Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Indianapolis Television Stations Report Problems With New Broad Ripple Bike Lanes

As reported on this blog last week, from the Village to Keystone Avenue, five traffic lanes on Broad Ripple Avenue, from the Village to Keystone Avenue, have been reduced to three lanes (with one of those lanes being a middle turn lane) to make room for two bike lanes. This has resulted in bad traffic backups not to mention two very unsafe bike lanes where bicyclist is trapped by high curbs unable to get out of the way of approaching traffic.

The Indianapolis news media have done a number of reports on the Broad Ripple bike lanes the last few days. Here is the WRTV report and WTHR report. My favorite though is the WISH-TV report, the video of which I have embedded below:

This story highlights something I have preached about on this blog, namely that the City is more interested in claiming credit for bike lanes created than the safety of those bike lanes. Unfortunately recreational bicycle groups such as IndyCog and the Central Indiana Bicycling Association (CIBA) are so happy that someone is paying attention to them that they will not even raise the issue of whether those lanes are safe.

The fact is, designing bike lanes is extremely difficult.  In many cases, bike lanes make bicycling more dangerous, not less. Serious bicycle commuters avoid most Indianapolis bike lanes. As quoted in an earlier WTHR report, a bicycle courier who travels 20-60 miles a day on Indy's streets, calls the City's bike lanes a "death trap." Indeed on the Madison Avenue bike lanes I wrote about earlier, the City has not even marked off bike lanes. Rather bike lane emblems have been painted on the edge of narrow traffic lanes with high cubs.

It is time to have a real debate in this City about the value of these bike lanes that are being thoughtless created, including how safe they are for bicyclists and whether the negative impact on traffic flow is worth it.

For an alternative view, see today's Urban Indy's blog on the subject.


Guest said...

Dear Mayor and wannabe traffic engineers:
PAINT IT BACK: THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: Turning Broadripple Ave. into a bike lane disaster was poorly implemented, ill conceived, and the zigzag at intersections is confusing and dangerous.(Evanston) The roadway paving and improvements were wonderful and now it has been turned into a congested mess, not counting the previous ongoing issue of poorly timed lights and backups from College Ave to BR Highschool. They put in bike lanes on Allisonville Rd. which are fine because they actually paved and added the bike lane but to take away from a major corridor warrants complaints.
So, I really don't need to shop or visit the restaurants from College to Keystone and I can go out of my way to avoid driving through there. I can go elsewhere as I intend to since this has happened making a trip through there -hell.

Jamison said...

Here you go again...I don't even know why I waste keystrokes debating with you anymore.

So now these bike lanes are unsafe because of the curbs? What, because there are no parked cars to open their doors into the lanes, you had to fish for something else? Everybody knows you don't like bike lanes...but you are rapidly becoming irreverent. We all know that you think you are the only "serious commuter" in the city, and everyone else just rides recreationally, but you have still not been able to give anyone a checklist of what it takes to be knighted with such a prestigious title. I ride every day of the year, rain or snow, everywhere I go....and yes on the NY and Mich bike lanes. What does that make me? I don't ride a bike so I can tell others what they should and should not do. I ride because I enjoy it, it is healthy, it saves me money, and it offsets a miniscule amount of the terrible transportation habits that humans have.

I am not sure why you label INDYCOG as a "recreational" group. Is that you passive-aggressive way of trying to say they are not legitimate? The people in that organization have done more than you ever will for cycling in Indianapolis....and you are just sour about it.

As for you continuing to use this "professional courier" in your arguments...come on. If you look at the guy's bike, I would argue that riding fixed without any brakes is much more of a death trap than any bike lane. I would not be surprised to see him riding the wrong direction on streets and cutting through on sidewalks to get where he is going. This is not to say anything bad about him as a person; just don't use him when you are trying to make a point about safety.

Finally, about your hack-job of a piece about the tragedy on Madison. If you would have actually looked into the story, you would have found out that he was riding on the sidewalk and was hit in a pedestrian crosswalk when a dump truck was turning right on red. If anything, the argument could be made that if he was on the road, in a bike lane (the project is not complete yet) then he would have been more visible. This is just a bad piece of reporting on your part and it shows a new low in you endless quest to convince people that bike lanes are unsafe.