Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Watch for Bikes"

About two years ago, I read an article containing some Right-of-Way and Streetscape improvements New York City would implement to enhance safety - one item which caught my attention was the colored bike lane...so how could something "big city" translate, or even be useful, to a "small town."  The answer was simple - awareness.  Every day we drive an automobile, our mental "heads up" display is at work, running through the driving checklist...."am I going the speed limit?"..."intersection coming, better slow down?"..."look left, right, then left again."  These safety checks are spurred by visual cues, street signs - but what if a more regularized, spatial, and visual solution could be implemented?  The bicyclist, however, who's gross weight is 2-5% of the automobile, within our "driving view" is small, moving, and variable in color...so the idea of "denoting their space," painting the bike lane, versus the traditional stripe/bike lane icon/signage approach, certainly seemed like a winner on many levels:

  • Provide a visual cue to drivers of where to expect bicycles
  • Through the previous, driver attention to the space is enhanced (vs. a single stripe)
  • Provide a visual cue to bicyclists of where to ride
  • "Tighten" the appearance the drive lane adjacent to the bike lane
  • Through the previous, a visual "encroachment" affects driving speed, in general
Within the Bayshore MSTU Area, the bike lane graphic presented, also ties many of the street furniture, lighting, and other thematic colors together - thus, function meets aesthetics.  What sets this project apart, as well, was the willingness by the Staff to implement something new - this is the first in Collier County - the design would "live" beyond the booklet produced.  What a joy to open the local paper this week.

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