The Monday Crank Returns With Somewhat Of An Apology
NOTE: My rants and cranks have lost a bit of an edge lately, and this post is no different. In fact, it’s almost apologetic. If you miss the more fiery rants, don’t worry, it’s cyclical and I’m sure something will amp me up eventually.
As noted before, by myself as well as others, I can be wrong and often, I am. It’s one reason I encourage comments, emails and other means of discussion. This BLOG, despite being driven by an individual is a community effort. There are people who take part publicly, and there are countless others who lay-back, but are still engaged. I hear from them time to time (often running into them serendipitously walking across town).
There are other people whom I wish would comment more. Namely, the decision makers whom I sometimes indirectly, occasionally directly, criticize. Mayor Chris Bzdok has commented on MyWHaT, but to my knowledge no other elected official, government employee or the like. This is unfortunate because clear, open and collaborative communication is severely lacking in northern Michigan. Even at public meetings there is a lack of productive discussion; its people talking AT one another, not with one another. I’m not sure how to get beyond that, but it certainly is a cause for concern and a reason we often end up with a ‘reactive’ citizenry instead of a ‘supportive’ one.
For myself, and what I publish on MyWHaT, I’m learning and I’m not an ideologue; my perspective can be altered. I base my commentary on what I know when and after an honest, committed effort to learn. Still, I suspect that if I perused the history of posts on MyWHaT, I’d find a few posts that I could find places for correction. I’m wide-open to criticism and challenges, and see MyWHaT as part of the solution to better communication. With better communication we can avoid countless controversies that leave distinct winners and losers.
A few weeks ago I posted “Am I An Ingrate For Wanting A Real Bike Lane?“questioned the new striping of E. 8th St as being appreciated, but perhaps not meeting the standards that the community has repeatedly requested. I ran a small correction, stating that my first critique went too far–that 4.5 feet of street surface indeed is a legitimate bike lane. It’s not even the minimum, however, nor is it the maximum.
Apparently, the issue didn’t end there and last week my error was relayed to me in passing by the engineering department. The next day, the city planner forwarded the following email from the city engineer to share with the public about the re-striping :
Via Timothy J. Lodge, P.E. City Engineer:
The notes I have about striping 8th Street are that the outside lanes (bike) in the restriped section are 6′ wide from the face of curb to the center of the stripe. I was able to confirm in the field that the striping is 6′.
This is the preferred width (5′ is the minimum width) in accordance with the 1999 AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide, the DRAFT 2010 AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide and the ITE Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares (2010) publication. Thus by current and proposed Guidelines the outside bike lane striping on 8th Street is the preferred width and not the minimum width. Each of the publications allow use of the gutter pan to be included in the bike lane width.
The intent was to have the outside lane no more than 6′ wide to deter parking along the route and to avoid the outside lane from being used as a second travel lane by vehicles. The remaining street width was divided up to try and keep the travel lanes narrow to see if speeds are affected by the narrow lane width.
Please forward on as needed. Thanks
I stand corrected on the specifics and the manuals. Our city engineer made a professional choice after weighing all the options. Another engineer may have accommodated people on bicycles with slightly less space and another may have allotted more space. Some engineers and designers don’t count the gutter pan, but it is within the guidelines and manuals to do so. Another engineer may have provided for a full 5′ of ride-able bike lane by creating 11′ turning lane where we now have a 12′ turning lane.
Regardless, this part of E. 8th Street now has bike lanes between the intersections (not through the intersections, mind you, but that’s for another day) and now just needs some signage and little bike rider logos painted on the asphalt to help encourage its use.
We are not yet a city that embraces bicyclists. The needs of providing for options that not only provide for needs, but also encourages active transportation is not yet a system wide perspective. I still get the feeling that self-propelled traffic is not a serious concern, but simply something to fit in where there is room. Yes, at times my perspective is going to be indignant when I first come upon the result of this institutionalized perspective. I get amped-up when I see that it’s been communicated that if we choose to walk or ride a bicycle we are less important.
I’m sorry. I’m working on it.
Clear communication will go a long way in helping me contain those urges.