Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Bike Lane on Mary Ave in Sunnyvale!

While riding to work this AM, I encountered the following sign.

Mary Avenue bike lane closed. Dare to dream there actually wa... on Twitpic

One might think that I would be extremely offended by the closing of a bike lane. Ironically, I was overjoyed by the site of this closure. How could this be?

The sign was at the intersection of Central Expressway and Mary Ave, in Sunnyvale, demarcating the stretch of Mary heading West(ish) from Central. I ride that piece of road a few times a week and know very well that there is no bike lane on it. So finding out that there is a bike lane now on Mary - even a closed one - warmed my heart. Not that my heart really needed warming in a place like "Sunnyvale" - it's not like I was crossing the Chicago River in a snowstorm like this guy.


(Photo by Bryan Nabong)

A quick inspection indicated that there is no bike lane on Mary - though Ammon tells me it's in the planning stage. That would be great, aside from this ugly stretch between Central and Evelyn where the "shoulder" conveniently turns into a "curb" forcing you into traffic, the stretch from Evelyn to El Camino is 2 lanes of fury - the fury being that of drivers in the right lane being furious that you are impeding their progress by being so bold as to not ride in the "door zone" - the right lane of Mary is wide enough for a car and a bike as long as the bike feels like playing chicken with the mirrors of the cars parked along Mary. It is usually unclear what is impeding motorists in the right hand lane from progressing to the left hand lane.

I found Sunnyvale's choice of sign a bit curious. Since there is no bike lane there, the cyclists - consisting primarily of commuters who use that lane everyday, not French cyclotourists exploring "Le Vale du Soleil" - using Mary would if anything be confused by the sign. It's pretty certain none of them will turn around expecting one of the fellows cutting tree limbs to tell them "Bike Lane's closed - Moose out front should have told you!" No - they'll simply proceed and ride a little bit to the left.

So what does the sign do? Why is it there? To inform motorists that cyclists will need to share the lane with them because their "bike lane" is closed? Perhaps a better choice would have been THIS SIGN - the sign that San Francisco used while construction on Valencia closed their actual bike lane.


ammon said...

"The City of Sunnyvale is now considering a possible (three mile) road diet on Mary Street north of Fremont Ave. to Maude Ave. This would extend the existing bike lane on Mary St. (from the Mary St. Bridge to Fremont Ave. to the north). Additionally a similar study will be performed on that portion of Borregas Ave. which connects the two bridges; between freeways 101 and 237."
bikesiliconvalley story

Further down in the bikesiliconvalley article is an explanation of why the Stevens Creek trail doesn't extend far south, despite the land being there. Homeowners feared for 15 years that it would bring crime...

ammon said...

So my tweet was incorrect in that the Mary bike lane extension is not really in the "planning" stage. In the "considering" stage for whatever that's worth.