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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Two Accidents that didn't need to Happen

As the Mayor issued his Proclamation in support for National Bike Month, two people got into accidents on very busy stroads.  The first was at Broadway near Hildebrand where Chase White was riding home on his Cannondale got hit by a SUV. The other was Jose Carlos Macy got sideswiped while riding on in the bike Lane where two cars were racing.  Both are dangerous places to ride even with a bicycle lane but they don't have to be, the City of San Antonio has failed time and time again to provide safe places to ride your bicycles on major thoroughfares and from the looks of things, they ain't going to change anytime soon.

April 29, 2014.  Chase White:  

Chase White, like other people ride daily on Broadway.  On the night of April 29,(image 5.1) White was riding his bicycle in the right lane which is roughly 10 feet in width.  This lane stretches from Hildebrand to Casa Blanca.  As he was riding a SUV came along and rear ended him as he and the SUV entered the construction zone by Hildebrand.  He had lights, but the person in the SUV didn't have the patience for sharing the road.  He is lucky to be alive, he had a helmet which saved his life, but chances are, he will be buried in debt for medical bills and is officially out of work for a while.

May 3, 2014.  Jose Carlos Macy:

Jose Carlos Macy thought he was safe riding in the bicycle lane on W Commerce St. (Image 5.2)  Little did he and his friend knew, two cars decided to race down the stroad and he got dragged underneath the car.  The car speed away leaving Jose to die.  He wasn't wearing a helmet, and how could he, it really uncomfortable to wear one.

The Problem with Broadway,  Chase White:

Broadway is one big stroad, and because of its location sandwich between US 281 / Olmos Basin and Fort Sam Houston, (Image 5.3) it is a very major thoroughfare between Downtown and the North East Side of town.  Now we can blame the driver of the SUV who wasn't paying attention, we can blame Chase White for not yielding to the car, or we can blame the people who designed Broadway. 

Broadway consist of one 12ft center turn lane, two 12 ft vehicle lanes and one 10ft vehicle lane.(Image 5.4)  Imagine if they didn't have that 10 ft right lane, but a protected bicycle lane also known as a cycletrack.  There's no reason for San Antonio to have 3 vehicle lanes going in the same direction.  When you have more than two lanes, the cars race each other and overtake each other passing in every lane available whether it is the left lane or right lane.  Just go sit at a bus stop along Broadway and you'll see the cars racing each other.  But if they actually had a protected cycletrack like the one they have in Austin on Guadalupe St, (Image 5.5) then maybe Chase would still be working and would still have healthy pelvis.


The Problem with W Commerce/Buena Vista,  Jose Carlos Macy:

W Commerce St is a one way stroad consisting of a 4ft bicycle lane in the left side of the street, two 14ft vehicle lanes and 10ft shoulder. (Image 5.6)  Now I have had problems riding in this bicycle lane to where I don't ride in it anymore.  I don't know how many time I almost got killed because a car wanted to make a left turn and couldn't give a damn that I was riding in that lane behind him.  This same make up for the stroad going the other way, Buena Vista which also has the bicycle lane on the left hand side and should be kept out of.  Now a days, when I find my self on W Commerce or Buena Vista, you'll find me riding in the 10ft shoulder.  The good news, cars aren't always parked in it.  You have all this space to your self that the other cars are keeping out, might as well use it. 

Now every time I see screwed up designs here on the West, South and East sides, I wonder if it was intentionally put that way because of the Hispanics and Black people live out here.  I have no evidence that this is a result of racial discrimination, but when you see the broken small sidewalks and the dangerous bicycle lane on the left hand side, I can only help but think that way.  There are many more examples that I will point out in future blogs that has got to be the result of racism in these parts of town.. 

Now image if we were to shorten the 14ft vehicle lanes to 12ft and replace the 10ft shoulder with a two way cycle tracks.  Imagine if that was in place on the night that Jose was riding home, he would probably would be alive right now.  One of the two racing vehicles would have probably hit the barrier separating the vehicle lanes from the driving lanes and perhaps killing one of the drivers.  Again, you don't have to travel far to see what could have save the life of Jose Carlos Macy.  All you have to do is travel to Austin and ride down Rio Grande St by UT and you'll see a two way bicycle lane.  You can also go to 2nd St there as well and take a look at that cycle track (Image 5.7).  The reason why I want 2 way cycletracks on one way street is to reduce the conflict for when people have to go in the direction against the flow of traffic. 


Now if your worried about the bus stops along these stroads, then I might recommend the bus island.  There's no reason why the bus has to enter these protect bicycle lanes.  This one in Austin along Guadalupe St is a perfect example on one and you don't have to travel to the Netherlands to see others in action.  You can also use this same method to make safe passage for cyclist when it comes to streetcar tracks. 

Why We Have What We Have:

Now you have to wonder why we have such screwed up infrastructure when it come to pedestrians and bicycles.  So far my only finding in that regard is the city ordinance that you see below. 

Sec. 19-66. Conformity with state manual.
All traffic-control signs, signals and devices installed or erected in the city shall conform to the manual and specifications approved by the state highways and public transportation commission. All signs and signals required under this chapter shall so far as practicable be uniform as to type and location throughout the city. All traffic-control devices so erected and not inconsistent with the provisions of state law or this chapter shall be official traffic-control devices.
State law reference— Similar provisions, Vernon's Ann. Civ. St. art. 6701d, § 31.

When I did a google search of "state highways and public transportation commission,"  I came up links to TXDOT sites.  Now there is an association I have heard called the American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials (AASTHTO) which is a quasi government body that create the standards in which TXDOT and other DOT's go by.  When I complained about the repainting of S Hackberry St, I was told that they went by these standards and was properly painted.  This is my only conclusion to the reason why we have such lousy bicycle lanes, sidewalks and other bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure. It is because we are using standards that make highways, not friendly city streets.  (Wikipedia Link) 
There Are standards we can use to create the neighborhoods we want, but before we can actually impliment those standards, we're going to have to rewrite this law to use The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).  This is the site on where I got my examples pictures for my first blog, An Introduction and South Flores Success.  NACTO is a coalition of 15 of the largest cities in the United States with one Affiliated member, Austin, TX.  And naturally, San Antonio is not a member, Keep San Antonio Lame.  (Wikipedia Link)

Just think if we actually had the infrastructure that kept us safe, more people would be riding their bicycles and walking.  And when more people ride their bicycles, it makes all of us safer.  Just look at this chart (Image 5.9) from NYC, you can clearly see that in the city of New York that the number of cycling accidents were reduce while at the same time the number of cyclist actually increased.  Other cities showed the same results from this LiveScience Article.    There's no need for a helmet law, or other silly suggestion like "Share the Road."  We've been trying these things for the better part of two decades and all they have solved was nothing.  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.  And that is what you'll continue to hear from city officials from the MPO, The City of San Antonio, and other Government agencies.  It sounds nice, but if were asking people to share the road with motorcycles too, (Image 5.8) then we should know by know we're doing something wrong.


There is some good news in this, The city of San Antonio don't have any mandatory helmet laws and we're ain't going to get any.  After all, the mayor don't want to reduce the number of B-Cycle trips everyday. 

Also your probably asking why I misspelled the Word Street. Well, I didn't, I am simply using a term we need to start using in identifying the problem with our infrastructure, The "Stroad"

Image 5.1:  KSAT 12 News story of Chase White Accident.
Image 5.2:  KSAT 12 News Story of Jose Carlos Macy
Image 5.3:  My map showing how Broadway is a funnel
Image 5.4:  Google Street Image of Broadway North of Funston Pl.
Image 5.5:  My picture of the Cycletrack on Guadalupe St in Austin, TX across the street from UT
Image 5.6:  Google Street Image of W Commerse St pass Sabinas
Image 5.7:  My picture of 2nd St at Red River of the two way cycletrack.  Notice how the signal lights are the same for car and bicycles but when they want the bicycle to go they go green while the ones for the cars stay red.
Image 5.8:  A sign I found on Google search for Watch for Motorcycles.
Image 5.9:  A chart I found showing the number of cyclist out there compared to the number of accidents in NYC.  Source:  http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-bseQdGtXho/TJxLXXlusnI/AAAAAAAAAl8/EfczWcxvsR4/s1600/ridership_graph.jpg

Up Coming Bicycle Events

Ride of SilenceWhen:  Thursday, May 15, 2014  6:30pm
Where: Halcyon/BlueStar Art Complex
Description:  A Bicycle ride honoring those who lost their lives. 

Frankenbike #48
When:   May 17, 2014  10am to 4pm
Where:  Red-D Bikes~ 120 Playmoor Suite B ~ 78210
Description:  FrankenBike (n) A free bike swap meet held once a month in San Antonio, Texas that is open to anyone who wants to buy, sell or trade bicycles and bicycle related gear or parts.

Bike Beat Festival
When:   Sat, May 17, 3pm – 11pm

Where:  Main Plaza, San Antonio, TX
   The 2nd Annual BIKE|BEAT features bike demos, live music, roller races, food trucks, giveaways and much more!

 Up Coming Important Meetings
If you want to make a difference, please attend.
Walk & Roll Night (BMAC & PMAC joint meeting)
Where:  VIA Metro Centre, 1021 San Pedro Avenue, San Antonio, TX
When:  Wed, May 14, 5:30pm – 8pm
Description:  The MPO Bicycle Mobility Advisory Committee and the Pedistrain Mobility Advisory Committee talking about the current projects related to pedestriand bicycle related. 

What Should you Say?    You should mention this blog, blogsanantonio.blogspot.com.  Not much unless you have a minor problem in your neighborhood.  

S. Flores Street Improvement Community Meeting
When:   Monday May 19, 2014  6pm to 7pm
Where:  Cafeteria of Morrill Elementary School, 5200 S. Flores, San Antonio, TX
Description:  City of San Antonio’s TCI Department will present the alternate bicycle route as a result of community feedback from public meetings held in December, March and April.

What Should you Say?    Let them know that they don't need to have alternative bicycle routes and infact that what they did was a pretty good job and the bicycle  lane is making it safe for us.  You can also hand out this flyer to all those who think getting rid of the bicycle lane is a good ideal.  Contact Jeanette Morin at 207-5011 or Jeanette.Morin@sanantonio.gov

VIA’s South/West Corridor Study Public Meeting 
When:  Tuesday May 20, 2014  6:00PM
Where: Harlandale Community Center, 301 Sussex, 78221

When:   Thursday May 22, 2014  6:00PM
Where:  The Neighborhood Place 3014 Rivas St, 78228

When:  Wednesday, May 21, 2014  3pm to 6pm
Where:  Madla Transit Center

When   Wednesday, May 21, 2014 6AM To 9AM

Where  Crossroads Park & Ride

VIA is conducting a study to identify transit improvements along the South/West Connector Corridor in the San Antonio region. The corridor study area includes Military Drive from IH-37 on the east to General McMullen on the west; and General McMullen and Zarzamora from Military drive on the south to Fredericksburg Road on the north.  More info can be found here:  http://www.viainfo.net/Planning/Corridor.aspx

What Should You Say?   You should ask for more frequency on the crosstown routes and bicycle racks called bicycle hoods at bus stops.  Also ask that via look into creating bus islands so the bike lane can go around a busy stop.

Open House: Improvements to I-35   (I might be able to attend this meeting.) 
Where:   Central Catholic High School Elizondo Center (corner of Wilmington Avenue and Dallas Street) 1403 St. Mary’s St.  San Antonio, TX 78215
When:  Wednesday, May 21, 2014  5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Description:  TxDOT invites you to an open house on proposed improvements for Interstate 35. The project staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide information. No formal presentation will be given. Attendees are invited to come and go at their convenience.
TxDOT proposes improving I-35 between North Flores and New Braunfels Ave. and between AT&T Parkway and Binz-Engelman Road. The proposed project includes auxiliary lanes, ramp adjustments and other improvements to improve mobility and enhance the operation and safety of I-35 in this area

What Should you say?
   Ask for Bicycle lanes along the the frontage roads or mix use sidewalks and make sure they use the City of San Antonio Bicycle Master Plan when making improvements. Also ask for these types of intersections so they can become safer for all users.  https://vimeo.com/86721046

Open House - Improvements to US 90 from Loop 1604 to I-410
Where:  Mary Lou Fisher Elementary School Cafeteria,  3430 Barrel Pass, San Antonio, TX 78245
When:   Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Description:  TxDOT invites you to an open house on proposed improvements for US 90 From Loop 1604 to I-410. The project staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide information. No formal presentation will be given. Attendees are invited to come and go at their convenience.
Proposed improvements along US 90 from LP 1604 to I-410 on the west side of San Antonio are designed to improve operations and safety along this section of US 90. The proposed improvements include:
  • Conversion of the two-way frontage roads to one-way operations
  • Relocation of entrance and exit ramps
  • Intersection improvements
What Should you say?  Ask for bicycle lanes/Shoulder or a mix use sidewalk along the proposed Frontage roads and Safe bicycle lanes that stay to the right of the lane intersection.  Also ask for these types of intersections so they can become safer for all users.  https://vimeo.com/86721046

Upper Woodlawn Drainage Project Public Meeting
When:    Tuesday, May 13, 2014 6:00 PM
Where:   Joe Ward Community Center  435 E. Sunshine, San Antonio, TX

What Should you Say?  Ask for a hike and bike trail along the drainage all the way too Woodlawn lake as well as any increase size in the sidewalks that cross over the drainage....
  Contact:  Peter Rodriguez at 207-8154

Skyplace Boulevard Extension Project Public Meeting
When:   Thursday, May 15, 2014 6:00 PM
Where:  Northeast Service Center, 10303 Toolyard, 78233

What Should You Say? 
  Ask that the city makes sure that there is sufficient access to the Salado Creek Trail and 6 ft bicycle lanes on each side of this street. 
Contact: David McBeth  at 210-207-6342 or david.mcbeth@sanantonio.gov.

Bronco Lane Bridge Project Public Meeting
When:   Tuesday, May 20, 2014 6:30 PM
Where:  Virginia Gill Community Center,  7902 Westshire Drive, San Antonio, TX

What Should You Say?    Ask that the Bridge has a minimum 6ft width sidewalks across with 25mph speed limits.  No need for bicycle lanes.  contact:  Peter Rodriguez at 207-8154

Shaenfield Road Bridge Public Meeting
When:   Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:00 PM
Where:  Burke Elementary School Cafeteria, 10111 Terra Oak, San Antonio, TX

When:  Tuesday, June 3, 2014  7:00PM
Where: Burke Elementary School Cafeteria, 10111 Terra Oak, San Antonio, TX

What Should you Say?   Ask that the Bridge Contain 6ft bicycle lanes on either side with extra stripping between the bicycle lane and the traffic as well as 6ft sidewalks.  Also ask them to remove the Turn Center lane and add that space to the sides of the rd for bicycle lanes.   Also Ask that they abide by the Bicycle Master Plan as well.  contact:  Peter Rodriguez@ 207-8154

Frio City Sidewalks Public Meeting
When:   Thursday, May 29, 2014 6:00 PM
Collins Garden Branch Library  200 N. Park, San Antonio, TX

What Should you Say?   Ask that the Sidewalks are at least 6ft wide with neckdowns at every intersection on the streets that connect with Frio City Rd.  Demand that a protected Bicycle lane is also added and that they abide by the Bicycle Master Plan.  If parking is added, demand that they put in the parking as a barr.ier so that the bicycle lane is along the curb, and the parking is a natural barrier to the bicycle and sidewalks
Also ask for these types intersections called "Protected Intersections" so they can become safer for all users.  https://vimeo.com/86721046  contact:  Peter Rodriguez at 207-8154

West Huisache Project Public Meeting
When:   Monday, June 02, 2014 6:00 PM
Where:  Young Women's Leadership Academy  2123 W. Huisache, San Antonio, TX

What Shold you Say?  This time, no bike lanes, this is a neighborhood street.  It should have neckdowns to keep traffic flowing slow with islands and speed humps.  It should also have 25MPH on this street.  Putting a bicycle lane down this street is just a waste of paint.  Also ask for these types intersections called "Protected Intersections" so they can become safer for all users.  https://vimeo.com/86721046
Contact: Peter Rodriguez@ 207-8154 or David Pulido @ 207-8128


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