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  1. #1
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Article: West Palm Beach Post

    Jupiter official questions need for more bike lanes

    By ANA X. CERON
    Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

    Monday, August 06, 2007

    JUPITER — Councilman Jim Kuretski says he's never seen a sidewalk suffer from a traffic jam.

    Which is why he doesn't understand how the town of Jupiter is willing to spend millions of dollars to build bicycle paths.

    Jupiter is big on bikes. In 2000, it adopted its Bicycle Transportation Plan, which blazes all sorts of bike trails for the future, including on-street bike lanes along Maplewood Drive and "multiuse" sidewalks along Loxahatchee Drive.

    It may sound quaint, but with about a dozen bike path projects filling the town's proposed five-year capital improvement budget plan - at a cost to the town of about $4.5 million, according to Kuretski's estimates - it adds up.

    That's 4.5 percent of the town's tax rate, the councilman says. Or $130 for every resident, if you include $2 million in grant money.

    So while other government officials stress the sacrifices they've had to make under the new state property tax restrictions, Kuretski is desperately trying to shine a spotlight on the projects he says are wasting taxpayers' money.

    Part of the problem, he thinks, is that Jupiter's bike paths are not properly planned. No priorities are set on which lanes are needed the most or which should be put off for last.

    If this is the way government handles something as simple as bike lanes, what does that mean for the much bigger complicated projects?

    "Same thing applies to a whole lot of other stuff," Kuretski says. "We need to change the way government thinks and behaves."

    It's a recent Monday afternoon, and the digital clock on Kuretski's 1997 Oldsmobile reads 4:55.

    The car is stopped on South Pennock Lane, where the town has plans to add another bike path link. While the rest of the council has agreed to go ahead with the $1 million project, which also adds a right-turn lane at Indiantown Road, Kuretski disapproves.

    Now the councilman sits in his car, facing an empty street.

    "This is rush-hour traffic," he says, exasperated.

    He points out the frontage road running parallel to the two-lane road, then the sidewalk. Seems like enough room for bikes to him.

    It's not that Kuretski is the bike lane Grinch. He enjoys taking leisurely rides around town, and with three daughters, he can appreciate that kids need a safe route to get to school.

    He's also an engineer, a guy who, as a project manager at Florida Power & Light Co., likes to concentrate on the numbers. As a six-year councilman, he worries that Jupiter is wasting money.

    The town's master plan calls for on-street bike paths in places where people may feel more comfortable sticking to sidewalks, like along Frederick Small Road east of Alternate A1A. It also calls for bike lanes in quiet residential roads that may not have the traffic to warrant them, such as Pennock, he says.

    About a year ago, town staff members scheduled projects according to grant deadlines, available funding and roads in need of resurfacing, says Thomas Driscoll, the town's engineering and public works director.

    Now staffers look at ways to analyze bike projects based on costs and benefits, something that Kuretski has long advocated.

    Staff will try out the analysis Tuesday, when the council will be presented with a $623,000 proposal to make way for those who pedal on extended road shoulders. If officials like the process, it could become standard, Driscoll says.

    Still, it's likely that the town will see fewer bike projects because there will be less money in its coffers. Property tax revenue will decrease because of state limits, and sales tax money also is expected to fall.

    "I don't see us spending $4.5 million on bike lanes over the next five years," Mayor Karen Golonka says.

  2. #2
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Why don't they spend that money on more traffic law enforement officers and give those officers a percentage of each traffic law violation fine? Wouldn't more people be caught breaking the law? Wouldn't people start to obey the law more often if they're more likely to get caught? Wouldn't the streets get safer if people just started to yeild right of way, slow down, obey signs and signals, drive with due care and attention and pass with sufficient clearance, than just putting in bike lanes?

  3. #3
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Enforce the law? That doesn't make sense.

    Of course that would work, make the existing bike lanes (road, and streets) safer for bikes and you don't need to waste money on purpose built bike lanes.
    Not too much to say here

  4. #4
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Clearly he is off base on his sidewalk views but I would agree if the road has no traffic then the bikes should be able to easily share the road with the limited traffic. It seems to me that bike lanes are really about making sure that both bikes and cars can travel safely without impeding each other. If it is safe and there is no impediment then why add a bike lane. I am all for using tax payer $ wisely.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  5. #5
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    I just pounded my widdle balled up fisties all over the keyboard
    and sent a letter to the Editor about this.
    I travel this area daily. In fairness, he is correct about the need to
    prioritize them, But yes.....with the new 3foot clearance rule and doing
    something about the crazy whack driving one might see here this should
    be a non-issue. The problem is the reality of this area.......there are places
    that are clearly unsafe to 'take a lane' etc....just not worth it. I have ridden
    the "multi-use, sidewalks" on occasion, for a block at the most, out of necessity,
    but its ludicris to think someone can/should do a whole commute on a sidewalk.
    His 'tax' comments too, are very wrong...but thats not for this thread

  6. #6
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    If you live there, Łem, your perspective is necessary here. Can I ask what you feel makes it unsafe to take the lane? Are the motorists too impatient? Are you talking about taking the lane at intersections, or are the straightaways so narrow that you need to take it there too? If the roadways are narrow, are the intersections few enough that a bike lane or shoulder would be worth doing, or would a wide outside lane, perhaps with sharrows, be more appropriate?

    The article gives the impression that it's a choice between only two options, bike lanes or sidewalks/paths. Neither avoid the need to handle intersections, where most accidents occur. Maybe more informed and creative thinking is called for. Maybe you can help provide it to them. Is there a local bike advocacy group that could get involved? Who was involved in coming up with the original plan that the Councilor is questioning?

    And most importantly, how does one pronounce your username?! (And why "in Pa", if you live near Palm Beach, presumably not in the state of Pennsylvania?)
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  7. #7
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrooking View Post
    If you live there, Łem, your perspective is necessary here. Can I ask what you feel makes it unsafe to take the lane? Are the motorists too impatient? Are you talking about taking the lane at intersections, or are the straightaways so narrow that you need to take it there too? If the roadways are narrow, are the intersections few enough that a bike lane or shoulder would be worth doing, or would a wide outside lane, perhaps with sharrows, be more appropriate?

    The article gives the impression that it's a choice between only two options, bike lanes or sidewalks/paths. Neither avoid the need to handle intersections, where most accidents occur. Maybe more informed and creative thinking is called for. Maybe you can help provide it to them. Is there a local bike advocacy group that could get involved? Who was involved in coming up with the original plan that the Councilor is questioning?

    And most importantly, how does one pronounce your username?! (And why "in Pa", if you live near Palm Beach, presumably not in the state of Pennsylvania?)

    John, ....it is pronounced 'Lem'
    And, in the past 4 years I have been Lem of Pa, of Vt and now FLA !!
    That 'Dog, Bounty Hunter' guy might come after me if he reads this
    But to answer your thoughtful post...I am going to email the Councilman
    mentioned with some of my insights. There are very nice lanes here...as
    are the sidewalks that NOBODY even walks on....Really, Im beginning to think
    maybe its against the law ! But, to expect people to ride on them exclusivley
    is insanity !! I find If I ride vehicularly at intersections I have
    less trouble and motorists are appreciative that I sit there and suffer with them.
    So, they are not the issue with me, here....wht is the issue is that on Rt.1 for
    instance, there isnt even a shoulder. Not even 10" of gutter. Cars routinely
    do 60 even thought the speed limit is 45. Blackmarks on the curbsides show
    that cars hit these curbs, regularly. Another issue Ive never encountered
    anywhere else is 'Boat sway'(??) . There are Marinas everywhere. Boats on
    trailers clog the roads. The trailers go into this weird, swaying, back & forth
    motion as some of them go down the road. Even if there is room, you risk
    getting nipped by a swaying trailer. Really bad when they are rounding a corner.
    I have lots of miles commuting and am not scared to mix it up with traffic,
    but the highspeed stuff here would just be stretching the limits of commonsense
    and insurance coverage. I believe these are the areas the lanes are needed.
    My beliefs on this matter say it is unreasonble, knowing the conditions, to
    take a whole lane in 60mph traffic. Some will obviously disagree.
    Sort of like the Autobahn...it is a very orderly entity due to all vehicles having
    a place that is best for them.
    My issue here is that, 'Yes', there is plenty of money to provide for them,
    and...they do need some input into them because they are focusing on
    the wrong areas of this 'problem' and large percentage of the solution is not
    costly at all.

  8. #8
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    Enforce the law? That doesn't make sense.

    Of course that would work...
    It always blows me away that people think it is things that make people safe and not proper behavior that makes people safe.

    No one wants to take responsibility for the things they do. If they did, people would be safer.

  9. #9
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarifications, Lem. I still think it would be useful to find out what input from the cycling community, if any, was used in putting together the current plan. Part of the problem I perceive in cycling advocacy is that it can be hard, nay, often impossible, for all the advocates to agree on the solutions and present a united front to those they seek to influence. (Look no further than this forum!) So if there are some other cycling advocates behind these plans, it would be helpful for you to know about that in your conversations with the Councilor.

    If you are right that the city could address more of the problem with less costly solutions, obviously better that they know that before they spend all that time and money addressing the wrong problems. Could even turn into a win-win situation for both cyclists and taxpayers. Good luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  10. #10
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    BTW, John, I spent a small amount of time in Maine and believe they have the best
    public advocay programs and individuals I have ever seen. Maybe Im wrong, but
    it looks like you guys have it down !!
    I havent been to Portland yet ,though

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    issue Ive never encountered
    anywhere else is 'Boat sway'(??) . There are Marinas everywhere. Boats on
    trailers clog the roads. The trailers go into this weird, swaying, back & forth
    motion as some of them go down the road. Even if there is room, you risk
    getting nipped by a swaying trailer. Really bad when they are rounding a corner.
    I have lots of miles commuting and am not scared to mix it up with traffic,
    but the highspeed stuff here would just be stretching the limits of commonsense
    and insurance coverage. I believe these are the areas the lanes are needed.
    My beliefs on this matter say it is unreasonble, knowing the conditions, to
    take a whole lane in 60mph traffic. Some will obviously disagree.
    Sort of like the Autobahn...it is a very orderly entity due to all vehicles having
    a place that is best for them.
    Here's the question: would you rather be on the road in a full width traffic lane where motorists are required to change lanes to pass you or would you rather be riding in a bike lane that's half the width where motorists will generally ignore your presence and pass at full speed? Unless they plan on giving a full travel lane width bike lane (unlikely), it doesn't seem like the roads will be getting any more pleasant to cycle on. Now, if you just wanted extra width to be able to slide over a bit when a wider load is passing you, I could understand that.

  12. #12
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    A dedicated lane, definately.
    It is beyond the realm of any believability to think all
    motorists are going to slide over and give you room, here.
    Great concept, should be that way...Will NEVER happen.
    Lots of them will, lots of them wont.
    So... it becomes, do you want to put yourself in mortal danger
    everytime you ride and make making a statement the focal
    point of your ride, or do you just want to get from point
    "A" to point "B" in an efficient and non-problematic manner.
    You have to pick your battles in any life related issue. 60mph
    traffic with nowhere to go is not where Im going to make mine.

  13. #13
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Lem,

    Always nice to hear someone else's point of view, especially when it's positive! Probably you are referring to our state Bicycle Coalition, which I agree is a great and energetic group of people who pretty much "get it". We also have a Bike/Ped Advisory Committee in Portland, among other towns. I don't know if we have much sway, although we do have a pretty good dialogue with the Public Works department. And, one of the things I like about Maine is I think we've got a more laid-back way of life in general, one of reasons that my wife and I loved it enough to relocate here from Cleveland Ohio. I know from personal experience compared to what I read here that we don't have the levels of traffic volume and road rage that is common in many other places, for which I am very thankful. So in many ways, we probably do have it easy here.

    From the infrastructure perspective, however, we are certainly not on the forefront, at least not here in Portland. Most noticeably maybe is that we do lack the pervasive bike path and lane infrastructure of certain other places, such as that other Portland (). To some of us vehicularists, that doesn't matter so much, but others who are more into the bike lane concept would probably call us inadequate, as does much of the general public that is intimated by the idea of cycling in traffic. Beyond that, however, even some of our non-bike specific infrastructure is pretty bad. For example, to get from downtown to the mall area in South Portland, the only direct way is a 4-lane arterial lacking even a wide outside lane with hills and bad pavement which crosses a bridge, limiting what can be done to make it friendlier without spending lots of money. In another case, getting off the pennisula North to Falmouth involves either an illegal short jaunt on an Interstate shoulder, or using a MUP which channels both directions of MUP traffic into a single path on the side of the Interstate bridge (separated by a concrete barrier), then lets you off on the other side on the sidewalk going against traffic.

    In short, there are good things and bad things, like any other place.
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  14. #14
    lofi lowlife BikeNinjagirl's Avatar
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    Uhhhhh.....I'm with Lem 100% I live in West Palm Beach and the things he speaks of are true and correct.
    Look, over there, a Badger. Surely he will kill us all.

  15. #15
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    The engineer seems to be confused between bike lanes and bike paths. Does he know what he's talking about? His reference to using the sidewalks is just plain stupid. Setting aside safety issues, my guess is that local peds would not want the city to turn their sidewalks into sidepaths.

    As to "Łem in PA," I always read it as "Poundin' 'em in PA." Oh well.
    Last edited by Daily Commute; 08-07-07 at 04:56 AM.

  16. #16
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    WPB traffic is most likely just as bad as it is in all of South Florida including Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.

    Talk about insane drivers ... the stuff I see on a daily basis is unreal.

    Bicycle infrastructure here is likely less than .001% of roads... but I have seen a few places where traffic gets tight and the bike lane helps me to get by a little easier ... Considering that bike lanes are so few and far between, it dosen't make much of a difference anyway.
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