Thursday, March 17

Down the Slot

This Road Encourages Faster Riding
Monday, I encountered the conditions in the photo above upon departing from a coffee store of a major chain based in Seattle. Up UNTIL Monday, this was an exceptionally pleasant street to cycle on. It has four lanes, traffic isn't particularly heavy, and the pavement is smooth.

Monday, I rode down the right lane, as usual, in "the line of sweetness." However, it just wasn't the same. While I didn't delay any motorists as much as a single second, at THE OTHER END of this stretch, "the slot," so to speak, my heart rate was noticeably higher than when I usually commute. When riding to work, I rarely try to ride full speed, but rather "comfortably fast" in order to get there quickly without saving those last couple of minutes. If more roads were like this, I'd be in better aerobic condition because this road not only makes passing impossible, but there aren't many places to pull over. "The slot," other than the short stretch in the foreground is level to slightly uphill, and in contrast to last summer's construction, I ride this stretch at rush hour on a weekday. It might just be coincidence, but this is the same jurisdiction. Unlike the previous "slot," there are more decent alternate routes, which mainly make this an irritating road condition rather than a serious conflict situation.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I took advantage of the short commute and local knowledge to avoid all this nonsense and ride a quarter mile further. I thought about calling Bedford to complain about the lack of consideration for cyclists this construction lane marking showed. However, I think they simply wouldn't have understood, even if they cared. Even a lower speed limit would have sufficed. If, instead, they'd simply turned the street into two bike lanes and no car lanes, what do you imagine the motorist reaction would have been? They COULD have suggested a lower speed limit while the construction was ongoing. All they would have had to do is turn on the "school zone" flashing lights and advise people to go slow in the construction zone.
 
No Phone Number on the Contractor's Sign for Anyone that Might Think They Could Have Done Better

9 comments:

Trevor Woodford said...

That looks a pretty horrendous section of road.....Great that you know a route to bypass this madness...

-Trevor

Chandra said...

That section of the road looks like a disaster waiting to happen. You are wise, knowing the local streets, avoiding it when possible.

Peace :)

limom said...

That, is some serious coneness.

PaddyAnne said...

I'm amazed to see an incline. Is this a Texas Mountain?

John Romeo Alpha said...

At least when the photos were taken from this point of view, this appears to be one of my personal favorites, a construction zone where no actual construction is taking place. I've been known to ride in the "no construction happening here yet" coned-off area sometimes.

Steve A said...

JRA writes: "I've been known to ride in the 'no construction happening here yet' coned-off area"

The last time I did that, I spent two days in ICU. Presumably, JRA does this only during daylight hours.

There is no visible construction going on, and there were no workers present when the shot was taken. What's more, there are no signs explaining what the intended construction actually IS. The only equipment is a single bulldozer at the far end of the cone course. But the cones have been there all week.

And, yes, PaddyAnne has spotted "Mount Bedford." Only a month ago, this peak was covered with ice.

cycler said...

This is what riding on many arterials in Boston is like- except the curb is lined with parked cars and there's no buffer to oncoming traffic.
As you say, one feels pressured to go fast in order to not hold people up and cause conflict, and it's not at all appealing to a new rider. Also, unfortunately the street layout leaves fewer options for permeating. This is why I'm such an advocate for bike lanes or separated bike lanes. Even a little space where you don't feel like you're participating in "the Running of the SUV's" is welcome.

Khal said...

We had one of those scenes a couple years ago during the Diamond Drive rebuild. I worked with the Public Works director on signage ("bikes in lane", or something like that) and public education. Of course, like you, I found my aerobic capacity growing during the construction cycle as I put my head down every morning and hammered through to limit my discomfort leading out a peloton of cars. An that's in New Mexico, not Texas...

The real bitch was going home at night through a scenerio like that UPHILL. A buddy of mine found a neat little set of side roads that sorta connected around the worst of it and we posted the route on the LA Bikes blog.

Certainly nothing particularly dangerous about it, at least in broad daylight. Its just that we KNOW the drivers are getting impatient....

Khal said...

p.s., "sorta connected around it" because you had to do about twenty yards of cyclecross through a field to hop back on the main road.

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