Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bikes not welcome here!

Ada County prides itself on being a bike-friendly community. These days, you can even see the signs proclaiming such. (We aren't "gold bike-friendly," but we're happy to be "bronze bike-friendly.")

I'm wondering if that friendliness ends at the Meridian city limit.

Over the weekend, I rode on Meridian Road for the first time in awhile. Since the last time, a fairly major intersection upgrade was completed just south of I-84, at Overland Road. Ah... glass-smooth asphalt. Ya gotta love it.

The problem was, and is, that the supposed "bike lane" is abysmal through the new stretch. At least northbound, it is painted to hug the far-right edge of the pavement, irrespective of painted turn-only lanes, etc. I'd say there are 3 or 4 places where the designated/painted bicyclist route has potentially-serious conflicts with turn-only motor vehicle lanes... including a freeway entrance ramp.

It wasn't too bad on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, when traffic was relatively light, people weren't stressed out late-for-work, and visibility was good. But what would it be like at 7:30am on a weekday? I wouldn't want to experience it for myself.

Meridian Road is also known as State Highway 69, so I assume it was the Idaho Transportation Department that did such a smash-up (literally) job on the bike-lane striping. Maybe they can fix it in a few months, after they lay down the inevitable chip-seal.

The "established" road, north of the I-84 overpass, isn't very bike-friendly either. It's for that very reason that I don't ride to Meridian very often. I get a subliminable (as Pres. Bush would say) message that bikes aren't particularly welcome in Meridian, land of pickup-truck rednecks and SUV cul-de-sac bedroom subdivisions.

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