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  1. #1
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    Slow bike traffic on pedestrian path?

    I'm with the campus police at Washington University here in St. Louis. We have a slight problem arising over a bike/pedestrian path.
    The local Metrolink expansion has built a bike/pedestrian "ramp" from the main footpath up into the residential area North of the university. Lots of kids commute via this route to campus each day. The ramp is a crossover for the busy Forest Park Parkway.
    Here's the problem: The ramp is a fairly steep little pitch, and the kids on bikes are motivated to just stand on the pedals and shoot up same as fast as possible, since almost none of them bother to shift gears. This results in high-speed encounters between the bicyclists and pedestrians. A number of students have complained of near-collisions, getting "buzzed", etc.
    We have installed signs at the ends of the structure encouraging riders to dismount and walk up the hill; you can imagine how much compliance we're getting.

    Any suggestions here? The ramp/path is too narrow for a dedicated bike lane, and we don't want to install any sort of structure that would be dangerous to riders.

  2. #2
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    sounds like you need to build a chicane at each end of the bridge to force the riders to dramacticaly slow or dismount to get around the obstruction.

  3. #3
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Grade the area similar to what they do before a road resurfacing. The rough surface may help slow them down.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  4. #4
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    Do you have pedestrain signs asking them to stay to the right? Do you have signs that tell bikes to call out "on your left" and/or ring a bell when announcing that they're behind the pedestrian? Not like I'm being accusing, but you have to have some kind of plan and rules set in place before you do this. Then campus police should be roaming and ready to issue tickets on both sides- to pedestrians walking on the wrong side or not staying to the right, as well to bikes that don't warn before passing.

    It just sounds like you need a plan, then enforcement.

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    Rules/laws don't work as well with students as physical obstructions that hinder the behaviour: I think the chicane idea is best (I imagine two rails across the path) forcing a dismount, with no allowance to go on the sides. It has to be well lit and full of reflective crap.

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    Senior Member FLBandit's Avatar
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    I think the obstruction idea is best. Unless you have security there 24/7 there will always be problems.
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    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    A pole right in the center of the path at both ends might encourage student cyclists to slow down. Just put plenty of reflective tape on it.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  8. #8
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakub.ner
    Rules/laws don't work as well with students as physical obstructions that hinder the behaviour: I think the chicane idea is best (I imagine two rails across the path) forcing a dismount, with no allowance to go on the sides. It has to be well lit and full of reflective crap.
    What does a chicane look like? I would think an organization is asking for legal trouble if it installs some sort of obstacle on the path that could deliberatly cause a less than razor sharp cyclist to get knocked off the bike.

    Lights are good; reflective crap would in all liklihood be just that ; how many student bikes have lights at all, let alone lights that would detect an unexpected reflectorized obstacle in the path?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    What does a chicane look like? I would think an organization is asking for legal trouble if it installs some sort of obstacle on the path that could deliberatly cause a less than razor sharp cyclist to get knocked off the bike.

    Lights are good; reflective crap would in all liklihood be just that ; how many student bikes have lights at all, let alone lights that would detect an unexpected reflectorized obstacle in the path?
    We actually get this all the time on trails. The only problem is that when the reflective tape wears off, or god forbid, they don't put any on, those posts blend into the road and are tough to see from a bike. If there is a big sign forbiding cycling on that section of trail, I would suspect that that would cover the legal liability.

    Lighting is an issue, but many times on a campus, the trails are lit anyway for safety reasons (to ward off assaults on the female population).
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  10. #10
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Yup, install chicanes. Just a few concrete cylinders at the ends, offset will make them slow down. As Brian says, paint them a bright color and put reflective tape on them.
    You don't need to be razor sharp, you just need to slow down. Chicanes are frequently used to slow motor traffic in other countries, and sometimes in the US.

  11. #11
    JRA
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    I knew there would be problems when I saw that thing being built. I couldn't imagine what the plan was for keeping bicycles off that bridge. Then I realised that maybe it was designed that way precisely for bicycles. Bad idea - no cookie for whoever designed that. The slope is too steep and it's too long.

    Anything that forces bicyclists to slow down at the bottom of the bridge should solve the problem of them going up the bridge too fast. Unfortunately, a problem of a few cyclists riding down too fast might remain (but maybe not). I doubt that anything put at the top of that bridge is going to make much difference.

    Chicanes at the bottom would work but my idea to stop cyclists riding up too fast is more ambitious - landscaping on the walkway just north of the bridge. I envision rerouting the walk around the landscaping. The purpose would be to make it impossible to ride straight down the walk and straight up the bridge without having to slow almost to a stop.

    The landscaping might be a garden with the walk going around it. In lieu of rebuilding the walkway, big planting pots strategically placed on the walkway might accomplish about the same thing.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
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  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA
    I knew there would be problems when I saw that thing being built. I couldn't imagine what the plan was for keeping bicycles off that bridge. Then I realised that maybe it was designed that way precisely for bicycles. Bad idea - no cookie for whoever designed that. The slope is too steep and it's too long.

    Anything that forces bicyclists to slow down at the bottom of the bridge should solve the problem of them going up the bridge too fast. Unfortunately, a problem of a few cyclists riding down too fast might remain (but maybe not). I doubt that anything put at the top of that bridge is going to make much difference.

    Chicanes at the bottom would work but my idea to stop cyclists riding up too fast is more ambitious - landscaping on the walkway just north of the bridge. I envision rerouting the walk around the landscaping. The purpose would be to make it impossible to ride straight down the walk and straight up the bridge without having to slow almost to a stop.

    The landscaping might be a garden with the walk going around it. In lieu of rebuilding the walkway, big planting pots strategically placed on the walkway might accomplish about the same thing.

    The landscaping idea is quite similar to "traffic calming" used on local roadways... just narrowing and varying the roadway... and in the local case, also adding round-a-bouts. But the basic idea is traffic calming.

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    I agree that typical traffic calming devices work as well on pathways as they do on roads.

    There is a fairly steep timber overpass on a trail here in Toronto that goes over a rail line. Timber "speed bumps" (slightly rounded strips of wood) are placed every five feet or so along the entire structure. I'm not sure if they were intended to slow bicycles but they do.

    Simple and easy.

    Jalopy

  14. #14
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    The landscaping idea is quite similar to "traffic calming" used on local roadways... just narrowing and varying the roadway... and in the local case, also adding round-a-bouts. But the basic idea is traffic calming.
    Yea, what I'm suggesting is traffic calming. The situation seems a perfect application and it would probably be more effective than rules and enforcement. One possible problem: the university may not actually own the walkway so it might be difficult to get major changes accomplished.

    I like the round-about idea - the idea of a pedestrian roundabout sounds funny but it would probably work in this case.

    What we're talking about is probably a walkway. Bicycles may be tolerated (probably are) but I think pedestrian rules apply. So nobody should be riding at bicycle speeds - but the way the walkway goes downhill and straight into that ramp, I can see how a college kid might be tempted.

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    Last edited by JRA; 01-19-06 at 07:50 PM.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  15. #15
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jalopy
    I agree that typical traffic calming devices work as well on pathways as they do on roads.

    There is a fairly steep timber overpass on a trail here in Toronto that goes over a rail line. Timber "speed bumps" (slightly rounded strips of wood) are placed every five feet or so along the entire structure. I'm not sure if they were intended to slow bicycles but they do.

    Simple and easy.

    Jalopy
    I like the idea of speed bumps on the bridge itself. Maybe there's something that could be attached to the surface of the bridge that would create a bumpy ride, slow the bicycles down while at the same time not trip any pedestrians.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  16. #16
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    Deploy a Speed Sniper team at a position overlooking the bridge.
    Anyone who peds over 10mph in that posted section gets cut down by a 7.62mm

  17. #17
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    I was think of something like this, like the round-about mentioned, put plants in the middle with a couple of large rocks or other obstructions to keep riders and pedestrians from cutting across the round-about.


  18. #18
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    I don't see why you should ask cyclists to dismount. Unless you ask car drivers to push their cars in the parking lot because their might be pedestrians in the vicinity (i.e. people who get out of their cars to go to classes). So there are only two options :

    1. It's a decent place for bicyclists, or (which comes to the same), it is necessary for bicyclists to ride there because the alternative is too long, too difficult, too unfriendly, etc.
    Then do as they do in the French Highway Code and limit speed to 5 km/h (3 mph). The French say "Rouler au pas" which is the speed allowed for sidewalk bicyclists and litterally means "cycle at the speed of a pedestrian". Then as long as a cyclists rolls at 3 mi/h, he/she isn't a threat to pedestrians.

    2. There are real alternatives
    Then make it a No Bicycle zone, at least during busy hours.


    I know that posts and chicanes are liked by many bike path "designers", but I think they have no more place on a bike path as they have on a street. As for speed bumps, that might work, but it would be very problematic, maybe even dangerous, for wheelchair users.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  19. #19
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad
    I was think of something like this, like the round-about mentioned, put plants in the middle with a couple of large rocks or other obstructions to keep riders and pedestrians from cutting across the round-about.

    I don't know if that will work with bicycles, but I saw that plan work very effectively addressing speeding automobiles in a development.
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  20. #20
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    First, the designer of the ramp should be castigated at every opportunity for creating a hazard.

    The speed bumps sound like a good idea. They would slow people down without creating hazards that the polls would.

    There is something offensive about "walk-your-bike" signs on MUP's. It kind of eliminates that "multi-" portion of "MUP," doesn't it? Expect the signs to be ignored unless you are willing to write tickets.

    Koffee's right about enforcement. If you are going to enforce rules for cyclists, you should also enforce them for pedestrians. One rule could be that pedestrians must walk single file for that stretch. That would help minimize conflicts.

    As to citations, your town might not have the laws to issue them. In Columbus, I think the MUP's are nearly lawless because traffic rules apply only to roads and paths reselved exclusively for cyclists, of which there are none. The Parks director claims he can issue citations, but he won't say under which code section. He also says no citation has ever been issued.
    Last edited by Daily Commute; 01-20-06 at 04:42 PM.

  21. #21
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    Thanks for the input, guys. I'll turn all this over to our safety officer. As typical with such things, I imagine the design was finalized and put in the contract without any input whatever from anyone involved with safety. (Including the police department!)

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