Saturday, December 27, 2014

How to create your own bike lane

bike lane separators © cyclehoop
There are many tools you can use to plop down a quick bike lane. The one picture above and below has several benefits, so I thought it deserved some special attention. It's called an "Armadillo." It's quite simple, but comes with a number of advantages.
For one, it actually creates a separated bike lane on the roadway, which is much more preferred than a bike lane that is simply painted on the side of the road and almost looks like a road shoulder rather than a dedicated path for bicyclists.
Secondly, while drivers can see that they shouldn't drive up onto Armadillos, and will quickly notice if they do, they also aren't faced with the unpleasant stress of driving next to tall separators such as cones or poles. I definitely think bicyclists deserve physical separators, but I don't think they always need to be tall and stressful to drivers.
© cyclehoop
© cyclehoop
Thirdly, these babies are made from 100% recycled PVC. 100% recycled content rocks, and the manufacturers deserve some props for that.
Another plus with these Armadillos is that they can very easily and quickly be implemented. That cuts costs, of course, and also makes it easier to implement test projects that could more quickly get separated bikes lanes added to your neighborhood, similar to the pop-up bike lanes I wrote about in February.
"Armadillos are bolted into the ground and spaced out so that cyclists can enter or exit the cycle lanes as needed," cyclehoop writes. "Much quicker and more cost effective to install than other solutions, Armadillos have been successfully installed and used by major towns and cities across Europe and North America for the past 7 years."
Here's a video featuring some of these Armadillo bike lane separators, and one more photo:

© cyclehoop
Some of the commentary in the video was cringeworthy, but what can you expect from the mainstream media?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

VTrans' Jon Kaplan on the planned Road Diet for US302

In this video clip, Jon Kaplan of VTrans explains the methodology of a road diet and how it can benefit bicyclists and pedestrians.  Jon's comments apply to a road diet that is going to be tried on a section of Route 302 in central Vermont, but the concept can be employed successfully in a variety of settings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Help build the Bridge across the Winooski for the Cross VT trail

V Trans On-Road Bicycle Plan Announcement

Trans On-Road Bicycle Plan Announcement

To meet the growing demand for bicycling facilities VTrans is kicking off an exciting new initiative, the VTrans On-Road Bicycle PlanThe Plan will help guide improvements along Vermont state highways to work better and be safer for all bicyclists -- families, commuters and recreational riders.

Get involved! You can contribute by identifying where you ride and where you want to ride by:

1.   Attending the project public meetings. The first meeting will be on December 9, 2014 from 6pm to 8pm. The meeting will be broadcasted using Vermont interactive Technologies (VIT) throughout the state. Find a location convenient to you.

2.   Adding to the  VTrans On-Road Bicycle WikiMap.

3.   Telling your friends and neighbors to participate. Forward this email or post it on your local Front Porch Forum or hang up a flyer.

Phase 1. Over the next six months, and with YOUR help, VTrans will:
  • Collect information from the public about where they ride and where bicyclists want to ride on State roads;
  • Use this information to identify several tiers of bicycle corridors ranging from most desirable for bicycling to the least desirable for bicycling; and
  • Set the stage for where we should focus needed bicycle improvements.
Public input is critical to the success of this project. We thank you for helping to make the project a success by sharing your thoughts and creating project awareness by connecting others. 

If you have questions or comments related to this project, please contact VTrans Planning Coordinators:

Sommer Bucossi at 802-828-3884 and Amy Bell at 802-828-2678 or email us

Sommer Roefaro Bucossi
Planning Coordinator
VT Agency of Transportation 
Policy, Planning & Intermodal Development Division

Monday, September 29, 2014

Montpelier in Motion Public Meeting Oct 2nd, 6:30pm

Montpelier in Motion 

Montpelier is sponsoring the second of several public work sessions 

leading towards the completion of a pedestrian and bicycle master 

plan for the City. 

October 2, 2014 at 6:30 PM

City Hall Council Chambers

Come take a look at the various options and 

recommendations that are being considered for 

City's bicycling and walking master plan and help 

decide which one should actually be included.

inclusion in the 

To view the options, please visit the Broadreach Planning & Design 

website: and go to Projects/Current and then 

Montpelier in Motion. Information will be available after September 25, 2014.

To leave comments about the project, please email Broadreach Planning & Design

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Montpelier in Motion Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Public Work Session: October 2nd, 6:30 pm in city council chambers, Montpelier City Hall

The City of Montpelier will be hosting the second public work session as part of the development of Montpelier in Motion, a bicycling and walking master plan that the City is developing.  The work session will be held  onOctober 2 at 6:30PM in the City Council Chambers in City Hall.  
The purpose of the meeting will be to review solutions: numerous different ideas and recommendations that are under consideration for inclusion in the plan.  The  City and  its consultant team of Broadreach Planning & Design and RSG are looking for public comments on which ideas would be good to use in Montpelier in Motion   
The City is developing this plan to serve as a guide for future actions to make bicycling and walking more visible, easier, and widely undertaken by residents and employees.  The plan covers future roadway and sidewalk improvements along with City policies regarding roadway and sidewalk maintenance; walking and bicycling education and encouragement; and local and state bicycling, walking and driving law enforcement. The plan contains overall walking and bicycling goals that the City hopes to reach as well as methods of evaluating progress towards attaining them.   
The purpose of the Montpelier in Motion plan itself is to serve as a guide for future bicycling and walking improvements within the City.  This planning effort stems from the November 2012 Bike Summit held at Vermont College of Fine Arts. The steering committee for the planning process includes members of the Montpelier Bike and Pedestrian advisory committees.  The notes taken at the 2012 Summit were consulted as this process began.  Please come if you can.  For more information, contact Hannah Reckhow in the city planning department, 262-6273.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

If you want your city to replace parking spots with bike lanes, use perspective


montreal protected bike lane story
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Joel Mann
One of the biggest challenges of making cities more bike friendly is that most of the road space is already "used up." Adding bike lanes means removing something. That's when a bit of perspective comes in handy.
Convincing your city's decision-makers and other citizens to replace some car infrastructure with bike infrastructure can be a huge challenge. Unfortunately, arguing that shifting more people to bicycling will free up space on the roads and reduce congestion isn't always effective. So, how have other cities succeeded in breaking through the anti-bike barrier?
Montreal city planners have one tip. Back in 2005, when they were working on a downtown bike project that has helped make Montreal one of the better North American cities for bicyclists, they wanted to take out 300 parking spaces. Anyone who has played this game for, I don't know, 5 days, knows that requesting removal of parking spaces is a good way to get yourself stoned by the locals. Trying to find a way around a public stoning while still requesting that 300 parking spaces be turned into bike lanes, the planners decided to put things into perspective.
Payton Chung/CC BY 2.0
The planners counted up all of the parking spaces within 200 meters of the project. They came to a total of 11,000. Of course, 300 compared to 11,000 doesn't sound like much, and that leaves a full 10,700.
Put in other terms, it's just ~2.7% of the parking spaces in the area.
"The effect on the debate was a surprise," said Jean-Francois Pronovost of Vélo Québec. "No one estimated that there was that number of car parking [spaces] available."
There's probably some kind of natural law explaining this, but I'm sure humans have a tendency to underestimate the number of parking spaces in any given area. In actuality, our cities are flooded with parking spaces. Many places are designed to accommodate Black Friday crowds, even required to do so by local zoning laws. But when we can't find parking for 10 seconds, we get the idea that there isn't much parking in the area.
If you're trying to bring some sanity back to your city's transportation system and you're tackling a tough problem like removing hundreds of parking spaces, try using a bit of perspective. You can make numbers that might seem big without context seem very small in context. Make it seem downright absurd to fight against something like a shift from 11,000 parking spaces to 10,700. Slip your tempting (and genuinely helpful) bike project in by understanding how humans think about things and how to make a benign project actually appear benign.
I'm sure there are other good ways to add perspective about such a project as well. Chime in with more tips if you have them. Another idea I love is using piled up snow on the roadway "as tracing paper" to identify areas of the roadway that are really not needed and could be turned over to bikers and pedestrians.
Via Planetizen