New Lanes on MLK!

18 Sep
Green markings highlight the emerging bike lane on Leigh Street near VCU Medical Center.

Green markings highlight the merging bike lane on Leigh Street near VCU Medical Center.

Except for the new lane that was installed when 2nd street near the James River was redone, Richmond has not seen much in the way of new bike lanes lately, despite a lot of planning.  The Bicycle Master Plan for the city should be complete and ready to be presented to the relevant commissions and city council before long, and that will help.  There are also some lanes in the works on Brookland Park Boulevard, Leigh, Semmes, and some other places with an eye toward having at least the beginnings of a network on the ground before October 2015.

Bike lane with a roughly four-foot buffer on the south side of the MLK Bridge.

Bike lane with a roughly four-foot buffer on the south side of the MLK Bridge.

 

But unless I’m mistaken, the MLK Bridge aka Leigh Street Viaduct gets the honor of being the first buffered bike lane, and one that was created via a road diet (reduction of travel lanes) at that.  I just road across going east for the first time today, and it felt good!  I do hope they put arrows showing the proper direction one should ride, though: on my first trip across I already had to maneuver around someone riding the wrong direction.

True, it does not connect to lanes on either side (Correction: it does not connect to lanes on the east side, and at present the lanes on the west will not extend for more than a block or two).  But then Leigh Street east and west of the bridge does not have three lanes going in each direction.  Leigh is a good candidate for a major east-west route, but has the down side of varying in width from three, two, or one lane depending on the area.

Certainly the goal should be to have a continuous lane; but it also makes sense to grab an opportunity as it presents itself — the proverbial “low hanging fruit.”  Having lanes in place makes it much easier to make the case for connecting them later — especially when it might involve removing parking or travel lanes where the question of excess capacity is less obvious.

So: here’s to Richmond’s first buffered bike lane, and to many more!

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3 Responses to “New Lanes on MLK!”

  1. billyboneparte42 September 18, 2014 at 8:10 PM #

    Richmond is putting on it’s big girl pants and is ready for a righteous move. Alright, cheers to that!

  2. Mike Frontiero September 18, 2014 at 1:32 PM #

    Westbound lanes were painted just yesterday and it looks like the city is getting ready to paint the lanes after the bridge.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Richmondoutside.com » 2015 races give RVA a year to become bicycle friendly - September 30, 2014

    […] not sharrows, but actual bike lanes — pop up in very logical, very overdue places like the MLK Bridge and Forest Hill Avenue. For a city with woefully few bike lanes, these signs of progress, while […]

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