Sunday, November 04, 2007

Great Moments in Bicycle Infrastructure History

So, here we are, cruising down Winnequah Road in Monona. Apparently, there must have been some kind of problem along this road with bicyclists exceeding the posted speed limit, because the City of Monona has installed some clever Bicycle Traffic Calming measures right here in the bike lane:


I'm pretty sure these were not there last year. There are about seven or eight of them over the course of a little over a half a mile, so I can only conclude that Monona's traffic engineering department had them put there on purpose. Either that or the contractor was playing a practical joke on the aforementioned department. Or on bicyclists. Or on motorists. Or on the property owners.

Okay, it's really hard to tell why they are there at all.


Fortunately, the individual cyclist is free to decide whether to veer right onto the terracotta-colored sidewalkish thing on the right or to swerve left, closer to adjacent traffic. But decide they must, or experience a nasty diversion-type fall.


I really hope those black marks on the curb are from car tires and not bike tires.

Ultimately though, it may have been cheaper for Monona to calm their savage bicycle traffic simply by making the parking lane too narrow to fit a parked car between the bike lane and the curb.

Oh, wait...


4 comments:

Fritz said...

I have a feeling you already know this, but they look like neck downs for traffic calming. They do tend to be annoying to cyclists, unfortunately.

Mauricio Babilonia said...

That's exactly what they are—traffic calming—for bicycles. These devices do not extend into the motor vehicle lanes. I've spoken to a couple of Madison cycling advocates and they're pretty sure that's exactly what they are...

Fritz said...

Right, but narrowing the road like that does tend to slow traffic a litte. See this page on neckdowns.

Mauricio Babilonia said...

Perhaps my heavy sarcasm has obscured my point. The problem with these things is that they are more than an annoyance for cyclists—they clearly pose a hazard. A hazard that does not have any effect on the width of the motor vehicle traffic lane, and does not fit any of the examples of neckdowns pictured on the page to which you refer.

Had the city of Monona wanted to employ traffic calming measures for motor vehicles, there are plenty of far more effective devices they could have used to accomlish that. Speed tables, genuine bulb-outs or neckdowns with provisions for cyclists or raised intersections are a few that immediately come to mind. But the whole point here is that this is a traffic calming measure for cyclists, put there so Monona residents don't have to think too hard when backing out of their driveways...