You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘bike lanes’ tag.
In the fall, University Parkway was resurfaced (check out the video of it getting eaten). The blacktop has been nice since then, but it’s lacked markings. As soon as the weather warmed a few weeks ago, the traffic lanes and bike lane lines went back up. Today, a crew was out on North-bound West University Parkway, putting in markings within the lanes. They look fantastic! Many thanks to the work of folks like Nate!
Aside from a few new bike lanes here or there as part of Operation Orange Cone, there hasn’t been anything new to bike on in Baltimore for quite some time. Even the new shared bike and bus lanes downtown need some refreshing. One small victory was gained in the deep mid-winter on the central bikeway of Baltimore. Baltimore City Public School System had closed the parking lot of the Guilford Ave cut-through due to conflict between cyclists and pedestrians with extended gate arms and chains.
A compromise was reached by the Department of Transportation adding signage to direct cyclists to the parking lot and yiedling right-of-way to pedestrians; nothing more than is asked in the regular course of travel by cyclists in all parts of the city…and world. By adding 3 simple signs, the dream of the Guilford Avenue Bicycle Boulevard lives on.
Quite a few more signs for bicycles will spring up over the course of the spring, summer & fall taking B’more to the next level of bicycle existence. No, it’s not Portland, Amsterdam, Copenhagen or even New York City. It’s Baltimore. Not only will the Park Heights and Southeast Bike Networks become reality, but construction on 3 trail sections will begin and an existing trail will be recognized.
Until the summer construction season, keep on riding, shake the remaining cold and yield to pedestrians. There are many events coming this summer that need assistance of experienced cyclists. Let’s get more of B’more outta cars and onto bikes!!!
As Bartles & James used to say, “Thank you for your support.”
As I recall, the bike lanes on University Parkway right below Roland Avenue, heading South, were the first ones in the City — or, at least, the first ones I ever saw. It was early fall 2007, and I was stoked. This was the sharrow right before the official bike lane, the first modern Baltimore sharrow I ever saw. I was sad to see it go today, so Dan and I got a little video of it.
I am extremely excited to see what replaces what’s gone, though. Parts of the bike lanes here have always been a little rough, and lately, they’ve been downright dangerous. Nate Evans told us there’d be smooth lanes soon, and he wasn’t fooling. I repeat that I am excited to see what’s next.
Roland Avenue is torn up between University and Coldspring Lane, too, so be careful. Those parts were always full of craters anyway. I’m glad that the City is maintaining the bike lanes a lot of folks use. I read an article somewhere wherein someone complained that the University Parkway and Roland Avenue lanes were for “Roland Parkers”. In my experience, not so. Lots of people pass through, from the county, and heading to the county. And, living in Roland Park, I see lots of $5,000 bikes ridden by folks wearing $200 outfits around here sometimes. But, brother, they ain’t goin to work. This route benefits more than Roland Parkers, that’s for sure. Hell, I know some people who don’t like the lanes being here.
If you’re an MTA rider, you might have noticed the new bus pads going in along the #61 route heading South (Roland-University-St. Paul). There are orange barrels and construction equipment everywhere.
And there are holes. BIG holes. This is in addition to the terrible road surface that makes me avoid St. Paul Street between 33rd Street and North Avenue like the proverbial plague (I opt for Maryland Avenue in this case).
At University Parkway and Roland Avenue, there is a tub hole (graduated from a pot hole) and a huge linear crack running parallel to the lane, right in the middle of a Sharrow, where we’re supposed to ride before the bike lane kicks in — when the cars are still honking at each other because 4 in 10 drivers at that intersection at rush hour are on their phones (yes, I count sometimes when I’m waiting for the bus). This crack is big enough to throw you off of a mountain bike, so 700c/650b riders should really watch out. That’s a really hard spot to take the lane, too, since traffic is supposed to be merging.
Continue along one of the first (the first?) bike lanes in Baltimore heading South on University Parkway, and you’ll meet a hole large enough to throw a motorcycle (?) right in the bike lane at University Parkway and Keswick road. This is past that stone wall on the left, when most cars and buses are riding half-way into the bike lane already, and there’s construction equipment parked in the parking lane. Stopping and/or taking the busy lane might be necessary.
The bus pads have been finished for over a week, and no one’s come to fix these holes, some of which are big enough to be hazards for autos. The one at Roland and University makes the bus slow down! And this is a very heavy bike traffic route (for our city), so BE CAREFUL!
Also, right as you pass 40th Street on University Parkway, there is a linear crack where the bus pad and street meet that’s been there for years, and at least one NBBB person almost ate it on there one day a few months ago. This is the part of University approaching the bridge, between the two sets of bike lanes, when you really have to just take the lane no matter how bad the traffic is. I have personally almost gotten flattened by a Volvo there when the Sharrows were new two years ago and before I just decided that manners were less important than not getting flattend and started just claiming the lane when I need to.
I actually know of some folks personally who made the switch to riding in traffic when the city starting putting in bike lanes and sharrows and “share the road” signs. This made me feel great. Folks want to ride, and it felt like Baltimore City wanted us to. I still feel this way. The hard work of folks like Nate Evans and Barry/Baltimore Spokes makes cycling safer and more attractive all the time. Even with gas prices that are lower than the fortune that filling up your SUV cost last summer, the number of cyclists using bikes as transportation increases constantly. The last time I road home from work (April 7th, pre-crash, when it wasn’t all that warm/springy yet), there was considerable bike traffic on the JFT. It was beautiful. I still see dozens of souls pedaling up Charles Street in the five minutes or less I’m at Penn Station waiting for the #61 to go home in the afternoon. Even in the really soupy weather we’ve been having lately. That I can’t join them hurts more than my slowly-healing injuries.
But of course there are foes and obstacles and fear-folks. Anyone who rides in this city knows that. Cab drivers honk at you around the train station because you’re slowing them down from getting another fare from those two MARC trains that just came in. Door prizes offered daily. Contractors on Charles Street who leave their mess around Station North. Students who don’t look out for buses, let alone cyclists. Drivers who seem like they want to see how close they can get without actually hitting you. Some few show-off cyclists who feel nothing for almost causing a crash with you. These aren’t things we can just fix without time and cooperation between all parties involved. Of course.
But it seems like simple, clear-cut things like bike lanes should be easier to enforce. Across the street from me RIGHT NOW, a moving truck has been blocking the bike lane, a lane of traffic and a whole row of parking spots (THAT HE COULD BE PARKED IN!!!!) for over two hours. I asked them to move from my window nicely. Again not so nicely. Then I did the 311 thing. Told them so (third message), to give them a chance and to alleviate my conscience in case someone gets a ticket or gets fired (though while I’d feel badly about someone paying for their own actions is a good question). I see families use this lane on weekends. What if a child was hurt because of these guys? Or an emergency vehicle stopped? They’re even blocking people’s trash pick-up! This drives me nuts. I’m contacting the company, since it’s been two hours since 311, with no “officer dispatched immediately”.
Keep track of Baltimore bike lane asshats in My Bike Lane — and submit your own!
Are things changing? This article actually mentions “biking” and “a way of life” and it’s a very main stream msn article. Some of the problems it speaks of I don’t really see as bad. I just see them as an adjustment period. It’s also nice to know I’m not crazy when I think to myself, man there are more bikes out on the road than there used to be.