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Bicycle Facilities: What do YOU want?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Transportation Bicycle Facilities: What do YOU want?

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  • #93970

    I have attended the meetings of the City of Columbus Bicycle Subcommittee and while disappointed at the turnout, I realize not everyone can make time to attend the meetings because of other commitments. Nevertheless, many decisions concerning building and maintenance of bicycling facilities are made at these meetings and at similar meetings and by planners in the adjoining suburbs and townships. I am therefore offering a brief tutorial as to the types of bicycle facilities there are, my opinion of them, and address a couple of problems I currently see in implementing bicycle facilities.

    The first type of bicycle facility is the separated path (previously referred to as a Class One Bikepath) These include the Three Creeks, Lower Scioto, and Olentangy Paths. In many cases, runners and other users may use the path, therefore the term multi-use path.

    The second type of Bikepath is the on-road separated lane (referred to previously as a Class Two Bikepath) This involved a lane set aside exclusively for bicycles on a street. Examples of these are the Schrock Road and Morse Road Bikeways. Cycletracks, which are separated from the automobile lanes by barriers, also fall into this category.

    The third type of bicycle facilitiy (previously Class Three Bikeway) is the shared facility, generally used on low traffic volume streets where it is possible for bicycles and automobiles to share the street without too much interference with each other. Calumet and Milton Streets in Clintonville and Bryden Road on the Near East Side are examples of these.

    While all these facilities have their place in the bicycle facility infrastructure, I prefer the Class Three linked with the Class One facilities. I believe these allow cyclists to minimize their use of main streets (arterials) and to proceed from any part of Greater Columbus to any other part, or out of the city entirely, with a measure of safety and efficiency.

    There are three problems I feel need to be addressed in the implementation of these facilities however. One is the lack of coordination between governemental entities such as the City, suburbs, townships, and counties and the State Department of Transportation, as well as departments within the City, such as Parks and Recreation and the Metro Parks Board, which oversee the Multi-use Paths.

    This leads to facilities which are disconnected from each other, requiring cyclists to use main streets to make connections where it is possible to make connections. The second is lack of interest by developers in developing their subdivisions and other developments to facilitate bicycle travel between them. Side streets could be linked up by paths in and between subdivisions which would allow cyclists to use these roads and minimize use of main streets, frequently farm-to-market roads which were never designed to carry the volumes of traffic they are being called upon to carry. The third is the lack of interest by the Ohio Department of Transportation in designing its facilities to accommodate users other than motorists (until long after the fact) such as bicyclists and pedestrians. There have been hopeful signs that ODOT is making changes in their policies to accommodate other users, although further progress is needed. There is also the beginnings of cooperation between governmental entities to connect their facilities, but more work is also needed in this area. Finally, I would like to see voluntary cooperation on the part of developers to make their developments more “bicycle friendly”. I stand ready, as well as do many other cyclists, to advise them in this area. If this is not possible, I would like to see ordinances passed requiring developers to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians, and others in their plans.

    I welcome more discussion of this topic, and would be interested in input from as many readers as possible.

    #515045

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

    Intelligent design would be a start.

    #515046
    Jason Powell
    Jason Powell
    Participant

    There won’t be more bike commuters in this city until we get more dedicated bike lanes, NOT more shareways.

    #515047

    rodrudinger said:
    I have attended the meetings of the City of Columbus Bicycle Subcommittee and while disappointed at the turnout, I realize not everyone can make time to attend the meetings because of other commitments. Nevertheless, many decisions concerning building and maintenance of bicycling facilities are made at these meetings and at similar meetings and by planners in the adjoining suburbs and townships. I am therefore offering a brief tutorial as to the types of bicycle facilities there are, my opinion of them, and address some problems I currently see in implementing bicycle facilities.

    The first type of bicycle facility is the separated path (previously referred to as a Class One Bikepath) These include the Three Creeks, Lower Scioto, and Olentangy Paths. In many cases, runners and other users may use the path, therefore the term multi-use path.

    The second type of Bikepath is the on-road separated lane (referred to previously as a Class Two Bikepath) This involves a lane set aside exclusively for bicycles on a street. Examples of these are the Schrock Road and Morse Road Bikeways. Cycletracks, which are separated from the automobile lanes by barriers, also fall into this category.

    The third type of bicycle facilitiy (previously Class Three Bikeway) is the shared facility, generally used on low traffic volume streets where it is possible for bicycles and automobiles to share the street without too much interference with each other. Calumet and Milton Streets in Clintonville and Bryden Road on the Near East Side are examples of these.

    While all these facilities have their place in the bicycle facility infrastructure, I prefer the Class Three linked with the Class One facilities. I believe these allow cyclists to minimize their use of main streets (arterials) and to proceed from any part of Greater Columbus to any other part, or out of the city entirely, with a measure of safety and efficiency.

    There are three problems I feel need to be addressed in the implementation of these facilities however. One is the lack of coordination between governemental entities such as the City, suburbs, townships, and counties and the State Department of Transportation, as well as departments within the City, such as Parks and Recreation and the Metro Parks Board, which oversee the Multi-use Paths.
    This leads to facilities which are disconnected from each other, requiring cyclists to use main streets to make connections where it is possible to make connections. The second is lack of interest by developers in developing their subdivisions and other developments to facilitate bicycle travel between them. Side streets could be linked up by paths in and between subdivisions which would allow cyclists to use these roads and minimize use of main streets, frequently farm-to-market roads which were never designed to carry the volumes of traffic they are being called upon to carry. The third is the lack of interest by the Ohio Department of Transportation in designing its facilities to accommodate users other than motorists (until long after the fact) such as bicyclists and pedestrians. There have been hopeful signs that ODOT is making changes in their policies to accommodate other users, although further progress is needed. There is also the beginnings of cooperation between governmental entities to connect their facilities, but more work is also needed in this area. Finally, I would like to see voluntary cooperation on the part of developers to make their developments more “bicycle friendly”. I stand ready, as well as do many other cyclists, to advise them in this area. If this is not possible, I would like to see ordinances passed requiring developers to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians, and others in their plans.

    I welcome more discussion of this topic, and would be interested in input from as many readers as possible.

    #515048

    rodrudinger said:

    #515049

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

    jpizzow said:
    There won’t be more bike commuters in this city until we get more dedicated bike lanes, NOT more shareways.

    Considering the current bike lanes we have and how they are designed will more of those actually encourage people?

    #515050
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    jpizzow said:
    There won’t be more bike commuters in this city until we get more dedicated bike lanes, NOT more shareways.

    I see a lot more bike riders now on Gay Street than I did prior to its two-way conversion. That didn’t require dedicated bike lanes to make people comfortable riding on that street.

    #515051

    Analogue Kid
    Participant

    jpizzow said:
    There won’t be more bike commuters in this city until we get more dedicated bike lanes, NOT more shareways.

    Agreed, I love to ride but I’d never go on High Street despite sharrows. The Olentangy Trail is my friend, but it sucks getting there and I wish we had connector trails or bike lanes on Ackerman.

    #515052

    JB05
    Participant

    East-West access, more than anything. Excellent North-South access exists already in the form of the Olentangy Trail and the soon-to-be-contiguous Alum Creek Trail. How can you easily cross the Scioto River though for western destinations? Only via an unconnected bike bridge downtown, or the main street bridge I guess. Railroad tracks through most of town also present challenges.

    My preference would be for class 2 bike facilities (on street bike lanes). It’s law in Columbus that you can’t ride a bike on the sidewalk because it’s dangerous.. unless it’s a slightly wider sidewalk that has been designated as a multi-use path. If sidewalk-riding is so dangerous, how is it that off-street paths running parallel to the street are considered so safe (they are “class one” facilities, after all). Where is the logic in that? They usually run in both directions (both with and against traffic), as well. If that is how we’re going to proceed, why not just widen each sidewalk in the city by a few feet, declare it a multi-use path, and call it a day?

    Of course, I understand that road widening is an extremely costly and intensive process due to the utility, curbing and utility adjustments that must be made, along with sidewalk and right-of-way/easement issues.

    #515053

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

    . If sidewalk-riding is so dangerous, how is it that off-street paths running parallel to the street are considered so safe (they are “class one” facilities, after all). Where is the logic in that? They usually run in both directions (both with and against traffic), as well. If that is how we’re going to proceed, why not just widen each sidewalk in the city by a few feet, declare it a multi-use path, and call it a day?

    1) Width compared to sidewalk. Joggers, pedestrians and cyclists can safely share.
    2) Smooth pavement.
    3) Intersections almost always have signed traffic control at instersections. The Alum Creek trail between Main and Livingston come to mind.

    #515054
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    I’d also add:

    4) Pedestrians and bike riders are generally using multi-use paths in the same fashion, traveling in one direction for long stretches. On city sidewalks, pedestrians are constantly moving perpendicular/erratic headed in and out of buildings, to parked cars, crosswalks, or just standing still, etc, which makes for a much more crash-prone environment.

    #515055

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

    It’s kind of like why you can do 65 on 70 but can’t do so on Gay Street. The design and construction make all the difference.

    #515056

    JB05
    Participant

    lifeontwowheels said:

    . If sidewalk-riding is so dangerous, how is it that off-street paths running parallel to the street are considered so safe (they are “class one” facilities, after all). Where is the logic in that? They usually run in both directions (both with and against traffic), as well. If that is how we’re going to proceed, why not just widen each sidewalk in the city by a few feet, declare it a multi-use path, and call it a day?

    1) Width compared to sidewalk. Joggers, pedestrians and cyclists can safely share.
    2) Smooth pavement.
    3) Intersections almost always have signed traffic control at instersections. The Alum Creek trail between Main and Livingston come to mind.

    1) Again, why don’t we simply widen each sidewalk and declare it a multi-use path?

    2) Asphalt surfaces age and buckle, too. This isn’t a problem specific to concrete.

    3) So biking on the sidewalk is safe, as long as it’s wide enough and traverses instersections with ramps and crosswalks?

    Again, the logic doesn’t hold.

    I thought one of the biggest dangers to biking on a sidewalk was vehicles entering/exiting driveways. We’re told that fast-moving bicycles are at risk, because drivers don’t scan the sidewalk for them. This dangerous situation is almost completely ignored in situations where “class one” bicycle facilities are constructed parallel to roads, though.

    I agree that such facilities may make sense in a metro parks setting. They’re sort of like the bicycle version of highways. For most urban and practical applications, though, I think dedicated bike lanes are the way to go.

    Projects like the bike path north of Henderson, while sorely needed, sends mixed messages to cyclists and drivers alike.

    #515057

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

    JB05 said:
    1) Again, why don’t we simply widen each sidewalk and declare it a multi-use path?

    2) Asphalt surfaces age and buckle, too. This isn’t a problem specific to concrete.

    3) So biking on the sidewalk is safe, as long as it’s wide enough and traverses instersections with ramps and crosswalks?

    Again, the logic doesn’t hold.

    I thought one of the biggest dangers to biking on a sidewalk was vehicles entering/exiting driveways. We’re told that fast-moving bicycles are at risk, because drivers don’t scan the sidewalk for them. This dangerous situation is almost completely ignored in situations where “class one” bicycle facilities are constructed parallel to roads, though.

    I agree that such facilities may make sense in a metro parks setting. They’re sort of like the bicycle version of highways. For most urban and practical applications, though, I think dedicated bike lanes are the way to go.

    Projects like the bike path north of Henderson, while sorely needed, sends mixed messages to cyclists and drivers alike.

    The alum creek trail is the one I know best. The section that runs parallel between Main and Livingston has very few commercial strips and very few conflict points. When I was using that I felt very safe but I would absolutely never use a sidewalk in say downtown or campus.

    Maybe what you’re looking for are physically separated/protected bike lanes? I think those could be a good application in certain areas.

    For Columbus, though, we really need to play to strengths. In the densest parts of the city, where bikes are most likely, we have an excellent and well connected secondary road network. These could easily be redone to priortize bikes and provide well connctef, low traffic routes. The knowledge is out there to create these bike boulevards.

    #515058

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

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