Friday, June 1, 2007

Sidewalks for Bikers?

There's an interesting letter-to-the-editor at the Daily Paper today. (Click HERE to link to the online version; the letter is titled "Thank you, ACHD.")

The author, Heather Culig, is lauding the Highway District for installing sidewalks along Cloverdale Road, between McMillan and Ustick. (For those who may not be familiar, much of the west side of Boise is a grid of arterial roads, exactly 1 mile apart, with neighborhood roads in between. All three roads mentioned are such arterials; Cloverdale is a busy 2-lane, but with pretty good width.)

Ms. Culig is glad that finally "... bikers have a designated area away from traffic..."

Now, I think it's wonderful that kids on bikes, etc., have a place where they feel a bit more secure. And I hope the sidewalk gets worn out from the mixed use Ms. Culig envisions.

But it just goes to show how different two peoples' viewpoints can be. I am traffic!

I ride that stretch of Cloverdale on a regular basis. Unless the pavement width has been altered by the new sidewalks, I would never even consider using them, because I've never felt uncomfortable on the road. (Sure, during "rush hour," it might be unnerving to someone who is not accustomed to having all those cars go by in fairly close proximity. But I watch my rearview, I'm where I should be, I'm riding predictably and visibly and defensively... and I've never had a problem.)

(I should also mention... all those cars going by during rush hour? Almost without fail, I overtake them, and many others, at the next traffic signal anyway.)

I'll be disappointed if Ms. Culig or somebody else hollers at me to "get on the sidewalk where you belong!" (I get that on very rare occasions - I'd say 2 or 3 times a year. It distresses me, because it's always hollered by somebody who isn't aware of traffic laws or the principles of effective transportation cycling.)


Anonymous said...

Did they install a sidewalk and NOT bike lanes? That's asinine. Right in line with what I'd expect.

Bikeboy said...

Danielo, my man... I'll have to ride that stretch, to check the exact configuration. I've not been riding there since the big project at Chinden / Cloverdale / Joplin got underway.(Traditionally it's been a standard-width 2-lane road with "fog stripes" rather than a designated bike lane. And ACHD has lately been very cognizant of putting in the bike-friendly infrastructure, so it's hard to imagine they missed on this one.)

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Anonymous said...

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Bikeboy said...

Does Rodrigo wear a personalized T-shirt that says in big letters:


(In Portuges, of course...)

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Bike Nazi, this is Heather Culig, the person that wrote the letter to the editor. First of all, I would NEVER yell at a biker to get on the sidewalk, especially if he or she was riding responsibly. I have however, been tempted to ask the kids that are swerving in and out of the raised curbs to quit and ride on the correct side of the curb. I would want someone to "yell" at my kid for doing the same thing. You need to ride this section during school rush hour (both in the morning and afternoon) and witness how many students walk down Cloverdale. Obviously, the pedestrians are young and are not always paying attention. The temporary sidewalks installed make their journey to and from school DRASTICALLY safer. I am a mother of 4 and would have never let my kids walk or even ride their bike to school down Cloverdale, now however, I will. I agree, sidewalks are a pain in the ass to ride (when you are on a mission and going fast) and potentially more dangerous as drivers are not expecting you. People that ride their bike as a means of transportation or exercise usually are paying very close attention to the automobile traffic around on bikes riding to school or their friends house or to Maverik are a whole different story...these are the people that should be using the sidewalks, not you. When I went to ACHD in the fall of 2005, there were (according to the Meridian School District transportation department) 211 high school kids and 133 middle school kids that had to walk to school along this one mile section of Cloverdale. Of course, alot of these kids get rides, but alot walk. Plus, there were 5 elementary bus stops...crazy to think there were young kids standing out on Cloverdale on no sidewalk waiting for a ride to school! I would hope that a person that clocks as many miles as you do, would encourage kids to walk or ride their bike to school. And...I would hope that you would agree that before these sidewalks were installed, it was not safe.