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I wish they had expanded their study outside implementing bike lanes.

I think a great deal of progress could be made with R4-11 signs, sharrows, and striping bike lanes on the left side of merges.

It's a tough road. It has a 45mph speed limit, narrow lanes, no shoulder, constant merge lanes, and the occasional terrible pavement.

If lanes are already 11ft width, narrowing them further to provide a wider outside lane will be difficult if not impossible, especially if the road is a truck route.

Both the Glenn Dale Citizens Association and MNCPPC have asked SHA to put R4-11 signs onto the
state highways in Glenn Dale, especially MD-564 and MD-953, as well as MD-450 inside the beltway to the DC line. Greenbelt Road within Glenn Dale is not as bad as those roads, so it wasn't in the request. SHA's interim response is that Maryland has not formerly adopted R4-11 (although the request had actually been for an experimental use which would be fine). MNCPPC takes the position that federal approval is sufficient for county roads, even if SHA wants to wait for state approval.

We have a potential problem with sharrows. The federal guidance has a 35 mph speed limit for sharrows. I have tried to find out the basis for that limit, but all I have gotten is that the limit was a political compromise between those who wanted sharrows and those who did not. Evidently it does not apply to R4-11. Oddly enough, SHA did approve of sharrows in 2007, two years before the feds. SHA guidance has that same 35 mph speed limit

SHA does not have to adopt the 35 mph guidance when it revises its guidance in the next year for sharrows and R4-11. But it would help to find out if there was any reason at all for 35 mph. If anyone has the patience to track that down, please help. Many of the hypothetical reasons do not apply to MD (e.g. state law allows you to take a narrow lane up to 50 mph, which is not true in most states) but it would be nice if we could point to the specific considerations to show that they do not apply. An MUTCD official has stated that one can go to a higher speed limit on a case-by-case basis if there is documentation of the basis, in effect, a waiver. But that is insufficient because the very roads where R4-11 and sharrows are most needed on state roads generally have speed limits greater than 35 mph.

Any chance that the city of Greenbelt could ask for those facilities on MD-193? I'm unclear whether Ron or the letter writer lives in the town.

I wouldn't mind a 35mph limit, either, even when driving. Since Maryland is a customary 10+ state, it'll just reduce speeds to the posted limit. R4-11 signs (or preferably sharrows) and a reduced speed limit would get me using 193. It probably wouldn't encourage my wife.

I do live in Greenbelt, and I'd be happy to write them. The SHA letter here is responding to a letter that I initially sent to the Greenbelt council, who then forwarded it on. I'd be happy for some pointers, since my initial letter was more of a rant than a request.

"However, in order perform these modifications, a resurfacing project will be needed as it will require major grinding. This is to avoid the heavy pavement damage that would be caused if the existing pavement markings were to be ground out, prevent phantom markings and shadows created when extensive lane lines are grinded. "


This part is simply untrue. I'm shocked they send out a straight up lie like that.

@J: I don't think it matters. As Froggie said, I think it's unlikely they can narrow the inside lanes.

I'd like to ask them for something concrete and doable. Here's my proposal:

  • Lower speed limits to a max of 35mph.
  • Add R4-11 signs
  • Add sharrows (redundancy!)
  • Stripe left side of merge lanes as a pass through for cyclists

Lowering the speed limit would add at most 2 minutes to the trip time for cars traveling along the entire length.

The SHA re-determined the obvious: the lanes are too narrow for cars to pass in-lane. The rest of the suggestions just make the current law abundantly clear. It also leaves the current road paint untouched.

Ron:

I can keep you in the loop regarding efforts to get SHA to adopt R4-11 and sharrows. Note that their previous adoption of sharrows seems to only be for getting cars a safe distance from right-side hazards and possibly encouraging cars to move left within wide lanes. The other objective related to R4-11 is not in their guidance and as late as August MDOT was stating that sharrows and R4-11 were for two different situations!

Just send a note to jtitus at risingsea dot net.

Aside from the recommended technical solutions you have--which are most effective if sought through the locality and your delegation in Annapolis, there is something else that you can do: Help draw SHA out on their thinking. You could respond to their letter asking what the design assumptions are regarding cyclists: Is SHA's assumption that cyclists are not on that road? If not, where is the design cyclist assumed to be riding? In the center of the lane, 3-4 feet to the left of the pavement edge, or close to the pavement edge. No need to tell them the right answer, we just need to know what the design assumptions are. Maybe riding where they assumd you should be is the best place to be, but regardess, understanding their design assumptions would help us to know what to do next. (I have seen guidance that assumed a 1-foot passing clearance I urged them to make that 3 feet and I don't remember if they did so or not).

Ron:

I can keep you in the loop regarding efforts to get SHA to adopt R4-11 and sharrows. Note that their previous adoption of sharrows seems to only be for getting cars a safe distance from right-side hazards and possibly encouraging cars to move left within wide lanes. The other objective related to R4-11 is not in their guidance and as late as August MDOT was stating that sharrows and R4-11 were for two different situations!

Just send a note to jtitus at risingsea dot net.

Aside from the recommended technical solutions you have--which are most effective if sought through the locality and your delegation in Annapolis, there is something else that you can do: Help draw SHA out on their thinking. You could respond to their letter asking what the design assumptions are regarding cyclists: Is SHA's assumption that cyclists are not on that road? If not, where is the design cyclist assumed to be riding? In the center of the lane, 3-4 feet to the left of the pavement edge, or close to the pavement edge. No need to tell them the right answer, we just need to know what the design assumptions are. Maybe riding where they assumd you should be is the best place to be, but regardess, understanding their design assumptions would help us to know what to do next. (I have seen guidance that assumed a 1-foot passing clearance I urged them to make that 3 feet and I don't remember if they did so or not).

I just came across the master transportation plan for PG county. It includes a long list of cycling/ped improvements, including this plan for route 193: "Provide continuous pedestrian and bicycle accommodations along MD 193 with either a wide sidewalk or sidepath
for pedestrians and recreational cyclists, and wide curb lanes, bike lanes,
or shoulders for on-road bicyclists. MD 193 is a major east/west corridor in northern Prince George’s County and provides access to many schools, parks, and commercial areas. Pedestrian safety along the corridor is a concern and the provision of facilities to safely accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists is a priority."

The plan seems to be at odds with the SHA analysis quoted in this post. Of course that could just mean that whoever created the plan had not bothered to study what it would take to make it happen.

What's funny about that is that it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk in PG County.

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