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Roland Ave Cycle Track

Roland Ave Cycle Track

At the Roland Ave Improvement Association Meeting, Baltimore City Transportation Director William Johnson described converting Roland's bikelanes into one way Cycle Tracks, between parked cars and the curb, on each side of Roland. What unpleasantly surprised Barry Childress and me was that each one way Cycle Track would only be 6' wide - a 4' bikelane and a two foot buffer for passengers to alight from parked cars.  Federal Guidelines, where parked cars are the buffer, call for an 8' minimum width.  The current design not only provides insufficent room for cyclists  to pass other cyclists but also too little space to avoid the door zone of parked cars.  MDOT's yellow brochure, " Safe Bicycling in Maryland ", on page 16 instructs cyclists to ride at least 4' away from parked cars, so one doesn't get hit if someone opens their door. A conventional bikelane allows the cyclist to move out of the door zone where necessary.  A one way 6' Cycle Track doesn't. Riding 4' from parked cars and 1' from the curb in a 6' space leaves only 1' for the cyclist..  At a time when I was just starting to understand Cycle Tracks, removing the bikelane on a key bicycle commuter route to shoehorn Cycle Tracks  rekindles my skepticism that the City will build Cycle Tracks where there's no room or they aren't suitable.

    Commuters prefer Roland Ave because it's more of a neighborhood street and ends at Lake Ave, making it less attractive to motorists than say Charles St that provides access to the Beltway.  Unlike Falls Rd south of Coldspring, Roland has a passing lane, allowing motorists to pass bicyclists without encroaching into oncoming traffic.

WILL CYCLISTS BE REQUIRED TO USE THE CYCLE TRACKS?

     Md is one of 8 states that require cyclists, with limited exceptions, to use a bikelane. Use of a bikepath in MD is optional.  (All surroundings states - PA, DE, DC, and VA - don't require cyclists to use either a bikelane or bikepath).  I talked to Bicycle Director Caitlin Doolin at the meeting, and she said that one way out of this dilemma would be to call the Cycle Track a Bikepath rather than a Bikelane. Caitlin said that NY City just changed their terminology of Cycle Tracks,  to avoid mandatory use. I also conferred with LAB Legal and Policy Specialit Ken McLeod.  Ken sent me Md's Title 21 Vehicle Laws - Rules of the Road 21-101 Definitions:
    " Bicycle Path" means any travelway designed and designated by signing or signing and marking for bicycle use, located within its own right-of-way or in a shared right-of-way and PHYSICALLY SEPARATED FROM MOTOR VEHICLE TRAFFIC BY BERM, SHOULDER, OR OTHER SIMILAR DEVICE.  Ken indicated that it appears the definition of "bicycle path" in MD likely encompasses a cycletrack that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic.  While it appears the City will tolerate cyclists using the roadway, they prefer we use the Cycle Track.  Our challenge as part of the traffic calming project is to persuade the City to put sharrows on the roadway to alert motorists that we have the option of using the roadway.
Jeffrey H. Marks

     

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

Excellent and informative wrap-up. Thanks, Jeffrey.

bobwag@gmail.com
4130 on 28's @ 15
http://randoramble.wordpress.com/

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

Bob Wagner wrote:


Excellent and informative wrap-up. Thanks, Jeffrey.

Agreed.  Well-said. 
Thank-you, Jeffrey.

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

Josh Logan has ridden Roland Ave this week.  He posted to Strava that “New separated bike lane on Roland Ave perplex motorists to the point where the entire purpose is defeated and they park directly in the bike lane”.
I asked Josh to elaborate his comments on the evolving condition of the project.

Josh Logan wrote:

...they are still in progress on painting lines and placing flexible barriers for the cycle track. From a cyclist point of view, its my expectation that once paint is on the road, the rules are in play, but maybe thats not the case from DOT perspective. The section in front of the Starbucks and Eddie's is where I saw the issue. The section was fully painted, but did lack the barriers. The bike lane is painted against the curb, then the hashed “door zone” and the parking spots are inside of that, directly next to traffic. The cars (as of yesterday) were parked along the curb, as they would have done previously, but now that lies directly in the bike lane. Hopefully this issue will be resolved if/when the flexible barriers go up and/or there is a painted bike indicating which lane of the road is designated for which type of vehicle. This layout I think will be safer overall, except in intersections where cars can make right turns. The lane does move inward at intersections, but doesn’t cars will still have to merge across the bike lane to make their turn…not ideal, but I can’t think of another way to design it that would avoid this.


I hope that is somewhat valuable. Its nice to see that we are moving in a positive direction, albeit slowly!

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