Monday, April 25

Building to Push Out Cyclists

CAUTION: This is NOT a Cheery Post

"Car Friendly" Colleyville

I've lived in North Texas nearly eight years now. A significant fraction of my property taxes have gone to "improve" local roads. From a cyclist's eye view, I can't think of one single penny of that property tax money that has actually improved my lot as a cyclist. In most cases, the money has served either to subsidize motorists passing through local areas faster to get somewhere else, or to get cyclists off the road. At least in Colleyville, I think Andy Cline's "one mile solution" is further away today than when I moved here. I'm ashamed to say that some of the deterioration is due to misdirected cycling advocacy. Some is due to simply not considering where and how cyclists travel. We DO need better cycling advocates.

Cyclists Were Pushed Off Glade in Colleyville - BY DESIGN - "Safe Routes to Schools"
Glade Now is Definitely NOT Encouraging for Cycling
It started with Glade Road. When I arrived, Glade was just another two-lane road with a 30MPH speed limit and a double yellow line down the middle. Motorists didn't really drive much faster than that, and the configuration made it easy to pass any slower moving traffic (like me). Unfortunately, the traffic engineering people and politicians couldn't leave well enough alone, nor could bike advocates. Before you could say "holy moley," there was a "Safe Routes to School" pathway that crossed SIX driveways in a block and a half, but did not facilitate cyclists turning into any of the major neighborhoods nearby. The photo above is the ONLY time that I have actually seen someone riding a bike on this path. I have seen a few pedestrians - and a guy on a Segway riding the path facing traffic. Myself, I simply clench my teeth and shoot the slot. If you think a minute is a short period of time, try casually riding down this road sometime. Nowadays, motorists normally drive 40 down the road, since there's now nothing but a median and occasional cross traffic to scare them from bombing along.. Sometimes they go faster than 40. Conveniently enough, they've now added a roundabout on this road, ensuring that motoring traffic has less long gaps for any cyclist not wanting to slow the whole shooting match down when using his right to use this public road.

There are a couple of paths in my neighborhood. When I moved in, they didn't actually GO anywhere. They still don't, despite being identified as part of the DFW "Regional Veloweb." I did some reconnaisance just to see if there was a way to get from the "Cute Path to Nowhere" to Heritage Avenue. I concluded the only route would involve much machete work and barbed wire snips. So much for the local Veloweb.

When I went down Heritage Avenue, I discovered that the traffic boffins have been at work once again. It looks like this time, they're busily using my tax dollars to construct a service road for a future mall right across the city line in Euless, adjacent to Highway 121. While there's no evidence of any bike path construction, there's quite a bit of newly poured pavement that'll soon raise the motorist speeds on Heritage from about 20mph to roughly twice that speed. Scenes, such as those shown below, will be disappearing as soon as local developers figure there's a buck to be turned. In this case, the good news, if you can call it that, is there's no median or driveway bike path. Just a DASHED yellow line, which is unusual nowadays around these parts.

No, in case you were wondering, no particular event prompted this post. However, it does get a little lonely being the only cyclist on the road anywhere nearby most days...

Part of Heritage Avenue that Hasn't Been "Improved" Yet

Looking Toward the Future Mall from Heritage Avenue. You Can See the Red Ribbons Around Many of the Trees.
You Think Those Ribbons are for the Veloweb?

Perhaps most disturbing, another of those black birds that John Romeo Alpha pointed out when he commented on my LAST post...

Something from Stephen King - or from Hitchcock?


Janice in GA said...

And if the mall they're building is one of those "Forum" style malls, you may also find yourself banned from riding your bike down the main drives through the mall. I've had a couple of polite discussions with mall security at the local Forum about this. But I refuse to stop riding my bike to Trader Joe's.

I've seen lots of crows around here in the last few years too. It also strikes me as somehow ominous.

Oldfool said...

Believe me I know how you feel only there is no pretense by the "powers" here to do anything for bicycles or pedestrians. Every time I go out now people are just frantic. I only ride my bike when Ireally need to run an errand. My car less.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Those do not look like fun roads to bicycle on...perhaps the mallinistas will see the light and make some accomodation for cyclists...any public meetings or zoning discussions ahead?

limom said...

That bird looks photoshopped.

Anonymous said...

i don't know why there is even the mentality to even build malls anymore. everyone knows there is a recession, and its been proven that more village like settings, encouraging all modes of transportation to reach them, wins hands down time after time.

cafiend said...

Cyclists have a technical right to the road but the truth remains that if we all stopped riding tomorrow no one would be sorry. Cyclists are alien, incomprehensible creatures to the majority of Americans. Even in regions or nations where bicycling seems fully accepted there are problems with theft or an economic change will shift the balance toward motorized transportation.

Several times already this season I've had motorists brush close to me when they had absolutely no reason to do so. From what my other cycling friends tell me, that's the signature move this year. We always have to retrain the motoring public in the spring. Every year we wonder if their behavior will ever improve. I don't know if it really does or if we just get used to thoughtless jerks in massive vehicles casually sporting with our lives.

Chuck Davis said...

I'm coming around to think that bicyclists could make a better case for being on the roadways by articulating their use of the roadways as valid "accommodated" users along with the other non majority/traditional users, the agricultural implements

No road user has a right per se to use the roads

What may be emerging is a mv operator's countering with a "right" to be with 3' of a cyclist

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