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Transit Topologies

 
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: Transit Topologies Reply with quote

Alternating Street Grid

During my time bicycling around Kent and exploring various ways to accommodate bike traffic as a member of the Kent Bicycle Advisory Board.

In my opinion there is not enough focus on using topologies that minimize car-bike and even bike-pedestrian traffic. Solutions focus on trying to use existing car roadways and then somehow "insulate" the weaker travellers...people and bike.

Alternatives are to recognize the versatility of the bicycle and its reduced need for roadway. For instance, bikes can use much narrower roadways. They are lighter and the surface doesn't have to be as robust...simple paving can replace automobile weight construction. Some bikes, mountain and hybrid can use gravel paths or even dirty or grassy paths.

That said, we can see grid systems where, say, there are alternating streets, bike-ped, car, bike-ped, car. One can see this type of grid in cities like Portland and Seattle where the older neighborhoods have "alleyways" for access behind the houses to yards and garages. The trick would be to build new suburbs with alternating bike/ped paths.

For established cities and grids, the trick is not to put bikes on heavily used roadways, but to go "exploring" and create paths out of little used roadways and paths. Occasionally it may require bridge roadwork to connect areas, but with connectors that are suitable only for bicycles and pedestrians.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject: Mid Street Crossings Reply with quote

I bicycle in a busy suburb. I find that with right turn on red plus left turning lanes, intersections -- even with traffic lights -- are among the most harried places for pedestrians and bicyclists.

And driving a car, with the perspective of a bicyclist, I find there are many situations which make it hard to avoid conflict with ped-bike flow.

Example, waiting for red light, I moved forward to make a turn. The left turning traffic stopped and I began to turn. As I did, and at the 45 degree point in my turn the Walk light turned white and a pedestrian entered the crosswalk at my corner. I was going 20 mph, and my alternatives were stop, which would have made me block the crosswalk, or hurry up and make my turn, which, while in my opinion was not dangerous to the crosser, may have appeared as such. In those circumstances, the pedestrian who enters a crosswalk has the right of way; however, I made the decision to push forward.

Again, this was in my opinion a lose-lose situation.

A better scenario is to outlaw all right turns on red in any high density area. In New York City, there is no right turn on red; however, here in Kent, which has seen traffic multiply, it's time to recognize the increased traffic flow, as well as pedestrian density and make right turns on red illegal.

As far as crossing on a bike or as a pedestrian, I feel that main intersections are far too dangerous. I prefer going mid street and making my crossing there. As a walker, I will go to the middle of the street. To me this reduces complexity, as I only have to be concerned with traffic going one way for half of the street and the other way on the 2nd half of the crossing. I avoid crossing where there are turns possible, such as driveways.

On larger streets I will run to the center turning lane...wait and then run again.

On a bike, I will go with traffic flow, then edge left into the turning lane. Then, mid street, I will make a hard left across the street and ride against traffic, but on the sidewalk. It is legal to ride on the sidewalk, and in many streets, I believe it is the only safe place. Also these are long suburban streets so in many cases the sidewalks are little used by pedestrians.

In fact, I have often argued for eliminating side walks in favor of a curb "lane" with a concrete barrier except where there are driveways. This could cost less and be far better and easier to implement instead of "waiting for them to build sidewalks" and letting people walk or bike on busy street margins.


Last edited by jabailo on Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea of this thread is Transit Topologies. Can we create co-existing transit ways -- mass, personal, motorized, walking -- which do not necessarily parallel but perhaps overlap each other and are optimized for their usage?

Last edited by jabailo on Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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brian-hansen
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Mid Street Crossings Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
and make right turns on red illegal.


I was hoping to make the right turn on red rule into a way to
help motorists understand what I see as the emerging
model for bicycle traffic: A "Stop" sign means "Yield" to a
bicyclist. I've heard this as a proposed piece of legislation
being considered in the Oregon Legislature.

I'm actually not sure if I support this idea, but it seems to
capture the logic of actual behavior.

In any case, how to get the idea across to enraged motorists
that this behavior is okay (assuming it is made into law)?
I say, compare it to the right turn on red. As an increase in
efficiency that does not add too much in the way of danger.

By the way, the "right turn on red" rule allows such a turn
only after a complete stop. I guess you were stopped, but
now I find the story confusing. I infer that you were making
a right turn, but then I don't understand how you were going
so fast when you encountered the pedestrian. If you find it
worthwhile to elaborate a bit, that might help.

Meanwhile, if I understand you correctly, this is a situation
that motorists often find themselves in. They are in the
intersection when a pedestrian appears. The law is clear
and the custom is often upheld, more or less. You don't
drive in the crosswalk when pedestrians are in it nearby.

It doesn't feel nice, being stuck in the intersection. That's
in a car. On a bike "not nice" is quite an understatement.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you got the flavor of my situation, and while I daily decry the behavior of motorists while on my bike, I was definitely "put in my place" by being the aggressor in that situation.

Also, when making a right turn on red, many times the person spends 80 percent of the time looking left, and presuming that the right is "clear". However, many busy corners here are adjacent to mall areas where people can appear from nowhere to cross the street. Result is the driver swerving first into the crosswalk just barely turning his head to the right!
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In The Economist an article decrying the dangers of cycling in America:

Calm down
With a very few exceptions, America is no place for cyclists


Quote:
Calmer traffic is just the beginning. In much of northern Europe, cyclists commute on lanes that are protected from cars by concrete buffers, rows of trees or parked cars. At busy crossroads, bicycle-activated traffic lights let cyclists cross first. Traffic laws discriminate in favour of people on bikes. A few American cities have taken European-style steps to make streets safer for cycling, most notably Portland, Oregon, which has used most of the above ideas. The result: more bikes and fewer deaths. Nearly 6% of commuters bike to work in Portland, the highest proportion in America. But in five out of the past ten years there have been no cycling deaths there. In the nearby Seattle area, where cycling is popular but traffic calming is not, three cyclists, have been killed in the past few weeks.


http://www.economist.com/node/21528302

My response...comment:

Quote:
What I have proposed is that we need an independent Bicycle Topology. The requirement of Bikeways are far from that of Carways. Bike roads can be narrower, and use less asphalt and have lower maintenance requirements. For those riding hybrid commuter bikes, we can even occasionally go on the grass, or take a little cut in a fence... We should be routing bicycles not parallel to, but askance from car roads...


http://www.economist.com/node/21528302/comments#comment-1027036
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