August 30, 2012

5th Avenue Webcam

Just wanted to share the link of the construction camera. It's kinda neat to see the time lapse of it but it'll be neater as the water level lowers.

August 29, 2012

Columbus andthe 5th Avenue Dam

Source: Stantec Summary

Some of you riding the Olentangy Multi-Use Trail Have likely been wondering what all the orange construction mesh is. The City of Columbus is preparing to remove the 5th Avenue low head dam! This is good news to bikers everywhere.

Why is it good news? It should mean that the bike path should be flooded less often. At the very least it will provide bikers a change of scenery which is always nice.

There are two oddities which arose from the work. The first is just some guy waking in the middle of the river with his construction machine:

The second, which I'm unsure is related to the dam removal, is a barge that's in the middle of the Scioto near Genoa Park:

Finally, I'll leave you with my "artistic" shot of downtown Columbus with flags half mast and a helluva wind from the north:

August 28, 2012

Ohio Random Insurance Auditing

Did you know that Ohio audits randomly selection of people to provide proof of insurance? Ohio does!

The only reason I know this is because I was recently randomly selected:

The only insight I have to add is that the process was more cumbersome than not being required to mail a copy of my insurance card (or various alternatives if I did not have an insurance card). If I really wanted to ensure that everyone in Ohio with a registered vehicle had insurance, I would require insurance companies to send a list of all vehicles covered under insurance.

Other than that, I'm allowed to continue driving. 

August 27, 2012

More September 2012 COTA Changes

In addition to the new late night casino route called the Night Owl, COTA has made a few other changes.

The #26 Beechwold Express Route is no more. Launched in January 2012, it lasted 8 months before being eliminated. First, the planning of the #26 did not appear to fill much of a problem. The #34 is a similar express route but uses I-71. The #4 follows the same route as #26 but has more intermediate routes. Here's a picture of the routes:

The blue is route #4. Starting at Morse Road at the red dot, the #4 takes on a purple tone because the #26 follows the same route. The red line is the #34. Someone on Columbus Underground suggested that the #34 be extended ~500 ft along Morse Road to pick up the new riders and then return to I-71 at Cooke Road. Makes sense to me.

The second problem was that any route should have longer than 8 months to prove if its successful or not. It takes time to grow ridership and if planners are unwilling to promote a route for more than two years, they probably should look to other service improvements.

Another program which I am a fan of is the bus stop improvement which reduces the amount of bus stops. The following will be investigated during September 2012 for stop improvements:

  • #1 Cleveland/Livingston
  • #29 Polaris
  • #35 Tamarack
  • #40 New Albany
  • #74 Linden LINK
The slide show also discusses the #1 Northeast Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project, but I'll save NEC BRT for another post.

Cool link of the day

August 25, 2012

Ohio DUI and Bicycles

I once witnessed my friend bike off under the influence which is code for being "drunk off of one's ass." He made it about 5 feet before crashing. His pride, ego, wrist, and front wheel were all bruised. While he paid $100ish to get a new wheel, what would have happened if a cop had seen this incident?

Ohio Revised Code 4511.52(B) states [emphasis added]:
(B) Except as provided in division (D) of this section, a bicycle operator who violates any section of the Revised Code described in division (A) of this section that is applicable to bicycles may be issued a ticket, citation, or summons by a law enforcement officer for the violation in the same manner as the operator of a motor vehicle would be cited for the same violation. A person who commits any such violation while operating a bicycle shall not have any points assessed against the person’s driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, temporary instruction permit, or probationary license under section 4510.036 of the Revised Code.
 That's cool, but what's the exception as provided in division (D) [emphasis added]?
(D) Divisions (B) and (C) of this section do not apply to violations of section 4511.19 of the Revised Code.
 The cross-referenced section is entitled:

4511.19 Operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs - OVI.
In other words, if my friend had been cited by a cop, he would have had points assessed towards his drivers license and potentially had his driver's license suspended.

So, be careful people. If you're drunk and think that you're safe to bike, make sure you're legal or at least able to appear legal because legislators have made sure that you will be hold as responsible as a driver even though you have a fraction of the momentum that a moving car has.

August 10, 2012

No more door zones!

The door zone complicates everything when planning for bicycles. For those of you unaware, the door zone is the space next to parked cars where doors can hit cyclists. Wikipedia has some statistics for Toronto! 11.9% of car/bike crashes were cited as "motorists open door in path of cyclist" in the year 2003. The worst aspect is that sometimes the door zone is overlooked when planning bicycle facilities.

The following video will give us the solution we've always wanted: no more door zone! The door slides up and down. I could get used to that:

August 9, 2012

Pervious Pavement

It's raining today.  But this is pretty neat:

There are tons of videos out there about pervious/porous road materials.  And a lot of them show concrete mixer trucks pouring water onto the test pavement to show how quickly the water disappears.

It would be really cool to ride down the street and not need fenders or worry as much about sliding.  This video is great too, it shows the difference between driving on current road materials and the experimental one during a rain storm.  I would bike on it.

August 8, 2012

Guest Post - Bike, Build, Bike Repeat

Editor's Note: This is a post from my girlfriend.  She started her own blog about animals and her time in vet school, you can visit it at:

Around July 4th, Yay Bikes! hosted a Bike & Build group.  What's Bike & Build?  It's a group of young adults who bike across the United States and stop at various locations to build houses in neighborhoods that need it.  These people are working to help create affordable housing and had to raise $4,500 each to go on this journey.

As a Yay Bikes! member, I was able to eat dinner with these amazing people and I was struck by how outgoing they all are.  It was also clear from talking to them how much they care about community and affordable housing.  This wasn't just a fun trip, this was work that meant something to them.

There are many Bike & Build groups, on different routes through the US.  This one was traveling from Providence, RI to Seattle, WA.  Right now their trip is getting close to the end.  The group has support vans to carry their gear or transport them if they get injured, but these people are basically riding 50-80 miles a day, going to a host location (church, school, community group), then getting up and biking again.  They do this until they reach their destination, where they get a day off from biking, but instead they are doing the hard work of building houses.

I asked the people what surprised them so far about their journey when they were in Columbus.  Two things came up - how quickly all of them became friends and how hilly Providence is.   When I visited Providence, I thought the same thing.  And the whole group did seem like they were buddies from long ago, most of them had only met 2 weeks prior.

Yay Bikes! was able to provide the Bike & Build people with dinner, a place to stay and breakfast the next morning.  Every day someone from their group writes a blog post and they wrote about their visit here (we were day 18!).

One of the things many of the Bike & Build people said about Columbus was how bike friendly it is.  I know, you can't believe that, but it's true.  Columbus is a bike friendly place.  There's always room for improvement, but I'm happy that a group biking across the US, seeing all kinds of biking conditions, was able to make that comment about our city.

August 7, 2012

COTA September 2012 Changes

COTA has a PowerPoint up which details the proposed September 2012 service changes. I mainly will discuss the Casino service changes since I'm a westsider.

The #6 and #10 are affected in the service change. The #6 will terminate at the casino instead of shoppers lane (Westland Mall eastern entrance). The #10 will similarly switch a shoppers lane stop to the Casino.

With the Westland area economic draw being diminished, I think this will be a winning proposition.

The other interesting service addition is a new Friday and Saturday night route from downtown to the Casino between 9:00 PM - 2:00 AM according to a Dispatch article. From the same article, there's a detail which is overlooked: the new route will be somewhat limited stop:

Graphic Source: Dispatch
Between the Casino and the Scioto River, there are approximately 13 stop pairs. For the regular #10 route there are approximately 26 stop pairs. For reference:

That's about a 5.5 mile distance which places the #10 at 0.20 miles per stop and the #777 at 0.40 miles per stop. COTA, let's try to do the Lucky Owl service at all times because people really do want to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. Public transit is a very good example of where the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

At some point later in the week I'll try to get in a post about the remaining service changes.

Cool Star Trek Needs of the Many video of the day:

August 6, 2012

On-Street Parking on High Street Public Presentation

The City of Columbus has information up about the public meeting which happened on August 2, 2012. The thing of most interest to a cyclist is the proposed High Street Bike Treatment.

One thing I did not realize about High Street is that its width varies. Starting at Rich, High Street is 54' wide. At its widest near between State and Broad, High Street is 60' wide. To accommodate the variation, the planners have proposed a shared parking/transit/bike sharrow lane which varies from 12' to 14'.

I am against this recommendation for bike facilities on High Street. The sharrow, which is recommended to be painted 11' to 12' away when on-street parking is provided, would place the marking on dashed white line. If instead the sharrow is painted close to where cars park, let's say centered at 9.5', this would place a biker in the door zone if he/she were using the sharrow as a guide to where to bike.

Additionally,  during the restricted hours between 7:00 - 9:00 AM and 4:00 - 6:00 PM, I don't think there is enough room for cyclists to pass buses (and vice versa) in the right most lane. This matters because High Street is most congested with buses during these peak hours.

Because I have faith in my fellow cyclists to ride safe, I believe most cyclists would end up riding on the dashed line or maybe a foot or two into the travelling lane. Therefore, it would be best to place the sharrows where it is safer, which would be the travelling lane. The only concern I have is that cyclists would be passed on the right but that might not be true with all the parking that'll be happening...

August 3, 2012

Year of Yay! with Yay Bikes!

[Editor's note: this is a repost from Yay Bikes! about our August Year of Yay Ride. 

We are excited about this Year of Yay! ride, folks. On August 18, we're partnering with Local Matters to take you on a ride to various urban gardens. Best of all, we're offering 3 different ride lengths so you can choose a ride length that works for you.

We have:

1. The Watermelon - Moderate/Hard, Distance 18 miles, leaves Goodale Park at 9:00 AM
2. The Eggplant - Easy, Distance 9 miles, leaves Goodale Park at 9:00 AM
3. The Cherry Tomato – Very Easy, Distance 3.5 miles, leave Goodale Park at 9:45 AM

All of the rides will end at Godman Guild garden where riders will be able to pre-purchase tickets for a picnic. The picnic will cost $25 but if you're a Yay Bikes! member, the picnic will only be $15.

The picnic will include:

- Assorted Burritos provided by Chipotle
- Summer Salad
- Tasting of Gazpacho (our "Stone Soup")
- Jeni's Ice Cream
- Snowville Chocolate Milk

As usual, the ride is free for Yay Bikes! members and $5 for non-members. Remember, a membership is only $25! We are requesting that everyone who rides in the event register for which ride they want at the following website:

The When: August 18, 9:00 AM (or earlier)
The Where: The Goodale Park covered shelter near the basket ball court
The What: Urban garden ride
The RSVP: Facebook and more importantly, the ride choice

August 2, 2012

More details on High Street On-Street Parking

See PDF on Consider Biking's Website
The High St. plans are out. Sharrows are proposed on High Street between Rich Street and Spring Street. Additionally, there are some removal and modification of COTA stops.

On the north side of High, the stop between Gay and Long Street and the stop between Main and Rich have been removed. There seems to be an addition between Mound and Main on the north side near the new Franklin County Court.

On the south side of High, the stop between Long and Spring has been removed.

I'll leave it at that for now

August 1, 2012

Greater Columbus Job Densities

As promised in my post about Columbus densities, I have broken down data provided by MORPC to provide a map based on job densities in Columbus (Source: MORPC TAZ Shapefile). I apologize for not having as much information as usual but I'm still going through it. I will say that I would prefer if MORPC utilized latitude / longitude coordinates rather than NAD 83 Ohio South configurations, but that sounds a bit wonky, right?

As with all gradient maps, I had some choices to make. The numbers ranged between 0.01 to 2.5. This means that the lower job density areas would be washed out if I set a large gradient or the higher job density areas would blend with lesser densities if I set a small gradient. I erred in the latter direction just because it does a better job illustrating the map.

Finally, what are the units? I have no idea. The area values ranged from 2,000 to 100,000. I used  total jobs divided by the area. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open ears.

Without further ado:

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