Author of Blog: Daniel Day

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Green Lanes in SA are a Joke

I've been hearing about the new green lanes around town and frankly, I'm not impressed at all. If you want to know why it's because I've ridden on better green bicycle lanes in Austin. (Image 36-1) Let me remind people that a green square box isn't a bicycle lane (Image 36-2) for it to be a green lane, well, the lane should be painted entirely green. So far the places that have gotten the "Green Box Treatment," are W Commerce St From Elemendorf Lake to out pass General McMullen and N Flores between Euclid, and Fredericksburg Rd. And I'm pleased to report they also have the green dash lines now.

N Flores St has always been on the list of the Bicycle Master Plan to get a bicycle lane. For the most part, they did a decent job and they only put in the dash green lanes in only after I brought up the issue at the February BMAC meeting. Now I understand that green paint is expensive, but I wouldn't be bitching if they didn't put down the dash lines of green paint in the first place. 

Traffic now moves slower now and for the most part, nobody is parking in the parking lane which allows us cyclist to keep right further away from moving traffic.  (As a matterof fact, I recommend that people ride in the parking lane in Iowa St Bike Lane, a Double Edge Sword.) But when it came to the intersections of  Fredricksburg RD, they decided to keep the same old thing, two lanes of car traffic. (Image 36-4) Their excuse is that there's sufficient vehicle traffic to warrant the two lanes instead of just having a single car lane with a bicycle lane on the right hand side.  I watch traffic here and it would have been safer for all if they never kept the two turn lanes.  Also not putting in that 4ft bicycle lane would have been a better choice and instead started the bicycle lane closer to the right turn lane from southbound Fredricksburg Rd.  I wish this city would stop thinking that 4ft bike lane are acceptable when it should be a minimum of 5ft.
The same excuse is used to justify the number of turn lanes that are on northbound N Flores at W Euclid.(Image 36-5) Not only is there a right turn lane, but there is also a left turn lane as if their is enough traffic volume to justify this left turn lane on to Euclid which just happens to be a regular neighborhood street without double yellow lines. The other problem is that going southbound, it forces people on bicycles to dangerously merge with traffic, (Image 36-6) defeating the purpose for having the bicycle lane in the first place. If they really wanted to do it properly, they would have nixed the northbound left turn lane and just had the two lanes going north having the right hand lane just being a right turn lane except bicycles.  The Same for the southbound lanes, instead of having these two lanes, how about having one lane merging across W Euclid with the same old two lanes down N Flores southbound. 

But if you really want to know why they did this stupid design here, (Image 36-5, 36-6) because cars are more important then people on bicycles.  Actions speak louder than words to me and what these actions are telling me that the movement of cars is more important than people. It tells me that San Antonio's actual position on bicycles is that bicycles are for recreation, not transportation for if the City of San Antonio was really for a better carbon free future, they would have designed it without the ridiculous turn lanes left and right, north and south. And lets leave the useless Sharrows out of this conversation. 

W Commerce St on the other hand is an okay job.  This is definitely a place where bicycle lanes are needed and belong.  They're wide enough west of Elmendorf Lake but I do have some issues at W Commerce St and Gen. McMullen. Yes it's a big place and the traffic volume deems it necessary to have right and left turn lane, but I felt pretty uncomfortable on that bike lane waiting for the green light. Also it's just too narrow just waiting there and maybe in the future, the city of San Antonio can actually put in a Protected bicycle lane like the ones they have in the Netherlands and Austin, TX for there's plenty of right of way available to put one in on both sides. 

Also if you happen to be riding westbound on W Commerce St and you come to the intersection where Old Hwy 90 West splits off south and W Commerce St continues, Please put out your left hand and signal to all the motorist that your making a left turn regardless whether your going on Old Hwy 90 West or strait on down W Commerce. The people driving cars are not going to be able to reading your mind and if they just happen to be going strait, they'll run into you.  Like in the green bicycle lane in Austin,(Image 36-1) the city of San Antonio did a good job here.  I can only hope that they extended it further along both W Commerce and Old Hwy 90 West past San Joaquin (Image 36-9) and fix the problems between the one way sections of W Commerce and the bridge that crosses Elmendorf Lake.

36-1: Picture of the Green painted bicycle lane crossing Guadalupe just north of W 45th St viewing North
36-2: Picture of the Green bicycle lanes without the green dashes across Poplar viewing South
36-3: Picture of the Green Bicycle lanes N Flores St after my complaint to BMAC at W Cypress St viewing North
36-4: N Flores St at Fredricsburg Rd viewing south
36-5: N Flores St at W Euclid Viewing North
36-6: N Flores St at W Euclid viewing South
36-7: W Commerce St At Gen. McMullen viewing East
36-8: W Commerce St At Gen McMullen viewing East right before the right turn lane cutoff.
36-9: Old Hwy 90 West At San Joaquin viewing Southwest.\

P.S.  It is also noted that The Alamo Bike Shop is the first of such shops to have a bicycle lane right out in front. 

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