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    John Ross

    The feds no little about P3s. What they do know is what they learned from the States and locals who actually DO P3s. Thus, to say the States can learn from the feds is false. The States learn from each other.


    Truth hurts

    I think it is hilarious that Alison Cohen who is the person who ran Alta Bike Share so poorly as President keeps posting on every thread anonymously because she can’t get her new company off the ground. Alison you are the one who is responsible for the NY mess which is the genesis of all of these problems and then got canned. So you and your friend Josh Squire should stop clogging the message boards with your crap under 12 different fake names and just admit your epic fails.



    A lot of the VCs are just like the car drivers that can’t stand the idea of anything slowing them down, including bikes in the slow bike lane where they don’t have room to pass. Their goal isn’t to increase cycling. It’s just to get where they’re going as fast as they can on a bike.



    What’s so perplexing about VC-as-policy is that even the VC-über-alles crowd tends to acknowledge the need for sidewalks, especially on busy roads. No one much seems to decry sidewalks on an important route as “inferior” or “segregation.” In fact, when someone does, it’s obviously a joke:

    High-quality walking-specific infrastructure (e.g. sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly timing, etc.) does a pretty great job of channeling people on foot.

    High-quality bike-specific infrastructure (e.g. cycletracks, bike-friendly timing, Bike Streets, contraflow lanes, etc.) does a pretty great job of channeling people on bike.

    VC-as-coping strategy is understandable. We all bike vehicularly at times as needed. Yet VC-as-infrastructure/modeshare-increasing strategy has proven to be laughably ineffective.



    I know intersections where bike boxes work, but to me this intersection is crying out for the Dutch design. It is way to complex.



    Vehicular cycling is a myopic yet utilitarian method for coping with crappy infrastructure, but not a realistic alternative to good bike facilities, at least not if one’s goal is to increase the number of people on bikes. Some proponents seem to fall into a sort of anachronistic Stockholm syndrome and argue against any sort of bicycle-specific facilities. VC patient zero John Forrester regularly accuses people who are not content with car-centric street design of having a “cyclist inferiority complex”, seemingly not cognizant that settling for infrastructure which doesn’t specifically address the needs and safety of bicyclists is in itself a self-imposed inferiority.

    It’s like wearing shoes five sizes too big. Yes, your feet will fit in them, but they are not comfortable, you’ll probably trip and get hurt, and you’ll certainly not convince many people to do the same. I get why some older advocates feel this way, as for many decades there was a constant struggle to even maintain a bicyclist’s right to the roadway, but it boggles my mind whenever I encounter anyone under 40 who still subscribes to this mentality.



    Yes, as I explained in the message you are replying to, very few streets where you need this treatment. An example of where the treatment is useful is Union St in Brooklyn between Nevins St and Bond St. If you look at a map you will see there is a body of water there, the Gowanus Canal. The very same thing that makes this treatment useful, no streets going West nearby, also means there is not a single driveway to be concerned about.



    It’s fine and noble to educate people (who are interested) to use the current system, but the percentage of people who are interested on that level is quite small. Good infrastructure goes a long way towards encouraging more of the Interested but Concerned to consider taking up biking to get around. Vehicular cycling has been a multi-decades-long failed experiment in turning all those people off. Thankfully, things like good infra and bikeshare have proven to be big modeshare boosters.



    Whoa, I thought the martyr manuever was from the VC handbook.



    Unable to answer my question, but I’ll answer yours anyway. Since I’m talking about a real thing, not an imaginary straw-intersection, it’s pretty easy to answer how and why this stretch of road works.

    You don’t make mid-block turns out of the protected lane. (VC refrain: Oh noes I’m being repressed!) Nor are the dangerous cars coming the opposite direction allowed to cross it. Guess what, this is strategically located in a place where one doesn’t need to. Were this road 2-way regular traffic, the Vehicular Cyclist would need to ride to the nearest intersection as there are no driveways to turn in to and it wouldn’t be vehicularly legal to cross the opposing traffic lane to ride up on the sidewalk on the other side.

    The signal, which is no different than if the street was 2 way for all traffic, appears to work just fine. I’m sure it was more costly than nothing. Is doing nothing the only thing allowed, now? Odd that the cycling population started increasing in my city when we quit ‘doing nothing’, when people just need to get over it and go use the existing facilities already.

    I, too, am a prime example of a skilled, healthy, urban cyclist who is generally at ease riding around those death monsters with angry, distracted humans at their helms. We are indeed awesome warriors astride our nimble steeds!



    It seems that you are asserting that paint should be put on the roads for car traffic and pedestrians, and *that* paint is important and we should obey it, but any paint put on the road for bicycles is useless and should be ignored. Do you disagree? Should we not ignore the bicycle paint? Should we ignore the car and pedestrian paint?

    And surely you know that it is legal to drive a car (but not a bicycle) on the sidewalks of NY City.



    Citations would be lovely, especially a careful explanation of the differences (that you seem to think are significant). I was an Effective Cyclist for years, I know the dogma well, and you certainly sound like an Effective Cyclist to me, with the exception that you claim to be something else. But except for the label, same ideas.

    My main problem with Effective Cycling is that it is clearly unpopular, and is myopically focused only on crash deaths. The greatest risk of death and disability comes from diseases of the unfit brought on by not-cycling, not from crashing while cycling. For someone my age it’s an order of magnitude difference, for the population in general the mortality rate for non-bicycle commuters is 39% higher, and even for teenagers and young adults cycling (as badly as it is often done in practice) is still safer than driving, even considering only crash deaths. This myopic focus on an unpopular dogma that is alleged to reduce deaths by avoiding crashes costs far more lives overall through pervasive lack of exercise than it can possibly save through crashes avoided. Yet the Effective Cyclists claim to be the guys with the dispassionate and rational approach to risk.



    Karen Loewen

    What’s you name Dr. 2 Chase? Thanks – I am doing a pretty good job! This silly article showed up on my FB feed. I am glad to know that Streetsblog is the martyr blog. Good to know.



    You’re right, I didn’t really answer your question, but it was because I got caught up with the “experts have said cyclists should ride with the flow of traffic” part.
    (Though the original article isn’t a position piece about contra-flow, it’s reporting a change to standards that includes allowing and design specs for them.)

    The advantage of a contra-flow lane vs. what?

    CFL vs Not having a lane: The advantage is that you can legally get through there + all the advantages of having a dedicated, demarked (and ideally protected) lane vs. not having a lane. CFL vs. a bike lane that has a regular traffic lane on the expected side (left US, right UK): Both lanes being equally set out, I’d imagine the regular one would win almost every time.

    No one’s advocating throwing contra-flow lanes in as a replacement for regular bike lanes, on every one-way street, blindly ignoring the likelihood of drivers to understand, etc. But there are cases where this may make a lot of sense and improve cycling access.

    The contra-flow doc is pretty short:

    Heck, they even reccomend NOT using “ONE WAY” signs in such a case, as the road is not one way, it is one way for auto-traffic. They also mention driveways.


    Karen Loewen

    Gee. That’s nice.


    Karen Loewen

    Keep on believing! Mean while wouldn’t it be a good idea to teach folks to use the system we have. I use it every day. Cycling is fun and safe if you are educated. I don’t need paint to think for me. You don’t either.


    Karen Loewen

    How do you make turns off of those protected bike lanes? How do you get across intersections with those 6″ high 3 ‘ wide berm filled plant things? Oh yeah…phased signals. We can’t get bike lanes paid for…they are just chomping at the bit to pay for new signals, aren’t they?

    I share lanes every day….don’t get hooked or crossed….except when I’m forced to ride in a bike lane.

    Please be concerned for yourself….GULP.


    Karen Loewen

    PS: list you real name hero.


    Karen Loewen

    First of all, I haven’t spouted any Effective Cycling anything. I am a CSI and a member of the ABEA…but I have only posted about the rules of movement here – the way our transportation system is designed to work. The basic rules that keep it running efficiently – so we don’t end up with India.

    If you must know, I have been riding my bike for transportation for many years – I no longer drive a car. I have ridden all over the country and some out of the country.

    The ONLY times I have had conflicts with motorists was when I was not part of the system…in a bike lane or on the sidewalk mostly at the intersections. Joining the system has made every ride I have fun and safe.

    Listening to folks like you, who speak of Effective Cycling in a derogatory manner is funny to me. Especially when you support a contra flow bike lane. And comparing EC to CS is truly uninformed. You have no idea what you are talking about and obviously are a gutter bunny martyr that thinks someone needs to treat you special and build you something special so the other 2% mode share can feel special and safe.

    These special facilities in our current mode share are like leading the sheep to slaughter.

    I hate pitting cyclist against cyclist. Part of the reason we can’t accomplish change is because we are at each others throats. I guess my tone contributes to that BUT knowing the dangers or these facilities and knowing that if they build them they WILL FORCE ME TO RIDE IN THEM (JUST LIKE BIKE LANES) I can’t just sit back and watch you and yours make things more dangerous for me.

    Good luck in your contra flow bike lane. Please post the article should you get hit…if you life thru it.

    I call BS!



    You seem to imply that I’m more likely to be hit by a vehicle coming over a 6″ high, 3′ wide berm filled with plants into a contra-flow bike lane than to be hit by a car travelling in the same direction with an unprotected bike lane or shared lane (classic right hook, anyone?).

    That has me concerned. *Gulp* What do you recon the odds really are?



    We’re being Effectively Trolled.


    Karen Loewen

    LOL! Follow the thread. I’m quite sure you feel safer on the contro flow bike lane. But remember, feeling safe doesn’t make you safe. You are not. Hopefully you won’t find out the hard way. And should you find out the hard way, I have a feeling that you will continue to defend them. Just a hunch.



    You haven’t added a single thing yourself; I’ve looked at all your posts, and it’s assertion after assertion, ad hominem, accusations of ill intent and ignorance, yet you have provided not one link and one citation.

    And for all of your spouting of the Effective Cycling Dogma (perhaps rebranded as Cycling Savvy or Bicycle Driving), you don’t know the literature that well, if you didn’t recognize that citation. You claim to have done lots of research — but apparently not as much as me :-).


    Karen Loewen

    You clearly have nothing to add to this conversation. Have a good night.



    The advantage, at least where I ride, is that cyclists can often choose short quiet routes from point A to point B. It’s common in places like Cambridge to create 1-way streets to exclude noisy, dangerous car traffic — it has nothing to do with crashes, except perhaps for the pedestrians who live there. The quietest route to our local high school (and the least hilly, and relatively direct) includes one wrong-way block.

    Another way that gratuitous one-way streets hurt is when designated bike routes are one-way — if they were 2-way, it would be easier to remember the route (only need to know one, rather than two). So for example, in Cambridge the route from Fresh Pond to Harvard Square follows different routes there and back.

    A friend of ours lives in Cambridgeport, is not the boldest of cyclists, would like to put in some miles on a bike nonetheless. Her immediate neighborhood is a rat’s nest of one-way streets, all designed to funnel through-car-traffic into traffic sewers, and her too, if she obeys the law, if there are no counter-flow lanes.


    Fay Nissenbaum

    Again, what advantage is claimed by contra-flow? It is a simple, un-emotional question.



    My delusion is that you are capable of engaging in a coherent conversation. Let’s follow this branch of the thread and see if I can follow what we’re talking about here. Note: the intent is to accurately summarize and represent the conversation, not to play silly strawman games, etc.

    OP: Experts say that contra-flow is bad, you should ride with traffic. Article doesn’t explain why it is good.

    Me: (Here I’m assuming OP is reacting to the idea of “riding against traffic” as in riding the wrong way down a lane much like 2 other respondes.) The picture shows that this isn’t “against traffic”, it’s using a (bike restricted) lane as designed.

    Karen: Asks how the lane is dedicated or demarked or protected. I believe that the bike lane pictured is a lane that has been laid out for bicycles moving in a certain direction by the application of paint. That covers dedicated (it’s exclusively a bike lane, too) and demarked. I said “ideally protected” which would be like the new Polk St contra-flow lane in SF and is not what we see here. Cyclists are indeed moving in the opposite direction as the lane of auto traffic, but they are doing so in a lane that has been laid out and marked for that. I agree that this is not as safe for the cyclist as protecting them from the opposing traffic with something: concrete, planters, soft-hit posts, or another lane of auto traffic would all be better than the pictured arrangement. But this is better than ‘riding against traffic’ in the traditional sense where there is no space and traffic control tools laid out for the cyclist. Insult!

    Me: Uh, the lane is dedicated and demarked by the paint on the road.

    Karen: Sarcastic statement implying Drivers can’t be trusted. I’m not sure why this would apply only to this instance. Nor am I sure how the behavor of drivers applies to whether this lane is dedicated and demarked. Repeat of the same insult.

    All I can say is I feel much safer in the Polk St protected contra-flow lane than I do in much of the rest of the 2 way traffic part of Polk St bicycle lanes and/or shared sharrowed traffic lanes.



    Perhaps you’ve heard of Effective Cycling? Ever wonder what studies it was based on?



    Most *now* use their bike!

    But believe it or not there was a lot of trial-and-error in getting there. Look at how car-centric (and not bike-centric) Amsterdam was in the 70s, and the (even physical) pushback drivers resorted to at times:

    There was indeed major pushback in many instances. And even some of the original cycletracks there were “sold” to communities with the explicit understanding that they could later be converted to auto lanes/car parking lanes as car demand grew.

    Sure, not every solution is copy-paste from the Netherlands. But on the other hand American Exceptionalism (“it’ll never work here because…America”) is often greatly exaggerated. After all, even cycletracks were widely considered implausible within a North American context barely a decade ago. Social mores change. The world moves on.

    ““The Netherlands’ problems were and are not unique, their solutions shouldn’t be that either.”



    At most I’m not surprised it’s seems so obvious



    They aren’t dangerous facilities, if you want to see a dangerous just look at your basic 4 plus lane street. Those streets have more accidents for all modes, that’s right Karen cars injury people on normally designed streets all the time. The fact that 35,000 people die in vehicular accidents shows something is currently wrong with our current road design and we should make changes to the norm and these bicycle facilities have been studied and have gone through all kinds of safety check because engineers are the deciders still in the end on any of these things.


    Karen Loewen

    Surely you did mot just post a study done in 1977…that had to be scanned in because wordprocessors didnt exist yet?


    Karen Loewen

    Yes…motorists have provem themselves to be so good at that. You are delusional.


    Karen Loewen

    So we put in a dangerous facility to stop some cyclists from breaking the law….and make it legal for them to do something stupid?


    Karen Loewen

    You are kidding right?


    Karen Loewen

    Oh come on…they had a huge buy in by everyone to get to where they are. ??? Most use their bike as their primary transportation method. The majority of americans cant drive without air conditioning.



    “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and, well, neither was Amsterdam.

    You might be surprised at how relatively car-crazy a place like the Netherlands still is–and with a fatality rate more than twice that of the US in the 70s due to a couple decades of Car First planning they also had to start from a pretty dismal position. But with time their increasingly better piecemeal fixes here and there have all added up.

    –> Assen Before:

    –> Assen After:

    –> Central Utrecht parking crater in the 70s:×601.png

    –> Examples of car-centric infrastructure from the Netherlands today:

    Freeway-like boulevard through Central Amsterdam
    Big-box shopping center in Arnhem, street view

    Big-box shopping center in Arnhem, satellite view



    After trips to Japan, I am now of the opinion that cyclists can effectively share sidewalks with pedestrians. However, sidewalks where both are welcome need to be at least 8-foot wide and curb cuts need to be made in a way to reduce disturbance for cyclists and pedestrians.

    In Japan, cyclists almost always use sidewalks where they exist. It creates some friction, but once we consider sidewalks as protected bike paths, Japan has one of the most complete protected bike path system in the world because of it. Consequently, bike mode shares are very high in Japanese cities, 15-20% isn’t rare.



    There’s the 23.4% hit-from-behind fatality stat, and in the same study, 0 fatalities for sidewalk riding. (Problem Type 13, p. 33, Problem Type 8, p. 31)

    Seems unlikely that a marked, known, counterflow lane would be worse than riding on a sidewalk.


    Win Barber

    The Cosby Show (Huxtables) was set in Brooklyn, NY, and it was the #1 most viewed show in the nation, 30 years ago.


    Win Barber

    commander sprocket: :, The Cosby Show (Huxtables) was set in Brooklyn, NY, and it was the #1 viewed show in the nation, in the 1980s.


    Oregon Mamacita

    Dear Ms. Birk:

    Please return the $40,000.00 Alta accepted from the City of Portland last January. That was a progress payment payable when Alta secured a sponsor for Portland’s bike share. Alta never produced the sponsor for Portland. Thus, the payment was illegal, and also unfair to taxpayers.

    Alta’s integrity is under scrutiny in your home town of Portland, Oregon, Please do the right thing.

    Name Portland as one city that will not be getting bike share anytime soon.


    Alex Brideau III

    That’s assuming only Google rolls out driverless cars. Who knows? Might we see a Samsung GalTaxi, an Apple iCar, a Microsoft Bing-mobile? :-)



    Its no longer a one way street. There’s a bike lane going in the other direction. If a driver doesn’t look, its their fault.

    From the cyclists perspective, at least the car pulling out of the driveway should be going relatively slow.



    Full House. Despite being a terrible show, they lived in an extremely desirable connected townhome in San Francisco. Some people want their own palatial estates in the exurbs, but demand for quality homes that are also in highly walkable areas in thriving cities is certainly as high or likely much higher for than for homes in sprawl-ville. The Tanner home would be worth many millions today. (Along the same lines – although not a TV show – was the living situation in the film Mrs. Doubtfire.)


    Karen Loewen

    Finally…something we agree on!


    Karen Loewen

    If you actually answered any of the concerns I raised with those facilities instead of avoiding the questions or responding with fixes for fixes, I might not sound so frustrated. Being a 101′er I would hope that you would recognize the problems and that those facilities most times arent really needed. But you don’t. Its frustrating that you are in control of 250k people and dont acknowledge the problems with half ass facilities. What will you tell them wgen they are riding in their green safety bubble and get killed? Sorry if I seem rude. This stuff is important to me past pretty green bike paint.


    Oliver Marcel

    I’m helping a couple friends spread the word about this movement, basically anything will help. and all funds will go to a charity randomly picked from a drawing. so give us a couple of suggestions of your charity you would like to help out and maybe it’ll be the one to get picked

    Here is the link to the page where you can donate.

    God Bless



    Actually, our Urban Cycling 101 series is not based on the Traffic Skills 101 classes, as we found the LAB instruction lacking and developed our own program in-house to better meet the needs of the specific communities we represent, just like what happened with Cycling Savvy.

    And no we don’t cite the 40% hit from behind fatalities stat in our classes, in part because it is not from a scientific, peer-reviewed study, and also because referring to fatalities is a really bad way to boost peoples’ confidence about riding bikes.



    The consequences would be the injuries and deaths of people on bikes who will ride against traffic on one-way streets, whether the streets are designed for that purpose or not. These can be minimized or, as the data I referenced suggests, eliminated by providing well-designed contra flow lanes where appropriate.

    The citations I asked for were in relation to the research you have done which proves that contra flow lanes are inherently dangerous. I’m not against being proven wrong, but I prefer that my changed opinion be based on something.