Road design is far more effective in controlling speeding than signs and radar guns.
All Chokers should be opposed by cyclists
Chokers are OK on low traffic roads but not on major bike routes
I can take or leave Chokers
Any form of traffic calming is good
I like Chokers because the force cyclists to be apart of the traffic flow
Road design is far more effective in controlling speeding than signs and radar guns.
With the exception of speed tables I am generally opposed to traffic calming. The obstacles impact cyclists just as much (and more so w/regard to safety) as other vehicles.
Some examples here:
Traffic Calming Manual: http://www.tempe.gov/tim/Traffic/pdfs/STEPManual.pdf
There is also a tendency here to put the bike lane outside the choker, resulting in a death by right hook lane:
Last edited by noisebeam; 03-02-09 at 11:36 AM.
Al, I've seen similar schemes to the picture you posted here in Northern Cal. A stupid design indeed.
A further problem with all these measures is that no two parts of "town" ever get the same treatment, as the designs are constantly revised. I have never seen one design that I like - as a driver or cyclist.
Some of the most effective traffic calming I have seen are the electronic signs that flash your vehicle speed back to you. There's one on a road just outside Oxford, just as the speed limit changes from 50 to 30 mph. It flashes either "SLOW DOWN" or a smiley face according to your speed.
Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.
I don't understand this idea "traffic calming". Here in Los Angeles the only calming could come from a tranquilizer dart gun, and that only part of the time.
Road design generally RAISES the speed of the road, but seldom lowers it. Most of the streets and roads ARE subject to the survey.
Enforcement lowers it only after a large effort and visible presence and CONTINUING effort and presence.
Next week when the traffic cops are into another neighborhood, the drivers go back to racing like maniacs again.
The idea of traffic calming is to reduce traffic volumes and/or average speed by making a road so miserable to drive on that people would rather take the nearby congested arterial instead of the residential 'short-cut' . Two problems:
One, cyclists are drivers too. The road will be more miserable for them as well, bumps, humps, additional stop signs, constant merging to avoid bulb outs and curb separated bike lanes, features that are hard to see at night even with a good headlight, cobblestones, etc.
Two, drivers (cyclist and motorist) will try to minimize the calming impact of the so called calming measures resulting in even less predictable and less safe driving by all.
Look folks if ya wanna slow people down, obey the speed limits yourself and set an example. In addition, it forces speeders to pile up behind you, and what could be a more wonderful feeling? My suspicion is this is never seriously discussed in these forums because many of you are closet speeders (nasty nasty! ) while you drive, for all ya ballyhoo about it when talking cycling.
Damn i forgot to pick up milk at the corner store (vroom vroom!)
Electric car sales are on fire! :)
I always drive the posted 25mph (or less if required for conditions) on the residential streets. It's not just setting an example, but it makes the short cut less desirable - these short cuts only work if folks can speed - the parallel 45mph posted arterials still move at about 25mph average or better in rush hour, so to beat that one has to speed on the short cut.
Actually I think the short cuts are still slower on average, but people would rather drive at a constant 30mph, roll thru the many 4-way stops instead of the alternate 45-55mph between lights and then waiting more than one light cycle at intersections. Also a narrow road with several turns feels faster at a lower actual speed than a straight wide arterial where one can see the traffic backed up at a light a mile away.
I'm not a closet speeder, I'm open about it. But I don't take shortcuts through neighborhoods at ridiculous speeds and other things that make no sense. That's the purpose of traffic calming. If a municipality is trying to calm arterials, they should try to get the traffic moving. Around here, they seem to try to do traffic calming on the arterials by making you stop at every light. This may reduce the average speed, but it isn't calming. It drives about 5% of the motorists insane. It also drives people into residential neighborhoods, because travel is faster, or at least no slower.
After I saw this, I realized the perfect place for a choker is the end of my street. It's a fairly long dead end street, but very wide. People turn down the street thinking it goes through. When the realize it doesn't go through the blast down to the end of the street, turn around, and blast back out. If there was a choker at the entrance to the street they probably wouldn't turn down it in the first place.
Portland has been building curb extensions on narrow arterials like crazy. They do nothing for cyclists. Here's what they do do:
1. Preserve a parking lane that could otherwise be converted for use by cyclists
2. Unnecessarily force cyclists out into traffic
Curb extensions are basically road hazards for cyclists as far as I am concerned.
...as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following situations
3. If reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards.
4. If the lane in which the person is operating the bicycle is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane. - check, the distance between the curbs is now to narrow to share.
Pedestrian facilities however annoying should not be looked down upon.
I also found the US gove traffic calming page.
I find it interesting to look at the difference in turning radius at intersections between these two designs. For me I think it is positive to decrease the turning radius as in Wheels pic but in Noisebeam's the turning radius looks to me to be increased, not a positive thing in my book not to mention coming off a mini sidepath just before that kind of intersection.
Which has me thinking there is a difference between taking the lane before an intersection (per Wheel's pic and standard VC practice) and taking the lane mid-block (per typical choker application) and then again at the intersection (for VC principles.) The later seems wrong, out of phase and just plain encouraging the wrong stuff in the wrong location.
The only traffic calming devices that are bicycle friendly are traffic circles or closing off streets. Here in Miami, there are several very long two lane roads that run parallel to major arteries that cars were using during rush hour as an alternate to the congested main streets.
The county put traffic circles every few intersections on these roads and now they are barely used by cars, but have become great routes for bicycles. The cars avoid them because the roads are so narrow that it really is difficult getting around the traffic circles and they defeat the car's goal of speeding down the street.
And obviously, closing a street to car traffic is great because you can always get through the barrier on a bicycle.
Chokers are the most dangerous thing I have seen because they encourage cars to make unsafe passes to get in front of bicyclists before they reach the choke point and invariably squeeze the cyclist.
Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace
1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
1988 Ducati 750 F1
there is one road I ride on fairly frequently that has a choker, I mean pedestrian island, for the purposes of allowing pedestrians to cross the street. There is a nice bike path by the road except that you, of course, have to stop at every intersection; this is not the case on the road. Other than the pedestrian island, the road is plenty wide enough for shared traffic.
I was on a ride in New Jersey recently where a very small rural town had put up chokers. I thought it would be effective except that the targets of the chokers can be expected to perform suicidal moves so they could pass cyclists before the choker.
Last edited by unterhausen; 03-04-09 at 07:17 AM.
We should not have to choose between hardscape that benefits pedestrians vs. benefits cyclists, if it doesn't benefit both, it should not be built.
They could paint those curb extensions in instead of pouring them in concrete, if they really wanted to.