Now look at it from a cyclists perspective... a cyclist can go anywhere low speed streets exist... but to go beyond that, it takes a whole bunch of brave, strong, alpha dog, road sneak. Or as you put it earlier, the low speed streets suffer isolation by "scary" streets. Make connections around the "scary streets" for cyclists, and you have a complete transportation network.
As for those who designed the laws and bikeway standards that we have had since 1980, all of whom I observed at work, none of them showed any sign of understanding bicycle traffic engineering. Which of them were certified traffic engineers is not known to me; I suspect only a few.
Traffic engineers are not the brightest of engineers. Nearly all of their work is following rulebook rules; they understand the rules, but typically they don't understand the facts and theory, or history, on which the rules are based. Furthermore, few traffic engineers have had courses having to do with bicycle traffic, and the little that they get are courses on how to follow, again without understanding, the AASHTO (or maybe, now, the NACTO) standards. I have sat through several of these, and I have a copy of the FHWA "proposed" university course. Also, I ought to point out, I taught, for the University of California in Berkeley, the first real course in bicycle traffic engineering, twice, for which a fee was charged in the normal manner. The FHWA sent a student to the second iteration, with instructions to then teach an FHWA course which was then offered for free. Naturally, that course simply followed the FHWA's bikeway rules rather than the bicycle traffic engineering that I had been teaching.
The majority of the bikeway construction programs about which we read are designed by bikeway consulting firms (Alta comes to mind). I know of no traffic engineers employed by these, but, as I have written above, traffic engineering training is not a qualification for doing bicycle traffic engineering. There are two reasons why these firms don't use traffic engineering skills; the rules that they follow contradict standard traffic engineering, and those who employ them, cities and counties mostly, want popular bikeways according to the bikeway rules.
The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals falsely boasts that it is the technical society for bicycle traffic engineering. I say falsely, because true technical societies sustain inquiry into the scientific knowledge on which their technology is based. Instead, APBP is a money-earning (rather than "professional") group that kicks out those who inquire into its supposed basic science. It has to, because there is no scientific foundation for the bikeway designs, except, of course, the psychological reasons which so many of you deride.
The question asked in the OP was not about specific infrastructure. But regardless of that fact there is a reason why those communities with a higher mode share all have infrastructure (and not just traffic calming). The consistent component across the board in higher modal share communities is infrastructure.
Are you ever going to address your accusations about Bike Counts?
Granted the slow eroding of automotive dominance due to congestion, gas prices, economics and, to some degree, urban planning concepts like traffic calming and limited parking creates an environment conducive to alternatives like bicycling and mass public transit but without specific bike infrastructure there is no spike in modal share. And if your theory of the great recession of 2008 were accurate as the primary cause for biking spikes why is that spike only in cities that added bike infrastructure during that time?
Regarding your evidence of Boston bike count fraud I just can't wait for my lesson in the streets and infrastructure of Boston.
Last edited by njkayaker; 01-14-14 at 09:20 PM.
Rather than look for the place that has seen better than average growth of cycling in the absence of adding any bike-specific infrastructure, which is somewhat problematic since most of us accept that if the cyclists are already there then it will be built (for better or worse, and often both), let's look at a place that has fairly extensive bike infrastructure but hasn't been able to leverage that into meaningful numbers of people on bikes. I suspect these places are a dime a dozen, but to just pull someplace out of a hat, how about Fresno, CA. To satisfy those who are concerned about the inherent uncertainty of measuring small numbers (always a problem when counting cyclists in our anti-cycling country), let's smooth things out with the three-year data from the ACS.
In 2007, Fresno had one to two times the national average number of cyclists, with 0.8% +/- 0.2 versus the national average of 0.5% +/-0.1. In the 2012 count (remember, these are three-year numbers), Fresno gained no ground on the rest of the nation with 1.0% +/-0.2 versus 0.6% +/- 0.1.
And what about the infrastructure? Well, Fresno has an extensive grid of bike facilities, largely because is has to show the federal government that it is doing something about its horrid air quality in order to not be banned from highway funds. (The oxygen in Fresno has a nasty habit of being three atoms to a molecule, if you know what I mean.)
They built it. No one came. Case closed? No, of course not. They may have built it poorly. In fact, it no doubt has abundant door zone bike lanes. It sure does not include much in the way of segregated facilities and I honestly have no idea how wide the bike lanes are. That's the point, in a way. We are building bikey infrastructure without regard to quality and then are surprised when no one is riding.
That brings me to my ulterior motive for starting this thread. For too long we have been at each others throats fighting over whether we should build a small piece of cycletrack or widen the bike lanes or whatever and the traffic engineers have simply built the kind of crap that meets the minimal AASHTO guidelines, which are horrid. To be honest, I place the blame for this on the pro-segregation crowd who call anyone who doesn't want to be riding between a curb and a car door VC, fast and fearless, or alpha-dog, anti-beginner or some such and dismiss our experience and knowledge. To be fair, our response has been to arrogantly dismiss such concerns as those of Noobs rather than working to explain why what we're doing can work for most people in many, but not all, settings.
I hope we can soften the infighting and push together to change the engineering standards so that we can have things that work well. If we get some segregated cycletracks, let's make sure they don't have mid-block driveway issues and deal with the intersections in a way that gives us safe and reasonably quick access. (I'm not willing to average the same speed on my bike as I do walking, which is what happens with some of what I have seen.) Let's change the standard for bike lanes so they can't be in the door zone. When we place sharrow markings, let's mandate the "Cyclists May Use Full Lane" sign to help educate motorists and cyclists alike. And let's not dismiss the importance of adequate law enforcement. I'm sure you all have many more and better suggestions. Bring them on.
(By the way, I am going to be leading a small charge on the Eugene City Council this year to change this city's engineering standards to reflect what I just wrote. We may go down in flames, but our failure may offer some lessons for some of you more capable advocates to have success. Good luck.)
This is really not hard stuff. For example, to make it clear what error you are repeating - the Boston ACS-1 year numbers for:
2007: 1.0% +/-0.3%
2008: 1.6% +/- 0.4%
The delta between 2008 and 2007 is 0.6%, outside of the margin of error, right? Wrong.
The 2007 confidence interval is between 0.7%...1.3%
The 2008 confidence interval is between 1.2%...2.0%
The two noisy values overlap. You see a spike that may or may not be there - you simply can't tell from the ACS 1-year numbers. And you refuse to look at any other numbers. So I don't know what to tell you, other than repeat again. From the ACS-1 year data, Portland since 2008 has more bicycle commuters (>=5% share) than they did before 2008 (<=5% share). There is nothing else to see there.
You are making the same mistakes that so many minor party candidates make with polls (and astonishingly, one MAJOR party candidate who really didn't think he was going to lose made).
1- Small numbers changing a small amount but within the margin of error shows a HUGE swing to my candidate.
Wohoo, my candidate's numbers went from 5%+/-3% to 10%+/-5%. Look at that spike - we doubled!
2 - Finding flaws in *EVERY* method of measuring that doesn't tell the story you believe is happening. Straight FUD.
Wohoo, my candidate has momentum, there are inherent "biases" in the pools that show the incumbent 5% ahead when really, after adjusting for the inherent "bias" or ignoring the "biased" polls, our guy is blowing him away. And besides, Tioga county!
Last edited by mr_bill; 01-15-14 at 06:48 AM.
Fresno. It actually doesn't have many door zone bike lanes. And the few bike lanes adjacent to on-street parking nobody seems to park on street, or if there is any parking the lanes are wide enough to be out of the door zone. Take a few minutes and tour with street view. (See East Dakota near Manchester North Shopping mall and near the airport, M street downtown for typical.)
1) It's a car-dependent city (I'm sorry if that seems pejorative, it's not meant too, it's a Walkscore term). You can barely walk to complete a single stop errand. Multi-stop errand? Probably not. Google steet views confirms that few people walk. If few people walk, fewer people bike. There is no there there to go to. You have to go there, there, and then another there. Often miles apart from each destination.
2) It's an all too common California development model.
A grid of large multi-lane relatively high speed arterials, little on-street parking, large parking lots in front of strip malls that have entrances at the quarter super-block.
Housing blocks are all housing, low speed, lots of stop signs, joining the superblocks mid-block with right turn only access to the arterial. Very little mixed development in the housing blocks, and where there is mixed development, it's all arterial focused. (Example in the report is a school in a housing block, you have to walk around the outside of the block to get to the school!)
Biking in the housing blocks is trivial. Biking between the housing blocks is not. You can't get across town without crossing an uncross-able arterial because of the right turn only access.
But no matter, the alignment of streets in adjacent housing blocks are confounding. Because nobody drives between housing blocks, why would anybody ever want to walk or bike between them?
To see the best case of a cross town route on a minor road with only minor confounding connections, see E. Princeton Ave.
3) It's hot. Damn hot. Damn damn hot.
4) Yeah, they even have some substandard "bike" infrastructure. (See E. Princeton Ave. Sierra Freeway crossing.)
Good law is very liberating. Rather than mandating standards everywhere there's a lot more tolerance to experimenting. (Don't get me wrong, our standards are evolving to better over time.)
We still fight, but at the end of the day, if it's less awful than it was, it's still a win. If I like it, I use it. If I don't, I don't. For me, a bike lane is most useful as a passing lane. And I never, ever ride in any door zone. But yet I still ride sometimes in so-called "door zone" bike lanes.
See these three examples:
Mass Ave before:
Mass Ave after (Buzzman will probably be able to explain why there is no right hook risk on the outbound side of Mass Ave, and why the dotted lines are actually an error). And yes, the inbound bike lane you will hate.
Mass Ave & Vassar. Note there are bike lanes leading to one way cycle tracks.
(Sadly, this was the location of a fatality when a cyclist was struck by a right turning truck. No, it's not the right from Vassar onto Mass Ave. It's the right from Mass Ave onto Vassar. The truck encroached on the left turn only lane.) And yes, this example also shows design problems. But last time I looked at the studies, nobody had been injured by the side by side optional right turn lanes. (And there have been *LOTS* of accident at this high volume intersection.)
Last edited by mr_bill; 01-15-14 at 08:57 AM.
I certainly tend to agree that the usual park path and the usual painted line on a fast high speed road are less than inviting for cyclists.
I feel that none of that qualifies me as a "traffic engineer," any more than Dan or Brian is a "traffic engineer."
On the other hand I have some 40 years experience cycling and observing cycling and traffic situations both here and abroad using both vehicular cycling methods and some fine infrastructure. Does that make me a bicycle traffic engineer? No, I don't think so, nor does my degree and experience (which oddly deals with the routing high speed signals in a manner in which they don't interfere with one another) make me a bicycle traffic engineer.
But my observations have lead me to strongly believe that without proper infrastructure, people (excepting a tiny sect) will not bike and will not attempt to share the roads with large fast motor vehicles. I also strongly believe that those that call themselves bicycle traffic engineers are doing cyclists no favors by insisting that the current AASHTO designs are adequate to encourage transportation cycling. To this end I believe that those that call themselves bicycle traffic engineers need to evaluate and propose proper safe facilities for transportation cycling and stop insisting that the current motor vehicle roadway designs are suitable for cyclists.
Last edited by genec; 01-15-14 at 11:09 AM.
That you fail to understand that freeways need all the other infrastructure to work as a transportation network is your fault as this is quite readily observable. Until you understand these basics, there is no point in going further with you.
The bottom line in John Forester Land is that a railroad locomotive operator (commonly called an Engineer), the Man in the Moon, and the Man on the Street can all be considered bicycle traffic engineers as long as they have the all important qualification of believing in and espousing John Forester Brand of Bicycling Dogma. No other qualifications or training is necessary.
mr_bill I am curious about something I understand is a law in Mass... perhaps you can confirm this for me... I understand that it is illegal for cyclists to use roadways (highways) with speed limits over 50MPH in that state. How is this supported? Are there always alternative routes available for cyclists such that they are not forced to use a high speed roadway?
That freeways need all the "infrastructure" is exactly why they are not "isolated". Actually, the "infrastructure" is what allowed the freeways to be created (as I said earlier).
This is why your insistence that freeways are "isolated" is nonsensical.
This is the same thing that many (if not all) states do.You may ride your bicycle on any public road, street, or bikeway in the Commonwealth, except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bikes have been posted.
1. the increase in PDX is significant. (the standard errors have no overlap)
2. i never stated that the 2007 vs 2008 comparison in boston is significant. however, a comparison over a period of several years is significant (2005-2007 vs 2008-2010). how do you explain this increase? what is your narrative? and why is it that you are so reluctant to admit the possibility that cycling in the usa has had a resurgence, not due to infrastructure build out, but due to high gas prices and recession?
Last edited by spare_wheel; 01-15-14 at 01:00 PM.
We in the PNW are a little less enthusiastic about "world class european-style infrastructure" because we have seen this scenario repeated over and over again:
Illegal in OR.If I like it, I use it. If I don't, I don't.