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Old 02-01-07, 02:21 PM   #1
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Bike lane to be removed from Highway

Cyclists left out of highway plan
Marcel Honoré
The Desert Sun
January 18, 2007

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"By cutting bike lanes and redesigning Highway 111, Indian Wells could pit the city's interests against cyclists.
Indian Wells City Manager Greg Johnson unveiled a $65 million vision of the city's Highway 111 stretch during a meeting Wednesday at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa.

Most of the feedback came from cyclists, who pleaded the city not remove bike lanes.

"I'm all for beautifying the city," said Gary Lueders, president of the Desert Bicycle Club. "But this is still a state highway and state law says cyclists have a right to ride the road."

Other cyclists said cutting the lanes jeopardizes their safety.

Indian Wells looks to widen Highway 111 from four to six car lanes.

Traffic on the highway has risen 30 percent since 2001, going from nearly 35,000 daily car trips to nearly 45,000 today. Johnson said the city expects more than 60,000 by 2025.

The move has worried some residents who live next to the highway. They fear the expansion will bring noise and traffic closer to their doorsteps, and possibly lower home values. Eight of Indian Wells' home communities border Highway 111.

Johnson said the city's new design would enhance, not hurt, quality of life. He said it would beautify Highway 111 while boosting safety, eliminating more noise, and raising property values.


The project calls for added turn lanes, center medians with palm trees and landscaping, taller sound walls, and better-synchronized traffic lights. Curbs would move on average 7 feet closer to highway-adjacent homes.
But to hit that mark, the five-foot bike lanes have to go. Cyclists would have to share sidewalks with pedestrians, or take their chances along the curb.

The Coachella Valley Association of Governments would cover $28.8 million of the estimated $65 million cost, Johnson said. The city's redevelopment agency would cover $24.3 million, and developers would cover $8.1 million."


The Desert Sun

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As a side note, while the article says that cyclists might end up sharing the sidewalks, Indian Wells has an ordinance against bicycling on the sidewalk. This could affect you if you have any plans to visit the Coachella Valley or ride in the Tour De Palm Springs. Please contact the people below to tell them what you think of removing bikepaths. Here is a picture of the current bikepath.




City of Indian Wells

Coachella Valley Association of Governments
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Old 02-01-07, 02:27 PM   #2
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Well, the genius writer of that article also gives cyclists the option of "taking their chances along the curb." Thanks, buddy! For 3 lanes each way, those traffic numbers don't sound bad at all (even for two lanes). Take the right lane. There's still plenty of road left.
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Old 02-01-07, 02:31 PM   #3
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Other cyclists said cutting the lanes jeopardizes their safety.


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The project calls for added turn lanes, center medians with palm trees and landscaping, taller sound walls, and better-synchronized traffic lights. Curbs would move on average 7 feet closer to highway-adjacent homes.
If curbs are moving 7 feet closer to homes, they're adding 14 feet of pavement. There's also reassigning the existing 8-10 feet of bike lane width to usage by all vehicle drivers (including cyclists). That means the road will now have on average an additional 22-24 of feet of width over what it has now, 11-12 feet more in each direction. Sounds good for cyclists.

Right now there is a bike lane and two vehicular lanes for vehicle drivers to use to pass the cyclists.
In the new plan cyclists will have the slow lane, and vehicle drivers will have two vehicular lanes to use to pass the cyclists.
When cyclists are present, the conditions will be the same as they are today, except cyclists will have cleaner pavement to ride on.
When cyclists are not present, there will be 50% better throughput for vehicular traffic.

I see only an upside, no downside.

Last edited by Helmet Head; 02-01-07 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 02-01-07, 03:10 PM   #4
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An extra full width lane will be nice for all drivers. Maybe advocates could lobby for sharrows in the outside lane or at least some 'non-positioning guidance' Share the Road signs.

Interesting on the traffic volumes. I've posted vids of roads with NOL. The volume on those is 33k daily on one (two lane each way) and 44-48k on the other (three lane each way) - they 'feel' about the same in terms of density.

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Old 02-01-07, 04:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Well, the genius writer of that article also gives cyclists the option of "taking their chances along the curb." Thanks, buddy! For 3 lanes each way, those traffic numbers don't sound bad at all (even for two lanes). Take the right lane. There's still plenty of road left.
Numbers can be misleading. This is a tourist area that is quite seasonal. The road gets a lot less use when it is 120 degrees in the summer. Of course that means it is more corwded at teh time of year that cyclists would like to use it.

If I recall correctly this is a true highway and in many areas there may be no decent alternate routes.
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Old 02-01-07, 04:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Keith99
Numbers can be misleading. This is a tourist area that is quite seasonal. The road gets a lot less use when it is 120 degrees in the summer. Of course that means it is more corwded at teh time of year that cyclists would like to use it.

If I recall correctly this is a true highway and in many areas there may be no decent alternate routes.
Al's advice for some signage or sharrows is reasonable although I'm sure the road would work just fine without any of it. Judging by the picture, you can see a mile down the road so sightlines can't be a concern (unless the pic is misleading). Do you know the speed limit of the road in question?

Remember, removing a bike lane does not ban cyclists from the road.
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Old 02-01-07, 04:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
When cyclists are present, the conditions will be the same as they are today, except cyclists will have cleaner pavement to ride on.
When cyclists are not present, there will be 50% better throughput for vehicular traffic.

I see only an upside, no downside.
You are correct about the greater throughput for automotive traffic. But there is no way this is a positive situation for cyclists. I've ridden it many times. As is, its a beautiful wide bike lane with plenty of room to avoid traffic altogether. And because there is so much blowing sand in the desert in general, the streetsweepers keep it clean already. So you go from a safe situation to one where a cyclist must deal with a large volume of high speed traffic. For half of the time, much of this traffic is winter guests who really don't have a clue where they are going.
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Old 02-01-07, 05:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Artkansas
As is, its a beautiful wide bike lane with plenty of room to avoid traffic altogether.
Avoid traffic altogether? There are no intersections?
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Old 02-01-07, 05:16 PM   #9
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I see tons of intersections.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...31393&t=h&om=1

How do you "avoid traffic altogether" with so many intersections?
Cross traffic at the intersections is where most of the danger is.
Avoiding same direction traffic is easy (they're the ones who need to avoid you).
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Old 02-01-07, 05:26 PM   #10
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In the new configuration they claim there won't be room for bike lanes. That means the outside lane won't be wide enough to subdivide into a traffic lane and a 4' wide bike lane. That's a good thing for cyclists because it means the outside lane is of "substandard" width - not wide enough to be safely shared by a bike and vehicle side-by-side. Since it is "substandard" width, 21202 does not obligate you to ride "as far right as practicable" Think of the entire 12' outside lane as a bike lane. Ride out by the left tire track. You used to have 5'. Now you have 12' (give or take). That's a huge improvement!


Operation on Roadway

21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.


http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21202.htm

Last edited by Helmet Head; 02-01-07 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 02-01-07, 05:26 PM   #11
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How do you "avoid traffic altogether" with so many intersections?
Don't run red lights or stop signs?
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Old 02-01-07, 05:32 PM   #12
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Don't run red lights or stop signs?
I know you're kidding, but seriously, obeying red lights and stop signs is hardly "avoiding traffic."
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Old 02-01-07, 05:42 PM   #13
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I know you're kidding, but seriously, obeying red lights and stop signs is hardly "avoiding traffic."
I think that in context, Artkansas meant that a cyclist didn't need to worry about traffic coming up behind and buzzing, etc...
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Old 02-01-07, 06:00 PM   #14
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I think that in context, Artkansas meant that a cyclist didn't need to worry about traffic coming up behind and buzzing, etc...
Yes, I know. But my point is that traffic coming up from behind should be the least of a cyclist's worries (it's the cross traffic, albeit including traffic from behind that is turning right, that is the main danger).

And the lane width increase from a 5' BL to 12ish' NOL should be great help in reducing close passes.
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Old 02-01-07, 06:13 PM   #15
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From riding in the width of a bike lane to riding in the width of the right motor vehicle lane?

Sounds like a pretty good trade to me. The motorists will have two more lanes to use. That's plenty of room.
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Old 02-01-07, 06:25 PM   #16
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Out of curiousity, I started a poll on this topic.

Which do you prefer: 4 lanes + BLs or 6 lanes?
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Old 02-01-07, 06:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Yes, I know. But my point is that traffic coming up from behind should be the least of a cyclist's worries (it's the cross traffic, albeit including traffic from behind that is turning right, that is the main danger).

And the lane width increase from a 5' BL to 12ish' NOL should be great help in reducing close passes.
It depends on the street and traffic I suppose. I've had a close passes or twenty in 15' WOLs, but never in bike lanes. Granted, I haven't ridden bike lanes as much, but imo, traffic gives way more room to the cyclist in the bike lane than to the cyclist in the shared lane because traffic has to stay out of the bike lane by law. The city may even put in a normal size lane and an emergency lane. Then the cyclist would probably get buzzed more often and the city probably wouldn't keep the area they occupy as clean...
Not that this is what's going to happen, it's just that unless recreational cycling is popular year round, cities don't give a rats ass about cyclists imle.
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Old 02-01-07, 06:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
It depends on the street and traffic I suppose. I've had a close passes or twenty in 15' WOLs, but never in bike lanes. Granted, I haven't ridden bike lanes as much, but imo, traffic gives way more room to the cyclist in the bike lane than to the cyclist in the shared lane because traffic has to stay out of the bike lane by law.
We're probably more likely to not notice close passes when we feel protected by a stripe that they are prohibited from crossing (except for a bunch of exceptions) by law.

When you don't notice something, it's indistinguishable from it never happening to you.

So just because you have the opinion that "traffic gives way more room to the cyclist in the bike lane than to the cyclist in the shared lane", doesn't mean it's true. That impression, by the way, is contrary to what most people report when they make a special effort to pay attention to this. And it's also contrary to what studies show.

What happens with bike lanes is that motorists tend to just stay in the same lateral position they would be in if the cyclist was not there - the motorist is in his lane, the cyclist is in his lane, so the motorist perceives no reason to adjust, even if he is only a foot from the BL stripe, and the cyclist is riding just to the right of it.

What tends to happen in WOLs is that motorist tend to pass cyclists with about the same space that cyclists leave between them and the edge/curb of the road to the right - motorist seem to prefer symmetry. Cyclists that complain about close passes in WOLs are usually (but not always) riding much closer to the curb/edge than are cyclists who report very few if any close passes in WOLs.

But in this case we're talking about a NOL.

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Old 02-01-07, 06:42 PM   #19
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We're probably more likely to not notice close passes when we feel protected by a stripe that they are prohibited from crossing (except for a bunch of exceptions) by law.

When you don't notice something, it's indistinguishable from it never happening to you.
I've never had a car go over the bike lane stripe near me, and since I'm about a foot from it when riding, cars are always a foot away. Otoh, I have car cars pass me with less than a foot of room in WOLs (usually when merging with traffic from a right turn behind me), and definitely in NOLs. Some people will just cut close to cyclists if they can imle. It's not opinion, it's based on having a known buffer. That being said, I usually took more than a few feet in NOLs since the people that buzz me, are going to buzz me regardless of how much room of have on the right, and the people that give me plenty of room will still give me plenty of room. Going back to the hwy 111 project, how is 12' a NOL? Maybe 8-10ft, but iirc 12' is pretty common on highways out here iirc.

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Old 02-01-07, 06:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
I've never had a car go over the bike lane stripe near me, and since I'm about a foot from it when riding, cars are always a foot away. Otoh, I have car cars pass me with less than a foot of room in WOLs. Some people will just cut close to cyclists if they can imle. It's not opinion, it's based on having a known buffer.
When you say "you" are a foot from the stripe, do you mean your left elbow is a foot from the stripe, or your tires are tracking a foot from the stripe?
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Old 02-01-07, 06:53 PM   #21
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The left bar end on my mtb was a foot from the outside of the white stripe when traveling with traffic. Give or take.
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Old 02-01-07, 06:57 PM   #22
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The left bar end on my mtb was a foot from the outside of the white stripe when traveling with traffic. Give or take.
So as long as they are on the other side of the stripe, even right at the stripe, you don't consider that a close pass, even though they are less than a foot from you, especially if you measure from the outside edge of their rightside rearview mirror to your left elbow?

I guarantee you that if they came any where near that close to you in a WOL you would consider it a "close pass". The stripe makes you feel protected. It's a false sense of security, since it's only paint.
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Old 02-01-07, 06:59 PM   #23
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I like having three lanes myself. Less restrictions.
Until the day they allow a choice for me to ride on BL, Traffic lane, Sidewalk or MUP.
I am taking the road back.
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Old 02-01-07, 06:59 PM   #24
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shuttle system!
here in s nj, the planning people have introduced a shuttle service to deflate the overabundance of single passenger/driver cars. new route is free to users.
from the start (last Monday), ridership has increase from 7 (total day one) to today 26 (day 4). the day was not over where I'm getting final #.
the #'s above could represent decrease in drivers, decrease in "lanes" needed. i hope the bus shuttle service will increase (buses and users) here.
has this option been considered where you are?
keep riding, hold your lane!
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Old 02-01-07, 07:00 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
So as long as they are on the other side of the stripe, even right at the stripe, you don't consider that a close pass, even though they are less than a foot from you, especially if you measure from the outside edge of their rightside rearview mirror to your left elbow?

I guarantee you that if they came any where near that close to you in a WOL you would consider it a "close pass". The stripe makes you feel protected. It's a false sense of security, since it's only paint.
If their mirror was over the line, since it's part of the car, they'd be over the line. I consider a mirror less than six inches away a close pass, which has happened several times when sharing the lane. But when in a bike lane, most, if not all cars, not that I can recall explicitly, rode a couple feet from the line. On average I'd guess that the passing distance was the same, but imle on roads w/o bike lanes, there would be greater extremes. Some people would give me 6', and others 6". In the bike lane, everyone gave me at least a foot, usually closer to three, but I wouldn't see anyone swinging out six feet around me, or cutting it close, as in less than a foot.
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