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  1. #1
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    cycletrack/buffered lane bicycling facilities report from Portland State U.

    A recently released report from Portland State University on their new buffered bikelanes and cycle track there, mostly positive and with some recommendations to improve these new types of facilities.

    Link from the Transportation Research Board to the report

    Evaluation of innovative bicycle facilities, Portland State University, Jan 2011

    some tidbits

    Quote Originally Posted by PSU report
    More cyclists are choosing to ride on SW Oak and SW Stark. According to the survey data, the number of cyclists choosing to ride on these streets is significantly higher than before the buffered bike lanes were installed. Nearly 65% of the respondents indicated they choose to ride on the buffered bike lanes more often. Observation of the video counts found that the counts increased 77% on SW Stark and 271% on SW Oak. Because the locations of the before-and-after counts were not the same, the 77% increase is most likely understated.


    Cyclists expressed support for the buffered bike lanes. Cyclists indicated that they are choosing to ride on SW Oak and SW Stark more often than before the buffered bike lanes were installed. They overwhelmingly agree that the streets are safer, easier and contribute to a better cycling environment in Portland. Cyclists indicated they feel lower risk of being “doored” in the buffered bike lanes, and nearly nine in 10 cyclists preferred a buffered bike lane to a standard lane. Seven in 10 cyclists indicated they would go out of their way to ride on a buffered bike lane over a standard bike lane, while nearly eight in 10 cyclists felt that the City of Portland should install buffered bike lanes in other places.
    Quote Originally Posted by PSU report
    Cyclists generally expressed positive sentiments about the experience of riding a bicycle on the cycle track; 71% of respondents agreed with the statement that, “The cycle track has made this section of SW Broadway SAFER for me as a cyclist.” An equal percentage of respondents agreed with the statement that, “The cycle track has made this section of SW Broadway EASIER for me as a cyclist.” More than three-quarters of respondents (78%) agreed that, “The cycle track makes for a better cycling environment in Portland.”

    Further, responses on several questions indicate that the cyclists prefer the cycle track over standard bike lanes and are willing to go out of their way to use the facility. To the statement, “Since the SW Broadway cycle track was installed, I choose to cycle on SW Broadway more often,” 45% expressed agreement and 19% expressed disagreement; the remainder chose neither agree nor disagree. The survey asked respondents to choose between two hypothetical routes: (1) 4.5 miles, two of which are on a cycle track; and (2) 4 miles, including two miles on a busy street with a bike lane. A majority (59%) of respondents stated they would choose the longer route with the cycle track. Finally, 65% of respondents stated that they think the City of Portland should install cycle tracks at other locations.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Since the main objection to cycletracks is that they will likely increase the probability of right- and left-hooks, (particularly for the fittest of cyclists) the location of this cycletrack is interesting. From the report:
    SW Broadway was a unique test case since it is a one-way street; with the exception of SW Jackson and the entrance to the PSU parking lot at SW College, right turns from SW Broadway are not allowed.
    Few of the opponents of cycletracks object to them when there are no or extremely few intersections because the place they increase our danger is at those intersections by placing us out of sight. By using such a unique location, PBOT really cannot extrapolate whatever data is garnered from this cycletrack to other, more general, locations. It is analogous to saying my anti-polar bear charm has clearly been effective since I haven't been attacked by a polar bear even though I have never been within 500 miles of one. I am intrigued by the fact that in spite of this cherry-picked location they still only got about 70% support of users. Maybe the others got right-hooked at one of the two conflict zones.

    They also appear to be comparing the buffered bike lanes and cycletracks to door-zone bike lanes. It is quite a sad commentary on our society that we value the storage of private property on the public right-of-way more than we value the safety of cyclists on that right-of-way.

  3. #3
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    Given a driveway-free and intersection-free quarter-mile or longer stretch of high speed road, such as a prime arterial, I could support a cycletrack which began at an intersection but which reverted to a Class II and then to a dashed lines well before the next intersection. However, I would strongly oppose such a facility on a 25 or 30mph road. Issues such as pedestrians and debris buildup still remain.

    For me, it is always about speed. The faster the motor vehicle traffic, the more I can sympathize with the separatists, but the slower the traffic, the more I want to be vehicular and fully integrated w/ the flow, w/o barriers.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Question, has anyone done a study to determine the safety and usability a two-way separated bike lane along a one-way road?

    We have one of those here in downtown St. Pete. It runs along 1st Ave. S. which is a one way street going east. A block to the north is Central Ave. a two-way road, and yet another block north is 1st Ave. N. going I believe west.

    Instead of installing a two-way bike lane along a one-way road it would have made more sense (to me) to install a regular bike lane on both 1st Ave. N. and S.

    This two-way bike lane is separated by a median like divider as well as having an interesting feature at the intersections. Instead of going straight through the intersections there is a "jag" to force cyclists to slow down at the intersections. Presumably to protect the "wrong-way" riding cyclists from cross traffic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    Given a driveway-free and intersection-free quarter-mile or longer stretch of high speed road, such as a prime arterial, I could support a cycletrack which began at an intersection but which reverted to a Class II and then to a dashed lines well before the next intersection. However, I would strongly oppose such a facility on a 25 or 30mph road. Issues such as pedestrians and debris buildup still remain.

    For me, it is always about speed. The faster the motor vehicle traffic, the more I can sympathize with the separatists, but the slower the traffic, the more I want to be vehicular and fully integrated w/ the flow, w/o barriers.
    100% agreed with this: I think one of the big things that would help with cycling comfort and safety, pedestrian comfort and safety, and so on would be for governments to make a clear distinction between "slow zones" (centered around human scales) and high-speed roads (centered around cars). Anywhere that isn't an arterial should be a slow zone, and speed limits should be relentlessly enforced there. The high speed roads can and probably should have separated facilities, because it makes sense there. The slow zones should not, because they are unnecessary on low speed roads and because they encourage drivers to speed through "their" lanes by transferring responsibility to the paint.

    What I don't understand is why so many U.S. traffic planners DON'T seem to follow this kind of philosophy. Instead, they put bike lanes and other bike improvements on 25 mph roads, while doing nothing for the major 45 mph roads that people drive 65 on. The high speed roads are where the bike lanes or paths are needed, not the 25 zones. When I've questioned these decisions, I get the answer "well no one would want to bicycle there", or "we don't want people to bicycle there". Yet often these roads are the only connecting route to get from place to place even semi-efficiently. So we get bike lanes where they're unneeded, wasting money and creating needless risks, and we don't get them where they actually ARE needed to create connecting transportation routes. The only explanation I can give for this kind of thing is just a complete bias towards seeing bicycles as recreational toys rather than transportation.

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    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    There are no right turns across the PSU cycle track, and it is filled with both debris and pedestrians. I hardly ever see any cyclists in it, the best bike route to PSU is two blocks west on Park.

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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    There are no right turns across the PSU cycle track, and it is filled with both debris and pedestrians. I hardly ever see any cyclists in it, the best bike route to PSU is two blocks west on Park.
    +1
    Do we really need more debris filled roadside MUPs, especially when they try and claim the other roadside MUPs with turning conflicts are just as safe as the ones selected for biased studies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    There are no right turns across the PSU cycle track, and it is filled with both debris and pedestrians. I hardly ever see any cyclists in it, the best bike route to PSU is two blocks west on Park.
    Oh what do you know about it, you just live and ride there.

  9. #9
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    at the entrance to this facility there is a suicide bike lane to the right of a RTOL, and it doesn't get much better from there, there are also dooring hazards the whole way from parked cars to your left.

    The author of this 'study' is also well known as a facilities advocate

  10. #10
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Oh what do you know about it, you just live and ride there.


    So do the respondents to the surveys, who OVERWHELMINGLY favor the new buffered bikelanes and cycle track, and want more across Portland.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  11. #11
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post


    So do the respondents to the surveys, who OVERWHELMINGLY favor the new buffered bikelanes and cycle track, and want more across Portland.
    self-selecting respondents using the facility do not represent anywhere near a majority of PDX cyclists

  12. #12
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    "the four types of cyclist" in portland are not represented by you and your derision for innovative road treatments new to portland, ubiquitous in the true cycling capitals of the world.

    Randya's constituency represented below:

    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    When a cherry-picked third of a mile of cycle-track with no real opportunities for left- and right-hooks only garners 71% support from those who choose to use it, I'd say it has failed.

    The real cycling "infrastructure" improvements we need are removal of the doors from door-zone bike lanes, strict liability, real license requirements and traffic law enforcement. The rest is largely trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear. Or, to mix my metaphors, putting lipstick on the pig of the American cycling experience by throwing a bit of concrete down to create some zones of segregation still leaves us with the pig.

    A tripling of gasoline costs since the selection of G.W.B. for the oval office as well as the efforts of a certain former V.P. to educate Americans have certainly contributed to a rise in cycling on this continent. It is just pitiful that planners and their sycophants are trying to take credit for the efforts of thousands to do the right thing.

  14. #14
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    71 percent is a majority of support for that cycletrack;

    the study also surveyed buffered bikelane treatments in two other locations.

    positive results there, more overwhelmingly popular support, and massive uptick in ridership along the buffered bikelanes.

    your interest in removing the door zone hazard implies you support buffered bikelanes.

    may there be more coming to Oregon for you soon, B. carfree.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  15. #15
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnemia View Post
    100% agreed with this: I think one of the big things that would help with cycling comfort and safety, pedestrian comfort and safety, and so on would be for governments to make a clear distinction between "slow zones" (centered around human scales) and high-speed roads (centered around cars). Anywhere that isn't an arterial should be a slow zone, and speed limits should be relentlessly enforced there. The high speed roads can and probably should have separated facilities, because it makes sense there. The slow zones should not, because they are unnecessary on low speed roads and because they encourage drivers to speed through "their" lanes by transferring responsibility to the paint.

    What I don't understand is why so many U.S. traffic planners DON'T seem to follow this kind of philosophy. Instead, they put bike lanes and other bike improvements on 25 mph roads, while doing nothing for the major 45 mph roads that people drive 65 on. The high speed roads are where the bike lanes or paths are needed, not the 25 zones. When I've questioned these decisions, I get the answer "well no one would want to bicycle there", or "we don't want people to bicycle there". Yet often these roads are the only connecting route to get from place to place even semi-efficiently. So we get bike lanes where they're unneeded, wasting money and creating needless risks, and we don't get them where they actually ARE needed to create connecting transportation routes. The only explanation I can give for this kind of thing is just a complete bias towards seeing bicycles as recreational toys rather than transportation.
    +100 Spoken like a true cyclist... and not a road planner. Perhaps that is the difference... as a cyclist you see the advantages and disadvantages of certain facilities and road designs... where as road planners tend to plan for motorists.

  16. #16
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    planning for everyday transportation by bike across communities is NOT a bias towards seeing bicycles as recreation.

    There is disconnect in mneia's analysis of innovative facilities being implemented here. His comments sound very in tune with European traffic planning, of Homezones, TEMPO30 zones, separated facilities for the rest of the roads, and significant amounts of separation of bicycle traffic from motor vehicle traffic moving at a significant speed differential.

    Quote Originally Posted by mnemia
    I think one of the big things that would help with cycling comfort and safety, pedestrian comfort and safety, and so on would be for governments to make a clear distinction between "slow zones" (centered around human scales) and high-speed roads (centered around cars). Anywhere that isn't an arterial should be a slow zone, and speed limits should be relentlessly enforced there. The high speed roads can and probably should have separated facilities, because it makes sense there.
    Mnemia's slow integration/fast separaration is a reinforcing endorsement of the best practices of European style bicycling infrastructure and cycletrack roadscaping that is ubiquitous across the cycling capitals of Europe.

    Facilities and infrastructure in widespread use across Europe encourage everyday bicycling by much larger swaths of the population.

    Communities that plan for bicycle traffic here, certainly plan for bicyclists to travel across town, to travel where people need to go. If bicyclists have to travel a 45mph road, it is significant to bike traffic as part of a bike route, and there is no alternative, why yes, traffic planners will facilitate bike traffic there with one of a variety of interventions.

    US best practices of planning for bike traffic include planning for bike traffic along 45mph traffic corridors if these are significant for bike traffic without reasonable nearby, alternate routes. Some states plan for bike traffic on ALL roads except those prohibited by law, as a matter of course.

    Federal policy shift, statements by the Transportation Secretary and AASHTO recommendations all indicate planning for bicycle traffic on all roads (except those prohibited by law), or developing a suitable alternate route.


    Expectations, or demands, of a magically contiguous bikeway system are unrealistic, yet this is some of the disparagement directed at bikeways by some of the critics. The comments above about the limited length of the cycle track in Portland (an experimental treatment still!) typifies this type of bulwark.


    Planning alternative routes across a city that avoid 45 mph roads is guidance most bicycle transportation planners and traffic engineers would find sound.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-03-11 at 08:02 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    planning for everyday transportation by bike across communities is NOT a bias towards seeing bicycles as recreation.

    There is disconnect in mneia's analysis of innovative facilities being implemented here. His comments sound very in tune with European traffic planning, of Homezones, TEMPO30 zones, separated facilities for the rest of the roads, and significant amounts of separation of bicycle traffic from motor vehicle traffic moving at a significant speed differential.

    Mnemia's slow integration/fast separaration is a reinforcing endorsement of the best practices of European style bicycling infrastructure and cycletrack roadscaping that is ubiquitous across the cycling capitals of Europe.

    Facilities and infrastructure in widespread use across Europe encourage everyday bicycling by much larger swaths of the population.

    Communities that plan for bicycle traffic here, certainly plan for bicyclists to travel across town, to travel where people need to go. If bicyclists have to travel a 45mph road, it is significant to bike traffic as part of a bike route, and there is no alternative, why yes, traffic planners will facilitate bike traffic there with one of a variety of interventions.

    US best practices of planning for bike traffic include planning for bike traffic along 45mph traffic corridors if these are significant for bike traffic without reasonable nearby, alternate routes. Some states plan for bike traffic on ALL roads except those prohibited by law, as a matter of course.

    Federal policy shift, statements by the Transportation Secretary and AASHTO recommendations all indicate planning for bicycle traffic on all roads (except those prohibited by law), or developing a suitable alternate route.


    Expectations, or demands, of a magically contiguous bikeway system are unrealistic, yet this is some of the disparagement directed at bikeways by some of the critics. The comments above about the limited length of the cycle track in Portland (an experimental treatment still!) typifies this type of bulwark.

    Planning alternative routes across a city that avoid 45 mph roads is guidance most bicycle transportation planners and traffic engineers would find sound.
    The ideas you mention above from Europe are, I believe, good ones (though I don't believe that all European planning ideas are). Slow integration/fast separation is fine, but that is NOT what we often get here from the separation advocates and road planners, which was my main point. What we often get, instead, is the opposite of that: slow separation/fast integration, because the separated facilities (I'm including bike lanes under that) often get put in only on roads that are already fairly pleasant to cycle on by simply integrating with traffic due to lower speeds and traffic volumes. Then come mandatory use laws, or at least mandatory use customs/expectations on the part of motorists. Meanwhile, the planners don't bother to put in the more elaborate and expensive separated facilities that would be required to make cycling on some of our huge high speed arterials anything resembling "pleasant", or even possible in the minds of most more casual cyclists. My contention is that this is a misapplication of limited resources: if limited resources are going to be spent on bike infrastructure, it should be spent where it produces the most bang for the buck. The large connecting arterials could serve as a backbone for cycling transportation in the area, just like they do for car travel.

    I don't demand "magic" interconnections between everything, but it would be nice to have some transportation routes that don't involve riding 3x as far as cars have to drive because there aren't any alternate routes with lower speeds and volume. BTW, the kind of issues I'm talking about are a much bigger problem in cities (particularly suburbs) that do NOT use the traditional grid layout than in those that have a connected grid. If your road system resembles tree roots rather than a grid, then separation on the arterials is probably more critical because all the traffic gets funneled there. If your road system is a grid, then having alternating streets with slower speed limits, etc is probably sufficient because cyclists can merely move laterally a block or two to get a more pleasant ride. It's all about the speed and traffic volume, as mentioned above.

    I don't care what the standards say, since this is the reality of what we actually see happen in practice. Many states and cities have elaborate bike plans that never get put into practice. So we have to look at not just the planning and standards but also at what actually gets built once they start looking for fat to trim in road projects, and once the projects start getting implemented by people with a motorist-centric bias. The fact is, I believe that a major reason for the effect I'm describing here (bike lanes on slow streets, none on fast streets) is simple ease of implementation rather than it actually being a good idea or reflective of the best planning advice. Traffic engineers can easily add bike lanes to the residential streets with just a little paint and not much else, which makes them and the politicians feel like they're "doing something" for bicyclists. But putting in the kind of facilities that are really preferable for high-speed, high-volume roads takes a lot more money and planning, and since it's a low priority for the planners, it falls by the wayside even if that isn't the original intention.
    Last edited by mnemia; 03-03-11 at 09:21 AM.

  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I largely disagree with your assessment of developing bikeways networks in progressive US cities that are planning for bicycle traffic like Minneapolis, Portland, New York City, Seattle, et al.

    However, I am glad to see you support development of more innovative facilities like those being implemented in New York City and Portland along the lines of best practices of European style slow speed integration/ high speed separation between bicycles and motor vehicle traffic.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-03-11 at 09:35 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    I largely disagree with your assessment of developing bikeways networks in progressive US cities that are planning for bicycle traffic like Minneapolis, Portland, New York City, Seattle, et al.
    Yes, there are a few places actually implementing more elaborate bikeway networks. That's a FEW PLACES in the U.S. compared to the overall size and population of the country. We don't all live in Minneapolis, Portland, New York City, or Seattle. Though I would also note that many of those cities are grid-based, as mentioned above, which means that these bikeway networks are probably LESS needed there than in your average sprawling suburb. And that is reflected in the fact that there was already a lot more bike traffic in many of those places than in your average sprawling suburb: that makes sense, because the grid layout and the density associated with the grid layout makes it more pleasant and feasible, bikeways or no bikeways.

    The really hard task in the U.S. is not convincing so-called "progressive" cities to plan for bike traffic. The hard part is convincing all the rest of America to do the same.

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Marin county has developed a very efficient network of bicycle routes that serves a wide suburban area. Denver's path network springs to mind as well.

    The rest of america is catching on to what happens in vanguard cities in the US. it just takes time and effort. the conservative appeal of planning for bike traffic will catch on in all size of cities and towns for sure.

    Tell parents its cheaper and safer for their kids to not have cars as teenagers, and gives the parents of younger kids a heck of a lot more free time if their kids can ride bikes safely in their neighborghoods, and it will cost them less in taxes, both at the pump at on the rolls? Like a tidal wave.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-03-11 at 09:48 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Marin county has developed a very efficient network of bicycle routes that serve a wide, disparate suburban area.

    The rest of america is catching on to what happens in vanguard cities in the US. it just takes time and effort. the conservative appeal of planning for bike traffic will catch on in small towns for sure. tell parents its cheaper and safer for their kids to not have cars as teenagers, and gives the parents of younger kids a heck of a lot more free time if their kids can ride bikes safely in their neighborghoods, and it will cost them less and less in taxes?

    man, like a tidal wave i'd predict.
    I don't disagree that it can be done physically, if there is sufficient political will to do it. I question whether it has any appeal for the conservative politicians and voters who dominate America outside of big cities. I can certainly see arguments for why planning for bike traffic can mesh with a conservative ideology, but many of them don't see it that way. In fact, I've noticed more and more polarization along party lines on bike issues in recent years: it's becoming pigeonholed as a "liberal" issue to support bike planning and promotion. I've payed attention to the votes on pro-bike funding and legislative decisions, and most of them come down to a left-vs-right party line vote, just like everything else. Many of the conservative politicians oppose bike initiative purely because their liberal opponents generally support them, which is a shame, because there is nothing inherently liberal or conservative about bicycling (ie, it should be a civic good that cuts across party lines). So I'm not that optimistic that all this pro-bike sentiment is going to bloom outside of the big cities. Especially given the culture of fear that seems to have gripped our nation: many parents are terrified to let their kids do anything outside the norm. Many parents don't believe you, on a visceral level, if you say it's safer for their kids to bike than drive as teenagers, because they've bought into the idea that safety is a passive thing that technology, or the road infrastructure, or someone else provides for you rather than something you take responsibility for yourself. That's part of why there was an SUV boom: they made people FEEL safer because of their size and height even if it was totally irrational to claim that you were actually safer in one.

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    I think what comes out of this report from Portland is clear: the overwhelming majority of existing cyclists there value and want more innovative facilities like cycletracks and buffered bikelanes.

    The safety of bicycling is easy to validate. the average parent will easily grasp the economies of their teenagers not needing a car.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-03-11 at 10:29 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    I think what comes out of this report from Portland is clear: the overwhelming majority of existing cyclists there value and want more innovative facilities like cycletracks and buffered bikelanes.
    That may or may not be true, but that's a far more sweeping statement than can be concluded from just the data in this particular study, due to the limited methodology it uses (self selected sample of people already using the facility). There were also a number of points made in the paper that seem to go the opposite way: for example, the conclusions that pedestrian-cyclist conflict is high in these new facilities, that motorists don't know how to handle the buffered bike lanes properly, that cyclists often choose to turn left in ways contrary to the design of the facilities, and that there was no measurable change in the number of people cycling. So all that is truly being measured here that supports your contention strongly is attitudes, not objective information about what is safer or better for cyclists.

    The safety of bicycling is easy to validate. the average parent will easily grasp the economies of their teenagers not needing a car.
    People ignore things that are "easily validated" all the time, because people are irrational, especially when it comes to fears about their children. Most people just go with the emotionally-driven ideas promoted by the culture at large. That's why so many parents fear "stranger danger" (a minuscule risk to their children) more than they fear strapping them into the family car (a much larger and very real risk). And it's why so many believe bicycling is so much more dangerous than driving. It's irrational, but it's backed by a huge glut of culturally promoted ideas. People will NOT just "easily grasp" this because it's rational and validated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mnemia View Post
    I don't disagree that it can be done physically, if there is sufficient political will to do it. I question whether it has any appeal for the conservative politicians and voters who dominate America outside of big cities. I can certainly see arguments for why planning for bike traffic can mesh with a conservative ideology, but many of them don't see it that way. In fact, I've noticed more and more polarization along party lines on bike issues in recent years: it's becoming pigeonholed as a "liberal" issue to support bike planning and promotion. I've payed attention to the votes on pro-bike funding and legislative decisions, and most of them come down to a left-vs-right party line vote, just like everything else. Many of the conservative politicians oppose bike initiative purely because their liberal opponents generally support them, which is a shame, because there is nothing inherently liberal or conservative about bicycling (ie, it should be a civic good that cuts across party lines). So I'm not that optimistic that all this pro-bike sentiment is going to bloom outside of the big cities. Especially given the culture of fear that seems to have gripped our nation: many parents are terrified to let their kids do anything outside the norm. Many parents don't believe you, on a visceral level, if you say it's safer for their kids to bike than drive as teenagers, because they've bought into the idea that safety is a passive thing that technology, or the road infrastructure, or someone else provides for you rather than something you take responsibility for yourself. That's part of why there was an SUV boom: they made people FEEL safer because of their size and height even if it was totally irrational to claim that you were actually safer in one.
    We're selling the idea of cycling all wrong... if we sold the concept based on easing traffic congestion and reducing travel times, then the American public would sign up for the funding for cycling facilities... but the image of cycling in America is that of the elite, lycra-clad athlete racing between cars, a'la messenger style. Few Americans see themselves as that cyclist.

    I saw funding for a local below street grade path approved by a local community based on the fact that such a path would reduce the wait times at a traffic light... where otherwise motorists would have to wait for crossing cyclists and peds at the traffic light... that lack of patience by motorists (based on a minute or two) was enough for the community to approve the funding.

    So many housing developments are sold based on "quiet streets and paths" on which you can walk and ride bikes... but these paths never extend far enough to be part of a transportation network... A well integrated network of paths, bike boulevards and bike lanes that offered a comfortable place to bike would encourage even the weekend rider to extend their range further and further and discover commuting. But as long as we have this LANCE image... cycling in America will remain a fringe activity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    But as long as we have this LANCE image... cycling in America will remain a fringe activity.
    I pretty much agree, in that I think this is basically an image/propaganda/tribal problem. So many people don't think of cycling as something that "high status" adults do, except as a sport. They just haven't grasped that it's a viable transportation method, and so they think of it either as a recreational activity, as something children do before they grow up, or as something that poor people or drunks do because they don't have cars or drivers' licenses. And of course this is a chicken-and-egg problem, since it stays in those "fringe" categories precisely because it's perceived that way, and perceptions are that way because that's a true stereotype much of the time... Basically I think there needs to be a critical mass (no pun intended) of people doing cycling as transportation in order for perceptions to change and the political will to materialize. Culture may shift over time, but it's an uphill battle as long as governments keep spending SO MUCH of our collective resources on car-only infrastructure. I personally think extremely high fuel prices are one of the only things that could truly change the equation quickly, and there would be a lot of other tectonic changes in our society triggered by the same thing if that were to happen.

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