And how can we bring one to Albany?
At our monthly meeting on November 17, 2011 Ken B. brought up bicycle boulevards. This got me thinking. I’ve come up with a few questions to help us understand bicycle boulevards a bit better.
What are bicycle boulevards?
“Bicycle boulevards are low-volume and low-speed streets that have been optimized for bicycle travel through treatments such as traffic calming and traffic reduction, signage and pavement markings, and intersection crossing treatments,” according to Portland University’s Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning and Design.
What is the purpose of a bicycle boulevard?
“The purpose of a bicycle boulevard is to improve bicycle safety and circulation, by providing cyclists a designated travel route as an alternative to or as a companion route to using lanes on higher motor vehicle volume streets,” according to a report prepared by Alliant Engineering, Inc for the City of Minneapolis.
Who use bicycle boulevards?
Cyclist and non motor vehicle users all over the world.
Do they work?
Yes. Among the eight case studies included in the Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning and Design, Portland University found that bike boulevards are, “well-loved in each community,” and that, “nearly all representatives indicated that they have plans for additional bicycle boulevards.” Further, by using bicycle boulevard planning in San Luis Obispo, planners have lowered traffic volumes from three hundred forty five to seventy five cars in one two hour count. If the idea is to create safer routes for cyclists, bicycle boulevards work.
How can we create a bike boulevard in Albany?
Five broad elements are included in Portland University’s fundamentals for bicycle boulevard design: traffic calming, signage, traffic reduction, intersection treatment, and prioritized travel.
Albany could easily construct a bicycle boulevard using signage. Signs are easily designed, constructed, are cheap, and can be put up in a day. There are plenty of cyclists who know alternative routes to the busy arteries: Central, Washington, Western, and Madison. They are willing and able to help design and implement a bicycle boulevard here in Albany.
I would personally like to see these boulevards constructed. The main arteries are too dangerous. I have lived in Albany for nearly five years and ride nearly everyday. I have been hit by a car four times in my life. Four times. Three of which were on Central Avenue.
[image from streetblog.org]
In all, what does this mean?
- It means that bicycle boulevards are designed to make a community safer.
- It means bicycle boulevards can be constructed as easily as posting a few signs.
- It means by constructed bicycle boulevards, a community is showing its members that cycling is a viable source of transportation and recreation.
Here’s a great video to explain bicycle boulevards from StreetFilms.org
Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning and Design.
A ‘How To’ by UC Berkeley
Alta Planning and Design builds boulevards
Written by Daniel Patterson