Follow by Email

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Missing in the road improvement for Route 29

    The picture above  shows some of the road work that has been going on in adding a lane to northbound Route 29.  The congestion on 29 at rush hour makes this addition lane something that commuters will appreciate.  However I have always wished that biking commuters could have been considered during this road improvement.  I doubt that anyone involved in the planning of this road improvement gave any consideration to the possibility of creating a bike path in the middle of the lanes.   Highway planning is simply car focused in the United States.  While we have seen a beginning awareness of the needs for cyclists in our community with bike lanes showing up on some of our roads right now the planning seems more for recreational cycling than commuting by bike.  While riding down the median grass area of Route 29 may not be the most scenic it would provide a safe way for cyclists to commute in our area.   The use of major roads like 29 and 175 that provide a great deal of our local transportation ways for car traffic maybe at some point cyclists needs need to be in the planning equation.

      As usual Europe is light years ahead of us in the recognition of cycling commuters.


edblisa said...

I am not a bike rider, but if I were, I wouldn't want to be riding on roads like 29 or 175 (even if they had bike lanes). I think that inhaling the exhaust fumes from so many cars would negate the purpose of the ride?

Anonymous said...

Agree with the previous commenter. There should not be bike lanes on high-speed or limited-access roads. As noted, the exhaust fumes are a hazard. But the more important issue is safety. While accidents are rare, high-speed accidents cause a lot of collateral damage. If a wreck happens on Rte 29 or Rte 175 and you're in the bike lane just off the shoulder, you stand no chance at all should a hubcap, a piece of debris or even an entire uncontrolled car comes at you. You're going to die.

It's one thing to be riding your bike with traffic going 25 mph; you stand a fair chance of not being collateral damage to a car wreck. The debris doesn't get flung as far, and you have more time to react. But if traffic next to you is going 65 or 75, you better make sure you're up to date on your prayers. :-)

As far as people who choose to ride on the shoulders of high-speed roads, like the rural parts of Rte 99 or Rte 144, that's a risk they choose to take. There's less traffic there than on 29; the traffic tends to move more slowly; and yet there are still accidents.

duanestclair said...

On second thought I can see the logic of both comments. Maybe a bike path that parallels a road like 29 should be farther from the road itself but hopefully just as direct as 29. This would require planning years ahead of development like the laying out of Columbia. Too bad the paths were not probably thought of as commuting bikeways when Columbia was planned.