More Buffered Lanes!

31 Oct

For Richmond standards, we’re on a roll.  Buffered lanes were installed on the MLK Bridge/Leigh Street viaduct a few weeks ago; bike lanes were striped on part of Forest Hill that was repaved recently; and now we have buffered lanes on Brookland Park Boulevard!

I took my camera along on my morning commute yesterday to snap a photo of the new lanes, but thought the better of it because they’re not actually done yet.  Phil Riggan over at Richmond.com has a number of photos and some coverage of what’s been done so far, including sharrows (shared lane markings) on Brookland Parkway east of Brook.  (The buffered lane is between Hermitage and Brook).  It should become more clear where the bike lane is once there are hash marks in the thin “lane” near the middle and bicycle icons in the lane itself.

I’m excited about this — and just a bit bummed.  I’m excited because this happened with plenty of community support — and despite some fairly loud opposition from a few residents.  I’m also excited because this project will demonstrate a number of things: 1) giving space to bicycles brings benefits, not just to people on bicycles — in this case, traffic calming; 2) removing a travel lane does not produce a local version of “carmageddon”; and 3) riding on a street with real space for bikes feels great, and so we need more of this!

The bummer is that the traffic people in Richmond who still exert a lot of control over these projects seem to invariably find a way to do less when they could easily do more when it comes to bike accommodations.  In this case the lane ends at Brook Road.  So if you’re traveling east, Brookland Park Boulevard/Brookland Parkway will go from one lane from Hermitage to Brook, change back to two lanes between Brook and Hawthorne, and then go back to one lane from there on.  It would have been quite feasible and more consistent to extend the buffered lane to Hawthorne.  Hopefully the absurdity of such decisions will become so apparent that we can go back and fix it later.  And while we’re at it, we could make the Brookland Parkway commercial district east of Hawthorne a safer bike-walk street instead of just putting down sharrows and calling it good.

With all of that said, I still feel like celebrating.

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2 Responses to “More Buffered Lanes!”

  1. bob burch October 31, 2014 at 9:56 AM #

    The forest hill av stretch is nice but doesn’t connect with anything. Coming from Semmes one must enter the pathway of death aka: reedy creek bridge. I ride the sidewalk here and cut through the park. Let get serious about bike lanes Richmond.!

  2. Alexander Ander October 31, 2014 at 9:31 AM #

    The Forest Hill lane could use some better marking, especially at the point it ends when approaching Roanoke. And that is a nasty intersection.

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