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Old 05-14-07, 08:26 PM   #1
deputyjones
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Gates to slow bike path traffic. Is this city pro-VC?



So, I am cruising through Holland, MI the other day (city near where I work) and I notice the brand spanking new bike path (sidepath, MUP, wide sidewalk) built along the main entrance to the city has these gates similar to what is pictured above, but permanently affixed on each side of the many entrances to a HUGE scrap metal facility. There are about 8 or 10 entrances with these. Their only function in my mind would be to slow bike traffic down on the heavily used MUP/Bike Path at the entrances to this facility which sees very heavy truck (semi/tractor trailer) traffic. I am not sure about the genesis of this, but I imagine the company paid for the bike path so they could put up the gates to reduce their own liability if one of their drivers smoked a cyclist since they have the ROW on the MUP.

The interesting part is that it is perfectly legal for a bicycle to ride in the road anywhere in Holland although 95% cyclists I see use the MUP.

So is Holland, MI intentionally or unintentionally promoting VC? I wonder what would happen to those gates if all that cycle traffic started using the road?

**EDIT: I cannot find a good picture of it, but imagine the gate above permanently affixed and much closer together.

Last edited by deputyjones; 05-14-07 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:43 PM   #2
John Forester
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deputyjones


So, I am cruising through Holland, MI the other day (city near where I work) and I notice the brand spanking new bike path built along the main entrance to the city has these gates similar to what is pictured above, but permanently affixed on each side of the many entrances to a HUGE scrap metal facility. There are about 8 or 10 entrances with these. Their only function in my mind would be to slow bike traffic down on the heavily used MUP/Bike Path at the entrances to this facility which sees very heavy truck (semi/tractor trailer) traffic. I am not sure about the genesis of this, but I imagine the company paid for the bike path so they could put up the gates to reduce their own liability if one of their drivers smoked a cyclist since they have the ROW on the MUP.

The interesting part is that it is perfectly legal for a bicycle to ride in the road anywhere in Holland although 95% cyclists I see use the MUP.

So is Holland, MI intentionally or unintentionally promoting VC? I wonder what would happen to those gates if all that cycle traffic started using the road?

**EDIT: I cannot find a good picture of it, but imagine the gate above permanently affixed and much closer together.
I would suggest that the appropriate name for the obstruction that you describe is chicane. That is, a means of slowing traffic by forcing it to make sharp turns where the road would otherwise be straight. I do not understand the situation as you describe it, so I will not comment further.
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Old 05-15-07, 08:19 AM   #3
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In Ventura they did the opposite. They have gates that close the bike path automatically when truck traffic crosses it (the bike path travels through a refinery.) It's pretty interesting. Flashing red lights come on, the gate slowly closes and you have to wait for it to open before you can go again.

I guess Ventura hates cyclists, huh?
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Old 05-15-07, 08:25 AM   #4
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I have always viewed those types of gates as preventing vehicles from traveling onto the path.
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Old 05-15-07, 02:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
In Ventura they did the opposite. They have gates that close the bike path automatically when truck traffic crosses it (the bike path travels through a refinery.) It's pretty interesting. Flashing red lights come on, the gate slowly closes and you have to wait for it to open before you can go again.

I guess Ventura hates cyclists, huh?
Hmmm, That is pretty neat. I wouldn't say they hate cyclists, but that would kind of irk me a bit. We do have the right of way when on the bike path just as the cars out in the lanes beside us do so why hinder our progress when there is nothing to hinder the progress of the cars or trucks exiting the facility. I have not examined this path closely enough to say whether or not engineers might have figured the path was SO close that it would be virtually impossible for truck traffic to see bikes on the path before exiting, but that would be the only senseable reason for doing so in my mind.
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Old 05-15-07, 02:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiRider
I have always viewed those types of gates as preventing vehicles from traveling onto the path.
I know the ones you speak of where they are set close enough to only allow a bicycle or stroller to pass, but these actually overlap a bit and are offset from one another.
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Old 05-15-07, 08:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MiRider
I have always viewed those types of gates as preventing vehicles from traveling onto the path.
Either that or "slowing down bicyclists" are the two official purposes.

But let's put it this way, they aren't very convenient, especially if you ride a tandem plus maybe a trailercycle or trailer. I also consider them a safety hazard, just like I would consider posts in the middle of the street to be safety hazards.

As for the concept per se, I think they should do the same on residential streets: plant concrete bollards so that a truck or RV can't go through residential streets. After all, trucks aren't supposed to go there, except for "local deliveries", so why not ask them to register to the police in order to get the access key? Guess what? Within a day or two, some car driver will hit them and get seriously injured.

So why is it done on bike and multi-use paths?
If it were really to prevent motor vehicles, they would hide a police officer one or two nights and write tickets. $$$
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Old 05-16-07, 06:34 AM   #8
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I agree with Michel Gagnon, a fencing such as the one mentioned and pictured would seem to me to be there to slow cyclists down. In fact, I might even appreciate them on the MUP that I take part of the way to work. It's a posted 15mph speed limit where a majority of the recreational riders go less than 10mph but the "training" roadies will pass them at a blitering 25-30 mph.
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