Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bike lanes for East Emerald & Americana Hill?

This may be of interest to Boise cyclists.  The Ada County Highway District is conducting a survey and soliciting citizen comments about the possibility of adding bike lanes to the east end of Emerald Street (from Orchard east to Latah), and Americana down the hill to the entrances of Ann Morrison and Kathryn Albertson Parks.

To find the survey, go to the ACHD Project Page, and click on Emerald Street & Americana Boulevard... in the "Roadways" section - that project page is HERE.

Some observations... since I've ridden that corridor many times each week for years - on a bicycle - I felt qualified to comment.
- Being a pragmatist, I appreciate the fact that those streets get pretty busy at Rush Hour.  I don't relish the idea of turning four traffic lanes into two, which is one of the scenarios.
- Emerald can get a little dicey when traffic is heavy, but
- the lanes are pretty wide on Americana.  Maybe they could add a bike lane on both sides.
- Or perhaps they'd do a bike lane on the uphill side where there can be a wide disparity between bike speeds and car speeds, but let 'em share a lane on the downhill side.

My recommendation on the survey was to mark the outside lanes with prominent "sharrows" to remind motorists that they might be sharing the lane with brothers and sisters on bikes, but otherwise leave things as they are.  I also noted that it can be awkward to ride up the hill on Americana, and then somehow get into the left lane to turn south on Latah, but I'm not enough of a traffic genius to know how to economically make it better.


Clancy Anderson said...

Popular post!
I have done the bike counts on that insection for the past few years(about 6 times fall/Spring). Most cyclist come off the greenbelt and come up the left side of the Americana hill. To make sharrows or bike lanes work, there needs to be a crossing or big signeage at the greenbelt to alert cyclist to cross Americana. I estimate that over 80% of cyclist navigate that intersection incorrectly.

Bikeboy said...

Clancy, I scanned those three other comments for something related and then deleted 'em. (If they were topical, the guy was taking WAY too long to get around to his point! ha)

I'll confess that I sometimes ride up Americana, on the sidewalk, on the "downhill side." I'll sometimes do it when I'm Latah-bound, instead of needing to cross the traffic lanes. And I do it when I'm riding with granddaughter Mackie, because I don't want her riding up the hill in the traffic lane.

Theoretically, sidewalks are two-way thoroughfares, but that one gets pretty narrow if you're riding up and encounter somebody riding down. (I rationalize that I only have to share the space maybe 5% of the time.)