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City identified streets that could be included in bicycle boulevard.

City identified streets that could be included in bicycle boulevard.


Ever drive on a super-busy street and wonder how anyone could ride a bike next to you?

Recognizing that some streets are not compatible with bicycles, the city would like to create a “bicycle boulevard” network. It issued a Request for Proposals for a consultant to come up with such a plan.

Bicycle boulevards run parallel to major thoroughfares. The RFP says:

Bicycle boulevards, also known as “neighborhood greenways,” are a series of inter-connected streets which have been modified to provide enhanced accommodation as through streets for bicyclists while discouraging through automobile traffic.


Many of the City’s arterial and collector streets possess high traffic volumes, high parking demand, and/or constrained rights-of-way which make bicycle enhancements such as on-street bicycle lanes or shared-use lanes difficult to achieve. In such cases, the development of a parallel or “one-off” network of low-traffic, bike-friendly streets should be considered.


Example of bicycle boulevard from National Association of City Transportation Officials.

Example of bicycle boulevard from National Association of City Transportation Officials.

This website has more information about bicycle boulevards, which can include pavement markings, route branding and even street closures.

This is a cool idea, but you have to wonder if there will be any pushback from streets chosen to be alternate bike routes. On the other hand, streets with a lot of children might welcome a reduction in vehicle traffic.


Links of the Day:

– As “Amazing Spider-Man 2” films in Rochester, remember that it’s being subsidized by your tax dollars. A state assemblyman says the money should go to the disabled.

– Can pop-up shops save Rochester? I’ve always loved this idea.

– The Democrat & Chronicle left out something important from this article on its digital growth. It doesn’t say how many people pay for online-only subscriptions.

– There’s ongoing tension between the Main Street Armory and neighbors.

– J.C. Penney’s CEO was paid 1,795 times the pay of an average worker at the store. 

– Crappy Job? An Albany area man wants to be the “Donald Trump of poop scoopers.” But he has some competition.

15 Responses to Bicycle Boulevards

  1. May 1, 2013 at 8:54 am Patrick Chefalo responds:


  2. It would be nice if they did something to make people actually use these. East Ave has nice wide bike lanes, but I still see everyone on bikes going up and down Park Ave where there is no room. If people are just going to ride their bikes wherever they want anyway, then I don’t see the point of spending money on bike lanes very few people end up using.

  3. Think its a great idea, would improve safety all around, as long as cars weren’t banned from certain streets (that would be entirely unfair to the residents of the streets). Only major issue I see is managing the crossing points between major car streets and bike paths (which is already a big enough concern)… can be very dangerous.

  4. May 1, 2013 at 11:02 am Kate responds:

    I don’t understand the logic behind the bike routes. University has been made one and the only changes I have noticed are paintings of bicycles on the road. There are no designated bike lanes. There is still parking on the street and no shoulder. The road is still narrow (in parts). Basically a cyclists has to ride with motorists and risk being hit by a car door opening or a car. Not a safe situation. These paintings may help remind motorists that they need to share the road with cyclists but other than that there is no safety benefit at all. As a cyclist I would not ride down University. It is not safe.

  5. May 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm Chris responds:

    I ride in the city all of the time on my way to work. I really like the bike path on Dewey Avenue – if they made sure that there were good shoulders to ride on – that would go a long way to making biking safer. I am not sure if you put elaborate bike blvd that it would be cost effective – I would love to believe that build it and they will come would work – I see no more bikes on the road now then 5 years ago before gas prices took off but having a bit safer paths for bikes would help…

  6. May 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm Bruce Smith responds:

    I’m all for the bicycle boulevards.Good idea.

  7. May 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm Mark responds:

    If the city follows through on this (and I hope they do) we need to make sure they properly keep up the roads that are designated as Bike Boulevards.

    Rachel, possible story idea: the bike lane on Atlantic in between University and Culver goes under the RR tracks and for over a year now the bike lane has had grooves cut into it and those grooves are sometimes filled with sand. Try riding your bike in the dark underpass with cars passing you and running into a 2 inch groove filled with sand. Needless to say i do not ride my bike that way anymore.

  8. May 2, 2013 at 8:01 am Orielly responds:

    street markings, road signs, studies, consultants, for bike paths etc what else who knows… again I thought the city had no money?

  9. May 2, 2013 at 8:51 am TechnologyProfessional responds:

    In all likelihood this will never amount to anything more than a document in a binder on the mayor’s shelf, and food on the table for the consultants. The plans-to-action ratio on these sorts of initiatives is sky-high. After all, hasn’t Rochester been batting this sort of stuff around for 40 years now?

    That said, if serious changes are made and followed through, the likely losers will be pedestrians, not motorists. If you go to Europe to see the cities that have successfully modified traffic to accomodate bikes (e.g. Amsterdam), it is the pedestrians who end up getting run over by cyclists, not the cyclists getting run over by motorists. When size matters, things roll downhill, and pedestrians are at the bottom.

  10. I bike everywhere and the only streets I’ve had difficulty with are Alexander, South Goodman, and East Main downtown. The first two are too narrow and the third has all those buses.

    Anyone who doubts the benefit of bikeability needs to read the speech House Representative Earl Blumenauer, whose district includes Portland, made at the Genesee-Finger Lakes Active Transportation Summit recently, as well as Rochester Subway’s new post on the subject. Bike infrastructure is cheaper to maintain than roads. It helps urban businesses in increasing the number of potential customers – for every one parking space, you can fit multiple bikes on a rack. According to Blumenauer, businesses in Portland are clamoring for the removal of parking spaces in front of their shops. Bikeability also makes cities more attractive. City newspaper’s current cover story is about Rochester’s apartment boom. They point out that apartment living is now an urban lifestyle choice that includes less car dependency.

  11. Oops, forgot to close an HTML tag. I wish we could preview our comments before we post them.

  12. May 2, 2013 at 10:30 am bill responds:

    This is long overdue. Many roads in Rochester are outright dangerous for anything not in a car and the city hasn’t done much to combat it. Bike lanes so far have only been put in where its easy. This also has a great potential for return on investment. The poor in our community, concentrated in the city, have relatively low rates of car ownership and depend on cycling, buses, and walking for transportation. So this will help protect them. Among the young, who we need to retain, bicycling and walkable streets are important to them. Part of attracting and retaining residents is important, and will help draw busiesses. Who wants to locate in a place no workers want to live? Granted its not the only thing that matters, but its a piece of the puzzle. Finally, its relatively cheap and bicycles are easy on asphalt which will reduce road maintance on bike boulevards. It’s a small expenditure with a large potentials pay off in quality of life. Much better than the other garbage we throw money at.

  13. All the roads highlighted in that map are major roads. I thought the idea was to have the streets running parallel to the major roads be the bike boulevards?

    • May 3, 2013 at 7:47 am Booored...man...street responds:

      I’m kind of unclear as to what these are. I already ride on less-busy roads next to main roads as general practice (i.e. Harvard instead of Park or Monroe, Pearl instead of Monroe, Meigs instead of Goodman).

  14. May 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm Robert Cooper responds:

    As alluded to by Ben in his comment, “It would be nice if they did something to make people actually use these […] If people are just going to ride their bikes wherever they want anyway, then I don’t see the point of spending money on bike lanes […],” this silver cloud has a dark lining. Cyclists need to resign themselves to being required by law to cycle only in certain places. When taxpayers build places for cyclists to ride, taxpayers will insist that cyclists ride there.

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