Re: Well, bikes are exceptional.

1

What's the need. There's a sidewalk right there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 4:37 AM
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There are a few contraflow bike lanes here (though not with the nice extra buffer). I like 'em but they seem to confuse drivers.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 4:42 AM
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3

The contraflow bus lane near me seems to confuse pedestrians and drivers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 4:43 AM
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DC has that on 15th Street, N.W., from about U Street to the Mall. It started as a one-way (counterflow) bike lane about two years ago, but then quickly became two-way.

I walk home along that street. It seems to work except that you occasionally see very confused people trying to park in the bike lane (despite the fact that it is separated from the rest of the road by bollards and has all sorts of markings and signs showing that it is a bike lane).

And cars on15th street can now only turn left on a (pretty short) green arrow. So, you get a lot of assholes honking when the car in front of them isn't moving on the solid green light. (Again, despite numerous signs and markings in the street and an actual red left turn arrow.)


Posted by: tulip | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:29 AM
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D.C. did this as a pilot project on 15th Street, which is reasonably busy (it's one of the few north-south streets in D.C. where the lights are well-timed for cars). Not sure whether they're expanding it but I hope so--D.C. really needs separated bike lanes. (We've got decent bike lane coverage but holy shit do cars, especially cabs, ignore the fuck out of them, obliviously and with impunity. Also mopeds trying to get an advantage on traffic, the fuckers.)


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:33 AM
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6

Wow, so pwned.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:33 AM
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7

We've got decent bike lane coverage but holy shit do cars, especially cabs, ignore the fuck out of them, obliviously and with impunity. Also mopeds trying to get an advantage on traffic, the fuckers.

Yep, same here. Except that I have discovered that it is actually legal for mopeds, so I can't even judge them for breaking the law (I still judge them for being terrible people).


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:35 AM
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They have been putting in pedestrian-level bikeways (like, a marked part of the sidewalk, essentially) in here and I don't really know what to think about them. On the one hand I really prefer to ride in the road, as I would rather ride in traffic with cars than have to avoid (helpless, childlike) pedestrians, but on the other hand (as Blume points outs) it's not all about me, and they might be a more comfortable way for relative novices to travel down relatively busy streets.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:43 AM
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Also how awesome is it that Stanley put up another post about bike infrastructure? Another four or five posts about bike infrastructure a week and we'll be right up in the "adequate" range.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:43 AM
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There are places -- Vienna is the only one I know for sure, but I believe other places in Europe as well -- where it is legal for bikes to go the opposite way down one-way streets. With lots of bikes and that being a longstanding convention, it seems to work rather well, but it is something that drivers know to expect, so they are used to looking for bikes before turning.

The contraflow lane I most often use used to be painted bright blue and have lots of signs, but both went away when some street work was done last year, and now the lane is just painted like a normal bike lane. I wish it were still as visible as before, because I do often feel like cars think I'm being an asshole biker, flouting traffic rules. It can also be a bit hairy at the end of the lane, which runs into a larger street, where people turning left into the road will round off the turn a lot and drive right through a large chunk of the bike lane. I can understand that they're not expecting a bike to come out there, but hello! 1) pay more attention, it's painted right onto the road! and 2) square left turns, motherfuckers!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:46 AM
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on the other hand (as Blume points outs) it's not all about me

And it remains perfectly legal for you to ride in the road in those places.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:48 AM
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I've biked on 15th street once or twice. Confused my girlfriend in the process once. She used to live just north of U St. on 15th, and as 4 said the bike lane is one-way there, so she didn't realize it was two-way south of U St., so when she saw me turn south on 15th from U St. she thought I was going the wrong way down a one-way street and yelled at me.

If I understand the meaning of contraflow bike lanes correctly, they are also used for a few blocks on New Hampshire Ave. and/or Florida Ave. (one becomes the other, I think the contraflow lanes are on both, but wouldn't swear to it). Seems to work OK, and I'm pretty sure those streets are busier than the one in the picture.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:51 AM
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I think I was mistaken about Vienna: it's not legal everywhere, there are just a lot of contraflow lanes. In France, however, any one-way street with a speed limit of 30kph or less is supposed to be open for wrong-way cyclists.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 5:52 AM
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9: More than anything, I'm genuinely curious if Halford will show up and declare contraflow bike lanes (and the super-awesome sign) to be stupid.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 6:36 AM
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9: You really think Action Park is instructive about bike infrastructure?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 6:40 AM
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I have no idea whether counterflow bike lanes are stupid or not. Maybe they work, maybe they don't. As I said repeatedly in the other thread, I have no problem at all with marked bike lanes, just with cyclists acting against ordinary traffic norms in places with no special-built bike infrastructure. So, if the counterflow lanes work, great.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 7:15 AM
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17

But that won't stop me from calling Tweety an idiot.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 7:17 AM
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2) square left turns, motherfuckers!

Square left turns are technically impossible. If your road is theoretically a line segment followed by a circular arc, the point at which they meet is an infinitely sharp turn. That's OK for cars, because they have a lane and can shift around to gradually ease into that turn, but it's not really easy.

You flat out can't make a railroad track like that - the train would derail. Civil engineers have a specific curve called a "spiral" that they use for trains and occasionally for cars that eliminate that problem.


Posted by: lurker who used to work for MNDOT | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 7:18 AM
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19

...the train would derail

That never happens to me. I'm a really useful engine.


Posted by: Opinionated Thomas | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 7:33 AM
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20

I'll settle for "turns where drivers have to slow down". Blah blah blah Suburban-Nation-style wide turns with major roads, doubling the distance pedestrians have to cross and increasing the speed of the cars they intersect with.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 7:52 AM
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We have quite a few contraflow bus lanes that taxis, bikes and motorbikes are also allowed in. No one seems to be confused.

Also, not wanting to open a can of beans again, but was rather surprised by this German news - http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/1059 (sorry, can't be bothered to do html on phone).


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 7:56 AM
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21: Every couple of years somebody walks in front of a bus in the contraflow lane. I'm reasonably afraid of doing so by accident myself.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 7:58 AM
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21: The more of them you have, the less surprising they are.
What is the argument for controflow lanes?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:00 AM
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23: Running a bus in reverse is hard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:02 AM
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25

What if you pee while you run it in reverse?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:05 AM
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26

Much neater unless you're a woman.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:09 AM
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27

Square left turns are technically impossible.

Thanks, I didn't know how cars work.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:20 AM
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27 is perhaps snippier than called for. But I do believe you can colloquially refer to the type of turn that is less likely to run over the curb / bike lane / biker in the bike lane as "square".


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:23 AM
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I don't know about everybody else, but I always run over the curb/bike lane when I'm making a right turn. I can do the left turns just fine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:29 AM
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30

28: I knew exactly what you meant.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:33 AM
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31

Colloquialisms have no place here!


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:36 AM
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32

I didn't mean to sound like a jerk - my post was poorly phrased. I just think it's interestingly counterintuitive that the sort of turns that cars are expected to make are objectively pretty difficult, especially as the lanes get narrower. A curve of gradually decreasing radius is what drivers are actually doing, no matter how the lane markers may be painted. The people who lay out roads seem not to know how cars work.


Posted by: lurker who used to work for MNDOT | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:37 AM
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33

A curve of gradually descreasing radius while texting and eating fries.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:40 AM
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34

I think it's also easier to do a closer-to-square turn in a smaller car. Down with SUVs!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:42 AM
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35

My SUV has AWD and does very nice turns.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:43 AM
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32: a relatively difficult turn that requires the car to be traveling slowly is probably fairly optimal in urban situations.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 8:47 AM
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37

If not removing snow counts as a way of increasing difficulty, Pittsburgh is way ahead of you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:02 AM
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38

This seems to be the appropriate place to note my ongoing hostility towards drivers who swing a bit left before turning right and vice versa. STOP DOING THAT.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:06 AM
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39

My hostility is now focused on drivers who honk at cars making turns when the driver yields to pedestrians crossing with the light.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:10 AM
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39: There's an intersection I cross on my walk to work where I regularly get honked at for crossing with the light (and with a walk signal!). I'm considering stocking up on ninja rocks.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:14 AM
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41

39: yeeeesss. Let the hatred grow within you. Because that sucks.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:15 AM
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42

Crossing with your keys in your hand can help. Obviously an umbrella is effective, but more of a problem to carry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:16 AM
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43

Not seriously considering, though. I'm a coward.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:16 AM
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44

yeeeesss. Let the hatred grow within you.

Noo! I've been working on a new tactic, because I flip people the bird altogether too often, both as a pedestrian and as a biker. It's to the point where I don't quit feel in control of it, and one of these days I'm going to do it to a police officer or something. So I'm trying to wave in a manic yet friendly manner. HI FRIEND PLEASE DON'T RUN OVER ME FRIEND OH THANKS FOR GREETING ME WITH THAT HORN FRIEND.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:24 AM
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one of these days I'm going to do it to a police officer or something

I can say from experience that they do not find it charming when you do that.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:26 AM
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46

I may have mentioned here before my grandfather's very calmly swinging his cane and breaking the window of a New York City taxi that had cut him off in a crosswalk.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:27 AM
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47

I think I mentioned that I chased a car the cut me off. He was stopped in traffic ahead of me. I thought better of it before I reached him. Turned out he was my new neighbor and now I keep having awkward moments.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:35 AM
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48

You should probably wear pants when you go outside, Moby.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:36 AM
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49

On the internet, you'll never catch that car and you wouldn't know what to do with it if you did.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 9:46 AM
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50

46, 47: I stabbed a man in the heart.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:02 AM
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I should clarify. I'm not saying that cars can't turn like a capital 'L' - that's obvious. I'm saying that they can't turn like a vertically bisected 'U' either - which wasn't obvious to me when I learned this.

I don't know for certain what "drivers who swing a bit left before turning right and vice versa." in 38 is referring to. But the natural way for a car to move in a curve might look something like that - in which case, the reason the driver is doing that is because they have no choice. I think a lot of people think "why can't all these idiots just follow their lane's center line when turning, like I do". And the reason is they can't - it's not physically possible - and my imaginary driver only thinks that he can.


Posted by: lurker who used to work for MNDOT | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:17 AM
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52

My imaginary driver is Danica Patrick wearing a very tight dirndl.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:25 AM
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Even she will swing a little wide in the turns.


Posted by: lurker who used to work for MNDOT | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:31 AM
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54

After Moby's through with her, sure.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:33 AM
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55

Gotta watch those soft shoulders and dangerous curves.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:35 AM
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56

The other day I was crossing the state highway I must cross (or go under) to get to work. It's about 7 or 8 lanes of traffic, plus two medians. The light is one of the timed ones, and you get about 32 seconds to cross the street. That's usually not a problem for me, or the bikers whose path also crosses the highway there, but I do feel like it's a bit abbreviated for people with even the mildest mobility impairments.

So anyhow, the other day I was just finishing the crossing, and some jackass trying to make a right turn onto the highway was all freaking out and honking at me to go faster (despite the fact that I still had 4 or 5 seconds left on the timer). Fucker. If I'd had something to throw, I would have been sorely tempted to do so.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:38 AM
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I use the 15th St. and Pennsylvania lanes to go to work semi-regularly (I guess the Pennsylvania one isn't counterflow--it's down the middle of a two way street--but it is fairly protected from traffic with posts etc). Definitely wouldn't have started without them. There's one on Prospect Park West which has caused a kind of ridiculous controversy, too.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:59 AM
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Oh man, 56 would sorely tempt me to stand in the crosswalk, whip out my phone, and start checking my messages. But that is exactly one of those situations where I need to implement my smiling and waving strategy.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 11:03 AM
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one of these days I'm going to do it to a police officer or something.

One of our lieutenants tells a story of while he was brand new and still in field training. He's running lights and siren to a call and some lady starts to turn left right in front of him. He slammed on his brakes and reflexively flipped her the bird from like ten feet away.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 11:21 AM
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I don't know for certain what "drivers who swing a bit left before turning right and vice versa." in 38 is referring to.

Say you're in the lane to the left of a car that's turning right. That car, prior to beginning its right turn, swings briefly to the left, entering your same lane, and then proceeds to turn right. My contention---and I might be wrong here---is, there's no reason for most cars to do that swing to the left. But I think some drivers think it helps them "make the angle" or something.

Buses, firetrucks, etc., sure, they may need to do the swing maneuver, but cars don't (unless I'm wrong, which is possible).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 11:50 AM
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I agree. If the car slows down enough, it should be able to make the turn wihout swinging out in the opposite direction first.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 11:56 AM
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60: you need to do this if towing a trailer, or if you have to thread into a very narrow gap. I do this most mornings to get into the far lane of the road I'm turning into; the near lane is usually full except for a gap at the yellow box. The gap is too small to let me up into the far lane (usually nearly empty) unless I do this. I watch very carefully for cyclists on my left because how the hell could they know I'm going to do that.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 1:20 PM
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56, 58: I probably would not stand still, but I *would* slow my pace. I have also hit the back of an SUV in retribution for cutting me off in a situation like that described in 40. The dude actually stopped his vehicle in the middle of the road, and I think he considered getting out of his car and having words/beating the crap out of me, but then he thought better of it.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 4:11 PM
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if you have to thread into a very narrow gap

This really is true. I have to do it whenever I am doing a right turn into my driveway here, because there are cars parked on either side of the driveway and there just isn't enough room to get my whole car pointing the right way and clear them unless I swing out into the opposing lane. (Fortunately, there are frequent suitable gaps in opposing traffic; but sometimes there is a car behind me who seems to be puzzled by what the hell I am up to.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 4:38 PM
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There's a counterflow bike lane here, on Lyell between Alemany and Still (whereupon it crosses over a same-way car-traffic lane that's merging into Lyell). As you can see from the Google Street View, it's a reasonably busy street, due to it serving as a main route into the neighborhood from the freeway above. I haven't been hit there yet, though!


Posted by: Trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-29-12 1:02 AM
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