Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Washington Post: How hard it is to get across U.S. cities using only bike lanes

Before I get to the article by Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham take a look at this map of bike lanes in Miami, FL:
Despite all the talk about bikeable cities you can see how far away the reality is. The motor vehicle still reigns supreme. Here is an excerpt from The Washington Post story and the reporters' experience in our nations capitol:
     There is a maddening bike lane in downtown D.C., on one of our nightly commutes, that disappears abruptly with no obvious logic. [emphasis added] And it's at least entertaining to envision possible scenarios for why this may have happened. The city ran out of bike-lane paint. Or maybe the crew that striped the lane became suddenly incapacitated or distracted. Maybe they took a lunch break — Busboys and Poets entices nearby — during which it started to pour and so no one could finish the job.
     Bike commuting throughout the city is often like this: cobbled together out of a bit of bike lane here, an unprotected shoulder there, a scrap of sharrow and some silent pleas that cars won't run you over. Bike lanes occasionally appear and vanish multiple times on the same street. Sometimes they last just a few hundred feet. It feels as if someone striped the city with dozens of quarter-mile commutes in mind.
Does this sound familiar?

The story makes mention of a "sharrow". You've probably seen a 'sharrow' (there's one on Ocean Breeze in downtown Lake Worth) and have no idea what it means. This video explains what a 'sharrow' is: