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I Spy a Bike Lane

August 28th, 2011

Saint Paul Street looking north from the Monroe County building. That smaller lane on the right side of the street is for bikes. Now all we need are some sharrows so it's not a big secret.
Last week fresh paint went down on Saint Paul Street – from the Monroe County Social Services building north to School #8 near Avenue A. But wait a cottonpickin’ second… why’s that lane so darn skinny? How am I supposed to squeeze my Hummer through there?

OOH… I get it, it’s one of those new fangled BIKE LANES! And there’s one on the other side of the street too (behind the Pontiac in the photo above). Something else is different too. Take a look at the photo below taken from the same location prior to the new lane markings…

This is what Saint Paul looked like before the new lane markings. You may recall Bertina Forde. She was killed trying to cross the street here.
Four lanes for autos, but no room cyclists (unless you’re a total adrenaline junkie). And you may recall a lady named Bertina Fordeexternal link. This is the spot where she was killed by a hit-and-run driver as she tried to cross the street about 5 years ago. Since her death, new brighter ped-crossing signs and a red-light camera have been installed here. These were just bandaids in my humble opinion. It’s the design of the street itself (and probably the location of the cross walk) which need to be addressed to make conditions safer for pedestrians.

The updated lane configuration is part of the City’s new approach to safer street design (keeping a step ahead of Governor Cuomo’s Complete Streets Lawexternal link). Instead of four tightly packed 11-foot auto lanes, we’re seeing more streets being reduced to one auto lane in each direction with a center turning lane, and 4-6 foot shoulders or bike lanes. In some locations curb “bump-outs” are added at intersections to make crossing the street easier for pedestrians. And “curb-cuts” for transit stops (or on street parking).

Rochester's Existing Bicycle ConditionsThis stretch of Saint Paul will also serve as an important link in the new El Camino recreational trailexternal link and is also part of the City’s recently adopted Bike Master Plan. As you can see from all the purple, red, and orange on this map (left), we have a ways to go. But this is a good start.

I just have one small critique… While I was taking the above photo I witnessed 3 cyclists riding on the sidewalks. Not a soul using the bike lanes! Perhaps we need a sharrowexternal link or two?

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 28th, 2011 at 2:50 pm and is filed under Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

17 Responses to “I Spy a Bike Lane”

  1. In Boca Raton, FL we have narrow bike lanes, wide bike lanes, and no bike lanes. On some streets and roads there are signs “Share the road with bikes.” Good luck with that! I ride about 18 miles on a bike every morning and a sign like that does not give a lot of confidence to me. The best cities I have seen for bicyclists were in the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam and Rotterdam. There a lot of bike lanes are separated from autos/trucks/etc. with an actual curb. That works.

  2. The City plans to mark all bike lane with the bike lane logo which is like a sharrow w/o the chevron arrow.

    The sharrow is the ‘share the road’ concept in symbol form, with a chevron arrow to indicate the direction of travel.

    See the link to Wikipedia for more detail of a
    sharrow, a shared-lane marking.

  3. @Richard, thanks for the info. Ok, a bike symbol then. But don’t you think the lanes could still use a directional arrow? Maybe not. Though I often see cyclists riding the wrong way against traffic. I just found a funny ad that NYCDOT put out on proper bike etiquette. Maybe you’ve seen the one with mario Batali…

  4. Scott MacRae says:

    Interesting post. I rode the St. Paul bike lane yesterday and it was great! I’d like to see the lane extended all the way into the city. I come from Portland, Oregon and when they put down bike lanes, nobody rode the at first but as the # of bike lanes grew, people started using them and look what happened. There are more bike lanes on the way as well as sharrows.

  5. RocSub:

    See http://www.rochestercyclingalliance.org for a photo of the bike lane symbol on Jefferson Road and Monroe Ave. done by NYS DOT.

    Here is the link to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part9/part9c.htm.

    The MUTCD establishes the guidelines for all the various control devices used in the USA. All DOTs in the USA follow the guidelines.You will notice the various options for the Bike Lane logo, with or without arrows.

    I personally like the option of adding arrows for guidance for the ‘directionally challenged.’

    PS Mario is one of my favorite chefs. The orange CROC shoes need bike cleats! LOL.

  6. Zack says:

    have used the st. Paul lanes three times already =)

  7. Harry Davis says:

    Hit By Automobile While Riding My Bicycle Wednesday, August 10, 2011!
    by Harry Davis

    Spent the day in Strong Emergency after young woman driver hit me on my bicycle on St. Paul around 9:30AM 8/10/11. I was on the sidewalk riding north near the social services building, near Hertle Al. Woman, Daisa Torres, age 19, was driving north also. There is a parking lot on the right. She turned left into the parking lot. She turned right in front of me. No time or space to stop. Hit hard and fell on the ground. Driver then yelled at me as I lay on the ground: “Why did you hit my car!” She drove away in the lot. I called 911 as I looked for her. When I saw her she then said, “Why are you stalking me?” I was hurting big time. She then said she was “related to cops & they would be here soon and would not give her a ticket.” Cops arrived. She told the cops “I THOUGHT HE WOULD STOP.” She said she thought I would stop thereby proving that she saw me & kept on driving into me.

    The cops issued no tickets to her. I brought this up to Rochester Police Chief Sheppard: NO TICKETS!

    Do “Complete Streets” Laws Apply Here?

    Harvey Botzman says:

    ‎1. “Complete Streets” has not yet been signed by the Governor.

    2. A “Complete Streets” law does not involve a situation such as you describe. In NYS or any other state “complete streets” applies to planning and design of roadways, bridges, …trails, parks, and other infrastructure facilities.

    3. What does apply in this instance is

    a. The general “right of way rules.” Pedestrians have the right of way over bicycles, horses (including horse drawn carriages), motor vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles). I believe that is the hierarchical order.

    b. A turning vehicle must wait until it is clear to proceed across a sidewalk cut into a driveway. I believe this is a rule specified in the NYS Code & in the DMV Drivers’ Manual.

    4. The driver’s claim “she was “related to cops” is a typical offensive reaction by individuals when they are in the wrong. It is also highly suspect and possibly illegal to ask a relative in a sworn position to unduly influence an incident & possible legal proceeding. Twenty year somethings always think they are correct. Think is the operational word.

    5. City Code states that a bicyclist can not be on the sidewalk within the Inner Loop. You were far from the Inner Loop. You can ride on the sidewalk on either side of the roadway. Although it is preferable that you ride with traffic even if you are bicycling on the sidewalk.

    6. I hope the police officer took all her information

    Why did Rochester Police not give Torres a ticket? Adam McFadden, you are my Rochester city council man. What are you going to do with this case of “police accountability”?

  8. I had a similar accident in Boca Raton, FL where I had a broken wrist, the other wrist fractured, a fractured collar bone and a fractured finger. Similarly I was on a sidewalk. The police report said that I was at fault. Police, unfortunately, have not read the state statute in Florida. Riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is the same as a pedestrian. I was awarded $130,000 from the driver’s insurance company.

  9. @Harry,
    I’m very sorry to hear of your accident!

    Gov. Cuomo did in fact sign the Complete Streets law. It just takes 180 days for it to take effect.

    As for riding on the sidewalk, it may be legal where you were but, as your situation proves, you can never exercise too much caution.

    Get well!

  10. Bill C. says:

    I believe that portion of the St. Paul Street sidewalk is also technically part of the Genesee Riverway Trail, up until the turn west to go across the dam. So Harry had even MORE right to be riding on the sidewalk- it’s a multi-use trail!

  11. Harry Davis says:

    Is anybody out there an attorney or know an attorney who would like to take this on? I did go to Strong Emergency right away so I have the hospital records to document this.

    The attitude of RPD Chief Sheppard is absolutely disgusting. I have his emails. Officer Piano on the scene told me that “if the front of the car hit me, he would ticket.” It didn’t, the side of the car was hit by me, so he did not ticket.”

  12. Jim Fraser says:

    RochSub,

    How did I know those new traffic lines would get your attention?

    Do you know why the bike lane on the east side is set away from the curb? It’s tempting to think it’s for on-street parking, although driving through as I do every day, the space by the curb looks barely wide enough – unless the plan is to move the curbs in, perhaps? A small car might fit, but a delivery truck clearly would not. Without knowing the plan, it’s a bit confusing.

    The calming effect of a single lane is nice, it’s – I don’t know – a sense that you are in a smaller, more interesting place somehow. Subliminal, but real.

  13. Jim Fraser,

    The plans show an 8 foot curb lane, probable for parking. Therefore the signs need to be changed and the bike lane marked.

    The bike lane will have the bike lane logo with a directional arrow. See the box below, “Rochester, You Have a Bike Plan. Now What?” for an example of the logo.

  14. Hey Jim… the gap on the east side of the street is for parking. Sometimes they mark the individual spaces with hash marks but this time they didn’t. I’d almost expect to see those new pay-for-parking meters installed there soon.

    TOTALLY AGREE on the sublime feeling. I once made an argument to the County DOT to reduce all 4 lane roads to this configuration and I referred to something I call the ‘NASCAR effect’. When you have two lanes moving in the same direction driving becomes a sport. For some reason everyone feels the urge to be ahead of the next guy. And if you’re more of a laid back type of individual (in the right lane most of the time) you’ve probably got some joker riding your tail or cutting in front of you to get around someone else. That makes for an unpleasant (and unsafe) ride for everyone.

    But reduce those two lanes down to one, and people relax. Add the shoulders and the turning lane and that keeps traffic moving just as smoothly as 4 lanes. It’s “sublime” because the joker knows he’s not going to get in front of the next guy (not legally), and the rest of us don’t have to worry about the joker riding our tails. You just play follow-the-leader. Easy.

    PS – Any news on 72 Conkey?

  15. Yes, let us have a campaign to curb bicycling by adults on the sidewalk and more importantly bicycling against the flow of traffic whether on the sidewalk or on the roadway.

    Unlike NYC we should not give summonses rather we should have the person attend a League of American Bicyclist’s Traffic Skills Course.

    Since many wrong way bicyclists are indigent or bottle collector or middle economic class bicyclists we should provide a light snack and a reward system for attendance at the Traffic Skills 101 class.

    Is there a local foundation willing to fund this very vital community service?

    Will the transport workers (RTS/RGRTA bus drivers) make a contribution to fund this program (bus drivers complain about wrong way bicyclists).

    Will the RPD Locust Club help to fund this program?

    I’ll write the grant and the New York Bicycling Coalition as well as the Rochester Cycling Alliance will administer the grant, find “League Certified Cycling Instructors” to teach the “Traffic Skills 101″ course several times each month. “Traffic Skills 101″ Course will be open to other cyclists on a fee basis.

    Education of bicyclists is the answer to wrong way bicycling.

    Oh! I rode on St. Paul St. today, using the bike lane and the non-bike lane south of the Driving Park Bridge.

    Yes, the lane should be extended south to the inner loop and across the Pont d’Rennes (Platt St. Bridge).

  16. Rich Rolwing says:

    In the last week sharrows have gone up
    (or should I say “down”) on University between approx. Goodman and Culver (maybe past Culver).

  17. I’ve been noticing markings all over the place… University, Atlantic Ave, Latta Road in Charlotte, Monroe Ave in Pittsford… Rochester Cycling Alliance says approximately 5 lane miles have been marked with sharrows in the City alone. 6 miles of bike lanes. A new bicycle shelter on Court Street. Bicycle work station at the Sisters Cities Parking Garage, Fitzhugh St. And additional bike racks throughout the City. That’s progress!


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