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Thread: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

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    Default Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    There's a local road construction project due to start late this year -- I live about a mile from it, and it's one of the by-ways to the major north-south routes through the area. People use this road as a way to escape the cluster-f^#% that the main road becomes every commute-time.

    Anyway, the road itself includes a hill about a mile long, and fairly steep as roads go. But the section that will be under construction is near the summit, but still has a nice gentle slope to it. Going down this section, 25 mph is easy. 35 and on the brakes due to cars is the mode on the real hill portion.

    So last night there was an open house at City Hall regarding the project, planned configuration, all that. I stopped by to get the deets and opine a bit.

    What a clueless bunch... Here's how the plan pans out: The road will go from 2 lanes with a decent shoulder on the downhill side through most of it, with a sidewalk, to a 2-lane plus turn lane, a 7-foot sidewalk on the uphill side, and a 10-foot multi-use path on the downhill side.

    I explained that, for any cyclist that actually rides this road (meaning not afraid of the hill to begin with), the multi-use path is actually going to be more dangerous, and with a likely 15 mph speed limit, will force us onto the roadway anyway. And why are uphill cyclists now "forced" to cross the road TWICE to get through this area?

    Of course the guy I was explaining this to was not a cyclist by any stretch of the imagination, so it likely fell on deaf ears. When I suggested that the 10-foot path be reduced to 7, and the 3 feet be put onto the uphill side as a bike lane, his response was "then we wouldn't be compliant with regulations for a multi-use path."

    Ugh...

    We'll see if anything happens. I guess the best I can hope for is at least a new road surface to ride on. And more attitude from motorists when there's a MUP that I need to ride on because "that's where you belong."
    DT

    http://www.mjolnircycles.com/

    Some are born to move the world to live their fantasies...

    "the fun outweighs the suck, and the suck hasn't killed me yet." -- chasea

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Public servants only speak to the easiest funding to procure. Just think how much worse it would be if someone that unimaginative was left to their own devices for planning with a clean sheet of paper.
     

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Its funny to read this after my commute home this morning. I have what I think would be a fairly cheap solution to get bikes off a main road where there isn't much room and have thought about going to my alderman about it. I have a feeling that my plan would have a bike lane that is something like 6" too narrow to be regulation and wouldn't fly. So instead it would remain a free for all.
     

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    My thoughts are that I (and most cyclists like myself) only need 3-4' of paved and maintained space to the right of the fog line to get me out of the roadway. It doesn't need to be marked as a bike lane. I still lose 1' of that space every 100 feet or so for storm drains...

    Even after we talked for some time about just how dangerous the MUP idea was, considering the speed (and not to mention that this then puts all the crossings into the side-street path), he still couldn't wrap his head around the idea that a regulation MUP wasn't needed.
    DT

    http://www.mjolnircycles.com/

    Some are born to move the world to live their fantasies...

    "the fun outweighs the suck, and the suck hasn't killed me yet." -- chasea

    "Sometimes, as good as it feels to speak out, silence is the only way to rise above the morass. The high road is generally a quiet route." -- echelon_john

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    We bash public officials for following the regs, yet if they don't and something bad happens the political subdivisions are easy targets. It's a difficult balancing act to plan something like that, please everyone and meet the regs/codes.

    Get involved, bring information, not opinions, be nice.
     

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    being in a local gov area myself...
    im betting the funding is there for a MUP and not for two cycling lanes.
    Matt Moore

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellafab View Post
    being in a local gov area myself...
    im betting the funding is there for a MUP and not for two cycling lanes.
    I'm happy with one -- on the uphill side. On the downhill, the speed differential is small to nothing (35 mph posted speed limit).
    DT

    http://www.mjolnircycles.com/

    Some are born to move the world to live their fantasies...

    "the fun outweighs the suck, and the suck hasn't killed me yet." -- chasea

    "Sometimes, as good as it feels to speak out, silence is the only way to rise above the morass. The high road is generally a quiet route." -- echelon_john

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    When I lived in the PNW, they rebuilt a roadbed to widen it on a popular road for cyclists in the Port Orchard area. The new road was close to 40' wide and when they finally got around to striping the road, they painted the fog line about 6" from the edge. 18-19' wide lanes. A year or two later they re-striped it.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad View Post
    We bash public officials for following the regs, yet if they don't and something bad happens the political subdivisions are easy targets. It's a difficult balancing act to plan something like that, please everyone and meet the regs/codes.

    Get involved, bring information, not opinions, be nice.
    I get it. I'm not knocking the regulations.
     

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tollefson View Post
    I'm happy with one -- on the uphill side. On the downhill, the speed differential is small to nothing (35 mph posted speed limit).
    so to put on a constructive helmet, maybe a suggestion in the meeting to have the MUP on the opposite side to provide better access for slower traffic as opposed to slamming the existing plan would have been received better by engineers at the meeting.

    I get the in the moment commenting doesn't come out as refined as one hopes.
    Matt Moore

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    another consideration: what side of the road is the existing pedestrian access from?

    if cyclists have to cross to get to the mup and pedestrians don't, what form of transportation should be asked to cross?

    (not ideal)

    Lots to consider, I experience it all the time.... its not always cycling as a main focus.
    Matt Moore

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellafab View Post
    another consideration: what side of the road is the existing pedestrian access from?

    if cyclists have to cross to get to the mup and pedestrians don't, what form of transportation should be asked to cross?

    (not ideal)

    Lots to consider, I experience it all the time.... its not always cycling as a main focus.
    The plan has a pedestrian walkway (7' wide) on the opposite side from the 10' MUP. So pedestrians get both sides of the road. Currently there are sidewalks on both sides.
    DT

    http://www.mjolnircycles.com/

    Some are born to move the world to live their fantasies...

    "the fun outweighs the suck, and the suck hasn't killed me yet." -- chasea

    "Sometimes, as good as it feels to speak out, silence is the only way to rise above the morass. The high road is generally a quiet route." -- echelon_john

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tollefson View Post
    Of course the guy I was explaining this to was not a cyclist by any stretch of the imagination, so it likely fell on deaf ears.
    David, are there state and/or local advocacy organizations you can work with? This is just the kind of thing that the Connecticut Bicycle Coalition or Massbike could apply some leverage to.
    Trod Harland, Physical Educator

    [I]Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tollefson View Post
    There's a local road construction project due to start late this year -- I live about a mile from it, and it's one of the by-ways to the major north-south routes through the area. People use this road as a way to escape the cluster-f^#% that the main road becomes every commute-time.

    Anyway, the road itself includes a hill about a mile long, and fairly steep as roads go. But the section that will be under construction is near the summit, but still has a nice gentle slope to it. Going down this section, 25 mph is easy. 35 and on the brakes due to cars is the mode on the real hill portion.

    So last night there was an open house at City Hall regarding the project, planned configuration, all that. I stopped by to get the deets and opine a bit.

    What a clueless bunch... Here's how the plan pans out: The road will go from 2 lanes with a decent shoulder on the downhill side through most of it, with a sidewalk, to a 2-lane plus turn lane, a 7-foot sidewalk on the uphill side, and a 10-foot multi-use path on the downhill side.

    I explained that, for any cyclist that actually rides this road (meaning not afraid of the hill to begin with), the multi-use path is actually going to be more dangerous, and with a likely 15 mph speed limit, will force us onto the roadway anyway. And why are uphill cyclists now "forced" to cross the road TWICE to get through this area?

    Of course the guy I was explaining this to was not a cyclist by any stretch of the imagination, so it likely fell on deaf ears. When I suggested that the 10-foot path be reduced to 7, and the 3 feet be put onto the uphill side as a bike lane, his response was "then we wouldn't be compliant with regulations for a multi-use path."

    Ugh...

    We'll see if anything happens. I guess the best I can hope for is at least a new road surface to ride on. And more attitude from motorists when there's a MUP that I need to ride on because "that's where you belong."
    I feel your pain. We have many very badly designed MUPs around here, stop/start randomly, require 2 crossings of an arterial like you mention, etc. Symptom of "cars first" mentality that goes into almost all road design in the US. I'll try to end positive, - at least there are MUPS at all, or something like that.

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    A thread about first world problems.

    The engineer gave you a pretty honest answer, '7 foot MUP is not compliant.'

    Are you mad because the road is heavily traveled and crossing twice is dangerous?
    Are you mad because crossing the road twice will impede you on your busy busy day?
    Are you mad because everyone is a hipster and doesn't have a brake on their bike?
    Are you mad because the modifications aren't needed and they are just wasting your tax dollars?

    I can't tell what you are mad about....but being mad at just a simple foot soldier of government seems unfair to the poor foot soldier. He's just a squirrel trying to get his nut.
     

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    I've been the engineer on the other side of these conversations and have had conversations that started out confrontational, "Can I help you?", "No, it's just another project for cars!", and ended well with understanding on both sides. It does help that I ride. I also work closely with project advisory committees that consist of lay people and have had excellent rapport when explaining all of the regulations, funding limitations and tradeoffs that go into the design of a project. Things that may make sense to some like a 7' MUP or a 3' bike lane, likely can't get a design exception or deviation for liability reasons. I understand that there are engineers out there that don't get it, but don't confuse ignorance for malice.
     

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Dear Dave,

    Get bicycles added as a design vehicle for the roadway. The MUP is a lost cause in my experience--and the MUP design standards need to be met to get the alt access project funding bump.

    Nobody let's you take credit for wide shoulders, even if they are the right thing to do. Actually, I would argue that a 14' wide outer lane does better than a bike lane stripe for vehicular cyclists., but that is also a lost cause in the bike advocacy world.

    Show up to the meetings, try to get bikes added as a roadway design vehicle, and see if bike lanes meet their funding needs.
     

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    sounds like youve got plenty of justification to ride down where the right tire goes with less debris to boot.

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Here's an in depth look at the absolute shambles we're being provided with:

    https://departmentfortransport.wordp...road-in-leeds/
    https://departmentfortransport.wordp...road-in-leeds/

    Annoyingly this takes up most of my work commute. I know that if I stick to the roads as I likely will as it will be a lot faster, I will get untold abuse from cars / buses / taxis - "get off the f*cking road" etc. Pretty frustrating.
    -Matthew Broadbent

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    Default Re: Local road construction project: Telling the engineer he's clueless

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tollefson View Post
    I'm happy with one -- on the uphill side. On the downhill, the speed differential is small to nothing (35 mph posted speed limit).
    You mean, it's impossible to ride "up" the "downhill" side?
    Steve Palincsar
    Alexandria VA

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