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Cycle tracks: Is less more?

This is the new contraflow “cycle track” on 15th Street:

click and then select 'all sizes' to enlarge

Here are four more cycle track-like facilities around the country (click to enlarge each photo):

click to enlarge click to enlarge click to enlarge click to enlarge
Boulder Saint Petersburg New York Herald Square New York 9th Avenue

Some of those are contraflow and some of them aren’t, but the key difference between what DDOT has installed on 15th Street and all these others is physical separation. Everywhere except DC there are curbs, or at least bollards, clearly delineating the bike space from cars. On 15th Street there’s a parking lane between speeding cars and bikes, but otherwise nothing but a painted stripe and some tiny reflectors. Portland has tried one without a curb, but even there the striping is much more substantial.

One the one hand, the lack of a curb, bollards, or even a bunch of green paint makes the bike track much less visible, and opens it up to invasion by cars more often. On the other hand, the lack of expensive components makes DC’s version much easier and less costly to put in place; no need to “construct” anything, just restripe and you’re done. Since money for bike/ped projects is often in short supply, this could mean the city might be able to implement more cycle tracks, more quickly.

What do folks think about this? Is it better to try the cheap fixes or is the more heavily engineered alternative necessary?

Update: ReadySetDC sends in an update. DDOT has added reflective posts.

November 9th, 2009 | Permalink
Tags: galleries, transportation, urbandesign



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