Wednesday, August 11, 2010
New bike lanes on Wakefield Chapel Road - Part II
We were mostly interested to see if the striped lanes placed cyclists in the door zone. On the southern end of the bike lane section the parking lane and bike lane both seem substandard. We didn't have a tape measure, but pacing off the distances it seemed like the parking lane was only 6 feet from the edge of the gutter pan and the bike lane was 4 feet. As we summarize in the newly published Guide to Reviewing Public Road Design and Bicycling Accommodations for Virginia Bicycling Advocates, "Bike lane width adjacent to narrow parking lane: 6-7 feet." The extra width gives cyclists room to maneuver. I believe the AASHTO guidance for parking lanes is for 7-8 feet in residential areas.
The second photo, with the van, is particularly interesting. The van is parked far to the right, and yet the bike lane striping couldn't be done with it parked there. The inside bike lane strip stops at the bottom of the photo and continues just past the van. We assume the van was there when the striping was done.
The worst place is between the end of the bike lanes at Pulley Ct and the start of the four lane section. There's a small rise in the road where it's narrow and cyclists will be going slow with no choice but to take the lane. The last photo is looking north at the end of the bike lane with the small hill in the distance. Even at midday there was a lot of traffic. This would be a good location for shared lane markings.
The striping needs to be tweaked. Unfortunately it's not uncommon for problems like this to occur, especially when a community is getting experience placing bike lanes. The worst problem is the very narrow parking lane and bike lane in the southern section. It might be wise to remove the bike lanes altogether and replace them with shared lane markings, showing cyclists where they should place themselves when riding next to parked cars. This will likely be a topic of discussion at the next FABB meeting on Wed., August 18 at 7:30pm at Patrick Henry Library in Vienna.