Author of Blog: Daniel Day

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Latest Useless Bike Lane

The latest Useless bicycle lane is now open.  Has been open for almost a month now and you can use this latest uselessness on Arsenal along the HEB headquarters. (Image 43-1)

To understand why this was built, you're going to have to listen to a awesome podcast called 99% Invisible, episode name Arsenal of Exclusion.  It talks about how infrastructure can be used to funnel and control human behavior.  In the case of this useless protected bicycle lane, it is used to encourage people on bicycle to not ride down S Flores, but to choose S Main instead and connect with the protected bicycle lane that was build behind the new grocery store.

In the end, by not putting it down on S Flores, the people who live in the new apartments along S Flores will choose to drive to the new HEB grocery store instead of doing the environmental thing to do which is to ride your bicycle or walk.  If you don't think that putting bicycle lanes where they're not needed don't have an effect on the rest of us, just look up into the sky, we're not in compliance anymore

Now it's not completely useless after all, it provides space for joggers and people walking who live in the King William area.  Only time will tell if this useless bicycle lane becomes a parking lane during fiesta.  Then the rubber barriers will be destroyed and thus the joggers will loose out on their new jogging strip. 

In the Netherlands and Denmark, they don't put protected bicycle lanes down streets like Arsenal, instead they lower the speed limit to about 20 mph.  The Author of, came out with a chart on where to put  bicycle lanes. It clearly shows in kilometers per hour on where to put the bicycle lanes.  (Image 43-2)  By using this chart, it clearly shows that a street like Arsenal don't need a protected bicycle lane, speed limit is just too low. 

43-1:   The protected Bicycle lane on Arsenal between the San Antonio River and S Main Looking East.
43-2:   The chart that Mikael Colville-Andersen created can be found on his blog:


  1. I just think of the money wasted on this road to nowhere. How does anyone justify it?

  2. It's a strange spot as currently designed - but at least there's now an example of an on-street protected bike lane in the city (what was the cost)?

    Now that we have the Arsenal St bike lane (which connects with the RiverWalk - albeit a section where biking is discouraged), it could be improved by extending the protected bike lane west along El Paso St (to link the new HEB with UTSA downtown, neighborhoods, hotels and new housing). However, better lighting on El Paso St west of Flores St is more pressing than a better bike lane for now (but would be easy to improve). El Paso St is fairly dead at night currently but there's no reason sections of it should be pitch black in the evenings.

    Related to visibility, the paint work for the new bike lane is fading rapidly; it's only November and the on-street protective 'armadillos' are no longer striped as photographed. Similarly, the markings along the off-street bike lane on Flores St.are already faded. Problems with either the quality of pedestrian street markings or the maintenance of these markings (along with lighting) continue to make San Antonio a city where biking and even walking is mainly invisible.

    Potentially worse, the curb cut linking the Arsenal St bike lanes with the Flores St bike lanes is criminally bad - and downright dangerous if that corner would ever become a major bike thoroughfare.

    It's a pattern I'm starting to see all over San Antonio - curb cuts woefully undersized and not aligned well for the intersections and transitions they are meant to serve. You've made this point before, but it would be easier for San Antonio's politicians, planners, builders and maintainers to make a better city if they spent any time whatsoever on the streets on foot or bike, including after sunset.