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They’re a bicyclist’s dream: Protected bike lanes.

USA Today reports protected bike lanes are popping up all over the country. These are bike lanes that are separated from traffic by curbs, trees or parked cars. The “green lanes” are taking off in New York City, Chicago and Portland.  Businesses along stretches with protected bike lanes report increased business. There are also fewer accidents.

Rochester doesn’t have protected bike lanes, though it’s making a big push to add traditional bike lanes.  This area also has a great trail system for bicyclists.

Albany officials explain why protected bike lanes are tough to the Times Union:

Melnick said protected lanes are challenging to create, especially in older, more-compact cities like Albany. “Our roads are so narrow and the need for parking so great that it becomes a challenge,” he said. “It is something that we are interested in. It could be sometime in the future.”

Lorenz Worden, president of the Albany Bicycle Coalition, said he welcomed the city’s efforts to make using a bicycle on city streets easier and safer. “It would be hard to add protected lanes. People are not going to give up (on-street) parking,” he said.

For now, get used to “road diets” in the city. Reduced lanes, bicycle lanes and crosswalks.

Links of the Day:

– A domestic violence victim has sued Rochester over her eviction. At issue is the nuisance points law against landlords.

– Kodak’s bankruptcy has cost the company $125 million fees. The lawyers are getting rich.

– Erie County will shell out $103 million over the next 10 years for the Bills stadium.

The Lilac Festival will have less of a carnival feel.

– A guy who left Syracuse came back and likes what he sees.

– It’s not every day you read about fecal transplants in the local paper.

– Downtown Rochester needs more toilet paper. I agree.

13 Responses to Protected Bike Lanes

  1. I’m always amused by comments like “the need for parking so great that it becomes a challenge”. If you make biking attractive to people, then by definition they’re going to be less likely to use their cars, and thus there’s less of a need for automobile parking.

    That being said, as someone from one of the east-side ‘burbs who bikes everywhere, Rochester and the surrounding towns have been doing a great job improving the cycling infrastructure. Most new road construction has been incorporating lanes for pedestrians and cyclists, and you rarely see head-scratchers anymore like curb bump-outs that turn a bike lane into a dead-end.

    Even drivers seem to have been getting better. I can go weeks without someone yelling that I’m not allowed to be in the street…

  2. Right on Rich. I also laugh at Rochester’s obsession with Parking. Did you see the artwork on RochesterSubway a while back showing how many parking lots we have downtown??? Quality of life sometimes requires some compromise on parking…

    I am also SUPER happy with the change to East Ave to add the Bike Lane (and available parking on Weekends / Off Hours). It has made walking more pleasant as cars has slowed. It is also safer to cross the street.

  3. Wow. No angry posts yet =).

    There are actually a few opportunities for Green Lanes in Rochester:

    State Street (North of the inner loop), and E. Main (East of the inner loop), are both 6 lane death traps with traffic flow pushing 50 mph at times.

    Mt. Read Blvd.

    Lake Avenue near Kodak park no longer needs to be six lanes, and further up by the cemeteries never needed to be four lanes.

    All of these locations have very rarely utilized street parking that could be replaced with a lane-reduction and a protected bike lane. Not to mention the aesthetic appeal.

    Most of this can be done without making any large impact on traffic (not that we couldn’t use that).

    If you haven’t noticed, East Ave, and Mt. Hope still average about 40mph.

    Rochester is not Albany. In many neighborhoods, we DO have a large surplus of car infrastructure.

  4. lol Yeah, I had to spend some days downtown this week for Jury Duty, and drove my car because of the timing. I’m always hearing how horrible the parking situation is, and yet the garage and surrounding lots were all comparatively empty throughout the day, especially if you were willing to walk a block or two. Granted, it’s nice to be able to be park close to where you’re going, but strolling a couple of blocks away is not exactly a hardship as long as the sidewalks are usable.

    • January 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm Anthony responds:

      This has always been my observation as well. Typically when someone says “The parking is horrible downtown!” … You should read that as “My morbidly obese self wants to continue to shorten my life by not exercising. I was not able to do that by parking 10 feet from the front door. I am angry.”

  5. I dunno… is Rochester’s climate really suitable for a big bike lane push?

    December-February, you almost have to plan on driving your car.

    • Sure, there are times when the bike lanes aren’t going to be usable in the winter. No piece of infrastructure is usable under 100% of all conditions. But they’re certainly usable from around late March to October for everyone, and longer for those willing to bundle up a bit up.

  6. January 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm DominionROC responds:

    Actually, we have several MILES of dedicated bikeays that criss-cross Monroe County. You can go from Genesee Valley Park all the way to Lake Ontario/Charlotte Pier with only a short downtown stretch that you must traverse roads…the rest of the route is outstanding paved trails with spectacular views…and NO cars. We also have the Durand Eastman Trail that can easily be extended to the Genesee River with only a few cross roads. Then of course there is the Erie Canal Path. ROC has a fantastic bikeway system …but much of it is hidden…little signage and not connected to adjacent neighborhoods.

  7. Sure, I don’t think anyone would argue that we have a pretty decent offroad trail system. But in the context of protected bike lanes, people want them to feel comfortable when performing errands/utility cycling, etc. We need to get beyond cycling as an activity where people cart their bikes to the canal path on the back of their SUVs, ride an hour or two, and then cart them back home. Ideally, it needs to be promoted as something you can do on a practical bike in varied weather, without having to wear spandex or clipless shoes – and to be able to get to the places you want to be, safely.

  8. January 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    millions for the buffalo bills while teachers are being laid off. the hell with the Bills students are much more important.

  9. Greg, some of the biggest bike cities in the U.S. (Minneapolis for example) have harsh winters.

    And Copenhagen, which has 200,000 bike-commuters year-round, is the north American equivalent to Montreal climate-wise.

    If the city builds and MAINTAINS infrastructure, you DON’T have to plan on driving.

    At my place of work, there are fifteen of us that ride year-round, and it was 15 degrees this morning.

  10. I wouldn’t mind protected bike lanes. The lanes the city has been putting in are nice, but cars often encroach on the lane or disregaurd the sharrows. If the city is willing to invest in this, they should also start cracking down on bikers that break the rules of the road. Hard for me to complain about cars not giving me courtesy on the road when some idiot is weaving around against traffic with no lights when its dark out

  11. January 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm anthony44 responds:

    I think the investment is worth it. Moreover, it’s part of the so-called Greenest City 2020 Action Plan introduced in my native Vancouver whose aim is to eliminate the negative impact that our actions have on the environment. And in this particular case the creation of protected bike lanes is one of the key decisions which, if put into practice, may produce the desired effect even in the short term.

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