Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Editorial Asks To 'Do Second Avenue Right'

In this editorial in today's Spokesman-Review, Bicycle Advisory Board member Bradley Bleck challenges City of Spokane leaders to 'Do Second Avenue Right' by striping bike lanes and possibly trying something new such as 'bike boxes.'

I work with both planners and engineers on a daily basis. Not to perpetuate stereotypes, but the old joke is that engineers see everything in black and white and the planners see all rainbows and butterflies and unicorns when it comes to the future of transportation infrastructure. Several planners I've talked to, all who support bike and pedestrian facilities in general, say they (at least somewhat) agree with City engineers on this one and don't support putting bike lanes on Second Avenue. Instead, they would like to see them on a less busy downtown street so they would be utilized by more people, including those who may not be comfortable riding near so much traffic.

What's your thoughts on this topic?


Charles said...

I agree I would never ride on a busy street like 2nd, even if they had a bike lane. Take the bus until you get away from the busy part of downtown.

SRTC Staff said...

I would probably be pretty reluctant to do so also. I would however ride on a less busy street, as long as it got me to the general vicinity of where I needed to go.

Barb Chamberlain said...

I ride regularly on 2nd when it's not under construction (and Bradley rides it every day on his way to work). My personal observation is that the vast majority of the time I have an entire lane to myself. There are three lanes and drivers easily move past. Often when I ride through there the street is practically empty. (I'm riding between Sherman and Monroe or Cedar, typically, so I'm in the downtown core.)

I know it's not nearly empty at peak times--around 5pm and around 8am--but those are specific parts of the day.

The other 23 hours of the day almost any arterial is a pretty good bike route because cross traffic has to stop and there are multiple lanes, making it easy for drivers to pass without crowding the bike rider.

Those "less busy" streets can be ones with uncontrolled intersections where drivers may not take the time to really look for either pedestrians or cyclists, so don't assume they're safer. We all still have to stay alert and mindful.


SRTC Staff said...

That's part of what I love about Spokane Barb- the 'rush minute' we have, versus the 'rush hour' that other larger cities experience. Most of the time, you CAN ride pretty much anywhere besides the freeway and Division. One thing I'm noticing on my Fridays off though, or while out running errands during work hours, is that there is a lot more traffic at all hours anymore than it seems like there used to be.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.