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Road closures for cyclists' benefit?

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Road closures for cyclists' benefit?

Old 06-15-10, 01:05 PM
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Road closures for cyclists' benefit?

I'm curious what A&S people think of this? Many cities close some of their streets occasionally to auto traffic, allowing cyclists, roller bladers, and pedestrians to use the whole road way as they see fit. For example, Lake Washington Boulevard is closed on Sundays through the summer in Seattle, and part of JFK is closed through Golden Gate Park in SF, also on Sundays.

This would seem like an obvious win for some cycling advocates, but bike advocacy is pretty counter-intuitive stuff. I mean, some people lobby hard to prevent any bike infrastructure, and then think they've improved our lot. There's a lot of legitimate debate and I'm not trying to start a war over bike lanes or wearing a helmet ... I'm just explaining why I'm curious what other cyclists think of these closures for our benefit?

Personally, I enjoy the chance to get out and concentrate a little more on the scenery. I see other cyclists doing the same, from the spandex-clad racers to the kids on training wheels. I'm sure motorists aren't thrilled, though.
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Old 06-15-10, 01:12 PM
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Closures are typically either done for the benefit of recreation or business
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Old 06-15-10, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I'm curious what A&S people think of this? Many cities close some of their streets occasionally to auto traffic, allowing cyclists, roller bladers, and pedestrians to use the whole road way as they see fit. For example, Lake Washington Boulevard is closed on Sundays through the summer in Seattle, and part of JFK is closed through Golden Gate Park in SF, also on Sundays.

This would seem like an obvious win for some cycling advocates, but bike advocacy is pretty counter-intuitive stuff. I mean, some people lobby hard to prevent any bike infrastructure, and then think they've improved our lot. There's a lot of legitimate debate and I'm not trying to start a war over bike lanes or wearing a helmet ... I'm just explaining why I'm curious what other cyclists think of these closures for our benefit?

Personally, I enjoy the chance to get out and concentrate a little more on the scenery. I see other cyclists doing the same, from the spandex-clad racers to the kids on training wheels. I'm sure motorists aren't thrilled, though.
The thing is those advocates that lobby against cycling infrastructure tend to do so based on equality of access... and yet don't seem to notice that most freeways are NOT equal access for cyclists.

Dedicating or even temporarily closing streets to motor traffic is just balancing the scale a bit for non motorized traffic. Frankly, I don't believe every inch of this earth needs to be accessible by car.
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Old 06-15-10, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Closures are typically either done for the benefit of recreation or business
and in some of those cases they pretty much turn into carnival-like free-for-alls with no rules, rhyme nor reason - great for partying, not so much for transportation purposes.
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Old 06-15-10, 01:25 PM
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whenever i've seen this, pedestrians take over and you have to ride your bike slowly, if at all, through the street. so i get off and walk or just ride on another street
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Old 06-15-10, 01:26 PM
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The only such road closures I am personally familiar with are primarily for pedestrians' benefit. Pedestrian traffic on such roads often becomes so heavy that cycling is much slower than compared to normal traffic conditions. Since the pedestrian interest is dominant, I don't think such closures affect cyclists' political standing either way.

Raleigh recently reopened Fayetteville Street to vehicular traffic after many years as a pedestrian mall that didn't perform well commercially. The reopened street is a major pedestrian attraction, but also pleasant enough for casual bicycling at low speeds, mostly because the vehicular traffic and speeds are low.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fayette...reet_(Raleigh)

I am interested in learning more about the implementation details of "bicycle boulevards," particularly, how motor traffic is discouraged from using them in favor of bicycle traffic, and how cyclists using the bicycle boulevards cross normal-traffic roads that cross the boulevards, presumably with higher priority due to higher traffic volumes.

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Old 06-15-10, 01:40 PM
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I've always wanted to do ride the bronx river parkway in NY on sundays. They close it up to cars and let the bikes loose on this very scenic drive.
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Old 06-15-10, 02:47 PM
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The last time I rode Lake Wash Blvd on "Bike Day," my average speed for the trip to Seward Park was almost 2 mph faster than normal. There were more than a few peds and novice cyclists to dodge, but no cars.

None of this is for transportation purposes, except transit from a few certain neighborhoods to a park. I would definitely call it recreational ... although it's still better to bike than drive to the park. On the other hand, I'm a bike commuter, and a joy rider, and a utility cyclist, but the first several years of my cycling "career" I only did recreational rides. Am I alone in thinking that giving potential cyclists a chance to stretch their wings is probably a good thing?

Originally Posted by sggoodri
I am interested in learning more about the implementation details of "bicycle boulevards," particularly, how motor traffic is discouraged from using them in favor of bicycle traffic, and how cyclists using the bicycle boulevards cross normal-traffic roads that cross the boulevards, presumably with higher priority due to higher traffic volumes.
Lake Wash Blvd might be one of the roads you describe. There are signs along the way reminding drivers that "bicycles have right of way." This is pretty mixed - some people respect the law when they drive here, and try to avoid it, while others wait behind a cyclist until they reach their annoyance threshold, and then buzz dangerously - in this case because the road is too narrow to share safely, and filled with bends and curves. It's still much more pleasant to ride here when the road is actually closed to cars.
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Old 06-15-10, 02:48 PM
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I enjoy riding on roads temporarily closed to motor traffic and agree it has everything to do with recreation not transportation.

None of my hard core transportation cycling advocate friends and acquaintances objects to cycling infrastructure improvements unless they are done poorly. They are smart enough to know that the presence of a bike path or lane, though unimportant to them, can encourage other cyclists.
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Old 06-15-10, 02:57 PM
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this is often called ciclovia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciclov%C3%ADa

it is more a celebration of community and and event than anything

San Jose did a smaller scale closure recently..
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Old 06-15-10, 03:34 PM
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Here is a mall permanently closed to MV traffic, and the peds and cyclists seem to be getting along just fine, of course perhaps this is due to the fact that this isn't a one day "circus" event.

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Old 06-15-10, 03:37 PM
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Cleveland does it too several times a year.
https://www.walkandrollcleveland.com/

Enjoy
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Old 06-15-10, 04:40 PM
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The closest thing we have here is closing Pacific Coast Highway 101, our Main Street, a few times per year for flea market type festivals. This is not conducive to efficient transportation cycling or even fast walking. I prefer events such as the annual "Bike the Bay" event, in which the Coronado Bridge is open to bicyclists and closed to cars. Rant: All roadway bridges should be open to bicyclists and pedestrians, as is the venerable Golden Gate.
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Old 06-15-10, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Closures are typically either done for the benefit of recreation or business
True; is there a problem with that?
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Old 06-15-10, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
True; is there a problem with that?
I think it is a fine thing to do.
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Old 06-15-10, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I mean, some people lobby hard to prevent any bike infrastructure, and then think they've improved our lot.
Not true; the relative tiny clique of cyclists who lobby hard to prevent any bike infrastructure have no interest in improving anyone else's lot, but ARE interested in maintaining a cycling status quo that they irrationally believe is threatened by improved infrastructure and the associated "incompetent cyclists" that favor them and who do not fit their narrow sociological and cycling profile.
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Old 06-15-10, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by genec
Here is a mall permanently closed to MV traffic, and the peds and cyclists seem to be getting along just fine, of course perhaps this is due to the fact that this isn't a one day "circus" event.
That's a key point. It's a lot easier to have normal behavior if something is made to be "normal".

Similar streets in Germany (can't tell where that video was shot) ban all motor vehicles except for residents of that street and the occasional delivery vehicle -- and even then, there is hardly any vehicle traffic at all. They're also designed from the ground up to be pedestrian areas, without curbs or signal lights, and with shops & restaurants all the way down the length of the street.
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Old 06-15-10, 06:17 PM
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Here we have several kilometers of each of three "parkways" closed in town on Sunday mornings, plus 40 km in the hills just out of town, and a couple of permanently car-free streets. Every one of those roads is perfectly good for transportation regardless (bike lane on one of them, low car/cyclist ratio in the hills, separated bike paths next to the others), but lots of people come out when they close to traffic. It's just pleasant.
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Old 06-15-10, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I'm curious what A&S people think of this? Many cities close some of their streets occasionally to auto traffic, allowing cyclists, roller bladers, and pedestrians to use the whole road way as they see fit. For example, Lake Washington Boulevard is closed on Sundays through the summer in Seattle, and part of JFK is closed through Golden Gate Park in SF, also on Sundays.

This would seem like an obvious win for some cycling advocates, but bike advocacy is pretty counter-intuitive stuff. I mean, some people lobby hard to prevent any bike infrastructure, and then think they've improved our lot. There's a lot of legitimate debate and I'm not trying to start a war over bike lanes or wearing a helmet ... I'm just explaining why I'm curious what other cyclists think of these closures for our benefit?

Personally, I enjoy the chance to get out and concentrate a little more on the scenery. I see other cyclists doing the same, from the spandex-clad racers to the kids on training wheels. I'm sure motorists aren't thrilled, though.
The residential/park road of Beach Dr. in So. Montgomery County(MD) is closed to motorized traffic on the weekends. It is the only local recreational road closure I know of, in the entire DC Metro region.

While that kind of road closure doesn't make a difference to me personally since I 'take the lane' all the time. For the general populus of cyclists I applaud it.
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Old 06-15-10, 07:25 PM
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Read about it in an article about Colombia, and now here; never experienced it. Since every locality has their own issues and priorities, I would withhold ANY judgment on it until I saw it applied locally.

Generally, though, I'm in favor of anything done in our area that gets more butts on saddles.
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Old 06-15-10, 09:30 PM
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Our local park is closed to motor vehicle traffic on every Monday. I'm not sure why the park officials picked Monday as opposed to Sunday, but my guess Monday was picked so as not to upset the Sunday drivers.
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Old 06-16-10, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by genec
... and yet don't seem to notice that most freeways are NOT equal access for cyclists.
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Old 06-16-10, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris516
The residential/park road of Beach Dr. in So. Montgomery County(MD) is closed to motorized traffic on the weekends. It is the only local recreational road closure I know of, in the entire DC Metro region.
FWIW Sligo Creek Parkway also closes on the weekend.
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Old 06-16-10, 07:08 AM
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I'm opposed. These closures reinforce the idea that bicycles are recreational devices only, not tools for essential transportation in highly congested areas.

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Old 06-16-10, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Lake Wash Blvd might be one of the roads you describe. There are signs along the way reminding drivers that "bicycles have right of way." This is pretty mixed - some people respect the law when they drive here, and try to avoid it, while others wait behind a cyclist until they reach their annoyance threshold, and then buzz dangerously - in this case because the road is too narrow to share safely, and filled with bends and curves. It's still much more pleasant to ride here when the road is actually closed to cars.
Besides the signs, how is Lake Wash Blvd any different from a normal downtown street of similar width, land uses, and surroundings?

Do the signs somehow indicate that the traffic law is different on this street compared to others? If so, what right of way are cyclists granted on this street that they don't have on other streets? In what way are other drivers expected to yield to cyclists on this street but not legally expected to do so on other streets?
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