Wednesday, September 7

Hit It!

We've turned a corner in North Texas. Two days short of setting a new, all-time record for 100F days in a year, the wind has shifted from South to North and dropped the temperatures nearly 20F. This morning, I was almost wishing I'd worn a long-sleeve t shirt. Instead, I turned up the speed a little to generate extra heat from inside. The official NOAA report is HERE, for those that want to see why I feel cheated once again. Still, there remains hope we might see a couple more 100F days, so I'm not giving up quite yet. There is a chance we can beat 1980 yet and become a truly EPIC hardcore year.

The turning of the weather means the wrap-up of a lot of road construction as well. One that wrapped up just this last week is a stretch of one of my favorite roads, called Martin Drive in Bedford, Texas. It is a comfy, four lane road with moderate traffic. Four lane roads, while they might look scary to inexperienced cyclists, are nice because you can simply ride down the middle of the right lane (or, better yet, ride in the line of sweetness) and motorists pass with no delay or conflict, simply by making an obvious full lane change. Two lane roads with double yellow lines are a lot more stressful, or, as in the photo below, four lane roads with cones galore. As I told my mom, in Texas, most places, we have 12 foot wide bike lanes that the motorists are allowed to use when no cyclists are present. She was a little dubious, no doubt due to the liberal Seattle training. Anyway, during the construction, that started back last March, it looked like the photo below.

Martin Drive - From Last March Through the End of August, 2011. Not Real Cycling Friendly
There is ONE feature of the new construction that I find FASCINATING. Specifically, it is a pedestrian light at the north end of the former construction zone. In the first photo below, as you can see, it's telling the pedestrians to walk, much as most such signs do. In the second photo below, it gives useful information to cyclists, namely that they probably don't want to dally excessively before crossing the intersection. The BOTTOM photo will tell you why this post is titled as it is. When that sign hits 0, the light turns yellow. HIT IT! This is the first of these useful signals that I've seen. It is almost worth all the disruption the Martin construction caused me. In total, over six months, this construction has caused me AT LEAST a half hour of lost commute time, but I LOVE THIS SIGNAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apparently Innocent Pedestrian Signal
This Signal is a Little Different


veesee said...

"in Texas, most places, we have 12 foot wide bike lanes that the motorists are allowed to use when no cyclists are present."

LOVE IT! And love the wider roads, especially early in the morning. Those extra lanes are so utterly empty that motorists see cyclists as fellow human beings, rather than vaguely mobile impediments. Once they get busy, things change, but the wee hours are gorgeous.

Tracy W said...

We have a bunch of those "walk" lights around our schools and universities. What amuses me is the realization of how much ground you can really cover on a bicycle in 5 seconds!

Steve A said...

Someday, motorists will also catch on and the countdown lights will get modified when people swoop through at 60 to beat the light. For me, it motivates me to greater speed than a beckoning radar trailer.

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