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Lanvale St. contraflow bike lane nears completion!


October 29th, 2010 | Categories: Infrastructure | 15 comments

On my way to a meeting, I was overwhelmed with joy to see the pavement markings for the contraflow bike lane on Lanvale St. being installed.  Now the signs won’t feel so lonely.  “Hatching” will be installed bewteen the yellow lines to create a buffer for cyclists and sharrows were installed to direct bike traffic to flow with vehicular traffic.  Bike symbols will also be installed in the bike lane section.

Thanks to the cycling community of Baltimore for you patience with this project!


  • Dukiebiddle

    Hallelujah. Fantastic. :)

    I do have a question about the new bike markings on Central Ave. in Harbor East between Fleet and Lancaster. It seems the car parking has been angled down there, theoretically so that there can be a kind of, but not really, bike lane behind them, but the bicycle markings were underneath the rear bumpers of all the trucks and SUVs that were actually legally parked there. It seems very dangerous for any cyclist that actually does attempt to use the “bicycle lane” markings. I’d just happily ignore that “bike lane” if it were not for the meddlesome Maryland law requiring me to use bike lanes wherever they are present.

  • http://bike.baltimorecommutes.com Nate Evans

    Ok, now this is just getting weird, Dukiebiddle. Once again we’re on the same wavelength.

    Not satisfied with the way the Central lanes are going in, I requested “adjustments” be made to all future markings there. When I was out there, most of the cars had “R” stickers on them indicating that they were moved from other sections of Central by tow trucks. We’ll see if cars legitimately parking there can do a better job.

    A reminder sticker on the “Pay to Park” machine might help too.

  • Dukiebiddle

    All the vehicles seemed to be parked legally; or rather their front bumpers were as far forward as was possible. It’s just that all the vehicles were either full sized SUVs or the really long pick-up trucks and their right tail bumpers were extended over the bicycle markings. It did definitely seem as though adjustments were necessary. But on a more positive note, I did check out the President Street lane from Fleet to Baltimore: that was totally helpful and was really the missing piece connecting SE to the Fallsway. Thank you. But it does seem to disappear about a half a block short.

  • blackeye

    This is great! I think it’s one of the best on-street bike improvements that’s been implemented in the city so far.

  • http://bike.baltimorecommutes.com Nate Evans

    Thanks Blackeye! I’m pretty excited about this one myself!

  • http://www.carfreebaltimore.com Mark

    Lanvale should be a two way street anyway.

  • Dukiebiddle

    I disagree with all you guys and your love of the 2 way streets. You cannot get left crossed on a one way street (I was almost left crossed twice today, even though I was riding with a bright headlight during the day). Also, cars can more easily pass us when they have a slow and a fast lane, which curbs lashing out against cyclists for obstructing traffic. Cars and bicycles work better together on one way streets, which is why Amsterdam and Copenhagen have one ways streets exclusively.

  • Dukiebiddle

    Actually, the “which is why” is probably a false claim. I have no idea why Dutch cities and Copenhagen have all one way streets, but they do.

  • Mark

    Comparing U.S. one way streets to Europe’s is rubbish. They already have a relatively balanced transportation system, narrow streets, and more of a critical mass of peds/bikes. As a daily rider, I find one way streets are faster and more dangerous for peds/bikes. Both lanes become the “fast” lane because the environmental psychology of the road changes. Not having opposing traffic causes drivers to feel safe at higher speeds. I’d much rather ride on two way streets.

  • Dukiebiddle

    Okay, let’s compare American cities with mostly one way streets to American cities with mostly 2 way streets. I just looked up the American cities with the worst pedestrian safety rates and zoomed in on their Google maps to see what kind of infrastructure they had:

    1) Ft Lauderdale, FL (overwhelmingly 2 way streets)
    2) Miami, FL (overwhelmingly 2 way streets)
    3) Atlanta, GA (mostly 2 way streets, but with more 1 ways than Florida cities)
    4) Tampa, FL (overwhelmingly 2 ways streets)
    5) Dallas, TX (overwhelmingly 2 way streets)
    6) Houston, TX (overwhelmingly 2 way streets)

    Using the same list, I looked at the infrastructure for the cities with the highest pedestrians safety rates:

    37) New York, NY (overwhelmingly 1 way streets)
    38) Rochester, NY (mostly 2 way streets)
    39) Boston, MA (between mostly and overwhelmingly 1 way streets)
    40) Milwaukee, WI (between mostly and overwhelmingly 2 way streets)
    41) Pittsburgh, PA (a balance of 1 way and 2 way streets)

    [via this list, which seems old, but I think the same cities are pretty much still at the top and the bottom]

    While I don’t think these quick observation comparisons of mine are necessarily conclusive, I think they justify a revisitation of the presumption that 2 way streets in American cities are safer for pedestrians. 45% of bicycle/motorist collision occur at intersections, and left cross collisions account for a high percentage of that figure. Left crosses are particularly terrifying as there is very little that a cyclist can do to protect themselves from them. One way streets completely eliminate the danger of left crosses. One way streets take an entire category of fatal collision out of the equation.

    Converting our 2 lane one way streets back into two way streets would convert me and all other cyclists into road obstructions, not traffic calmers. It would be technically impossible for motorists to pass us within the confines of the law if the cyclist maintains a safe position outside the door zone. That wouldn’t be the end of the world on any low density residential street that lacked a double yellow line, but anywhere that had any degree of through traffic and/or a double yellow line it would cause every single bicycle/auto interaction to become a hostile one.

  • Dukiebiddle

    I should also point out that the number one primary and secondary cause of bicycle/auto collisions is bicycles transferring from the sidewalk into the street, perhaps unpredictably. Anything that may minimize the dynamics of streets and intersections should reduce the likelihood of that type of collision as there are fewer variables for that cyclist to process. In the presence of a non intersection the cyclist need only observe traffic from one direction. In the presence of an intersection the cyclists need only observe traffic from two directions, as opposed to every direction. This is just theorizing on my part, of course; and a cyclist is responsible for how they enter an intersection and should not be riding from the sidewalk into the street anyway, but they do anyway and I suspect that a cyclist that rides into the one way sections Lanvale Street unpredictably is most likely in less danger of collision than a cyclist that rides into the two way section of Lanvale.

  • Mark

    That’s all well and good, but in my own experience while biking, I feel much safer on two way streets. When I drive, it’s also much easier to speed on one ways than on two ways.

    A number of cities have converted high volume one way streets to two ways with positive results. Milwaukee and Richmond are two recent examples. For an interesting run down of the pros and cons of conversions, see:

    http://tcstreetsforpeople.org/node/989

    To see on-the-ground speed issues of one ways, watch this:

    http://www.streetfilms.org/park-slope-one-way-vs-two-way-streets/

  • Elisabeth

    I was thrilled to see the bike markings go in on Aliceanna and Fait through Canton over the last few weeks – I commute daily on that route!

  • http://www.baltimorecity.gov/bike Nate Evans

    Glad you like ‘em, Elisabeth. We’ll have bike route signs with destination, direction & distances to compliment the markings.

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