Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Protecting Bike Lanes can cut the Cost of Brand-new Roads

From People For Bikes

Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer

Image: MacKay Sposito.
As protected bike lanes arrive in American suburbs, some city builders are making an unexpected discovery.
Not only are protected bike lanes by far the best way to make biking a pleasant transportation option for shorter trips — sometimes they can also significantly cut the cost of constructing new roads from scratch.
In the central cities where protected bike lanes first arrived, brand-new roads are rarely built. But now that many suburbs are upping their own game on bike infrastructure, a protected bike lane is being planned into streets from the get-go.
"It's definitely something that we're seeing more of," said Zack Martin, engineering manager at the Washington State development consulting firm MacKay Sposito. "It's coming up on I'd say most of the new arterial roads we're looking at."
In a blog post last month, Martin explained the unexpected reason protected bike lanes can save construction costs: rainwater.
Curb-protected bike lanes, his firm realized, can reduce the huge cost of managing rainwater that falls on pavement and then flows into streams and rivers. That runoff is a major source of water pollution, which is why the federal Clean Water Act requires local governments to minimize it. But in rainy parts of the country, preventing excess runoff from pavement that cars are driving on has also become a major cost factor in road construction.
From Martin's post:
The primary benefit of a protected bike lane from a stormwater perspective is that runoff from the bike lane does not mix with runoff from the vehicle lane. This can be extremely beneficial in jurisdictions that consider the bike/pedestrian area a non-pollution generating surface (although some jurisdictions will still require it to be treated like water from the roadway). Plus this option also leads to the smallest increase in impervious surface.
The protected bike lane configuration can easily support curb cuts for rain gardens in either a continuous inflow or point load entry. This eliminates the need for inlets, manholes, and conveyance pipe. Protected bike lanes also can be built similar to a sidewalk and allow you to reduce the roadway width, both of which lower costs.
This means that protected bike lanes compare favorably to buffered or raised but otherwise unprotected bike lanes, which offer no way to distinguish between runoff from biking-walking and automotive surfaces.
Martin said in an interview Monday that the firm researched the subject in connection with a project in Vancouver, Wash., a suburb of Portland, Ore. He emphasized that such savings don't apply in every jurisdiction — it depends on local circumstances and on how state and federal laws are interpreted at each level.
But their discovery is similar to the one Portland made on Cully Boulevard. When it rebuilt that street in 2011, the protected bike lane along each side reduced costs, because it didn't require as much excavation as a wider road bed would have. Unlike with a conventional bike lane, there was no need to layer the pavement deep enough to carry a truck.
Quality bike infrastructure almost always saves tax dollars by improving health, reducing road wear and boosting road capacity. But sometimes the return on investment arrives sooner than others.
The Green Lane Project helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. You can follow us on LinkedInTwitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly news digest about protected bike lanes. Story tip? Write michael@peopleforbikes.org.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

National Bike Challenge coming up!

PeopleForBikes is making bicycling better for everyone by uniting millions of riders, thousands of businesses and hundreds of communities. We want to bring people together to create a powerful, united voice for bicycling and its benefits. When you sign up for the National Bike Challenge, you are helping us do just that.

In its simplest form, the Challenge is an easy logging center for you to record the miles you ride while competing with other riders all over the country. But the National Bike Challenge is so much more than that. It is a community of people who all share a love of riding bikes. With competition possibilities on the local, state and national level, it is a free and easy way to challenge yourself, colleagues and the greater community to ride more. The Challenge aims to unite 100,000 riders to pedal 75 million miles from May 1, 2016 until September 30, 2016. Now in its fifth year, the Challenge is a successful partnership between PeopleForBikes and Kimberly-Clark’s Cottonelle Products brand.

It doesn’t matter if you’re riding hundreds of miles a week or just getting back in the saddle, you are welcome in the National Bike Challenge. Now get rolling!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Road Diet for US302 coming in 2016!

From WCAX
BARRE, Vt. -
A plan to put the Barre-Montpelier Road on a "diet" is expected to move forward this spring.
The plan illustrated in a VTrans video was originally scheduled for last year. It would see the road go from four travel lanes to two. The extra space would be turned into bike lanes.
VTrans has pushed this configuration in other places, saying it reduces car accidents while accommodating bikers.
Jon Kaplan of VTrans explains in the video that the road can handle the traffic with fewer lanes: "All of the intersections and flow of traffic still functions fine with one less lane. This road was probably just overbuilt based on a traffic projection that never really came to pass, so that's why we have that extra capacity out here now."
A similar project is under consideration for a section of North Avenue in Burlington. Some residents in that neighborhood strongly oppose it.
From YouTube:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Save the Date

From Safe Routes to School
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Burlington's Proposed Bike Network: A Step in the Right Direction, but Not There Yet

From Local Motion
PlanBTV Walk Bike is Burlington's first-ever attempt to (among other things) plan for a complete, fully integrated bike network that brings biking within reach for everyone.  The draft bike network map is a big step in the right direction, but it still falls substantially short of what is needed to make biking a safe option everywhere in the city.  
The consultant team that is developing Burlington's walk-bike master plan needs your comments on this draft bike network map!  Please submit comments by October 22.  Here are the details:


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Final Meeting for the VTrans On-Road Bike Plan - 12/1

From Local Motion
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Displaying On Tuesday, December 1st from 6pm to 8pm, join the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) for a final public meeting about the VTrans On-Road Bike Plan (Phase 1). We will be there and hope you will will too! 
The goal of the plan is to identify opportunities to enhance bicycle conditions on state roads designated as high-use priority bicycle corridors with the intent of making Vermont roads work better and be safer for everyone -- families, commuters and recreational riders. Phase 1 categorized state roads into high-, moderate- and low-use corridors based on their current and potential use.

 At the public meeting you will be able to:
  • See results of phase 1 of the project: the VTrans Bicycle Corridor Priority map, which thousands of people from around the state participated in crafting.
  • Learn more about the next phases of the project: VTrans' assessment of safety and other deficiencies and identification of projects to address those gaps along high priority corridors. 
The meeting will use Vermont Interactive Technologies (VIT) to broadcast to locations around the state. You can attend the meeting at a VIT site to participate in the meeting in real time or participate via webcast at home. Look for emails from Local Motion and check the VTrans On-Road Bike Plan website in the near future for
details.