Wednesday, May 13, 2009

GOOD Magazine on Livable Streets

Kevin Buchanan posted this on Fortworthology. Click on picture below for interactive details:

After clicking above photo, use "play" button, and "before / after" buttons.


Big Oak said...

I saw a photo similar to this at a bike summit sponsored by the city of Fort Wayne. One of the city planners showed this and said that is what he hopes to see in our town someday. Thanks for sharing that - hopefully many more people will see it and will help to transform our city streets into more livable and safer places to bike and walk.

Doohickie said...

The guy who left two comments on the Fortworthology site was just elected to a local city council. He's an avid cyclists and bicycle advocate.

Steve A said...

Perhaps it's because I looked at the "after" picture a lot closer than ever before, but weird stuff started jumping out at me tonight. Just covering cycling items:

First, look at the cyclist in black - he's zooming straight toward a collision with a lady pushing a stroller toward the camera. Perhaps he got dazed by the unexpected speed bump, or maybe he's worried about whether those crosswalk bricks are going to dump him on his head. More likely, he just noticed that pedestrians are crossing in all directions and he's the ONLY ONE going through the intersection on the road. His nickname - "Cycle Cop Bait."

Second, those bollards are bicycle traps, & it's unclear how they're helping pedestrians in the illustration, especially that solitary orphan bollard in the middle of the median. I really can't see cars trying to park on the sidewalk anywhere in that illustration, especially with the trees present. Cyclists are less likely to accidentally run into trees than bollards, since they're a lot more obvious. Hey, what can I say, I LIKE trees - I DON'T LIKE bollards!

Third, exactly how would that cyclist in the bike lane make a safe right turn at the intersection? Come to think of it, how would he make a safe left turn? I sure wouldn't trust that little curb on his right to protect him from a 40-foot bus. Speaking of which, a front bike tire hits that little curb and he'd find himself suddenly dumped on the ground right in FRONT of one of those buses. And just how would any overtaking cyclist in that green lane be able to pass a slower one? And why's it green if it's separated? Are they worried that buses will jump the curb to try to park there or is it to repel pedestrians? Perhaps the cyclist in the picture is about to jump over the median and zoom through the crosswalk to score a slot in the bike rack, which is unmentioned in the descriptions.

The REAL point, and it's well made, is that it doesn't take a whole bunch of major redevelopment to humanize a downtown locale - and it NEEDS TO BE DONE. The inadvertent point is it isn't enough for this stuff to just look pretty, somebody's got to actually figure out stuff that WORKS.

Cities seem to constantly run afoul of the inadvertent point. Colleyville certainly has been beautifying locales in a way that make it HARDER for nonmotorized traffic to get safely from Point A to Point B. The single most dangerous street I regularly ride on near home was recently beautified - and that's what made it dangerous. It's a sore point.

velociped said...

Steve makes some excellent points. I noticed none of the supporters of these so-called "Livable Streets" has offered a response - even rhetorically.

Another observation:
Any cyclist in those separated pseudo-cycle tracks is stuck on that side of the road. If they desire to patronize any mid-block business, it will be necessary for them to await the nearest intersection, transition to pedestrian mode, cross the road and walk back to their destination. How does this benefit the cyclist?

I realize many bicycle proponents are greenies (ironically, usually in name only), but how does the congestion resulting from reducing four to five lanes of traffic down to two result in a benefit to anyone? Longer idling at light cycles, slower speeds and increased volume will add to the pollution and street level and accelerate building damage from smog accumulation. These are truths proponents of these money-grabbing schemes neglect to pass on to starry-eyed sycophants.

Finally, the intersection conflicts highlighted by Steve are very real and very dangerous. Short of time consuming transitions to pedestrian mode, there is no acceptable benefit to these designs - not in safety and not in efficiency.

Cyclists operating as vehicles in the regular traffic mix is the only realistic answer.