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Roland Ave Cycle Track

Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

For those interested: a Dept. of Transportation official is scheduled to attend the next board meeting of the Roland Park Civic League. It's next Wednesday, March 2, at 7:00pm. Location: Roland Park Presbyterian Church at Roland Ave. & Oakdale, across from St. David's. As far as I know, it's open to the public. Should I learn otherwise, I'll say so on this forum.

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

FYI Roland Park Presbyterian Church is @ Roland Ave & Upland Road across from the shopping center not Roland & Oakdale.

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

It's great that the Roland cycle track is getting all this attention, but it sure seems a little late. The civic league had this planned with the support of whatever RP community cared at the time.  Meetings were had and the cycle track is done... or, almost done.

I ride it many times a week to work. My review?: meh.

Before the track, I got buzzed by traffic, worried about getting doored, got hung up by illegal stopping at the schools and only very rarely saw other riders.
After the track, I get buzzed less by traffic, am worried less about getting doored, but still get hung up at the schools. I am hoping to see more riders once the weather breaks.

Honestly, I'd be happy getting behind slower riders who are out for the first time. They are who this track is for. Quicker, more confident riders, can pick another road or come out into the lane just like before.

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

I attended the RPCL board meeting last night, where the turnout was large and there was much spirited discussion of the "cycle track." -- As far as I know, I was the ONLY BBC member in attendance. The bike advocacy contingent appeared to be represented solely by Mike McQuestion and one confederate. What I say below is as a BBC member and a city cyclist, not as BBC forums moderator.

Among the many Roland Park and nearby residents in attendance, the new road configuration was overwhelmingly unpopular for reasons of greatly reduced safety, the narrowing of travel lanes -- which has failed to slow drivers to sane speeds and makes it unsafe for either drivers or passengers to open their doors -- the confusion caused by the unorthodox configuration, and the loss of many parking spaces (55 or 100, depending on whether you were a DOT staffer or a resident). As Rando Bob has noted, the thing is is a done deal. The DOT people say it isn't complete yet (they need dry roads at 60 degrees or more to finish construction) and they're still evaluating, which they will continue to do. They said "education" is needed and handed out slick little postcards showing the wrong and right ways to park. They said such "cycle tracks" are popular in other cities that have them. Oh, and they're going to paint the bike lane green. Thanks for that.

The narrowness of the travel lanes causes even well-meaning drivers to park well into the buffer between the roadway and the bike lane, creating dangerous conditions for cyclists who are already squeezed next to the curb and have no way to avoid road hazards such as debris, gravel, and broken glass. Street sweeping? Forget about it -- there's no access with the parked cars blocking the bike lane.

I said it at the meeting, and I'll say it here: there is no need for further evaluation. Enough data have been collected. There was nothing wrong with Roland Avenue that resurfacing and line painting couldn't fix. The "cycle track" was a bad idea, which the DOT will continue to "evaluate" right up until someone is killed.

Edited by: Janet Goldstein - Mar-03-16 06:07 am

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

Janet -
Thanks for your report on last night's Roland Park Civic League's meeting about the Cycle Track.

Based on your observations at the meeting last night, it seems like a done deal.  No evaluation is really being done...  I wish someone had challenged the DOT and asked what the evaluation system is and when it will be completed and if the results of the evaluation will be released to the public.  Of course, if I had been there, I wouldn't have thought of asking these questions at that time.

I'm am going to send an email to District 6 Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton (following up to my prior email to her), copying the project manager and others - and ask these questions.

Ellen

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

My understanding was that this was a RP Civic League project from day one. They've been pressing DOT for several years to make the track. The reason why it happened this year is because it coincided with scheduled repaving.

Personally, I get all warm and fuzzy when I hear drivers complaining about the dangers of travel lanes. They didn't give a hoot when it was the bikers out in the lane- now it's their turn to feel that woosh of air as a prep school mom plows through the neighborhood @45mph.

It'll be interesting to see if the newly energized community advocates reverse the work. Waste of $/time either way. And, the "old way" didn't protect Tom P. much.

-B

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

Ellen Hochman wrote:


Janet -
Thanks for your report on last night's Roland Park Civic League's meeting about the Cycle Track.

Based on your observations at the meeting last night, it seems like a done deal.  No evaluation is really being done...  I wish someone had challenged the DOT and asked what the evaluation system is and when it will be completed and if the results of the evaluation will be released to the public.  Of course, if I had been there, I wouldn't have thought of asking these questions at that time.

I'm am going to send an email to District 6 Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton (following up to my prior email to her), copying the project manager and others - and ask these questions.

Ellen

Those challenging questions were asked, Ellen -- they just weren't answered.

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

     I too would like to see an engineering evaluation of the Roland Ave Cycle Track.  On my bike rides, I sometimes  pass this section of Roland Ave, and have to select the least bad choice - road or Cycle Track.  Usually I opt for the road, though without the bikelane cars now have to change lanes to safely pass.  One problem I find when I use the Cycle Track,  as Janet and others have mentioned, is its narrowness - 2' buffer and 4' riding area.  The City Bicycle Master Plan calls for a 6' riding area and a 2 - 3' buffer.  And to make matters worse , the parking lane is only 7' wide.  Parked cars shy away from the traffic lane and encroach on the buffer - narrowing the Cycle Track to just 5' or even 4'.  And I also encounter delivery trucks that are over 8' wide.  Since they won't fit in the 7' parking lane, trucks also intrude into the buffer.  Consequently I encounter a Cycle Track, some of which is only 4 -5' wide from parked cars/trucks to curb, without any door zone buffer.  Riding my bicycle in this substandard width facility is like driving my car in half a lane, as I had to do in the blizzard.

      Unfortunately the City promised the Roland Park Improvement Association a riding area with a separation barrier from moving traffic.  The fact that the community wants to also retain parking and the City  insists on retaining two traffic lanes - and much of the street is only 34' wide in each direction - didn't stop the City from saying NO to the Association's request.  So after marking two 10'6" travel lanes (minimum width required by state law), there's only 13' feet remaining for a combined parking lane and Cycle Track.
And to make matters worse, this section of Roland Ave has many intersections, as Ellen Hochman mentioned, requiring the Cycle Track to continually switch from the curb to the traditional bikelane position.  Sound confusing???? And has anyone thought of prohibiting parking on certain days to allow street sweeping, so the  Track can be cleaned of glass, leaves, and sticks? 

       Now that the City has put in the Cycle Track, they should evaluate its safety and see whether children will  start using the Track to bike to school, which is the reason why the Improvement Association said they want it.  For legal purposes,  the City has defined the Cycle Track as a Bikepath rather than a bikelane; thereby allowing cyclists the option of using the roadway.  Now the City needs to let the public know that cyclists may use the roadway, so law abiding cyclists aren't harassed.  With spring approaching, I say let's objectively evaluate the Cycle Track with the new Charles Street buffered bikelane along JHU campus - and see what works better.

Jeffrey H. Marks

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

Sorry I am late coming to this forum. I snapped this picture of the Roland Avenue cycle track back in March when I first encountered it(posted it on my Strava at the time). As soon as I saw it the words BAD IDEA kept ringing in my head. At one point I came across a preschool letting out and the parents loading their kids across the cycle track. I opted for the auto travel lane at that point.

In addition to having no were to go when a door or person is blocking the track riders have to avoid debris like that pictured and broken glass that don't get pulverized by cars and washed away.

The city is planning an other cycle track on S. Potomac Street in Canton. This is not a major thoroughfare so it might not present the same problem as Roland. We shall see.

John Lundquist

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Re: Roland Ave Cycle Track

Yes, it is a bad idea– for you and me. Luckily we get to ride in the lane or pick another road.
This cycle track is best for the Roland Park kids to ride to school.

AND, if they use it, then their moms and dads don't drive them to school and block the lanes and door the rest of us.
I hope it works!

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