April 12, 2012

The saddest bike lane in Columbus

In order to improve my terrible photography skills I've started to take more pictures to put on this blog. As you will soon see, I am improving to slightly terrible.

The intersection of Livingston Avenue and Parsons Avenue has recently seen a major overall as part of the new Nationwide Children's Hospital expansion. According to the website:
"[The expansion of the Nationwide Campus] is a big fucking deal."
Just kidding, they didn't say that, but it does seem like they are saying the expansion will change the world just like the PPACA (Obamacare). Regardless, as part of the expansion Columbus has done infrastructure improvements which include bricked intersections, bike lanes, and pedestrian median refuges. Here is the extent of the new bike lanes:

The red lines are the new bike lanes and it is approximately 1/2 mile of of bike lanes. This is what you'll see at the terminal end of the bike lanes:

And from the other side you can better see how it's an instant merge:

Well, maybe you can't see that it's an instant merge because of slightly terrible photography skills. Here's a better example of instant merges at the terminal west end of the Livingston Avenue Bike Lane:

If you continue on your path, you would bike into a storm water catch basin. Note that there is a sign just behind me when I took this picture which says "Bike Lane Ending" so there is some warning. 

Here's a crazy picture where you can more-or-less see the entire length of bike lane:

It ends at the traffic light. The length is around 700 feet. You're probably wondering if there is a bigger plan to it all. Well, yes. From the Columbus Bicentennial Bikeways Plan, this is what will eventually happen:

The yellow highlight is the intersection we're talking about. The blue means the plan calls for bike lanes and the purple calls for bike boulevards of sorts. The red is shared road paths which likely means sharrows. Obviously, this small area will make more sense when they start repaving the rest of the roads although I assume that the northern portion of Parsons won't be completed until after the I-70/I-71 "Split Fix" is done.

One last bonus picture. What's a pedestrian median refuge? They are medians which pedestrians use to cross half of the street at a time. They're really nice and the ones on Livingston/Parson are great:

Cool people-walking-on-a-busy-New-York-City-simulation video of the day:


  1. That is a lonely bike lane. Is it better than nothing though?

  2. That's a great question. I think the lanes on Livingston make some sense. It's nice that one end intersects with Kennedy Drive. It would be nicer if the eastern end went past 18th so that you'd have more time to focus on lane changing than merging. And while lane changing is similar to merging, I think there are nuanced differences.

    The Parsons Avenue lanes I don't know. They're so short it almost makes Columbus look like an asshole. It may have been better to not sign/paint that they are bike lanes until they were better developed.

  3. Just more proof that Columbus isn't ready to play with the big boys: you either put your money where your mouth is or shut up. Looks like they dipped a toe into the water and it was too cold, so they jumped right back out. Even Milwaukee is well ahead of Columbus, even though I'm wary of bad bike lanes.

    Milwaukee-65 miles of bike lanes and 75 miles of bike routes

    Columbus-6 miles of bike lanes and ???(N/A) miles for the rest: and you have to dig up a PDF.

    Which city is more serious about bikes?

    1. You have 2 main points to detail how Columbus is less "serious" about bikes.

      1) Milwaukee has more bike lanes/routes; and
      2) Columbus doesn't put the mileage of bike lanes/routes in on their website.

      Columbus now has 20 miles of bike lanes, 65 miles of multi-use path, and 39.4 miles of signed bike routes according to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance 2012 report. Milwaukee has 104.9, 3.1, and 65.5 miles, respectively. Does Columbus have less overall mileage? Yes. But does it matter that much? Probably not.

      According to the 2007-2009 American Communities Survey, both cities had a bicycle commute share of 0.8%. According to the 2010 1-year ACS, Columbus has a bike share of 0.66% and Milwaukee a bike share of 0.69%. Regardless of how "serious" either community is, the end result is similar for both.

      As for your second issue, no cyclist cares about bicycle facilities mileage when they are biking. But they may care about how they are going to get places. Both Milwaukee and Columbus have easily found bikeways maps.



  4. This intersection was improved with American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding. It was used when it became available, although you are correct it only funded a very short bike lane section. What is the alternative, wait until all funding is secured to do a substantial section? Ask Congress when the next stimulus will be... I think we all know that answer.

    1. The intersection itself looks amazing and the pedestrian refuges are great additions. My comment was related to the bike lane and the need to add paint at the time of installation.

      I would prefer the alternate of the additional right-of-way for the bike lane to be unmarked on Parsons Avenue until bike facilities were installed on a larger portion of the road.


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