Bicycle Infrastructure

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
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Anondson
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby Anondson » November 6th, 2017, 2:38 pm

I don’t doubt there could be tweaks. Seeing how long absolutely everything takes to be tweaked, issues around these lanes are not unique. City process has semi judicial bureaucracy that slows everything to a crawl.

Nearly all public criticism isn’t “let’s tweak things”, it’s more “get rid of them and never make driving less convenient than before for any reason”.

mattaudio
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby mattaudio » November 6th, 2017, 2:58 pm

Maybe Blaisdell should have never been 2 lanes in one direction in the first place.

amiller92
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby amiller92 » November 6th, 2017, 3:29 pm

MNdible wrote:
November 6th, 2017, 2:26 pm
I'll just note that lots of people I talk to are frustrated when sitting through multiple light cycles at 35th and Blaisdell since that was restriped for the protected bike lane there.
Why is anyone even at 35th and Blaisdell? You've had ample opportunity to turn and get your car over to Nicollet.
I know there's a build-it-and-they-will-come theory to these bike lanes, but the frustration is magnified by the fact that the use of the bike lanes doesn't seem meaningfully different from the "before" condition.
Have they done a count? Because what "seems" is almost certainly untrue. When I've ridden it during rush hour, I've always seen quite a few other people on bikes.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby RailBaronYarr » November 6th, 2017, 4:21 pm

You seem to be dismissing out of hand the large jumps in facility usage even within weeks of implementation, let alone after a full year. Since most restriping for bike lanes happens late summer or even well into the fall, many casual cyclists are not taking as many trips (yes, it's true, some people do bike less in the cold!). This means people who don't follow infrastructure projects like we do here might not even remember to try them out until the spring. And while bikes can be large in number while being less visible than cars at rush hours, it's also important to remember that protected lanes like these offer a place for people to bike at all hours of the day when there wasn't any congestion on a 2-lane design.

Anyway, I have personally seen Simon Blenski, bicycle project coordinator (not official title) standing on the sidewalk on Blaisdell at 34th/35th taking pictures and making observations. They are paying attention. And I can also say that the "multiple light cycle" "problem" at this particular location (your best example) is overblown. I may have already typed these words here, but I would routinely wait 1-2 light cycles prior to implementation at this area, and that shifted to 2-3. At rush hour. We're talking 30 seconds more each day.

This is actually one of the few bike lanes that I can say with certainty did actually make things measurably worse (as opposed to <10 seconds on average each day) for drivers. But. This is not Official City Policy, but boy howdy it must be a rough life for people to sit in their climate-controlled vehicles an extra light cycle, maybe 2, at PM rush hour when there's a 4+ lane freeway a few blocks over if you want to go more than a mile or so. There may be many times where bike projects don't detract from drivers' experiences, but we also need to be comfortable saying "yes, it's actually okay to make vulnerable street users safer, more comfortable, and even give them priority" like our CS Policy does.

tl;dr we cannot maintain driver LOS everywhere and also 1) make biking and walking safer, and 2) welcome more people and jobs to this city.

BoredAgain
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby BoredAgain » November 6th, 2017, 4:33 pm

This is my block (34xx Blaisdell), so I have opinions.

They have not changed the light timing since they changed the lanes. I don't even know if anyone asked. Making the turn lane longer would not be good. The block is often parked full because of only having a single side available and the multiple popular restaurants around the corner on Nicollet and overflow from the Y at 34th. Also, the turn lane is not well utilized as is.

I continue to love the narrower street. It is much better for biking and living and has calmer traffic the other 23 hours a day and all day on weekends. I think this even though I am sometimes one of those people waiting the extra 30 seconds to get through.

My only complaint is that now some assholes think it is okay to go down my alley at high speeds to take a right onto 35th. (The traffic calmed corners in this neighborhood make cutting through more difficult).

SurlyLHT
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby SurlyLHT » November 6th, 2017, 4:39 pm

The Blaisdell lanes seem to be used when I ride them. Hopefully they're used more frequently with additional protections. (I think the city overall should examine the timing of the stoplights, I've seen them create needless traffic headaches.)

I would be okay if certain bike lanes were transitioned back to roadways from December to February. Remove the pilings and display a sign that motorists may use bike lane. They really don't do anyone any good sitting their vacant when it's -15. (I'm one of the few bicyclists out there when it's that cold and I know many lanes aren't used.) Compromise is an okay thing to have.

Similarly if there aren't more biking on 28th and 26th in the next couple years they should maybe make 26th a two-way and find another way to calm traffic on 28th. I'm simply not seeing either of these used, especially the 28th lane. I turn onto it from Portland and the cyclists behind me get to the Greenway ASAP. Other lanes that are used a lot like those on 3rd Ave and Plymouth N, deserver more investment. One's that simply aren't being used much after a decent test period should be scaled back or limited.

zlkahn
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby zlkahn » November 6th, 2017, 5:19 pm

35th & Blaisdell is my block and near my front yard. I've been living near the intersection for 5 years now and the change to traffic patterns on the street has been overblown. Blaisdell Ave has always been congested during rush hour, and while immediately after the restriping/lane removal traffic was abysmal, people have since adjusted. I live on the street and avoid it during rush hour, but then again, I always have. @BoredAgain is correct above, turn lanes could definitely be stretched out to be more accessible, although that becomes another fight as it involves removing parking.

What's more telling is what hasn't happened since the lane removal. It's been over a year since there have been car body parts in our front lawn, pedestrian, bicycle or vehicle accidents at the intersection or people street racing. I knew what I was moving onto when I purchased a home on the street, but it's impossible to ignore how much safer the street has become. I'd also be interested to see usage in the winter, but I think the reduction to one lane is a benefit enough. As far as biking on the street, when coming from downtown, the difference when it shifts from a bike blvd on Lasalle to dedicated lane on Blaisdell is night and day.

MNdible
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby MNdible » November 6th, 2017, 6:20 pm

To be clear, I wasn't opposed to the work done on Blaisdell. In most cases south of 31st, one lane is enough. But the situation at 35th and 36th is markedly worse than it was previously, and it extends for a much longer period of the day. And the work they're about to start on 35W is going to exacerbate the problem. Yes, in the grand scheme of things, this isn't like nuclear war and it's fun to trivialize -- but it causes real frustration to lots of people.

Again, assuming that the timing of the lights has been optimized (and I'm doubtful that this is the case, given how things move through here), the extension of the left turn lanes at the cost of one or two parking spots seems to be a minor compromise that should be made. Also, they should add left turn lanes at Lake and at 31st, where the extension of the parking spaces all of the way to the crosswalk is totally unnecessary.

And I'm not suggesting that bikers aren't using the lanes, but not in numbers obviously greater than what was the case before the protected lanes went in.

And, yeah, it's tons of fun to suggest a mildly contrarian position on the forum. Sorry I can't respond to all of your points individually.

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Anondson
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby Anondson » November 6th, 2017, 7:30 pm

Contrarians keep everyone on our toes!

EOst
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby EOst » November 6th, 2017, 11:11 pm

MNdible wrote:
November 6th, 2017, 6:20 pm
And I'm not suggesting that bikers aren't using the lanes, but not in numbers obviously greater than what was the case before the protected lanes went in.
This is a real problem facing bike infrastructure projects; namely, that measurable (and even dramatic) increases in bike traffic are basically invisible to most people most of the day. Take a bike lane that gets 200 users an hour at peak, which is very good--not the highest in the Twin Cities, but a solidly large number. That's still just 2-3 per minute. Take into account too that many of those users are going to be traveling in groups or clumps (either for social reasons or because groups formed at lights), and even a well-used lane is going to appear empty most of the time.

I don't know what level of usage would suffice to give passing drivers the perception that the lane is well-used, but I doubt you can achieve it without constructing the kind of network that allows a lot of people to feel safe reaching their homes and destinations, not just when traveling southbound on one particular corridor. But how can you justify that when drivers don't perceive the usage?

etc., etc.

Multimodal
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby Multimodal » November 7th, 2017, 5:56 am

My guess is that, subconsciously at least, motorists won’t think a bike a lane is “busy” or “well used” unless it’s as full as a car lane. But of course with bikes being much smaller, a full bike lane will carry *more* people than cars.

And as EOst points out, network effects are a big deal—without a fully built-out network, a beautiful but unconnected segment of bike lane isn’t very useful or comfortable for getting from point A to point B if both A & B aren’t on this segment.


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Anondson
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby Anondson » November 7th, 2017, 8:05 am

The majority of drivers don’t see people riding bicycles, period. Even after the driver hit a cyclist, “oh I didn’t see you!”

But drivers that do look and keep mental track of people riding bicycles in lanes, considering the space efficiency of bikes, won’t consider bike lanes equivalent to car lane use until double the people in a bike lane than the car lanes. But I’m cynical.

EOst
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby EOst » November 7th, 2017, 8:42 am

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/11/0 ... ike-lanes/

Harrison resident complains that new bike lanes on Glenwood force residents to park "several blocks away," yet well more than half the parking spaces behind her in the interview are empty.

alexschief
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby alexschief » November 7th, 2017, 8:46 am

I think David Levinson's blog last year more or less settled this subject. As others have noted here, bike lanes can appear more empty simply because bikes take up less space than cars.

Any time I see a picture of a congested roadway, I have a habit of counting the cars and multiplying by 1.2 to get a good estimate at how many people I'm looking at in the photo. It's rarely that many. Just a handful of people can appear like a crowd when each person is surrounded by a block of steel taking up ten times as much space.

Multimodal
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Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby Multimodal » November 7th, 2017, 8:51 am

EOst wrote: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/11/0 ... ike-lanes/

Harrison resident complains that new bike lanes on Glenwood force residents to park "several blocks away," yet well more than half the parking spaces behind her in the interview are empty.
.
“Formally there was a bike lane on one side of the road and not the other…”

I’m guessing that should’ve been transcribed as “Formerly…”.

Anyway, to her point that people with groceries, friends, & family have to part a few blocks away: what about the cyclists who would otherwise have to bike further away (or stay on dangerous Glenwood) if they didn’t put the bikeway on both sides of the street?


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SurlyLHT
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby SurlyLHT » November 7th, 2017, 9:06 am

I hope that electric bikes bring more people to the lanes. I stumbled upon the Glenwood Lanes on Sunday. They looked amazing, but I feel bad for those who lost parking in front of their homes.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby RailBaronYarr » November 7th, 2017, 9:08 am

MNdible wrote:
November 6th, 2017, 6:20 pm
To be clear, I wasn't opposed to the work done on Blaisdell. In most cases south of 31st, one lane is enough. But the situation at 35th and 36th is markedly worse than it was previously, and it extends for a much longer period of the day. And the work they're about to start on 35W is going to exacerbate the problem. Yes, in the grand scheme of things, this isn't like nuclear war and it's fun to trivialize -- but it causes real frustration to lots of people.
I guess we fundamentally disagree what markedly worse means, and to what extent we should even care given the context (a freeway several blocks over with exits every ~mile all the way down to crosstown). My experience along this corridor (at many hours of the day! it's how I've been getting the kids home from daycare, I prefer it to Lyndale if I'm coming southbound on weekend trips, I also cross over it on my bike when going to the Yon weeknights) is not bad outside rush hours. By 6:15 on a weeknight, I can roll up on my bike and usually cross the single lane after waiting for 1, maybe 2 cars to pass - and they do pass by because there's no backup from the light at 35th. I see similar complaints about the 2-way facility on 36th St on social media (and while door-knocking this fall) - that it backs up at all hours of every day and life is worse, and that just doesn't align with my experience living half a block off it.

I care about peoples' travel time - I'm not trivializing it. It's why I argued (and you counter-argued, long ago) that bus lanes on 7th St downtown would be better for the *general welfare* of travel times if people in buses were sped up more people hours than people in cars were slowed down. I just apply different values on top of the travel time base to my calculations than you - people who are out in the cold/rain/wind, or are more susceptible to being mugged, or are more vulnerable when hit by cars, or are generally poorer than the average citizen - their time and comfort should all get a bit more weight in that calculation than people who already enjoy the fastest commutes in the metro. Which is also why I think drivers get so frustrated at the smallest inconvenience - an extra 30 seconds on a 10 minute drive is an extra 5% - that's a perceivable amount!

I think we also disagree that if we just don't frustrate drivers, there'd all of a sudden be massive support for bike lanes. Just like I don't believe that if every cyclist followed the law to the letter we'd see a wave of support for more bike infra.

amiller92
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby amiller92 » November 7th, 2017, 10:09 am

SurlyLHT wrote:
November 6th, 2017, 4:39 pm
They really don't do anyone any good sitting their vacant when it's -15.
I'm not entirely closed to the idea of turning back to cars in the winter EXCEPT that they aren't entirely vacant when it's -15 and that's exactly when it seems most dangerous to be biking and winter conditions already have a traffic calming effect, which also reduces space for bikes to use.

So, yeah, I don't know how much good it would do cars and it would hurt those of you who are out there, so maybe not?
I'm simply not seeing either of these used, especially the 28th lane.
I see them heavily used for short stretches, as you say, where they intersect with other facilities. People use them to get from Park and Portland, for example, to the Greenway. I use 28th to get from Portland to Chicago and 10th (where there are a lot of bikes despite no official facility) with the bridge being out (and might continue to when the bridge is back). That's what a network is for.

amiller92
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby amiller92 » November 7th, 2017, 10:12 am

MNdible wrote:
November 6th, 2017, 6:20 pm
And I'm not suggesting that bikers aren't using the lanes, but not in numbers obviously greater than what was the case before the protected lanes went in.
I don't have numbers, but that's not at all consistent with my sense of things. Last time I was over there I was kind of blown away about how many people were passing me (I'm slow). It wasn't like that before.

SamtheBusNerd
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Re: Bicycle Infrastructure

Postby SamtheBusNerd » November 7th, 2017, 1:37 pm

I'm not entirely closed to the idea of turning back to cars in the winter EXCEPT that they aren't entirely vacant when it's -15 and that's exactly when it seems most dangerous to be biking and winter conditions already have a traffic calming effect, which also reduces space for bikes to use.
Exactly. During the summer and good weather days I don't mind biking in mixed traffic on many streets. If it's icy or rainy or dark, no thanks. All the sudden that guy who just gave me 3 inches while passing in his Prius just became a lot more dangerous.

I also think it's a shame that there isn't more focus on the city's part on improving bus service as a way to encourage people to also bike, walk, etc. It seems like that could have a major impact in a city with fickle weather like ours. I lived in Copenhagen for years and- while I eventually got used to biking in the rain- knowing that there was a fast, frequent, and reliable metro and s-train service if I needed it made me much more likely to bike on days where the weather might turn. Here I'm more likely to drive if the weather looks rough because I know the bus home will take 2-3x as long as the bike ride there.


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