Put your road on a diet!

I recently started riding my bike a lot more.  Mainly due to the fact that I recently bought my bike.

It is weird when a car-person sees me unlocking my ride to pedal off into the sunset.  They try to relate: they would ride a bicycle, but it is so unsafe.

UNSAFE!  Not that it is too hard, unpleasant, too sweaty, takes too long. Etc. etc.  The primary obstacle for car-people to become people-people is safety. We need to build a better town that makes us feel okay about riding our bikes.

For far too long we have designed roads for cars. (As opposed to designing them for people.) When people WANT to walk, jog, or pedal about, they cannot  …For fear for their very lives!   We’ve built eight lane streets that are impossible to cross as a pedestrian.  We prize high speed traffic which make it unfriendly to bicyclists and pedestrians and even other cars, really.  For example, “anti-grid lock” zones even discriminate amongst cars, favoring cars that aren’t even going to or coming from our neighborhood.  The whole traffic system is fat. And it’s making us fat.  Our infrastructure has gotten fat.  It’s time for us to go on a diet, a road diet.

Here’s a visual of a road diet petitioned for in Glendale:

Road diets make driving, walking and bicycling more pleasant. And what’s more pleasing than safety?

This benefits cars so much.  In fact, I came up with the idea while driving my car. Heading west on 3rd street it looks like the above photo.  Two lanes.  Should be more efficient, right?  Wrong.  Very frequently both lanes jam up because a driver in the left lane want to make a left turn but has to wait for auto-traffic or pedestrians and another driver in the right lane wants to make a right turn but has to wait for pedestrians.

With a dedicated turn lane for cars going both ways, left turners get the advantage and can wait patiently for a natural break in traffic.  And with a consistent parking lane, ending 15 feet to the corner, cars turning right can slow, merge across bicycle lane and wait patiently in the parking lane before making a right hand turn.

Here is a report on an investigation by the federal DOT to see if road diets actually reduce the number of crashes on the road.

Spoiler Alert: Yes.  (But you can still read it if you want to.)

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/humanfac/04082/index.cfm

Not only is it safer, aesthetically pleasing, and more efficient for all involved, it is also good for business.

Despite all these checks in the pros column, national funding for bike lanes has been lumped in with Safe Routes to Schools and funding for recreation.  Not only have they been combined, but drastically reduced.

Which makes me want to talk politics for a quick second even though I know you’re annoyed by all your friends posting about politics during the campaign season.  But this is the kind of politics I WISH we could talk about instead of the “politics” of what is going on with a women’s lady parts.

Call me a “doomer,” but in our future we might be riding bicycles out of necessity rather than just for enjoyment.  If we make these changes now, we’ll be a lot safer regardless of the state of our national economy.

Wheew, politics got a hold of me for a bit.  In the end riding a bike is not about politics, it’s about fun.

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One thought on “Put your road on a diet!

  1. Pingback: New Study Reveals What You Already Knew! | Noodles & New Urbanism

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