crankedmag

{ ride a bike… everyday, everywhere }

This Town Already has Bike Boxes

When I’m riding around, casually or commuting, I envision possible solutions to the traffic issues we all face as cyclists, many of which seem abundant here in Louisville. Sometimes I like to envision intersections like this:

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Frankfort Avenue

A lot of the intersections I’ve noticed in this town have a really nice space located between where the cars are supposed to stop at red lights and where the pedestrian’s crosswalk is. It’s presumed this area is a buffer zone provided to keep cars from stopping in the crosswalk. This area would make for a great “bike box”! And these “buffer zones” can be found at many of the city’s intersections; they’re just sitting there, ready for painting—I think blue might be nice.

Basically, it would b a place for cyclists to have a safe zone to wait for a green light at intersections; and to help prevent them from getting struck by right turning motorists. The one I’m seeing on Main Street and Brook is great because of the bike lane that leads into it. (Generally speaking, the bike lanes in Louisville are appreciated; they’d be more so—and used more perhaps—if they were safer and more respected; just a note).

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Main St @ Brook

Bike boxes are a pretty nice street feature that I first encountered in Vancouver B.C., but really witnessed their implementation on the streets of Portland, OR (here and here) and Seattle, WA (here and here).

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No Parking Anytime

I think I’ve mentioned this subject before.

I ride through Fremont regularly, one route I take is along N 34th St in front on PCC. This block is essentially a west-bound one way road for cars with a east-bound bike lane. (There are sharrows included for west-bound cyclists). On the east-bound bike lane are signs that, very clearly read “No Parking Anytime”, you can see that here:

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I’ve posted similar pictures here in flickr. It’s a recurring problem, typically moving trucks, but I’ve seen delivery cars and trucks, even police cars (maybe there was an emergency in the neighborhood, I don’t know). Yesterday it happens yet again. So I decide to call the non-emergency parking violation number I was given by a Parking Enforcement officer I met a couple weeks ago. (Joby also mentioned his instructions and experience, found by clicking the above photo).

Before doing so I ask one of the movers to park the truck elsewhere, to which he replies he’s “just doing his job, the building management told us this is where we load in from, the building does not have a loading area.” He also asked that I not be a dick before he continues in the building with his load.

I dial the number and am wading through the phone tree when a lady from the apartment building approaches me and also informs me that this is where they load from, the building has no loading area. I tell her I’m on the phone with the police, to which she replies, “…that’s fine, we know the meter maids in the area.” I think to myself, that’s interesting, I wonder what that means?

When I finally reach the officer on the phone, he takes the information as to what block it is, doesn’t quite grasp the idea of what a bike lane is, and then when I mention it is a moving truck, he states that “sometimes those trucks don’t have anywhere else to park.” The police are making excuses for this I guess. Not only was the truck taking up the bike lane at 5:00pm, but was also taking up a parking space in front of the building which houses a grocery store and other businesses.

Again, all very interesting I’d say. Are there bigger issues in this city? Yes. But, I have to wonder what’s the point of putting in bike lanes, be they green, blue, or whatever, if they’re going to be shoddily done and wholly unenforced? Why is the city bothering to claim it’s Pro-bike if there’s no priority given to cyclists? Why are our taxes going to any bike projects if the city is incapable of implementing them efficiently or even correctly? How about simply paving the streets somewhat smoothly? I’ll manage the routing myself (I do have to mention I have noticed the new signs getting put up, this admittedly is a step in the right direction, especially if I didn’t know where I was going).

An hour or so later, on my way back by, the truck was there, but so were two fire engines, evidently an alarm of some kind errantly went off. No meter maid, or Parking Enforcement officer ever came to ticket, let alone investigate my reported parking violation—I’m not surprised. This isn’t to say I won’t call again the next time I witness it. I’m not making this a vendetta, I’ve got other important things to do, but so does the city; so for the next few weeks I’ll be calling that number non-emergency (206) 625 5011, I believe it is option 8, for reporting parking violations in this strip I’m sure I’ll see again. I know I’m not the only one this annoys, while on the phone yesterday I heard praise from passing cyclists assuming whom I was on the phone with.

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This bike route symbol is nearly disintegrated completely.

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