What Went Wrong With This Goofy Albuquerque Bike Lane?

A lot of folks in Albuquerque are scratching their heads about this unorthodox new bike lane. Photo:  Better Burque
A lot of folks in Albuquerque are scratching their heads about this unorthodox new bike lane. Photo: Better Burque

What do you call it when a city finally gets the message it should install a bike lane but can’t quite muster the will to follow through in a meaningful way? There should be a name for that.

Today’s example comes from the beautiful city of Albuquerque, where Scot Key at Better Burque has been trying to figure out what happened with the bike lane pictured above. He writes:

Since this photo first appeared, there’s been understandable ridicule in the “community” of the bike lane stripe interrupted to fit the bike lane stencil. Very understandable ridicule.

And from looking back at those drawings, and a bit of Google Mapping, I discovered something I certainly didn’t notice back at that meeting, but that seems to have been discovered by plenty of folks now, engineering firms and others involved in implementing the Girard Project included.

Key did some Google Earth sleuthing and found that while the drawings for the bike lane showed a 41-foot street width on Gerald Boulevard, the street is more like 38 feet across for at least some sections.

So instead of narrowing the car lanes to make room for an adequate bike lane, the bike lane got squeezed. The jarring visual of a bike stencil that doesn’t fit in the bike lane highlights how low cycling is on the city’s transportation totem pole, Key says:

Your humble blogger wishes he had known this way back when at the meeting with all the drawings on table-tops. He also wonders exactly when the far more important people in charge of designing and implementing this project discovered this fact.

We could put together a whole “bike lane bloopers” tournament — except we all know Cleveland is the hands-down winner and no further proof is needed.

More recommended reading today: A series of deaths prompts a Bike Portland contributor to consider what can be done about the dangers commercial trucks pose to cyclists. And Streets.mn shares a chart showing the increases in bicycling that followed the construction of bike lanes on a number of key streets in St. Paul.

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