Category Archives: City Review
Upon first coming across the re-paved section of Myrtle Ave. from S. Main to Partridge, one might well wonder “with all this width, why didn’t they put in a real bicycle lane instead of these Shared Lanes?” Myrtle is a nice ride from Marion Ave. to S. Swan and a good way to escape the craziness of Madison Ave. or other routes to downtown.
So what gives?
Appearances can be deceiving – what looks like a vast expanse of available macadam is actually much narrower than it looks. Myrtle is 28 feet wide curb-to-curb from Allen St. to Delaware Ave. If one applies NACTO’s standard*, the space needed for a motor vehicle parking lane and a bicycle lane is 14.5 feet (or a minimum of 12.0 feet, also the AASHTO* guideline).
With a minimal 7-foot parking lane, this results in a 7.5-foot (or 5-foot) bicycle lane (including 6-8 inch traffic-side white line and a 4-inch solid line adjacent to the parked cars. Allowing 7 feet for the north side parking lane, leaves 6.5 feet for a travel lane – no way. (For reference, the can in the photo is 14.5 feet from the southerly curb looking toward downtown with the tip of the Shard Lane making showing.)
Therefore, until Madison Ave. has Protected Bicycle Lanes installed, Myrtle Ave. will remain a good – but shared – bicycle route to downtown.
In the meantime, why not get out there with your Lufkin and find some streets that are wide enough for bicycle lanes? Then start pushing for them.
* NACTO – “When placed adjacent to a parking lane, the desirable reach from the curb face to the edge of the bike lane (including the parking lane, bike lane, and optional buffer between them) is 14.5 feet; the absolute minimum reach is 12 feet. A bike lane next to a parking lane shall be at least 5 feet wide, unless there is a marked buffer between them. Wherever possible, minimize parking lane width in favor of increased bike lane width.”
AASHTO – The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities: “If parking is permitted, the bike lane should be placed between the parking area and the travel lane and have a minimum width of 1.5 m (5 feet). Where parking is permitted but a parking stripe or stalls are not utilized, the shared area [parking plus bike lane] should be a minimum of 3.3 m (11 feet) without a curb face and 3.6 m (12 feet) adjacent to a curb face.
In typical upbeat Downtube Bicycle Works fashion, this new slogan appeared on the gutted shop in early May after the earlier disastrous fire.
The Downtube now has a “full service, pop up” shop in the adjacent motor vehicle bay. If you stop in, you’ll find the same friendly service from a group who has been through hellish times as they move forward to a new and better Downtube Bicycle Works.
Just now, the gutting is complete and work is underway on the upstairs apartments (the source of the fire) and the shop.
The owner provided the following statement:
Robert, Eric, Adam, and all the Downtubers appreciate everyone’s concern and patience as we continue to recover and rebuild after the fire. We are now offering full bicycle repair service out of our garage next door to the store, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 12 noon – 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We also have the primary essential parts and accessories for immediate sale, and we are special ordering everything bicycle, often with 1-2 day delivery. The renovated store will reopen later this season with new, exciting features. Please stop by and say hello in the meantime.
Stand by for a grand reopening!
Catherine Deveny’s 5 Tips For Stylish Cycling, By Claire Wilson @styleshespoke, February 28, 2014
Intro – Melbourne comedian Catherine Deveny only started riding seriously in 2010 when she got what she describes as an “old Dutch grandmother style bike.” She says that this bike changed her life, not only because it made her want to ride, but because it made her want to find gorgeous frocks to go with it.
She prefers to cruise about town in 1940s inspired floral, accessorised in red to go with her polka dot panniers and black Lekker step-through.
To the ever-pragmatic Catherine Deveny, however, cycle style is less about what you are wearing and more about how you act on the road – a sentiment that I applaud wholeheartedly. So, without further adieu, here are Ms Deveny’s 5 tips for stylish cycling [Ed: #3 is the best]:
5. Look hot – It is a simple truth that when you look hot people are going to notice you faster, which is excellent news if you want to be seen by drivers.
4. Be predictable – Use hand signals, get into the turning lane early, and just generally let other road users know what you are up to. A confused driver will get flustered and angry whereas one who can tell what you are doing (and gets a smile and a wave of thanks into the bargain) will have a smile on their face.
3. Assume you’re invisible – It’s undeniably true that bikes are harder to spot than cars, so it’s safest to assume that other road users probably haven’t seen you. For me this translates to keeping my hand on the brake lever at all times and a constant eye on the road conditions.
2. Maintain your line – Swerving all about the place is going to contradict rule #4, it is also going to freak out drivers in much the same way as a herd of kangaroos – you just don’t know when one of those things is going to smack into your bonnet. Choose a line, signal your intention, and don’t change your mind.
1. Own the road – It’s official, bike riders have every right to own their lane. While this doesn’t mean obstinately riding in the middle of the road wherever you go, it does mean riding in the middle of the lane when you believe it would be unsafe for a car to pass you or where the risk of being car doored is high. If you have stuck to rule #5 and look hot then any driver shouldn’t mind cruising behind you for a while.
Even though Delaware, Morton, and Holland Avenues all technically have bicycle “accommodations” (shared lanes), 62 percent of the adults riding through the intersection were on the sidewalk and crosswalks. Perhaps here is why (based on the “Bike Count Location Feedback Form” responses):
- Where there an obstacles/negative conditions effecting bicycle travel? – Absence of any bicycle infrastructure.
- Were there any incidents or close calls between bicyclists/pedestrians/motorists? –
- Yes, between bicyclists and pedestrians – Due to people on bicycles riding on the sidewalks/crosswalks who were weaving through people walking and waiting for buses.
- Yes, between bicyclists and motorists – Many people on bicycles had difficulty wending their way through the motor vehicle congestion in the intersection without some quick avoidance maneuvers. This was by those riding the correct way in the roadway. For those riding on the sidewalk/crosswalks, they were the source of their own problem.
- Were there any cases of bicyclists disobeying traffic laws? – Yes. Adults riding on the sidewalk in conflict with local law – apparently to avoid the heavy motor vehicle traffic on Delaware Ave. and Morton/Holland Aves.
- Based on your observations (and experiences), do you have any additional feedback regarding bicycling in Albany? – The City of Albany has to get serious about implementing its 2009 Albany Bicycle Master Plan. Since the plan was approved, only two sections (totaling one mile) of bicycle lanes have been installed. There are no Protected Bicycle Lanes.