Author of Blog: Daniel Day
New Post once a month.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Introduction and South Flores Success

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For years, I've wanted to fix the lousy infrastructure that we build for bicycles and for that matter, everyone that doesn't own a car. A friend of mine said that I should start an activist group, but my time with Smart Transit SA, (a pro-transit group) told me that we're all to busy to maintain a group, and most of all, most people that are interested, wouldn't know what to ask for or how to explain what is wrong with the current built environment. This is similar to what Steve Jobs said about the iPod.  He said that before he invented the iPod, people wouldn't ask for an iPod, but would have asked for a better CD player.   This blog is dedicated to pointing out the flaws, the idiotic designs that we have to deal with on a daily basis as cyclist and pedestrians and going to explain what could be done better to fix the current infrastructure. So instead of asking for a better CD player, those of us who are willing to be the voice for cyclist and a better San Antonio can now ask for an better iPod.

Also as a side note, this blog will be also reporting on the bicycling culture that exist here in San Antonio, Texas from time to time.  For right now, I'll be posting a story every Saturday or Sunday, so you'll get a lot of content in the next few weeks.
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Sometimes the city does something good, but seem to screw up a small section just to make sure that cars can go faster.  So far, in my opinion, the best thing the city of San Antonio has done has put a bicycle lane down South Flores St from Nogalitos to SE Military Dr.  For once, the city have finally put down a bicycle lane where one needs to be.  They even put up no parking signs along the street always keeping the lane readily available to use.  (Image 1.1)
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 Two problem exist on the existing lane.  Problem one is the placement of the Bicycle Lane Ends sign (image 1.3)  which is obscured by a tree.(Image 1.4)   It should be placed one block south at Clay St. 

Problem two is the intersection of Probandt and S Flores.  Instead of actually keeping the bicycle lanes there, they decided to take out the bike lanes and put in a right turn lane going northbound.  You'll see this riding in the bicycle lane southbound, you'll come to a line cutting the bike lane (Image 1.5) and making way for the driving lane.  I don't know why they couldn't put up an sign alerting cyclist and drivers alike allowing cyclist to merge, but this is San Antonio, Keep San Antonio Lame.  If you happen to encounter this while riding your bicycle, simply put out your left hand like your about to make a left turn and merge as safely as you can, put your bicycle in the center of the lane until the bike lane comes again on the other side and go back into your lane.(Image 1.6).
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And now the problem becomes more clear as your coming northbound on Flores.  As you come along, your bicycle  lane gives way to a right turn lane. (Image 1.7, Image 1.8)  If the City of San Antonio had any sense, they would have took the time out and had the bicycle lane go through the turn lane like other cities have done when doing the same problem including Austin, Texas. (Image 1.9, Image 1.10) They did this so cars, not people, not cyclist would have a quick way to leave the neighborhood (rolls eyes).  Probandt is the only street on the southside that connects to US90/I-10 freeway, no naturally, they need to make sure every one driving can get out of the southside as fast as they can. If you encounter this while riding your bicycle, simply stay in the right turn lane and treat it as you would a regular bicycle lane.  Simply wait for the light to turn green and continue as nothing has changed.
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Lets give credit where credit is due, the city of San Antonio actually put a bicycle lane where the the bicycle lane was needed (WHICH IS NOT LAME) and not on some side neighborhood street like South Main Ave where there's no problems with heavy traffic, (WHICH IS LAME) which my next blog, next week will be all about.  The best of all, they actually put in no parking signs which is a very good thing and keeps the lane clear.  The only sad thing is that because several business fail to see how better S Flores is, the city is now considering removing the lanes.(Image 1.11)  I hope people will come out and attend this meeting, but we cyclist are just to few and we don't have the time or the effort to get out and tell how good this is.  I don't live in the neighborhood and I work when the next meeting is taking place.  If we lose these lanes, it will be so Lame.  So Transportation & Capital Improvements, please get rid of the bike lanes so you guys can KEEP San Antonio LAME. 

If anybody want to sign a petition to keep the lanes, please visit this website.  http://www.biketexas.org/advocacy/petitions/south-flores-bike-lanes
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Captions of Images. 
Image 1.1: viewing northbound, one block north of Theo.
Image 1.2: a before and after image courtesy of BikeTexas.org   http://y1nadlvtjcaexjuo.zippykid.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Picture-4.png
Image 1.3: viewing northbound, at S Flores and Nogalitos after the tree that obscures the sign
Image 1.4: viewing northbound, at S Flores and Clay St where the End sign should be.
Image 1.5: viewing southbound, before S Flores and Probandt, where the bicycle lane ends and gives way to vehicle traffic
Image 1.6: viewing southbound, after S Flores and Probandt, where the bicycle lane begins again.
Image 1.7: viewing northbound, before S Floes And Probandt, where the bicycle lane gives way to a Right Turn Lane
Image 1.8: viewing northbound, at S Flores and Probandt, where the bicycle lane is non existent but a painted barrier.  A bicycle lane should have been painted here along with the extra paint.  
Image 1.9: An example of a Right Turn Lane and a painted bicycle lane merging.  Bend, OR.  Source:  http://nacto.org/wp-content/gallery/2012_combinedbikelaneturnlane/combinedbikelaneturnlane_bend-or.jpg
Image 1.10: An Example of a Right Turn Lane and a Bicycle lane merge together in Billings, MT Source:  http://nacto.org/wp-content/gallery/2012_combinedbikelaneturnlane/combined-bike-lane-turn-lane-billings-mt.jpg
Image 1.11:  The posting from the city of San Antonio Transporation & Capital Improvement about the meeting of the S Flores bike lanes and possible alternative routes. 

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