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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lost bike lane opportunity

    Like many recreational bikers I try to stay on the bike paths when biking around Columbia.  Most roads in Columbia are designed with only car transportation in mind.  I don't feel safe when the roads make it seem as if only cars belong on our roads.  Sharing the road with a biker is something that too many car drivers feel is too difficult.  Their attitude is "the road is mine" and the bikers don't belong on the roads.  The way the road lines are drawn only makes this attitude seem justified.
 
  
        The repaving of  Cradlerock Way in Columbia gave the County an opportunity to paint in a visible bike lane on the road.  The photo above shows what looks like a bike lane between the right turn lane for the East Columbia Library and one of the car lanes for through traffic.  While this is a positive attempt at a bike lane it isn't clearly marked as a bike lane.  Maybe that will come at some point. 


     The lanes for bike traffic are more unclear as you proceed on Cradlerock with the bike lanes ending at the street intersections as seen below.  Cars are given the right of way at this point.



    The picture below shows how a bike lane should be marked and continues through the street intersection.


   
    In front of the Lake Elkhorn School the "bike lane" is used by school staff as convenient street parking.  No parking signs would provide bikers the lane that they should have at this point.

   Farther down the street again what seems like a bike lane is not clearly marked as the example below it shows what good marking looks like.



     Howard County has been developing a bicycle master plan the past year.  Its stated goals are:

1) Identify and develop countywide system of bicycle facilities to foster connectivity within and between the following: villages, communities and neighborhoods throughout the County, as well as neighboring cities and counties, parks and recreation centers, schools and educational institutions, commercial and employment centers, and regional and local transit facilities.
      2) Facilitate recreational and transportation trips by bicycle in the County and improve safety for all types of bicyclists.
     3) Recommend County policies that will support bicycling, including bikeway facility design.

    Cradlerock might have been a good first visible start to "facilitate recreational and transportation trips by bicycle."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The 'bike lane' that you refer to in your second to last picture is not a bike lane, at least according to Howard County. Rather than a bike lane, HoCo sees that as a method of traffic calming, read 'speed control'. When complaints in my neighborhood reached the unbearable level about excessive speed on a through street, this was there solution.