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Posted by on Nov 27, 2009 in General, Safety | 9 comments

Thanks LAB . . . For Nothing

Today, for the first time,  I rode Edgewater Drive by bicycle in a passive manner. I’ve done it in an assertive manner with no trouble, but I decided to see how a gutter bunny would handle it.

It took every bit of  skill I had to accomplish this. I rode, as the City of Orlando and the LAB wants me to, in the bike lane and I just about lost my mind doing so.

You’ve heard of TMI (too much information)? Well that’s the way I felt. On one hand, I had to worry about doors opening into the bike lane, which several did, but then I also had to worry about cars passing too close since I was riding very close to the white dividing line. And they were passing too close.

But then, I had to weave back and forth when I got to the intersections. Suddenly the lane ended for no good reason and in other places I got dashed lines. In any case, merging with traffic was a nightmare.

Keri has picked on Baldwin Park, but I think Edgewater Drive is confusing for motorists as well as cyclists.

9 Comments

  1. Quite an experiment!

    I never ride in them either, and last month I rode the bike lane on Alafaya in rush hour. It was so awful! It was like a mouse running under an elephant stampede. It was more pleasant to take the lane two hours later on University in the dark! I don’t know how they do it, hugging that curb.

  2. I rented an office on Edgewater at the south end of College Park for 6 years. So I have daily experience with that nasty thing.

    I was hit by a car in that bike lane the first year. I have had at least 3 doors flung open that would have been doorings if I wasn’t riding at the left edge. I had numerous close calls with left crosses and right hooks before I learned to merge out of it at certain intersections. And even after I learned where all the intersection conflicts were, I was almost hit 3 times by motorists who swerved, with no warning, into the bike lane to use it (and open onstreet parking spaces) to pass traffic on the right.

    Imagine my reaction at the national bike summit when LAB’s materials included a flyer about Compete Streets which highlighted Edgewater Drive. Really? Edgewater? Where the sidewalk is so obstacle-ridden you can’t push a stroller on it (let alone a wheelchair), you can’t cross the friggin street in a crosswalk because no one yields, and they reduced bicyclists from a 10 foot travel lane to one foot of usable bike lane. And that’s the best LAB could find? I started to write a post about that last spring, but it was so caustic I canned it.

    I got into advocacy looking for a way to make motorists recognize that bike lane. My research led me to Portland’s blue bike lanes which led me to several studies of them and, ultimately, to Forester’s critique which made the most sense of anything I’d read. That was the beginning of the journey.

    • “Compete Streets which highlighted Edgewater Drive.”

      If this is a “Complete Street” then I don’t want to have anything to do with it.

      • It shows the absurdity of the “complete streets” program. The concept is good, the application almost always sucks for cyclists because it’s symbolic BS. The slide show on their website will make an effective cyclist scream. Every presentation I’ve seen has made me want to throw rotten vegetables at the presenter because it’s slide after slide of road diets resulting in door zone bike lanes.

        As Steve A says, there are way worse things than benign neglect.

        That said, I do like most of their pedestrian infrastructure solutions. I am very in favor of ped infrastructure and streetscaping. Just spare me the gutter lanes.

        Marginalization is not accommodation. I’ll scream that from the rooftops til my fellow cyclists catch on to the hoax, or I’ll die trying.

  3. Keri… I’m chairing the STAR Team committee to encourage Springfield to adopt a complete streets policy. It’s my goal to construct a policy that will avoid some of the problems that are all too apparent in “complete streets.” Springfield has a come a long way in moving away from the idea of lanes to the idea of narrow streets and sharrows. Our two big bragging points this year: two major north-south streets through downtown narrowed to 3 laners. And they will soon be designated bicycle routes.

    • Andy, you’re doing great work up there! The key to implementing the good ideas from “complete streets” is to have a cyclist watchdog (like you) to maintain the integrity throughout design and implementation.

    • Oh yes, BL advocates are long on substantive counter arguments and rarely make ad hominem attacks…