I was bewildered last week when I read this:

“Rush hour traffic often flows smoothly on the highway thanks to a fourth eastbound lane added during the past two years in the congested stretch between 136th Avenue and Douglas Road.

But the new bike lanes added during the same project are a different story: Mostly, they’re empty.”

Then I took a look at the accompanying picture (above), which immediately ended my confusion. Instead, I thought well of course nobody uses them, what do you expect when you add bike lanes to an I-95-like facility? Implementation of bike lanes on streets such as this one on Pines Boulevard are a huge waste, nobody in their right mind will ever feel comfortable riding bike on a street with 8 lanes of vehicles. Now, while we fully support the expansion of bicycling facilities and lanes in our region, we must do so with caution and restraint, creating lanes on streets where they are likely to be used and will provide a general net benefit to the public. This haphazard, understudied form of bike lane implementation is a waste of taxpayer money and will do little to change the autocentric mentality of South Florida.

Via Spokes ‘n’ Folks

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8 Responses to Haphazard Bicycle Lane Placement

  1. Eric says:

    I’m not a biker (SF’s too hilly for me to attempt biking!), but it seems that the most successful bicycle boulevards that have been established here are those that run one or two blocks parallel to major transit corridors or commercial streets — close enough to the action, wide enough to support adding real lanes, and yet lightly traveled enough that LOS is basically unchanged.

    If the street is so heavily used that it’s being widened (that’s a pretty monstrous-looking street in that picture), then it’s an attractive candidate. Those streets are bad enough to walk on or cross, let alone bike.

  2. Steven says:

    Unfortunately, if you say not to put bike lanes on roads wider than lets say 2 or 3 lanes (that particular intersection in the photo is 4 lanes of traffic, a right turn lane, and two left turn lanes)then you are omitting most of the major roadways in Miami-Dade and Broward County.

    I agree completely with the above poster who suggested putting the bike lanes on the minor arteries that are roughly half-a-mile from the major artery (an example would be 48th street between Miller and Bird Roads and between the Turnpike and the Palmetto in Miami-Dade County). The biggest problem with that idea though is that as communities (like the Kendall area) turn down transit alternatives for their roadways that are already over capacity, those roadways will end up having lanes added to compensate for their increased traffic, making them less and less adequate and safe for bicycles.

    In Broward, such lanes become a greater difficulty since the large developments have the roads that do not conform to the grid pattern. The only straight line-like path that bicycles can follow are those highway like roadways. In cases like these, I think that it would be more beneficial to shift the road a bit more to one of the sides and give the bicycle lane its own path with a little more space seperating it from traffic.

  3. Rick says:

    As a one time biker who used to use part of the stretch of Pines Blvd. that is mentioned here 10-15 years ago, I can tell you that, bike lane or not, you have to be insane to ride this roadway today. Think Kendall Drive on it’s worse day, 24/7.

    I’m thinking the riders at Spokes ‘n’ Folks would rather see a lane added to roads that run parallel to Pines like Taft or Johnson where traffic is much less congested and reasonable.

    And I would have to agree with them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was having a discussion while on a bike ride this weekend with several other riders about whether bike lanes should be on major roads like Biscayne or minor arteries.
    Some argued that a bike lane on a major roadway is something to be touted as a success, something others can look toward and be proud of.
    I believe that the major roadway are dangerous even if you have a bike lane and unless it be a curbed bike lane than I would prefer to ride on a minor arterial road.
    Oh there is a planned bike lane for SW 48th St, from Tropical Park area to 107th Ave. However, there is community anger over the bike lane as they believe crime rates will increase. Call Commissioner Souto if you’d like to see that happen. Critical Mass Miami is doing a ride to support the bike lane there on the second Saturday of March meeting at the South Miami Metro-Rail station at 10am.

  5. Ryan Sharp says:

    Massive arterial roads like Pines Blvd and other FDOT “Highways” should have physically separated bike lanes, and they should connect to a larger system bike lanes on side streets. When FDOT throws down a bike lane like this they’re just trying to appease the livable streets community like us (i.e. don’t complain about us widening this road AGAIN and making it wider than freeways in northeastern cities because we gave you this nice bike lane).

  6. C.L.J. says:

    I think Ryan has the right idea: Once a week I ride down the M Path along US1 to the Whole Foods on Red Road; it takes me where I want to go, and I feel secure the whole time.

    The ride out LeJeune to catch the M Path is a different story; whoever laid out LeJeune is obviously trying to kill bicyclists.

  7. JM Palacios says:

    There are some major potential problems with the suggestions for having separated bike paths on major arterials. The main problem is driveways and side streets. Having a shared use path next to a road with lots of driveways and side streets creates many dangerous conflicts for the bicyclist. When we are on the road, riding in the same direction as traffic, drivers are more likely to treat us like a vehicle and yield appropriate right-of-way. That is not the case on a sidewalk or shared use path, and the main reason I avoid either whenever possible. (That, and I have had 2 accidents with vehicles because I was riding on shared use paths, and 0 in bike lanes or on the road with vehicles.) Certain routes lend themselves to shared use paths because they have few or no driveways or sidestreets on one side (such as the one by the Busway), but even one intersection can be dangerous when bicyclists traveling at high speeds go unnoticed by turning motorists. The best shared use paths do not even run next to roads, but are completely separate alignments that may even offer a quicker route to get where you’re going. Broward County’s Greenways plan, for instance, includes many paths running adjacent to canals.

    The Florida Greenbook covers the issue pretty thouroughly in Chapter 9, section C.1.

  8. JM Palacios says:

    Some info I would like to share pertaining to Gabe’s original post: FDOT is required by law to accommodate bikes on all their facilities whenever feasible. This basically means, whenever a state road gets widened, bike lanes get added. In light of the issues in my comment above, bike lanes become the best solution. The think is, most state roads are major arterials such as Pines Blvd. I would agree that it might be better to implement bike lanes on a smaller parallel street, but chances are it is a county or city road, not a state road. Then it becomes up to the local officials whether bike lanes get added. Cities and counties seem to be able to get around the state law easier than a state agency, and they don’t always put bike lanes in. Judging by the Miami Herald article, many city officials consider bike lanes pointless. So if we want them, we need to push our county and city officials to put them in.

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