Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ever-friendlier streets?

Boise-area residents are probably aware that the annual chip-seal ritual is once again underway. Every 9 years, ACHD puts a new coat of chipseal on 1/9 of the roads that they maintain. They say it's the cheapest way to keep the roads in good condition.

Cyclists don't care for the chipseal. But taxpaying cyclists can deal with it.

The chipseal surface increases both friction/resistance and noise, compared with the much more expensive glass-smooth asphalt.

This year, the ACHD news release states, "This time around those roads will get a smaller, one-fourth inch chip which will make the streets noticeably smoother." Indeed, I have noticed the smaller chips, and they are an improvement.

The release also states, "This year the ACHD Traffic Department will look for locations where the lines can be repainted so there is more room for bicycles on the shoulder." Ya gotta like that - good for everybody. (Some "purist" vehicular cyclists like to share a lane. Personally, I don't mind sharing a lane, but I'll always appreciate and use a delineated space, when it's available.)

The local news is also reporting new bike-friendly traffic cameras, designed to detect the smaller profile of a cyclist and trip the light at intersections.

Are they an improvement?

The jury is still out. I've not been awestruck yet. And correspondent Bob T reports, "as of last week the camera was still not detecting me. I ride a few loops across several lanes until the signal changes (I know that the law allows me to go, but I would rather get the green light if possible)."

I've always found the ACHD responsive to cyclist complaints and concerns. If you're having problems on the roads, let them know! The email address is .


Bob T said...

Today at about 5:30am I was on Emerald eastbound approaching Maple Grove. I made a point of staying in the bike lane and the signal DID detect my presence. My strobe light and helmet flasher were on so I'm not sure if that was the reason or not. Tomorrow morning shortly after sunrise I'm planning to ride eastbound on Emerald from Maple Grove to Americana so we'll see how the other lights behave.

Bob T said...

On Sunday morning after the sun had risen but before there was significant other traffic I rode eastbound on Emerald from Maple Grove to Americana. I stayed in the bike lane at the intersections. The lights at Maple Grove and Curtis detected my presence, but the ones at Milwaukee and Cole did not. I will report my findings to the ACHD and try again in a couple weeks.

Bob T said...

Early on Saturday, July 3rd I rode eastbound on Emerald and was detected at Maple Grove, Milwaukee, Cole, and Curtis so whatever adjustments the ACHD is making seem to be working.

Am planning to check the same intersections westbound early this coming Sunday.

BobT said...

The results of last weekend's test on Emerald were mixed. I was detected at Curtis and Cole (both westbound and eastbound), but not in either direction at Milwaukee and Maple Grove. Have advised the ACHD.