Archive for the “Bicycle Bermuda Triangles” Category

 

TBAG will host the third annual Tempe Bike Count between March 26-28 2013. We need volunteers to help count bikes! You can sign up for just one shift on a single day, or more if you want. Sign up! Bring a friend!

Our goals for the bike count:

  • Document the number of people currently cycling and monitor how the number changes over time
  • Publish a report of findings from the bike count
  • Use the information to help prioritize infrastructure improvements and traffic safety
  • Share bike count data with the public, other organizations, governmental groups, and individuals

When:

The count will take place over three days. Each volunteer will count during commuting hours, one morning (7:00am to 9:00am) or one afternoon (4:00pm to 6:00pm). The same location can be covered over the span of the three days.

  • Tuesday, March 26th
  • Wednesday, March 27th
  • Thursday, March 28th

Training:
Volunteers are asked to attend one of the training meetings at the Tempe Transit Center 200 E. Fifth Street (near Forest and College avenues near the light rail station) in the Cassano Room on the second floor.

  • Wednesday, March 20th
  • Saturday, March 23rd

For full details on the Tempe Bike Count and to sign up please go to: http://www.biketempe.org/events/bike-count/

Afterparty:

We’re throwing an appreciation party at Boulders on Broadway for our volunteers!  Come turn in your count sheets, have a beer, and tell tales of the craziness you saw out there on the streets of Tempe.

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This is somewhat late notice for tonight’s meeting, but better late than never, right?

There are two important upcoming public meetings for transportation projects in Tempe. The more people who attend these meetings and provide public comment, the more clear it becomes that the City should keep supporting bicycling projects. The one tonight is a big one, for a road for which many people have asked over the years, “Why doesn’t it have a bike lane?” Well, it’s getting one, that’s right, it’s BROADWAY, from Rural all the way to Priest. That’s right, you will soon be able to ride your bike down a bike lane on Broadway to get to Boulders on Broadway.

Main info page here: http://www.tempe.gov/tim/Traffic/broadwayroad.htm (LOTS of info, plus a public comment form, too!)
Meeting: TONIGHT (June 7), 6 pm, Don Cassano Community Room, Tempe Transportation Center, 200 E. Fifth Street

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Also, there will be public meetings for another huge project, called the “Tempe South” project. This is part of the general regional project that brought us the light rail. It doesn’t stop there, oh no it doesn’t! That’s right, there will be some sort of link down to the south, to bring mass transit to even more of the masses. A lot of Tempe residents should be getting postcards and door hangers from the City to encourage participation.

Valley Metro has the scoop on their website: http://www.valleymetro.org/metro_light_rail/future_extensions/tempe/

The Tempe public meeting will be Wednesday, June 16, 2010
6:00–8:00 p.m
Pyle Adult Recreation Center (that’s by the library)
655 E. Southern Ave., Tempe

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The city of Tempe transportation planning staff is in the process of applying for Federal money to build a bridge over I-10 at Alameda for non-motorized users. This would complete a much needed bike-friendly east-west route across Tempe and into Phoenix! Stay tuned for additional information, and click here to see a copy of the letter of support that TBAG wrote in the hope that it will help the city’s bid for funds.

Thank you to a bike-friendly city transportation staff! This will be a great improvement to the network of bike routes.

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All of the wonderful, diverse comments in response to my interview with Eric Iwersen have brought up some points about bicycle-car interactions that merit further discussion. The conversation started to get interesting when it focused on the case study of the transformation of Apache with the light-rail construction. As Eric described, Apache went from a six-lane arterial signed at 40-45 mph to a four-lane arterial with a bike lane, on-street parking, 35 mph speed limits, and more extensive pedestrian access.

While overall I think the retrofit is an improvement (especially lowering the speed limit), it does raise a general question (legalities and design standards aside): does the presence of bike lanes fool drivers and bicycles into thinking that bicycles should only be found in bike lanes? And if that’s the case, do bike lanes thus mis-educate drivers and cyclists about how to safely and comfortably interact with each other, as suggested by Al, Freewheeler, and Ben?

If the answers to these questions are yes, what are some alternative methods that Tempe could employ? What’s working, and what could work better?

As Ben said, probably the biggest improvement to Apache from a bicyclist’s perspective is speed reduction: fatal accidents happen when vehicles travel at speeds over 30 mph, so slowing traffic down should have favorable consequences for accident rates and will make it easier for bicycles to ride with traffic. From what I understand of the City’s history, though, they have found it politically complicated to universally lower speed limits (drivers get grumpy about this). Instead, the City is working to phase in lower speed limits as other retrofits occur (Eric, please correct me if I’m wrong about this).

So, what else? How about sign changes? Here are three ideas with various merits and limitations:

1. Sharrows. Several other US cities have been testing out “sharrows,” signs painted on the roadway that indicate that cars should expect to share the roadway with bicycles, and indicate where cyclists should ride (i.e. free of the “door zone”). From my experience riding around in areas with sharrows, I don’t think they really do much for anybody, because they’re usually put in places where drivers already expect to see bicycles, and they’re only really useful in situations where lanes are already quite wide and allow vehicles and bicycles to share the same lane.

2. Share the Road. In Tempe we’ve already got a lot of “Share the Road” signs up, but I personally don’t think that they register with motorists because they aren’t white (legally required directions) or yellow (advisory). And also, what does it actually mean to share the road? Does that encourage bikers to ride too far to the right?

3. BAUFL-CLTP. After some heavy deliberation, San Francisco is implementing what they call BAUFL-CLTP signs in some areas(“Bicycles allowed use of full lane – change lanes to pass”): there’s a .pdf summary document about these signs here. Has the sign change been successful? I don’t really know yet–if you know more, let me know. I think these signs would shock Tempe-area motorists, though.

My question to you is, do you have other ideas or further insights into the ones presented here, or commentary on these possibilities? What can we continue to do to make the majority happy with our transportation infrastructure?

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Thanks to everyone who weighed in with route ideas for getting from Tempe to downtown Phoenix. Clearly there’s a wide variety of ways to get from here to there, with varying degrees of adventure and distance involved. On a recent trip in early February, I have noted that it’s possible to travel west along Washington to 24th Street before construction starts to make things a bit crazy (rough road, no bike lane, no shoulder). I can’t wait until the whole thing’s finished! In the meantime, you’ve come up with some good alternative ideas.

Your responses got me wondering about something else: as I ride around, I often take mental note of particular areas that are challenging or annoying to navigate by bicycle, which I’ll refer to as Bicycling Bermuda Triangles (BBTs). One of my criteria for a nice bike route is that it should not require riding on sidewalks at all, so for me one BBT is reaching the Tempe Public Library (southwestern corner of Rural and Southern): I can take College Ave. most of the way there, and then turn left on Malibu Dr. (just south of Southern), but that spits me back out on Rural or Southern before I reach the library, so I end up on the sidewalk for at least a short stretch because traffic travels too quickly on both Rural and Southern for me to feel safe on the road by myself at night. I’ve often wondered if there’s a sneaky back entrance among the houses behind the Tempe Library complex, but if there is I’ve never found it.

Another spot is the corner of Rural and Broadway, where it’s possible to get almost to the intersection on the frontage road on the north side of Broadway, but then at the last moment things get dangerous due to a bus stop and a parking lot exit where drivers generally don’t watch for bicycles traveling against traffic (and I can’t say I blame them).

So my question for you is, have you encountered other BBTs of your own? How have you learned to deal with them? Are you happy just “making do” with what’s there, or can you envision some kind of reasonable potential change to make things better? (I must admit that I have dreams of bike lanes along Broadway, Rural, and Southern, or at least dreams of slower speed limits so I’m not worried about being killed by cars)

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