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BFC Steve: Top 10 Bike Facilities
As of today, I have toured 14 cities by bike. These bicycle friendly visits are pretty much all structured the same: meet with city/county staff before the ride; tour the city by bike 5-15 miles with the same group plus or minus elected officials and bike advocates/shop managers or owners and then have a debriefing session with a larger group later in the afternoon or evening.
Each day a new city, (using a bicycle to get to) and each Saturday, a new regional trip, using bus or train. Yes, it’s a fantastic opportunity and the best part about it is with each new visit I am able to add new things to my presentation! So far every city has had something special that other cities can learn from. (And yes, every city also has areas that need help!)
I’m mostly focusing on infrastructure, but as any good materialist will tell you, ideas too can become a material force! So here are not only the Top 10 treatments I’ve witnessed, but stay tuned tomorrow for 10 city superlatives that might ultimately be a bigger factor in long term success than the infrastructure!
Best Legitimacy Effort: Sharrows and Bikes May Use Full Lane signs, 48th Street N., Phoenix, AZ.
While such signs and markings are widespread in California, they are relatively new to Arizona, with an attorney in Tucson telling an audience they are not allowed. So it took a lot of effort to make this happen in Phoenix. 48th Street was a perfect place to introduce such signs, as this street presented a .75 mile gap between bike lanes and a popular off-street facility, and about the only way cyclists could get from that particular section of Phoenix to cities like Tempe, outside of Phoenix. Signs went up and honking went way down!
Runner up: Long Beach, CA
Note the great placement of the sharrows here at Long Beach, CA, well outside the door zone.
Best Road Diet: Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ
Transportation Planner Eric Iwersen shown riding here on road dieted Mill Ave., never tires of hosting tours of bicycle friendly Tempe.
When this was initially proposed, there was outrage even among people known to be open to new ideas. Few could imagine how a street as busy and as essential as Mill Avenue could ever function if it went from 4 lanes down to 2 lanes through the very heart of Tempe. But today, few can imagine it being anything but what it has now become: the most vibrant and profitable gathering place in all of Arizona! Did the road diet decrease capacity? Not at all! More people are coming into this area than ever before, but now they can walk, bike or take transit --- real choices and it’s safer for all road users!
Runner up: 2nd Street Tunnel in Los Angeles – before the 4-2 conversion, surely would have been one of the most hostile places in LA to ride! Today, a breeze, with buffered (and sort of ‘protected’) bike lanes!
Best Priority Bike Lanes: Long Beach, CA
The priority bike lanes here in Long Beach is a great example of how a city can take the “Use Full Lane” approach to a level that encourages cycling almost as much as having space for dedicated bike lanes. What was most striking to me is how this shared space approach dramatically reduced sidewalk riding (only 2% or riders are now on the sidewalk!) while significantly increasing cycling – to the extent that this is now as popular as many off-street facilities, and even parents with their children can be found using it.
Best Buffered Bike Lanes: Santa Monica, CA
Note how the buffer zone is provided next to the parked cars and the travel lane, nicely delineating the safest space for cycling. No wonder transportation planner Michelle Glickert is smiling!
Best Bike Center: Santa Monica, CA
When not serving customers, Abby Beal of the Bike Center in Santa Monica also helps businesses become Bicycle Friendly! Lockers, showers, bike rentals, classes, and repairs are all available at this centrally located bike station.
Runner Up: Bike Cellar, Tempe, AZ
Tempe’s Bike Center is at the hub of light rail, bus lines, and good bike routes, and the City’s Transportation Department sits on top of it! The epitome of convenience and good planning!
Best Trail Crossings of Major Streets: Gilbert, AZ
It is truly a sight to behold when as soon as you push a button a signal goes to yellow, then red and 6 lanes of traffic come to a halt! Here’s a place where the trail user does not experience long delays trying to get across busy streets.
Best Use of HAWK signals: Tucson, AZ
Gabrial Thum of PIMA MPO demonstrates how well this crossing in Tucson near the University works. The ‘first of its kind’ signal includes a special bicycle phase (and bike signal) in addition to the walk phase. The beauty of the HAWK signal is when you don’t need to use it to safely cross the street, you don’t have to! (It goes black, not green).
Best Design of Shared Right Turn only lane: Tucson, AZ
Best educational program: Oceanside, CA
Oceanside's educational efforts supported by Angel Ayala (on far left) and Brian Nygren (far right) of Trek, with instructors Steve Tisdale and Howard LaGrange to the left of me (wearing the League jersey!)
No city has more educational programming for kids and adults than the City of Oceanside. Here are two of the key instructors, Howard LaGrange and Steve Tisdale, both city employees and both League Cycling Instructors (LCIs). Howard and Steve also work closely with RAAM champion Pete Penseyres,who continues to volunteer thousands of hours.
Best BMX park: Chandler, AZ
Runner up: Oceanside, CA
Most beautiful off-street trail: Huntington Beach, CA
Runner up: Oceanside, CA
Best Downtown facility: Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA
Runner up: Long Beach Cycle Track on 3rd Street
Learn about this great work through my updates on the blog -- stay tuned tomorrow for more on city superlatives! -- and if you want to get a daily dose of what I’m up to, follow me on twitter @bfc_steve.