It’s nice to see these road diet projects come up, that benefit all street users. In this post we will look at some images of what the new design looks like.
What is a buffered bike lane, you maybe asking? It’s your standard bike lane, but to the left you have more striping seperating you with more space from the automobile traffic. It’s a common tool used in urban areas for bicycle riders to have a bit more space, to make your bicycle experience feel more relaxed, and safe. It’s nice to see this design come to Arcata, and I hope we can continue to implement it in other areas of the county, for future projects.
This design is not perfect and you will see in some of the images I share, that cars have parked in the bike lane. I contacted the city of Arcata to get feedback on this matter. I have not gotten a city response, as of the time of this publication. I will continue to follow up on this matter to see if we can get some solution.
Let’s take a look at some images now, and share some thoughts on the new road diet.
This first image below gives a good sense of what a buffered bike lane looks like, with the recently completed work in Arcata. In this image you have parked automobiles on the curbside.
Part of the design that I’m not terribly fond of, is how the line of the bike lane changes. Some areas you have no automobiles parking next to the curb, then in other areas the bike lane shifts to accommodate curbside automobile parking. In this next image below we will look at an area with no curbside automobile parking. Notice the transition looking ahead to curbside parked automobiles. The transition of the bike lane moving left is rather abrupt.
Next we have the bike lane going around the bus stop on Valley East. You can also see further ahead that a car is parked in the bike lane.
The next image below I see as a real problem area, and these next two images were what I shared with the city. This section of bike lane is on Valley East, and it is next to an apartment complex. I’ve been on my bicycle past this location a few times, and cars continue to park in the bike lane. You’ll see in the next two images both ends of this problem area. Other issues here is the abrupt change in the bike lane line. With a pedestrian crosswalk also located at this location, pedestrians have to walk into the buffer zone to be seen by traffic.
Next is a nice crosswalk on Valley West, a great upgrade for this street! As you can see on the left a car is parked in the bike lane. Funny as it may be is that it’s a car of one of the local outdoor stores(advertising on back window). Which I was disappointed to see, considering they had a hotel parking lot on one side, and a shopping center parking lot on the other side of the street. I was really unsure why they chose to park in the bike lane, and next to a crosswalk. While no parking signs are not posted you would think users would be more respectful of each others transportation space. It also continues to leave the question in my mind of how do we get the city to address this problem. It’s an issue that I feel is valid, and I will continue to look into this with city staff members in public works.
In closing I think that it is a great upgrade for the streetscape. Even though cars parked in the bike lane is present. Taking a close survey of the area, I feel this problem should be minimal, though it should be addressed. Particularly over by the apartment complex, considering those cars could easily park on the other side of the street, where curbside parking space exists.
My hope is where the local outdoor store automobile was parked in the bike lane. That this will not be a common place for folks to park on Valley West. Over on Valley East we could have some some problems with cars parking on the bike lane by the drive thru coffee stand. Considering parking lots are on both sides of the street, I hope this is not the case.
So it will be interesting to see if we can get some of these things ironed out with the city. Time will tell, and I’ll share a follow up story if things change! I see opportunity for some minor changes, and enhancements. Mostly with signage, and possibly some minor striping add-ons/changes to further enhance non-motorized traffic.
Complete Streets Advocate will keep you updated on any changes!
Please always be respectful of all road users during your travels around the city. Mobility is very important for all of us, and we all want to just be able to transport ourselves safely.