My response when driving my car down 2nd the other night and seeing the green lanes was "what?" I try to give bikes plenty of room, and it would be nice if the city took a more comprehensive and explicit approach than vague green rectangles.
And before the bike haters all chime in, I drive from Queen Anne to the east side every day to work. I honk at an average of 4-5 obnoxious car drivers per week; I can't remember when I last needed to honk at a bicyclist.
there's already a couple up in greenlake / lower woodland / wallingford.
get out of the house
Props to the city for the right direction and those boxes do look like a good next step.
Its a start....but you gotta keep up the pressure. Well thought out criticism-I'll add my thanks to the city/DOT/planning staff/Cascade Bike Club for engineering this firstish step.
Portland, however? Looks like heaven to ride in!!!!!! To bad they don't have big mountains
The point: a continuation of the enviro-hypocrisy that this mayor has made his hallmark. Act grey look green. The only green this mayor cares about is developer cash.
The ultimate things to do is put bike lanes, where possible, on sidewalks, like they do in major German cities. Otherwise, fab idea Portland.
Ok, I am concerned about the 4th picture. If bikers want drivers to share the road, why should bikers be given priority at stop lights? That is complete bullshit. In other words, I will start sharing the road when they do.
Nice. A line of traffic passes a guy going 10 mph on his bike, then gets to a red light. He coasts up to the BIKE BOX ahead of everybody else, gets nice and centered in the middle of the lane, and when the light turns green everybody has to pass him again.
Nothing wrong with that plan, no sir.
Well I like the visual queues and the bike box, I'm really worried that the Seattle driver won't be affected by anything less than separate bike lanes.
There are crosswalks for pedestrians all of downtown and how often do cars just pull right up into them?
My own personal experience and observation are leading me more and more to suggest topologies that allow bikes to work at different "layers" -- like the layers of a CSS styled document -- rather than having everything parallel.
I started a forum thread here, since these (I think) are very new ideas:
on one issue which is the idea of an "alternating" grid for completely separate bike/ped and car streets!
There's one on Green Lake Way, southbound, at the five-way intersection with 50th and Stone Way. It's a sliver between the third lane (counting from the left), which goes straight ahead onto Stone Way southbound, and the fourth, far-right lane, which turns onto either 50th westbound or the continuation of Green Lake Way southwest bound. This is a confusing intersection, but the green strip (which has the bike symbol clearly marked on it) is there to show cyclists (and cars) that the cyclists are heading straight ahead and not turning. Normally, a cyclist would be stopped to the right of all traffic, but you can't have that when you have turn-only lanes on the right.
Seattle's street layout is very confusing, not just for bicyclists, you know. Most of the city is filled with streets where each lane has a separate and non-overlapping function, and we have more "Y"-shaped lanes than anywhere I've ever lived.
Of course, I've already seen cyclists (not cars) using this green strip incorrectly -- stopping in the middle of the third lane, not the green strip. The proper bike lane fades in an out all along Stone, which doesn't help at all.
I think the best policy is simply behaving as if bicycles are vehicles. I think sharrows are ridiculous. The green strips quite a bit less so. I may change my mind after a few thousand tobacco and gum chewers have spat onto the thing.
Can someone explain why bike boxes aren't completely fucking stupid?
Move to Portland!!!
I'll testify that it seems to work in Portland. At least, I'm a driver, and the sign campaign that went along with (and actually preceded) the green lanes made me totally aware of the various dangerous intersections and the bike lanes in general.
I'd disagree with putting the bikelanes on sidewalks, though, @6. Just as drivers threaten bikes, bikes threaten pedestrians. Even here in Portland where we have good bike lanes on the streets. I'd prefer bikes on the road, but physically separated from cars wherever possible.
Bikes should never ever ever be allowed on sidewalks. Bikes are vehicles, and silent.
Here's your big logical error: Portland drivers are the most considerate drivers (to the point of being kind of passive-aggressively annoying) in the world. Stuff like this crap works in Portland because their drivers are weenies.
Even though Seattleites don't exactly peg the red on the AggrOmeter of car drivers, they are still meaner than those in Portland. I expect a few derailleur heads are gonna get smeared on the green.
No bike lanes on sidewalks?
Bike + person = black eye
Car + bike = dead biker
Which worst-case scenario would you rather risk?
I'd like someone to explain how the sheer horror of having to pass a bicyclist more than once actually causes anyone to reach their destination any slower. (news flash! you're waiting at a red light! if there had not been a bicycle, you'd be... waiting at a red light!)
Then I'd like someone to explain why dedicating ever more pavement and valuable land area to vehicles, viz. cycling 'infrastructure,' which is always an addition to car infrastructure, constructed so that private cars can continue with the least interference, is in any way a "green" move.
Then I'd like to see anyone explain how a network of 'separate but equal' cycling ghetto lanes can ever actually get a cyclist anywhere he wants to go. Actual routes for going places in a city tend to have left turns, you see.
Bike lanes on sidewalks?
Bike on road + car = car passes bike
Bike on crosswalk + right turning car = dead biker
Which worst-case scenario would you rather risk?
Bikers in Seattle don't deserve anything until they agree to cancel Critical Mass.
As a 45 year old native of Seattle, let me assure you- there is no idea so simple, so well intentioned and so intelligent that it can't be utterly, completely and totally fucked up by the useless, stuffed shirt tools who work hard every day to make this one of the most unliveable cities in America.
I have a friend who was hit by a car on his bike in Portland just a couple of weeks ago. They're not all considerate. Many of them are just stoned out of their gourd; the average Portland driver is traveling about seven miles an hour.
At least for me, passing bikes is nerve-wracking because I have to go over the double-yellow line, risking my life, the life of any oncoming cars, and the life of the wobbly biker obliviously riding inches from my smoke-belching death machine.
The majority of bikers are not at Critical Mass.
The streets are a bit narrow here arent they? And that all looks like a bit of money
@24 yeah but Critical Mass will be the first to claim "victory"
No new bike infrastructure should be considered until the U-Lock wielding terrorists agree to follow the laws.
Earlier this week, by Seattle Center, I saw a biker run a red light (not just borderline, people screeched their brakes) at an intersection. He was sitting upright on his bike, no hands, and was talking on a cell phone.
Sorry, Seattle cyclists, but you're dead to me now. I am judging all of you by his example.
They can claim victory all they want. Any intelligent person will know that organizations like the Cascade Bicycle Club are the real people who've worked with the city.
Who cares about improving the situation for bikers when they take such obvious joy in disrupting Friday evening traffic, causing gridlock, blockading cars, running lights..
All fun and games until the drivers have to vote on your little green lanes...
Gee, give it a chance! DO you have to knock EVERYTHING, even the positive steps in the right direction? They have to start somewhere!
@28, Cascade Bicycle Club says this on their site:
On the subject of Critical Mass, Cascade supports the right of cyclists to assemble and ride whenever and wherever they choose. However, we do not condone violating traffic codes or ordinances.
So, basically, spineless wimps trying to have it both ways.
If they really cared about bike advocacy, they would condone Critical Mass in the strongest possible terms and work to get it shut down.
I really don't believe bikers in this city deserve big new investment until they cancel Critical Mass. And Cascade could certainly assert itself here if they wanted.
I for one condone Critical Mass as strongly as possible.
Here's a more recent Cascade Bike Club statement from July after some bikers smashed a driver on the head with a U-Lock, punctured his tires, and smashed his windshield:
Though we cannot condone unlawful riding, we are interested in finding the good in this, an organic bicycle community event, while limiting behavior that endangers the progress being made by the city and the region.
Yes yes yes, let's find the "good" in an "organic" "community" event.
Ha ha ha.
They obviously don't want to win support from the vast majority of the public for spending more money on bike lanes.
They're obviously part of the problem here.
Critical Mass is simply indefensible. Conditions for bikers aren't going to improve until people realize that.
Once again Portland has outdone us! Why did I leave?!?!
I think Seattle could do with some biker education as well as driver education--and some serious tickets being given to assholes on bikes who run reds and violate traffic laws.
Holding bicycle riders responsible for Critical Mass is akin to holding pedestrians accountable for taggers.
Also, is critical mass THAT big of a deal? I'm not a fan of it here by any means, (blocks buses, the riders are annoying, etc.) but c'mon, you know when it's coming, and you know how to avoid it. If it tries your patience it's because you didn't prepare.
If the city were to provide dedicated bike lanes throughout the city, and crackdown on CM, it wouldn't bother me any. But while everyone has to share the rode, it's going to be every-person-for-themselves out there. That's what generates the anger for people to participate in events like CM.
(coincidentally, just this morning a Comcast van driver yelled to me, "use the f*cking bike lane fu*cking f**got". I was easily doing 25 mph's while he was probably behind me for a whole 2 blocks. THAT'S the kind of crap you get on a daily basis that eventually gets a driver a u-lock to the head. Not mine, but I'm an adult.)
First, Bravo on the colored lanes! Color is the way to go. It's not necessary everywhere, mind you, but for those tricky intersections of bike-lane/car-lane it's invaluable.
Second, and as noted above, WTF WTF WTF with the "bike boxes?" How is that supposed to be aiding anyone? Please, some Seattle bike fan, explain what the point of these things are. I travel only by bike and have lived in some of the most bike-friendly areas on the planet (The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Bay Area) and I have never seen the need for anything like this. Even in Amsterdam, where the rush hour traffic can be three cars at the stoplight and forty bikes lined up down the block in their little bike lane, there is no need for such a thing.
#6's comment about bikes on the sidewalks goes not only for Germany, but also most of western Europe. The bikes aren't just thrown onto the sidewalk in a kind of wheeled-legged salad, they have their own little colored lane that is set a few inches lower than the sidewalk and a few inches higher than the street level. A row of parked cars between the bikes and the road. No black eyes, no dead bikers. Yay!
Where does this need to reinvent the wheel come from? There are so many examples of cities with normal functioning bike/car relationships. Why not just pick one classic example and copy it? There's plenty of time to experiment with Bullshit New Ideas (bike boxes) after the basic concept is up and running.
Oh fuck the bike box. The last thing anybody wants is to be stuck behind slow motherfucking bikers from a standstill.
Yes, what #37 said. Having bikes in travel lanes with either cars or peds is dangerous. I have done both extensively. Many cities in europe have systems that work wonderfully. Allowing bikes to cut in front of cars is asking for friction. This shouldn't be that hard.
And, all of you drivers irate about critical mass traffic tie ups, what about trains and bridges? They both hold up traffic in Seattle all the time. I don't see anyone revving their motors and ramming trains. They just patiently wait, or go around another way.
How many of these schemes have to fail before we admit that bikes don't mix with cars? Or pedestrians. We keep trying to invent new ways to mix bikes with cars, and people keep getting hurt. So after this one, we'll give up and try some other thing. If that one fails, then what? Admit it won't work? Or try yet another trick?
I really want to know. What will it take before we give up on this? Anybody?
To be fare, Portland is advertising to their drivers what the green box means. I don't think 99% of Seattle drivers know there are bike lanes in Seattle because they never look at the pavement but they sure look at billboards.
Any one look closely at one of these "green" lanes yet? They're actually made our of some sort of crumbly rubber like bits of green eraser glued to the road, and significant quantities of it appear to be breaking loose from traffic. To wash down the storm drain. into the sound.
I wonder how many plastic grocery bags it takes to make a "green" lane.
If you're going to categorically generalize ALL bicyclists into one group, why may we not do the same for car drivers, who, factually speaking represent a far greater menace to pedestrians, cyclists, and themselves, than do bike riders?
No new automobile infrastructure should be considered until the four-wheeled steel wielding terrorists agree to follow the laws?
'Cause you know, goose and gander.
Bike boxes work like this:
- If there is a red light, bicyclists go in the box.
- When the light turns green, bicyclists proceed through the intersection and then merge back into the bike lane.
- If the light is green everyone continues as normal.
The point is to make bikes visible in intersections, and to get them out of the area to the right of the car travel lane. Bicyclists sometimes get hit (and killed) by right-turning cars (and large trucks). This happened to three different bicyclists in Portland earlier this year, hence their solution--bike boxes.
Is the green paint "green"? Doesn't it just eventually wash into our sound? That doesn't seem very green.
Those of you who can't quite grasp bike boxes, maybe watch these:
Those of you who think that Critical Mass is an event comprised of a bunch of "U-Lock wielding terrorists" and that it should be "cancelled":
It's really surprising for an old timer like me to hear all this anti-bike hatred and virulent motorists.
I guess I always though Seattle would be the type of place where the entire populace would rise up in arms if a single bicyclist was injured.
However, two decades of "imports" from the Southland seem to have watered down the city's people-loving ethos and turned it in a daily verbal Santa Ana drive-by .
Since you brought it up, aren't you supposed to follow the following?
"Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work)."
You hide it behind the cut. That doesn't seem right at all.
I hear they got the paint from the trees killed by Federal Judge along the Burke-Gilman.
Courtesy of Dino Rossi's vampires.
I predict that in 20 years, it will be so expensive to drive a car that our streets will resemble the old Beijing, and we will be making "car boxes" for the poor cars.
Having said that, I don't mind bicyclists on the sidewalk, as long as they obey the law and use their voice or a bell to tell me they are coming. Unlike the young lady who whizzed by me and my dog at 5am, this morning. I ride a disability scooter, which because of it's low speed and dead-man switch throttle is unlikely to injure anyone. But I still let people know when I'm passing them, and on which side. It's the courteous and legal thing to do. I've had more than one person step backward or sideways right into my path. And I'm going up to 4 mph, a lot faster than a pedestrian. Cyclists who don't let people know they are coming risk injury to themselves as well as the pedestrian. And being hit by a bike and 150lb person at 10 mph can cause more than a black eye. I'm thinking broken hip if you hit someone elderly. BTW, the only reason bike girl was on the sidewalk at that hour is she was going the wrong direction for Fourth Ave. and couldn't be bothered to go down to Third and ride on the street.
Two possible explanations. First, it could be that things like the green bike lanes take time to have an effect, and that merely changing the color of some pavement doesn't instantly transform drivers in a city. Sort of like how when you build a new school, you don't expect the existing adult populace to suddenly be better educated.
Second explanation: the drivers in question recognized ECB.
@7, @8... do you guys realize just how ignorant you are on the matter of bike lanes and bike boxes?
"Calculus? I don't understand how it works, I'm calling bullshit!"
"I can't see anything wrong with cars moving laterally without yielding to traffic to their right, no sirrrreee boy."
@47. Your linked videos are crap, all the way from the lame production to the basic message: Bike boxes! Yay! They are so cool!
In all this promo material, the bikes are stacking themseves 3 abreast at the bixe box. No way. Bikes should be single-file, always. It's common sense; you don't get to chat with your buddies at a busy intersection.
If the issue is with bikes being hit by right-turning drivers then the advance stopping line has some merit - but the bikes must stay in their line too!
Seattle is throwing $27 million at biking population and all we get is whining. Sheeeeesh people, it is a step in the right direction. Can't you agree with that?
Well, thanks for explaining what those green strips are.
I think it's a bit unfair of you, Erica, to jump all over drivers for not knowing what to do, because frankly most people have no clue whatsoever why there are little green strips on the roads now.
If anything, you should be pressuring the city to get the word out so that this idea can be properly utilized. Expecting people to magically understand why pieces of the road are suddenly a different color is asinine.
you drivers complaining about the bike boxes realize that bikes are far swifter off the mark than cars, right?
These putting-green bike lanes also shed: walking across 2nd Avenue at the intersections in question, you can see green flecks all over the surrounding concrete if you're paying attention.
@57: oh, yeah, right they are. Once again the fascism of the young and fit in their four-thousand-dollar cycles and lycra rears its head. The vast majority of cyclists I see are schlubs on poorly-maintained mountain bikes, and they're not slow off of anything, let alone "the line". It's not a fucking race.
#10 "The trick would be to build new suburbs..."
.... uh yah. bad idea.
Also, is critical mass THAT big of a deal? I'm not a fan of it here by any means, (blocks buses, the riders are annoying, etc.) but c'mon, you know when it's coming, and you know how to avoid it.
Actually, Doug, you don't know when they're coming. They play by ear and choose their routes at random, often not too far in advance of each ride... then make no effort of substance to make the general public aware of what route they plan to take... because their ultimate goal is to get the public's attention by disrupting traffic.
@59, even shlubs on mtn bikes are faster across the intersection than text messaging, radio station changing, inattentive couch potatoes in sedans
They play by ear and choose their routes at random, often not too far in advance of each ride
The routes are not chosen "at random". The people towards the front of the mass are mainly the ones deciding where to go. The rest of the mass might disagree with them and go a different way, etc. Usually there's a general idea of "hey, let's end up at _____" and then it's just a matter how to get from point A to point B (maybe via a point C and D).
then make no effort of substance to make the general public aware of what route they plan to take
So if I go out biking with five of my buddies do I have to inform the public of our route? What if I bike around with 10 or 20 other riders? (For NYC, I believe a group of 50 or more require a parade permit.)
you don't know when they're coming
Generally, you do. CM specifically is the last Friday of the month. Leaves Westlake Plaza around 6pm and rides around for an hour or two. That's more specific than knowing when Mariners games will disrupt traffic.
A majority of the CM rides over the past 12+ years have stuck to riding in certain parts of the city: downtown, capitol hill, udist, fremont, ballard, cd, madison park, greenlake, and sometimes west seattle. The rides/routes are more predictable than you probably think.
But feel free to come to the next CM next week and suggest a route.
I'm in Portland, and I just don't understand why anyone thinks these are a good idea. Cyclists get killed because motorists aren't looking for them. The way to deal with that problem is not to make motorists even more likely to think that cyclists will always be front and center, in full view, and so they never need to check their rearview mirrors before turning. It strikes me as a bad, bad idea. Maybe I'm missing something obvious.
Also, they've done a poor job of educating the public. I've received no information from the city about this. I assume I'm to stop behind the green if I'm at a red light, and wait for all cyclists to move on before I go, but this is just my assumption. These things were not on my driver's test, and I don't have any clue what the formal rules might be.
(Perhaps they put the info out to the papers and counted it good, and I'm supposed to read it there. But reading the Oregonian every day would make me cry, and sorry, but the Mercury sucks.)
Also, they've done a poor job of educating the public. I've received no information from the city about this.
Educating the public on what? Bike boxes do not exist in Seattle. ECB was highlighting what Portland has. Seattle is testing some green lane portions in a few spots. It's not a city-wide program that no one is telling you about.
oh, sorry, I guess you are in Portland. I don't really know what type of outreach they've done there, but I see photos of billboards, etc.
In Japan, green-painted roads means you're in a school zone.
63. Sorry, CM spokesman stinkbug, but that's an insufficient answer. If I'm a motorist, I can't avoid CM if I don't know where they're going to go.
The 'riders may choose different paths' alibi doesn't fly: Whether or not 4-5 of your buddies go riding down some other route is completely irrelevant, because the vast majority of CM riders are going to travel in one large, traffic-disrupting pack. Therein lies the issue, and you know this.
If you don't know what path CM is going to take, then even if you know they ride during a particular time, there's no way of knowing where they'll be and when, so saying "yes you do know when" is asinine at best. Don't insult our intelligence.
Mariners and Seahawks traffic is generally confined to SODO and Downtown. Games are specifically scheduled and you know when they are going to disrupt traffic and what areas and roads are involved. Not so with CM. One may have a general idea of the time frame they ride, but you don't know where they're going to go. You even admit that they don't entirely know where they're going to go.
The people towards the front of the mass are mainly the ones deciding where to go. The rest of the mass might disagree with them and go a different way, etc. Usually there's a general idea of "hey, let's end up at _____" and then it's just a matter how to get from point A to point B (maybe via a point C and D).
How can motorists know to avoid you given such a vague battle plan?
Oh, that's right, because you don't want them to. You WANT to get in their way, because that's the idea.
i commute on my bike nearly every day, but I don't see how putting a bike box in front of all the traffic at a stop light helps anyone.
I never claimed to be a "CM spokeman." I've ridden on some CM rides throughout the years though. So I sometimes feel the urge to respond to made up info about or foolish attacks on CM.
See you next Friday at Westlake!
For you folks that hate Critical Mass, you know what I hate?
I hate the drivers (everyone) who insists on driving at illegal speeds. Every car driver is breaking the law almost constantly in this city and it puts me at risk when I try to share the roads with you on my bicycle.
When I drive a car, I hate everyone who follows too close or cuts in front of me nearly causing me to crash. Most car drivers are breaking the law most of the time in this city by following way too close.
Get over it. You break the law too, go ahead and throw the first stone if you are without sin. I'm not perfect either.
It is good to see better infrastructure that helps us keep from killing one another, but I'd like it to be better. Too much of the bicycling infrastructure is so bad that it is safer to take a lane or ride on the sidewalk instead. If improvements and maintainance on bicycle infrastructure vs. car infrastructure was set eqivalent to the number of daily bicycle commuters vs. daily car commuters, we would have been spending millions more per year on bicycle infrastructure for decades. Now is the time, with high gas prices and environmental damage, to catch up on that pollution free infrastructure.
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