On Dr. Gridlock's Monday chat a commenter wrote in to complain about the 15th Street contraflow bike lane.
The 15th street contraflow bike lane is an absolute disaster. Traffic has not slowed. It's still as dangerous for cyclists. Street cleaners cannot get to the curb or they will rip off the reflective covers that indicate the bike lane. Cyclists are going the wrong way. Cars are parked in the lane. 15th street does not feel part of the neighborhood. There are misspelled words like "yield" in the bike lane. Please tell me this is not permanent.
My thoughts were how does the commenter know that traffic hasn't slowed, have they been out there with a radar gun? Dr. G got a response from John Lisle, a spokesman for DDOT, who replied that
- Construction just finished and there may have been some confusion among drivers about parking, but hopefully the poles will end that (Has anyone noticed improvement?)
- Some cyclists will indeed go the wrong way in the lane, meaning they will use it to ride northbound, rather than stick to the regular lanes of traffic, which are one-way north. They'll prefer the protection of the bike lane. But even that should not be a major problem, Lisle said. I tend to agree. Montreal has bidirectional separated bike lanes, for example. I don't recommend biking the wrong way in the bike lane, but I'm not sure that having some cyclists do it makes it a disaster. Better there than on the sidewalk.
- The narrowing of the roadway for the bike lane may have the side benefit of slowing down traffic on 15th, which has always gone too fast. So if it doesn't, that's OK because it wasn't a primary goal.
I'm not sure what the plan is with streetcleaners and snow plows now that the no parking poles have been installed, but they do have smaller human pushed versions of both of these that they use to clear sidewalks. And cyclists are used to riding in the snow. The misspellings are unfortunate, but hardly rise to the level of disaster, since they're easily fixed. As for the last point, I'll quote IMGoph:
Did the road "feel like part of the neighborhood" before? this odd turn of phrase is being used by a couple anti-commenters at all of the above sites, and it just sounds really weird and practiced, like a creepy talking point.
In other words, this is a rather hysterical reaction to a project that is too new to completely judge, with problems that resulted from the mid-implementation aspect of it and some small problems during installation.