeped up to 65MPH.

The really sad thing about the whole affair is that some 20 years ago that road was the hiway and cyclists took an isolated route that went onto a military air base... well separated from motor traffic. Of course with 9/11, that sort of thing is a bit harder to do today... but certainly the old road itself is no longer the freeway it once was and should therefore not be marked at freeway speeds.
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Old 01-11-06, 12:02 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I was thinking the same thing. My concern arises from the tendency to build roads in suburban areas that have freeway-like characteristics. In my neighborhood, even though the speed limit on one of these pseudo-freeways is 40 mph. and peppered with traffic lights and driveways (even homes,) it's common for the speed of general traffic to approach freeway speeds.

This creates a bleed-over effect on older roads designed for even slower residential traffic. Drivers accustomed to flying along at up to 150% of the posted speed limit tend to do the same thing in residential areas where the posted limit is 25 to 35 mph.

The end result is the intimidation of cyclists and potential cyclists through excessive speed.

+1

The roads that HH and I both ride for our commutes are marked at 50MPH and traffic tends to be much faster. Sure, the roads are negotiable... by skilled experienced cyclists... but they don't make up the best part of my commute, that's for sure.
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Old 01-11-06, 02:25 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
This creates a bleed-over effect on older roads designed for even slower residential traffic. Drivers accustomed to flying along at up to 150% of the posted speed limit tend to do the same thing in residential areas where the posted limit is 25 to 35 mph.
I call it "freeway mentality".

As a pedestrian, try crossing any kind of "arterial" these days at a bonafide intersection without signals. Vehicle drivers are supposed to yield to pedestrians at all intersections, and they used to. But with the creep of freeway mentality to these roads, not so much anymore... Many drivers don't even seem to know that they're supposed to stop for any reason other than a red light or stop sign.

Never-the-less, I find an assertive approach almost always works. I hope to include the following exercise in my book, as a way to build the "VC attitude"...

Walk to an uncontrolled (no signal or stop sign) intersection on a busy arterial and stand at the corner waiting for someone to stop to let you cross. In all likelihood, no one will stop. Now put your right foot on the road pavement, face the oncoming traffic, leave the left foot on the sidewalk, raise your right arm straight up and a bit out, with open hand, palm facing the traffic. Someone will most likely stop almost right away. This is an example of "negotiating for the right of way". Once they stop, proceed to walk across the road, repeating the same technique at each lane, as required. Do this 5 or 6 times, preferably at different roads and intersections, until you feel comfortable asserting your right to cross a busy road at an uncontrolled intersection like this. If you can't get comfortable doing this, you'll never get comfortable negotiating with other traffic while cycling.
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Old 01-11-06, 02:38 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by budster
New Jersey is full of "semi-controlled-access" highways which don't expressly forbid bikes -- but on which I've never seen a bike (except occasionally on the shoulder, often against traffic) and on which I don't think I'll ever ride. North Carolina has some of these monstrosities (and many other states do too, I'm sure).

A classic example for New Jerseyans, would be US Hwy 1 between Newark and Trenton.

I don't like driving on these things, and I will go miles out of my way to avoid them on a bicycle.
I've been on US 1 in that area, and I can think of a couple of similar examples of where I grew up in the Boston area - US 1 in Saugus and Route 9 in Framingham. These two examples also have multiple driveways. But on the east coast there seem to be enough alternate routes, unless you're commuting to a business on one of these roads.
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Old 01-11-06, 02:39 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Never-the-less, I find an assertive approach almost always works. I hope to include the following exercise in my book, as a way to build the "VC attitude"...

Walk to an uncontrolled (no signal or stop sign) intersection on a busy arterial and stand at the corner waiting for someone to stop to let you cross. In all likelihood, no one will stop. Now put your right foot on the road pavement, face the oncoming traffic, leave the left foot on the sidewalk, raise your right arm straight up and a bit out, with open hand, palm facing the traffic. Someone will most likely stop almost right away. This is an example of "negotiating for the right of way". Once they stop, proceed to walk across the road, repeating the same technique at each lane, as required. Do this 5 or 6 times, preferably at different roads and intersections, until you feel comfortable asserting your right to cross a busy road at an uncontrolled intersection like this. If you can't get comfortable doing this, you'll never get comfortable negotiating with other traffic while cycling.
Surely you jest. Well, I know you well enough to know you are not.
There is no freaking way that one could ever get arterial (7-lane 45mph) traffic to stop at an unmarked x-walk even with all those antics, even one lane at a time. No way.

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Old 01-11-06, 02:46 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by 2wheeledsoul
There's a few of those here. Stubner-Airline and a couple of throughways downtown come to mind...
I call them "streets of sudden death", and try to avoid them, or take a bus going along them. There's an uncomfortable number of major "sueside" intersections that are risky by bike, and you have to have a deathwish to cross them by foot.
I live in a subdivison right off of Stuebner-Airline, and have no other way in or out of the subdivision. Stuebner-Airline is not that bad, except for rush-hour. I ride parts of it every day (north-side of Louetta). There are other roads around here that are far worse (Spring-Cypress comes to mind).
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Old 01-11-06, 02:58 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Surely you jest. Well, I know you well enough to know you are not.
There is no freaking way that one could ever get arterial (7-lane 45mph) traffic to stop at an unmarked x-walk even with all those antics, even one lane at a time. No way.

Al
Two words: try it.

You'll be amazed.

Assumptions: there are sidewalks, and you're at a corner of a 4-way intersection. Vehicles do slow down and turn into and out of the side road of the intersection, at least once in a while.
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Old 01-11-06, 03:06 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Two words: try it.

You'll be amazed.

Assumptions: there are sidewalks, and you're at a corner of a 4-way intersection. Vehicles do slow down and turn into and out of the side road of the intersection, at least once in a while.
I have. There is a pizza shop across the street from my neighborhood and where a side street crosses I've tried to cross by foot. With assertive hand waving it took me 8min to cross once. Usually I do the extra 1mi walk (1/2mi up and down street) to get to a controled signal.
This resonates with me as my wife and I sometime wish the pizza shop, convinence store was a 1/4mi walk from home instead of a 1-1/4mi or a 1/4mi with running across 7 lanes of traffic after unsuccessfully trying to get drivers to stop.
I will make a video and show you. As soon as one car stops blocking a lane all the others rapidly merge left to go around it. Its one thing to ride down the street with a speed differential of 20-25mph, but with a differential of 50mph drivers don't have time to react to some guy waving his arm on the sidewalk.
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