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    Opus the Poet

    Except the gun has a 91% survival rate if it hits you, where a motor vehicle drops below that at 23 MPH, and becomes 4 times as deadly at just 30 MPH with a survival rate of under 60%.


    Opus the Poet

    I agree this is assault with a deadly weapon at the very least if not attempted murder.


    Jake Wegmann

    Agreed 100%. Here in Texas, today, we had the sad spectacle of a protest by self-identified conservatives against toll roads. In the same breath they call for state DOT highway spending to be doubled or tripled.

    So much for the “user pays” principle!



    I used to do it all the time and roughly every 1000-2000 miles of riding I would have a close call with a right hook where I was slamming on my brakes hard and moving into the curb. That never felt safe. It was actually so close it was terrifying a few times.



    I thought ‘welfare’ was more inflammatory than socialism :-). Politicians, esp. conservatives, like to blame societal woes on those “who get something for nothing” and don’t work, or that is their perception. E.g., food stamps. When you throw-out the user fee principle for roads, then roads have to eat from the same trough as public education, safety, and use, welfare.

    The major difference between those other functions and roads is that one has its own trust fund – dedicated to roads. But pols are so terrified of raising it, i.e., the gas tax, that they prefer to compete with other government expenditures that have no trust fund.

    That PPIC poll is a perfect example explaining why they do so



    Marven Norman

    That’s not a problem with SWOV, that’s a problem with advocates. Don’t confuse the two. However, it’s worth noting that advocates who ask for many of the measures recommended by SWOV have almost certainly run up against engineers who won’t approve them. Which is of course the crux of this whole article. For better or worse, a lot of the measures would require a very forward-thinking application of the standards which unfortunately means that garbage continues to appear. Also, those treatments can be pricey when it involves retrofitting the bikeway into the existing environment. As such, I can understand, though by no means see as complete, the more lackluster designs that are done as part of road diets or other reconfiguration projects. For enough people, they are a real improvement. However, brand new construction or major renovation both offer the chance to do it right from the beginning, so I’d expect raised intersections and other such treatments to be used in those situations because there is no reason to not do so.

    Also, the Dutch restrictions on motorists are not as drastic as people like to believe, especially outside of the city centers. Generally speaking, trips by car are just as easy biking, the biggest difference is that biking in those areas does not require riding next to a high volume of speeding motorists.



    Residential streets were not designed as a connected network to go every place to need to get to. Barriers such as freeways, cul-de-sacs, hills, busy streets, waterways and railways make it extremely difficult and more expensive to connect residential streets into a connected network of Bicycle Boulevards. There frequently would need to be traffic calming, traffic diverters, and traffic signals installed. The estimated average cost in the 2010 LA Bicycle Plan is $300,000 per mile for Bicycle Boulevards and $50,000 per mile for bike lanes.

    The DOT of Portland Oregon is heavily emphasizing Bicycle Boulevards. Other large cities that are still mainly focused on installing separation for bicycles on major streets have been gaining ground on Portland in the last six years in terms of bicycle commuting mode share. Perhaps this is mainly due to installing separate bicycle facilities on major streets where most commuters want and need to go.



    One factor that can sink a successful bikeshare program is introduction of an adult helmet law. The substantially complicates the task of outfitting a rider for a 30 minute jaunt.


    Marven Norman

    Cycletracks are “soaking up all the advocacy energy” because the bulk of the energy is being focused in busier cities where a bike boulevard just won’t fly. Bike boulevards won’t work everywhere, so cycletracks are the obvious alternative for the situations where that occurs. Such as six-lane arterials. Additionally, newer suburban development has finally gotten the whole functional classification thing figured out, but that means that the streets where a bike boulevard makes sense are cul-de-sacs and empty onto a collector or arterial where the same approach will obviously not work.



    Frank, you and other vehicular cycling devotees are repeatedly trying to prevent people from riding on streets unless they do so in mixed traffic. The vast majority of people have shown no willingness to ride in mixed traffic. In other words, you are encouraging them to seek out another way of traveling other than bicycling. Fortunately the vehicular cycling crowd is losing its grip on preventing the installation of cycle tracks.

    You have a very neanderthal, insular and dogmatic way of looking at bicycling. Your only referring to websites that promote your narrow viewpoint.

    Dr. Teschke and I used S. U. Jensen’s raw before and after data to come to our conclusions. That’s not bias. Mr. Jensen stated that the reason for the increased bicycling collisions after the cycling track installations was the removal of on-street parking which caused more motorists to seek parking by turning right.

    “As that link notes, the cadre of people pumping out pro-cycletrack papers are public health experts.”

    Is that right? You seem to be just getting all your information on vehicular cycling websites.

    This study is about the separation of bicycles from motor vehicles by the use of bike lanes:

    Its authors, Li Chen and Claire E. McKnight are with the Department of Civil Engineering, City College of New York, New York NY. Cynthia Chen is with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle. Raghavan Srinivasan is with the Highway Safety Research Center, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Reid Ewing is with the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Matthew Roe is with the Division of Traffic and Planning, New York City Department of Transportation, New York NY.

    The results of this study are that bicycle lanes do not lead to an increase in crashes, despite the probable increase in the number of bicyclists. The most likely reasons for the lack of increases in crashes are reduced motor vehicle speeds and fewer conflicts between motor vehicles and bicyclists after installation of these lanes.

    Another report evaluating protected bike lanes in the U.S. was partially written by Jennifer Dill Phd, professor, Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. Director, Oregon Transportation, Research & Education Consortium. Director National Institute for Transportation and Communities.

    The voluminous findings were from a wide-ranging study of protected bike lane intersections in five U.S. cities. It’s based on 204 hours of video footage that captured the movement patterns of 16,000 people on bicycles and 20,000 turning cars; on 2,301 surveys with people who live near the projects; and on 1,111 surveys of people using the protected lanes.

    The following report about the risk of injury for bicycling on cycle tracks versus the street has co-contributions by Peter G. Furth, Department of Civil and Enviornmental Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston MA. Also by Walter C. Willett, Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

    Although researchers are mainly in the fields of medicine, environment and public health from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada that worked on Bicyclists’ Injuries and Cycling Environment (Bic)e Study, and collected data of 690 cyclists injured in Toronto or Vancouver and treated at a hospital emergency department . The researchers then compared the route characteristics at injury sites to randomly selected control sites.

    Contributors to the study were also:

    Conor C O Reynolds, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Peter A Cripton, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

    The following study entitled: Comparing the effects of infrastructure on bicycling injury at intersections and non-intersections using a case-crossover design had co-contributions by:

    Conor C O Reynolds, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Peter A Cripton, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of British Colubmia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


    Asher Of LA

    This may be an obsolete concern – the next generation of bikeshares are semi-dockless, including Santa Monica’s. While there will be docks, users can lock them up anywhere within a given area, and use an app to find bikes whether they are docked or not. This may pose some other issues, like an increased need for bike shepherding, but on the whole it seems simpler. In the case of Santa Monica, the contractor was able to offer many more bikes at the same price as competitors who weren’t using a dockless system, suggesting a dockless system is cheaper.


    Frank Krygowski

    One problem with SWOV documents is that their practices are certainly not being followed, and generally not even being advocated, by U.S. cycletrack fans. From that document:
    “On 50 and 80km/h roads, almost two thirds of the fatal bicycle crashes happen at intersections,” which is where cycletracks complicate matters.
    ” Another guideline for the application of bicycle facilities (CROW, 2006) is that they should not be located adjacent to parking spaces so that conflicts between parking vehicles (manoeuvres, doors opening and passengers getting out) and passing cyclists are avoided…Finally, a one-way bicycle track is to be preferred to a two-way bicycle track.” Yet U.S. installations routinely violate those rules.

    “At other intersection types a lower speed must be enforced by speed reducing measures, like traffic humps just before the intersection or a raised junction.” That’s an example of motorist control absent from U.S. advocacy.

    “A median guardrail or a median island enables cyclists to cross a busy road more safely.”
    “…an inward or an outward curve of the bicycle track the bicycle track curves towards the
    carriageway or indeed away from it. This increases the cyclist’s visibility…” But again, U.S. installations generally don’t even consider such measures.

    Instead, we’re getting half-assed things like cycletracks behind parked vans hiding fast downhill cyclists until they pop out to surprise turning motorists (as in one Chicago example). If Americans are to copy the Dutch, they need to copy the entire system, not pretend any vague copy of just one feature will be just as safe.

    I suggest starting by copying Netherlands’ restrictions on motorists.


    Stranger in the Alps

    A city with three times the population, serving as the CBD of a metropolitan area that is four times as populous, has a similar amount of parking in downtown? And that’s a sign of bad urban design on the part of Minneapolis? Huh?


    Stranger in the Alps

    It’s coming.


    Stranger in the Alps

    The cost of going underground is prohibitive. Part of the problem is that when thew dome was built, the area around it was zoned for light industrial. That is a very specific type of zone for which there never was much demand, particularly on high-value downtown land. In the last decade, the zoning was changed to allow for mixed use commercial and residential. Since then, downtown has spread to the east, especially along Washington. As Mack pointed out, there is a large, multi-building, multi-purpose project in the works that will convert about six blocks of surface lots into actually useful space.



    It’s because many NYC businesses and residences were against placing the stations right in front of their buildings for the irrational fear that it would drive business away for taking parking spots. I wish I was kidding.



    I’m sorry, but I call bs. Segregation is a loaded word and you’re not doing your argument any favors by using it for positions you disagree with. It’s an obvious rhetorical dog-whistle. Plus bikes are fundamentally different from cars, in terms of the protection they provide to the cyclist or occupant in a collision, in a way that is not the case for the racial segregation you’re dredging up.

    We’ll agree to disagree on the other points but I appreciate the info to consider.


    Andy B from Jersey

    Yes a paradigm that has no practical application in the middle of the high, sage brush steppe with the next town 75 miles away. This is the reality in 95% of Wyoming yet their DOT made sure to have nice wide shoulders on these highways, WITHOUT rumble strips if I recall. This is a very cost effective and desirable solution for those who would actually attempt to cycle across Wyoming, and I saw several of them the day I took driving across the state. NO, it may not be the best solution in an urban environment.


    Frank Krygowski

    Then why not start with the easier component? The modified “smaller roads” you’re describing are frequently called “bicycle boulevards.” In my experience, they work very well. They are much less expensive than cycletracks, they don’t introduce extra crossing conflicts, they humanize neighborhoods where kids play. They’re at least as important as cycletracks in other countries.

    In my area, many people assume that one can get places only on busy roads. Yet minor roads exist for almost all destinations, and are fine for cycling right now. A little expense to make some of them official bike boulevards, plus some mapping and publicity to highlight them, could be completed almost immediately.

    Where’s the bike boulevard movement in this country? Why are cycletracks soaking up all the advocacy energy?


    Bob Gunderson

    Good thing ours are down in the financial district & soma where people can experience biking in Detroit when they come to visit.


    Frank Krygowski

    Regarding the word segregate: It’s used in many contexts. It seems concise and perfectly descriptive in this context. If separate-but-not-equal bike facilities remind you of bad times in the American south, perhaps you should propose a synonym that won’t make you feel bad.

    Regarding your point #1: Bikes are different from cars. And compact cars are different from SUVs, which are different from motorcycles, and tractor-trailer rigs, school buses, mail trucks, UPS trucks, Amish buggies, mopeds, farm vehicles, fire trucks, delivery trucks… Yet all have legal rights to the road. That’s the fundamental nature of roads. Almost all roads work well for all those users once they learn to use them properly. Can’t we try some education before we resort to this?

    Because (point #2) those of us who have gotten just a little relevant education do find that roads are accommodating to us. The fear mongering of cyclepath promoters hampers that education.

    Regarding #3: As every traffic engineer should know, the reason for the “negotiating” over cycletrack installations is that they _do_ violate traffic engineering principles! They place straight-ahead vehicles to the right of right-turning vehicles. They sometimes place opposite-direction vehicles on the right side of the road. And they frequently obscure the view of those weirdly-placed road users, placing them at increased risk. Those are _fundamental_ violations of rules that have been in place since at least 1900.

    The rules are logical, and they work. Why throw them out before trying education?



    Also, having a good app for the system makes a big difference. It would’ve been a lot harder to use DC system if it wasn’t for the SpotCycle app. Sure was fun doing the 30min leapfrog thing, though. Raleigh, NC is looking into bikeshare but I would rather have more bike lanes, facilities in general etc., tbh.


    Frank Krygowski

    “The only people who repeatedly keep mentioning the Jensen report as proof of anything is the vehicular cycling cult.”

    Now it’s a “cult” to be competent on the road and knowledgeable about traffic engineering? Wow.

    Anyway, Dennis, _you_ referred to the Jensen study quite a bit when you were mistakenly interpreting its columns in a way that you claimed “proof” of cycletrack safety. Now that you were shown to be wrong, we should ignore it? Sorry, that’s more evidence of bias.

    And now you claim Teschke found a way to re-analyze Jensen’s data so it shows more safety? Hmm. In the link you gave, I see Teschke did only what you did: look at the before vs. after column, and say that she didn’t know what other adjustments Jensen made, so she didn’t trust him. Personally, I think her real motivation may be that just like you, she didn’t like Jensen’s results, so she didn’t trust them. (And note, BTW, there’s still no word from Jensen saying he retracts his findings.)

    The real significance of Jensen’s paper is that he is obviously a cycle track fan. Again, he’s saying they should be built even though they’re more dangerous – to sacrifice some bicyclists in order to reduce air pollution and traffic noise. (!) When such a fan admits the increased danger, it’s significant.

    And Teschke? Another cycle track fan, one enthusiastic enough to publish a paper claiming amazing safety for cycle tracks – but failing to divulge that the main (or perhaps only?) cycle track used in computation was one on a high bridge, where crossing conflicts were completely impossible! See How odd that she complains that Jensen didn’t sufficiently explain his work!

    That bridge reference brings up a related point: I don’t have much objection to a cycletrack where crossing conflicts are impossible, because that does remove a great source of danger – providing, that is, that it’s properly maintained, plowed of snow and swept of gravel, has good visibility, is wide enough, doesn’t squeeze opposing-direction cyclists together at high closing speeds, doesn’t promote conflicts with pedestrians, and isn’t promoted by claiming riding on ordinary roads is too dangerous. But the “cycletracks (almost) everywhere” crowd ignores all those problems, plus the much bigger one of crossing conflicts.

    As that link notes, the cadre of people pumping out pro-cycletrack papers are public health experts. Like Jensen, their main motivation is not safety for cyclists; their main motivation is getting people out of cars. Significantly, their areas of expertise are things like epidemiology and “planning” rather than traffic engineering.

    Isn’t it odd that people who have documented competence, skills and knowledge – i.e. professional traffic engineers and cyclists who have learned to ride properly – are mocked and derided here?



    How is this even close? Newport News is a massive parking lot, yes, but nowhere near downtown. It is expressly there to serve one of the largest industrial facilities anywhere, the shipbuilding yard. They build freaking aircraft carriers here. What do you expect, the workers to arrive by subway? It’s like calling the surface lots outside of a Toyota assembly plant a parking crater.

    Syracuse is a parking crater in an actual downtown area near a civic square and restaurants. (Dinosaur BBQ!) It’s a far bigger travesty, since it could be filled with mixed-use development (if the upstate economy could ever support it.)


    Phil Demosthenes

    AASHTO and TRB through the NCHRP process actually publishes some very good material to help advance transportation science, operation and safety for all modes. Implementation seems to be the biggest problem not the availability of how-to information. Its about state and local agency leadership. Does executive management direct implementation of modern standards? Or is the mindset still 20 years behind the times. Some states get it and are advancing, others are years behind and not doing much to catch up. Every day there are over 90 fatals and 6,500 injuries. Every day. And about 93% are driver error. If everyone would support a significant increase in transportation taxes much would be improved. As a user, participate in creating road design policy.



    I’ve walked in both of those places and would definitely say that Syracuse is worse. What you can’t tell from the photos is that Asheville has lots of little infill commercial in the remaining buildings and some semblance of streetscaping here and there. While the buildings in Syracuse are mostly vacant or warehouses – yes, partly the freeway effect.



    You do have to take peak usage and other load factors into account. For example, and show distinct clusters where there is the most demand.



    Newport News is also next to a large port so it’s not really prime real estate. It seems like their downtown is south of there.



    I wanted to try using the bike share system in NYC when I was visiting one time. But the stations were so far apart, or far from where my destination was, it was easier to walk or subway and walk.

    Having more stations in NYC would have made the system much more attractive.

    In comparison, the station locations in London were much better, but still could be improved. For example, there was a bike dock along the water near a hotel I was staying at, but why not have some the bike share bikes directly in front of the hotel entrance.



    In fairness, the image of Downtown Syracuse is of the northernmost section. Surface lots are much more rare south of Erie Blvd, which mostly has parking garages, many of which have been renovated to not look as blighted over the last few years.


    Marven Norman

    Hear here. On some streets, people might not even notice that a change has been made.


    Marven Norman

    Even a good number of the studies that John Franklin summarizes there support cycletracks even though he tries to twist their conclusion to say that they don’t. And they’re all relatively old by now. Newer research such as this study found that cycletracks are safer on distributor (aka collector) roads. There are several others, start in the reference list and have fun.


    Stephen Clark

    This is a great report but the actual cost for a road diet is much much lower than what is computed in the Safer Streets, Stronger Economies report. The reason for their mistake is they show Franklin Ave in Minneapolis as costing $28 million when in fact that was the total cost for the entire Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program for the Greater Minneapolis area. The Franklin Ave road diet came in under $20,000! This needs to be corrected. When lane conversions are done in conjunction with a resurfacing project, the extra cost is next to nothing. Same amount of paint!


    Marven Norman

    You don’t need to rebuild the whole suburbs. Just build cycletracks on the arterials and put restrictions on through traffic on the smaller roads. Most people continually complain about cut-through traffic in the neighborhood anyway. After that is done, education will go ten times further since people will be more willing to ride. Beyond that, a lot of the driving that is done, especially in suburbs, is to ferry around kids who could easily ferry themselves if their parents felt that it was safe for them to do so. That is utilitarian cycling at its finest.


    Marven Norman

    Why do people continue to keep perpetuating this belief? It’s totally possible to ride fast through intersections on the edge, I see people doing it all the time.



    No, I have lived all my life in fairly built up cities and one metropolis. The people here talk like we’re in Wyoming (“this is a small town”, “I moved here for the rural characteristics”), but my experience is very different and separate facilities rule the day in my imagination of a better street/road design paradigm.



    Plus, about 4 of those lots are now residential tower buildings put up over last year alone. Boston no longer looks like that satellite photo. There is much less parking in South Boston now.


    C Monroe

    Wow, Detroit, the city with the most parking craters I have ever seen, is beaten two years in a roll with their two largest craters by smaller craters. Good thing Fort Worth will win this thing.



    I went to Syracuse for grad school 13 years ago and I have to say they’ve developed a lot of surface parking. They have a ways to go but they’re making progress. Tearing down I-81 would help a lot.



    In my mind, the grid pattern seen in Newport News places large parking lots right next to each other, making eight blocks turn into one massive place for parking. Both are ugly, but at least there are some buildings near the parking spaces in Syracuse.


    Sean Murphy

    That’s really the only terrible parking in the downtown area. There are several parking garages and small lots. A wider view of the downtown would show the extensive network of city parks and the Greenbelt. Plus, the city government wants a more livable city (but is stymied by the county road commission – ACHD). Sorry, but gotta take Ft Worth against my latest hometown.




    Jake Wegmann

    I guess general fund. Because “other people” are paying for it, right?!



    What? Have you watched the video? He didn’t “inch forward” – he drove through the crowd at too high a speed.

    The only person who doesn’t look good is the one who used a metal vehicle to injure people who were inconveniencing him.



    If the protestors were illegally blocking the road, then that is a matter for police, not an entitled motorist who clearly has no regard for the lives of others.

    I would argue that purposely ramming pedestrians with heavy machinery is a far more anti-social and dangerous act.



    This morning I heard about a poll on how to finance the repair of California’s degrading road infrastructure. Any guesses as to which came out tops?

    “…when asked about three ways to
    increase state funding for this purpose, most Californians did not favor any of them. Just 18 percent favor increasing the state’s gas tax, 23 percent favor increasing the vehicle registration fee, and 47 percent
    favor issuing bonds paid for through the state’s general fund.”



    Chiming in well after the voting, I lived in Newport News for three years in the mid to late 1980s. When I first moved there, I asked where the downtown was, and the answer was: there basically isn’t one. Looks like that hasn’t changed at all in 30 years.



    Jules, in some European towns (thinking of Italy at the minute) there are streets where vehicles are allowed but that are typically thronged with people. What I have noticed in those situations is that the vehicles inch forward. If the drivers did not do that, they would be stuck for hours. The walkers cede space, slowly, and the vehicle at least makes some progress.

    This situation reminds me of that. The driver may have thought that if he inched forward very slowly, the crowds would disperse around him, allowing him to slowly..

    He probably didn’t reckon anyone being sufficiently obstinate or politically motivated to effectively martyr themselves under his wheels.

    Nobody comes out of this looking good.



    I don’t agree that this was an “accident” in the normal sense of that word, because the impact was caused by a deliberate act. On the other hand, I’m not sure that “road rage” captures it either, because that typically involves an incident between two legal road users.

    In this case the pedestrians were actually protesters illegally blocking a highway. Their illegal action mitigates the guilt of this driver. There was a very real and easily predictable risk of an impact or injury if you knowingly block a highway. In doing so, the protesters assumed that all drivers would simply stop and allow themselves to be delayed, potentially for hours. That is an inherently anti-social and dangerous act.

    On balance, I think traffic charges but not more serious charges seems appropriate to me.



    At least until it runs into Fort Worth, who look invincible…