Public transit

Public transit

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Park Bike Lane

Google Earth Blue line = pedestrian walk. Red line = bike path

Just up the street from where I live is a lovely park. It's been there for ages, and has seen several make-overs and additions.

At one time, up until the early 1970s, a street ran right through the middle of two green spaces. The decision was made to block the road and have drivers circumnavigate the park. A temporary roadblock was installed, large signs a block away were erected to warn motorists that the street no longer ran through the park.

In my opinion these signs could not have been improved on, yet on an almost weekly basis someone would plow their car through the roadblock, shaking we locals from our beds. As one might assume, for the most part these incidents occurred in the wee hours of the morning and involved the consumption of alcohol by the driver. Eventually a permanent barrier was set in place, landscaping was done and the idea of reopening the street was forgotten. It was a wise decision.

Over time as bicycle traffic became heavier a long stretch of the street on either side of the park was lined with a dedicated bike lane.  Once again the issue of the park arose, as now cyclists wanted to continue on in a straight line, but this would require a path through the park where the road once was. And so the two bike lanes were connected via a path through the park.
Google Earth Red box = Entry to bike path. Blue box = Entry to pedestrian walk

This is when some problems arose. As the photos illustrate the pedestrian walk and bike path are not only parallel, but are very close to each other. Unfortunately there will always be some who for reasons known only to themselves will walk or jog on the bike path. But a more important concern in my opinion is those who inadvertently find themselves in the midst of bike traffic.

At first the strip of bike-dedicated lane that ran through the park was left unenclosed. Young children and older folks often walked onto the path unintentionally. The former did so not understanding the concept, while the latter group just could not grasp why anyone would be allowed to ride a bike through a park.  With time this has been reduced by placing hedges along the edge of the path, not only adding some greenery, but some safety as well (although in some places green snow fence is used, but that's still better than nothing).

Now the main problem with the configuration is cyclists ignoring the stop sign as they enter or exit the park, thereby crossing a sidewalk where, not surprisingly, pedestrians of all ages are to be found.

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