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Old 04-13-09, 05:37 AM   #1
Cully_J
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Metro, suburban, or rural?

I'm astounded after seeing how many cyclists have been hit by automobiles.

After reading some of the posts, it seems that many of you live in cities. Or, at least places with a lot of automobiles.

This brings up the question I ask in my subject line: do you live in a metro, suburban, or rural area?

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Old 04-13-09, 05:43 AM   #2
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I live in a rapidly growing, potentially metro, area (Appleton, WI) where cyclists can be segregated from automobiles by a few local bike paths.
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Old 04-13-09, 06:08 AM   #3
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Suburban, and you should use the sites polling mechanism for this question. This is a perfect question for a poll.
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Old 04-13-09, 06:08 AM   #4
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Live in a small village at the outer edge of the exurbs for a small metro area. I commute to the center of this metro area via a series of interconnected MUP's that basically run door-to-door.

I avoid automobile traffic at all costs, riding an extra ten miles each way just so I can stick to riding nothing but MUP's.
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Old 04-13-09, 06:34 AM   #5
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I'm urban, and I've been hit by a car once (very minor side-swipe, lost my balance a bit, but I didn't go down). Overall though, I don't think it's so bad. I feel like if you can drive a car in traffic, you can ride a bike in traffic. I actually feel more ill at ease on high speed suburban arterials, but it might just be that I'm not used to it.
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Old 04-13-09, 06:39 AM   #6
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Urban. I try to avoid suburban riding like the plague.
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Old 04-13-09, 06:42 AM   #7
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Urban. And I was right-hooked in broad daylight on a 4-lane road (two on either side of a median) that was practically empty at the time. Knocked me over and drove away. I like this city a LOT for cycling, though.
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Old 04-13-09, 07:12 AM   #8
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Suburban.

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Old 04-13-09, 07:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cully_J View Post
I'm astounded after seeing how many cyclists have been hit by automobiles.

After reading some of the posts, it seems that many of you live in cities. Or, at least places with a lot of automobiles.

This brings up the question I ask in my subject line: do you live in a metro, suburban, or rural area?

Cullen
Seems to me there needs to be a 4th category... When I think suburban, I tend to think wide spaced streets with fast arterial roads and lots of dead end cul-d-sacs. When I think metro, I tend to envision where I live... which is not quite suburban, but has lots of high speed corridors, with lots of density and mixed industrial and housing. Where is the "city" category of downtown core like areas, very close neighborhoods, lower speed limits?
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Old 04-13-09, 08:47 AM   #10
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Seems to me there needs to be a 4th category... When I think suburban, I tend to think wide spaced streets with fast arterial roads and lots of dead end cul-d-sacs. When I think metro, I tend to envision where I live... which is not quite suburban, but has lots of high speed corridors, with lots of density and mixed industrial and housing. Where is the "city" category of downtown core like areas, very close neighborhoods, lower speed limits?
I haven't seen wide spaced, fast-moving roads in the burbs for years. These days, the roads there are tight little narrow affairs that are congested with SUV's for at least 9 out of 10 hours per day. These roads are usually only clear after dark...but, that's when the spoiled teenagers come out in their jacked up Acuras and Honda Civics with the noise makers that pass for mufflers.

I wouldn't ride my bike on one of those roads for all the tea in China (To use a tired old cliche).
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Old 04-13-09, 09:07 AM   #11
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The riding environment can be so different between cities but within large metro areas a cyclist can usually find all types of riding conditions.

regardless of how it's classed or where it is,

roads with high annnual daily traffic counts, 35/45 mph + posted speed limits, with many intersections and egresses are stress inducing.

i don't care what type of bicyclist you are or how 'steely headed' you are - cycling in the midst of high volumes of faster traffic is a tedious venture. A bicyclist can schlepp along, attempting a blase obliviousness to the traffic swarming around them but its a drag on the senses regardless.

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Old 04-13-09, 10:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cully_J View Post
I'm astounded after seeing how many cyclists have been hit by automobiles.

After reading some of the posts, it seems that many of you live in cities. Or, at least places with a lot of automobiles.

This brings up the question I ask in my subject line: do you live in a metro, suburban, or rural area?

Cullen
I live in Kenmore Square in downtown Boston and commute 14 miles outbound early in the AM to suburban Norwood (a reverse commute), then I take a Commuter Rail home with my bike; it's a nearly perfect situation with pretty light traffic exposure depending on departure time. I have four major routes I describe as gritty urban, pleasant urban, pleasant suburban and ritzy suburban.
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Old 04-13-09, 10:13 AM   #13
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I haven't seen wide spaced, fast-moving roads in the burbs for years. These days, the roads there are tight little narrow affairs that are congested with SUV's for at least 9 out of 10 hours per day. These roads are usually only clear after dark...but, that's when the spoiled teenagers come out in their jacked up Acuras and Honda Civics with the noise makers that pass for mufflers.

I wouldn't ride my bike on one of those roads for all the tea in China (To use a tired old cliche).
Out in the west, such as California and Arizona, new development continues to make these "suburban island" designs that dominate our landscape. I can't leave my home and go north without getting on such a road, and my current work area is surrounded by these "suburban" freeways... woe be it the cyclist that tries to make a left hand turn on these "virtual freeways..." across 6-8 lanes of 60MPH "city" SUV traffic. You take a lane at your peril when drivers are busy sucking down Starbucks, and chatting on the cell phone, never mind the actual act of piloting a moving vehicle.

I really see 4 classes of area:

a) inner city... or "city," often well defined grids, heavy traffic, slower streets due to speed limits and density, short distances, generally speaking;
b) "suburban," with all the little cul-d-sacs and near freeway interconnecting arterial roads, typical of new development areas, few local stores and businesses... long stretches of arterial roads with few intersections or driveways. Shopping is done at the local mall in big box stores and specialty stores;
c) "metro" which is a combination of city and suburban, but more crowded and overdeveloped, with lots of strip malls, (means lots of driveways) and tight housing, but higher speeds than "city;" (areas like this tend to use "metroplex" in radio traffic reports.)
d) "rural," which tends to have narrow two lane roads (either winding or long lonely straight roads) with high speeds, but not much traffic, sometimes with road shoulders, sometimes not, farm highways tend to dominate this latter environment.
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Old 04-13-09, 10:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
The riding environment can be so different between cities but within large metro areas a cyclist can usually find all types of riding conditions.

regardless of how it's classed or where it is,

roads with high annnual daily traffic counts, 35/45 mph + posted speed limits, with many intersections and egresses are stress inducing.

i don't care what type of bicyclist you are or how 'steely headed' you are - cycling in the midst of high volumes of faster traffic is a tedious venture. A bicyclist can schlepp along, attempting a blase obliviousness to the traffic swarming around them but its a drag on the senses regardless.
I really tend to agree with this... and the speeds I see are much higher... posted at 55 and 65MPH, and who knows what the actual speeds are.

It is not conducive to "just jumping on a bike."

I'll take a 35MPH road any day.
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Old 04-13-09, 11:34 AM   #15
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Around here, between subdivisions or between towns, we mostly have overused 2 lane roads. Roads where stop signs are backed up about 10 to 15 deep. These roads typically have no shoulder. Biking on them is insane at best.

We also have a few wider roads with bike lanes and/or 4 lanes. Those are either shopping zones or high-speed roads that are posted 55 mph. Some people pedal on these rodas, but they are much more adventurous than I.

The best bet for cycling safely around here is to ride on the MUP's. However, where I live, the country roads can be fun too. They are great as long as you stay away from the metro area and can deal with a few loose dogs, but I can't get to work by taking those roads.
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Old 04-13-09, 12:09 PM   #16
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Just a nitpick -- suburbs and cities would all fall under "metro", as a metropolitan area covers both.

I live in Portland, most of which was developed as a "streetcar suburb". Most streetcar suburbs today are now considered urban, possibly due to their central location and their gridded street networks. I commute almost entirely upon city streets, mainly neighborhood streets and moderate traffic 2-3 lane thoroughfares. There are many possible routes available for cyclists of all skill levels.

The "real suburbs" (i.e., post-war autocentric suburbs) of Portland are not so easily bikeable, as many of their low traffic streets terminate at the edge of or within the subdivisions that they run through, forcing cyclists to use 4-6 lane expressways. There are some three lane streets that aren't so bad. However, there was no way to get from my old apartment in Beaverton to downtown Portland without using busy arterial streets for at least some of the time. I think the suburbs can improve if they connected up more of the neighborhood streets, which would probably require the city to buy up a few houses or side yards for either new sections of road or bike/ped cut-through paths. They should also create more overpasses and underpasses across the highways -- they can be a bit impassable, requiring massive detours.. Converting four lane roads to three lane roads with center turn lanes and wide outside lanes (or bike lanes) would help too.
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Old 04-13-09, 12:21 PM   #17
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I'm sure everyone has this issue, but around here the developers built up the joint long before the roads were ready to handle the traffic. The engineers now try to play catch-up.

This crazy development scheme stretches from my job to within 5 or 6 miles of our village. Driving on these roads is the most unpleasant thing known to man (next to maybe a fingernail extraction), cycling on them is life threatening (no exaggeration).
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Old 04-13-09, 01:02 PM   #18
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I live in Pittsburgh, a city with a population of 310,000. Dispite the growing number of cyclists there really arent that many cylcist fatalities. One reason might be that in the city the speed limit is mostly 25, some 35 and nothing over 35 mph, except for the parkway. Another reason might be that our urban streets where built to handle about as many cars as there are now in the city. Unlike many cities that where designed for the number of cars that where driving, 40 years ago. The collapse of the steel industry caused a 30 year population decline so that we are now at about 1/2 the population of 1957. At least we are no longer dependant on the steel industry.

The city is developing bike lanes on streets that meet certain width requirements and is getting more responsive to bike infrastructure when undertaking new road and bridge projects.

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Old 04-13-09, 01:32 PM   #19
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I live in Pittsburgh, a city with a population of 310,000. Dispite the growing number of cyclists there really arent that many cylcist fatalities. One reason might be that in the city the speed limit is mostly 25, some 35 and nothing over 35 mph, except for the parkway. Another reason might be that our urban streets where built to handle about as many cars as there are now in the city.
That's brilliant -- Pittsburgh looks like a really fun town to bike in. It is my view that the easiest and cheapest way to make a town bike friendly is to have a citywide speed limit of 30-35 mph (25 mph in residential areas) and to reduce the width of all main roads. A number of cities have converted four lane streets into three lane streets with center turn lanes and wide outside lanes (sometimes with bike lanes) without sacrificing capacity. I guess the center turn lanes are helpful because those waiting to turn are no longer holding up cars that are going straight.

I'm not a huge fan of most bike specific infrastructure, but I'm a big fan of de-highway-ifying the streets so that cyclists can comfortably use them.
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Old 04-13-09, 06:56 PM   #20
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I'm sure everyone has this issue, but around here the developers built up the joint long before the roads were ready to handle the traffic. The engineers now try to play catch-up.

This crazy development scheme stretches from my job to within 5 or 6 miles of our village. Driving on these roads is the most unpleasant thing known to man (next to maybe a fingernail extraction), cycling on them is life threatening (no exaggeration).
I think that stems from the "deals" that towns make with developers in an effort to get tax revenue. Dancing with the devil so to speak.
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Old 04-13-09, 10:02 PM   #21
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Just a nitpick -- suburbs and cities would all fall under "metro", as a metropolitan area covers both.

I live in Portland, most of which was developed as a "streetcar suburb". Most streetcar suburbs today are now considered urban, possibly due to their central location and their gridded street networks. I commute almost entirely upon city streets, mainly neighborhood streets and moderate traffic 2-3 lane thoroughfares. There are many possible routes available for cyclists of all skill levels.

The "real suburbs" (i.e., post-war autocentric suburbs) of Portland are not so easily bikeable, as many of their low traffic streets terminate at the edge of or within the subdivisions that they run through, forcing cyclists to use 4-6 lane expressways. There are some three lane streets that aren't so bad. However, there was no way to get from my old apartment in Beaverton to downtown Portland without using busy arterial streets for at least some of the time. I think the suburbs can improve if they connected up more of the neighborhood streets, which would probably require the city to buy up a few houses or side yards for either new sections of road or bike/ped cut-through paths. They should also create more overpasses and underpasses across the highways -- they can be a bit impassable, requiring massive detours.. Converting four lane roads to three lane roads with center turn lanes and wide outside lanes (or bike lanes) would help too.
I would say the last part is an absolute requirement. Crossing a 4-6 lane road without the aid of a traffic light is a nightmare. Crossing an equally busy 3 lane is no sweat.

I think the only way to fix cul-de-sac suburbs with 1 mile spacing between 4 lane arterials is to bulldoze the whole thing and start over. That's not going to happen until people decide they hate suburban life and move out en masse.

The old suburbs (from the 60's) really aren't so bad to get around in (at least not here). But there's a line in our city where it goes from half cul-de-sacs to all cul-de-sacs. Where it goes from half mile spaced 3 lane roads and 1 mile spaced 95 lane roads (okay, 5 lane). A quick check of the map tells you how to cross the old 'burbs. A quick check of the map convinces you it's impossible to cross the new 'burbs.
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Old 04-14-09, 01:19 PM   #22
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I live in metro Los Angeles, the land of the car. I was almost right hooked by a Hummer Limo yesterday, that would've been the ultimate right hook. Luckily the guy heard me when I yelled at him, even though he somehow didn't see me with my bright yellow shirt and two rear lights.. go figure..
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