Friday, October 26, 2007
Bike Lanes on 14th Street
One of the items being considered by the Fourteenth Street Transportation and Streetscape Study is the reconfiguration of 14th Street itself. How many bike lanes? One way or two way? Turn lanes? Close the street entirely and turn it into one giant pedestrian walk? If you weren't at the meeting, take a gander at the take-out menu they provided, and the associated posters. You'll not only find out I made up that last option (about closing the street), but you'll get a really solid idea about what options are being tossed around.
One possibility that wasn't on the list, but was sort-of hinted at by a picture at the bottom of the poster, was the reconfiguration of 14th Street bike lanes on the curb side of the parking lanes. I'm fairly enamored with the idea, as I cannot count the number of times I've seen a bicyclist nearly murdered by passing cars. Worse, the bike lanes turn into impromptu parking lanes, forcing the bikes out into the street anyway. I have to imagine a buffer of steel between the bikes and the traffic would be a welcome relief for anyone riding the corridor.
The idea isn't without precedent, either. The New York Times City Room blog reports that New York City is experimenting with this exact idea on 9th Avenue. The picture is great, and there's also a link to a presentation by the New York Department of Transportation on their plans.
Now, I'm not a biker, I'm a walker. So I'd be really curious to hear opinions from the bicyclists in the neighborhood. Would a buffer like this be a good thing, or just a waste? Drop me a note, or post a comment, with your thoughts. I'm the LCCA representative to this study, so I would certainly appreciate the advice.