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West Side Bike Improvements on Track for Spring

Brent Warren Brent Warren West Side Bike Improvements on Track for Spring
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The implementation of the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan continues this spring when construction will start on improvements along Sullivant Avenue and Georgesville Road. “Share the Road” signs will be installed and sharrows (pavement markings indicating that lanes are for both bikes and cars) will be painted on Sullivant from Grubb Street in Franklinton all the way west to the Camp Chase Railroad crossing, just east of I-270.

From Hague Avenue to Yale Avenue, a “road diet” in the form of full-time parking on one side of the street and a two-way left turn lane will also be incorporated into the project.

A ten-foot-wide shared-use path will be constructed on the west side of Georgesville Road. This will provide a connection between the two sections of Sullivant Avenue, which jogs south along Georgesville.

The goal of the project, as first articulated in the 2008 plan, is to provide a safe and direct linkage between the Scioto Trail to the east and the Camp Chase Trail to the west. Riders will be able to access the Scioto Trail from Dodge Park at Grubb Street. From there they can continue along the river either south to Scioto Audubon Metro Park and Berliner Park or north to the Olentangy Trail. And on the other end of Sullivant, riders will be able to connect with the Camp Chase Rail Trail, which will soon extend westward to Battelle Darby Metro Park and on to the Ohio to Erie Trail.

More information about the project can be found at publicservice.columbus.gov.

Photo by Walker Evans.

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17 Responses to West Side Bike Improvements on Track for Spring

  1. johnwirtz March 16, 2013 8:38 am at 8:38 am

    Does anyone else have a hard time getting excited about sharrows?

  2. columbusmike March 16, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am

    I do, I do.

  3. Jason Powell
    jpizzow March 16, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am

    I just wish we could get some real bike infrastructure…like a few cycle tracks here and there.

  4. bucki12 March 16, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am

    Personally, sharrows seem anemic.

  5. Walker Evans
    Walker March 16, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm

    While one street getting sharrows might not be the most exciting bit of news, the continued implementation of the larger master plan that includes a mix of bike sharrows, bike lanes, mixed-use paths, signage, bike shelters, bike racks, bike lockers, a bike share program and other amenities is very exciting IMHO.

    Saying that sharrows aren’t exciting is like pointing out that a single red balloon at a birthday party is not that exciting by itself. ;) “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

  6. bucki12 March 16, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm

    Possibly, but since all city roads are already ‘shared lanes’ I see it as having a party with a sign saying ‘balloons in use’.

  7. erickson.109 March 16, 2013 2:09 pm at 2:09 pm

    Even with sharrows Sullivant Ave. is not a safe place to bike. The best way to promote bicycle use, for all ages is implementing a multi-use trail along the rail line that runs by the casino site, wilson road parkland, great western shopping center, westmoor park, hotlon park and then across the Hilltop connector bridge to the existing scioto trail.

    West Columbus is a key piece along the Ohio to Erie trail and expects over a half million users a year. Without this safe off road connection, the west side will fail to reap the benefits of bicycle tourism.

    While bicycle infrastructure should extend off the trail into the surrounding communities, sharrows do not provide enough protection from cars to make them a viable option. On roads, like Sullivant and Broad, with a 35 mph speed limit bicycle accidents, involving cars, are 70% fatal.

    Think twice before celebrating a sharrow, instead invest in true complete streets where bicyclists are shielded from cars by trees, on-street parking or other infrastructure.

  8. Walker Evans
    Walker March 16, 2013 5:45 pm at 5:45 pm

    My understanding is that the rail trail development is already under way and scheduled to be completed in 2014:

    http://www.columbusunderground.com/west-side-leaders-excited-about-casino-future-development-bw1

    So this isn’t a matter of choosing one or the other… it’s that we’re getting both.

  9. Cole March 17, 2013 8:26 am at 8:26 am

    Is this article based on new information? The last I heard the road diet was thrown out until further study could be done:

    http://www.bikingcolumbus.com/2012/10/sullivant-avenue-bike-treatment.html

  10. JB05
    JB05 March 17, 2013 9:14 am at 9:14 am

    I agree Erickson, but there is a debate raging between cyclists over which bike facilities work best. Vehicular cyclists believe that bikes fare best when they integrate with, and are treated as part of traffic. They would be more inclined to support sharrows. Others believe that it’s safer for bikes not to integrate with traffic, and that cycle tracks or multi-use paths are closer to ideal (ie the Dutch model). The thought is that they encourage more vulnerable users to feel safer on a bike (ie. children, older individuals, etc) who may not be comfortable mixing with traffic.

    Bike lanes are a middle ground option.

    Most of the debate hinges on intersection safety, which our traffic engineers don’t have a good answer for yet. What’s the best practice? Green ‘bike boxes’ everywhere? Crosswalks for bikes? Bike traffic signals?

    There are still a variety of competing ideas and debate going on out there. I’m ok with Columbus relying heavily on sharrows for now. I’d prefer that to some fancy and expensive, yet ill-advised cycle track with fatal flaws at intersections. That would be much harder and more costly to change.

  11. fensterbme
    fensterbme March 17, 2013 9:24 am at 9:24 am

    As a resident of the west side, I’m really glad to see the area getting some attention…

    But the practical side of me says your crazy to ride down Sullivant avenue. Perhaps during the day one would be fine, but if someone took the police crime report map from the CPD site and overlaid it on this map of the bike corridor they would realize your riding through one of the highest crime parts of the city.

    This is a positive development, and this is a nice step… but on a nice evening in the summer I’m gonna put my bike on my car and start from some place that isn’t likely to get me killed.

  12. johnwirtz March 17, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am

    I’m not sure sharrows are appropriate as a treatment for a long corridor, like all the way from Franklinton to beyond I-270. They’re better for connecting two bike facilities over a short distance where there is no better option available.

  13. Walker Evans
    Walker March 17, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am

    While it may not be the most desirable area to ride through, I’m sure there is a certain population that lives within close proximity to Sullivant who utilize bikes as a primary means of transportation. Helping to improve their infrastructure is just as important (if not moreso) than only putting sharrows in the nicer parts of town.

  14. Twixlen March 17, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm

    I am really excited about all the bike development that’s happening on the west side (crossing fingers for hub on Wilson!), but putting sharrows the length of Sullivant is lunacy. And not because it’s a rougher neighborhood – but because the traffic on Sullivant is the wild west of traffic laws as it is.

    They put legitimate bike lanes along a long section of W Broad, and I see people using them. I also see people riding in them against traffic, walking in them with traffic, and riding their bikes on the sidewalks.

    I feel like there is an education component missing. The majority of the folks using the bike lanes on the west side are doing so out of necessity – but they have no idea what they are doing.

  15. musicfan2 March 18, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am

    Great comments @Walker. Love that balloon analogy!
    Sharrows are a start indeed folks. Look at how far we’ve come in just a few years. Soon, you’ll be able to ride a bike from Grandview/OSU to London, to Yellow Springs, to Cincy. Or almost around 270 on a bike path. Or to the airport? Progress in small steps. At least we have a city that supports these ideas – they understand in order to attract and retain talent (young), we must have this type of infrastructure.

    A few weeks back, I rode from OSU Campus, through Grandview, under 670, through the construction mess (which they should clean up and allow bikes access) across the bridge, across McKinley, and along the route that on the map above.
    (Green, Blue, Red, Brown, Blue, Purple, across Broad and out to Clime Road and out to London.)

    Riding through these particular Neighborhoods, I don’t think are that bad, however, it was only about 40 degrees outside that day. I agree (with above poster), in the summer, with so many people outside on the weekends or after work, it would not feel safe.

    Also excited about Hub on Wlson.
    I would never ride on Sullivant Ave – even with sharrows.

    Interesting part, I felt like the cars and drivers treated me with more respect on my ride through the route described above (west side) than they do up on the Northwest part of town. They gave me more than 3 feet and waited on me in most instances.

    However: Riding down Dublin Rd from Fishinger to Shawnee Hills; riding on Hard Road; Smokey Row; Near the Zoo; or anywhere really in and around Powell/Dublin is a lesson in people who think they are way more important in their cars than you on a bike. Cell phones in hand, honking, rolling down windows and yelling, not giving 3 feet, passing me over a double yellow-into on coming traffic, etc. Something the City of Dublin/Powell may not be aware. @Twixlen – education IS the key!

    My experiences in Upper Arlington, Westerville, Bexley, Franklin Park area, Pickerington, Three Creeks, Canal Winchester, beyond Little Turtle, are all positive about 95% of the time.

    From my saddle and opinion,riding out west and using those fancy sharrows has it’s benefits and could possibly be safer than riding through Dublin-Powell or even down High St, IMHO.

  16. Brent Warren
    Brent Warren March 19, 2013 3:12 pm at 3:12 pm

    @Cole: according to the city’s fact sheet at the link above, which was updated in February, the turn lane and parking are still part of the plans.

  17. lifeontwowheels March 19, 2013 9:00 pm at 9:00 pm

    Twix I remember making the education argument as a crucial part of the lane installation. I also remember many of my comments being mocked, ridiculed and out down by proponents of the lane.

    Living right off Sullivant I’ll be interested to see how these turn out.

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