January 23, 2012

Bikes and the I-70/I-71 Split

Because I live, breathe, and eat this blog, I went to the I-70/71 ODOT public meeting on Thursday. As regular readers know, Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the "Split Fix" have been delayed from 2014 to 2025 and 2015 to 2028, respectively, so this meeting was a bit premature. Today I will focus on the plans and how it will relate to biking and urban living.

My impression is that the first priority for the re-model was traffic flow. The main focus are the feeder/ on-off ramps. For the streets parallel to I-71, they are creating a new "urban avenue"called Elijah Pierce Boulevard on the east side and an expanded and extended Lester Drive on the west side. For the streets parallel to I-70/I-71, Mound Street and Fulton Street. All of the streets are one-way.

First, it's interesting that ODOT considers "urban avenues" to be one-way streets. I prefer not talking in euphemisms, so I prefer them to be called "enhanced feeder systems." I say enhanced because they interestingly incorporated bike lanes in all of them and most roads have on-street parking incorporated as well.

They actually look kind of nice but I do have a couple of comments. First, the bicycle lane is directly adjacent to the parking spots. This would place bicyclists in danger of being "doored" which is a term used when someone opens a car door which a bicyclist runs into. Second, I don't like that a pedestrian crossing I-71 would have to cross a feeder street, I-71, and then another feeder street before getting to any buildings to work/live/eat/commerce. Sure, it's only ~300 ft of walking, but crossing two intersections and waiting for the pedestrian crossing right-of-way is not an ideal way of urban living.

Link of the day:

(Don't bike where this asshat was, but go here for more of the story.

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