Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Brisbane, California Civil Engineer "Conforms to the Standard"

2 years ago I wrote about the dangerous bike lane in Brisbane California that is "separated from traffic" by a nasty rumble strip. The rumble strip makes getting around any obstacles in the bike lane a very dangerous proposition.

Yesterday I rode those bike lanes again, and noticed something even more devious than the trucks that park in there - a "crash barrier" or something that projects from the right side of the road into the bike lane, producing a very narrow lane with a crash barrier on the right and a rumble strip on the left. Ugly.

Turns out I'm not the only one who noticed. I got an email thread from Edward Hasbrouck discussing those lanes with the City of Brisbane. Edward doesn't pull any punches...

I'm not opposed to all rumble strips, but I can say that as a lifelong bicyclist who has never owned a motor vehicle, what has been done on Bayshore Blvd. is the single most inappropriate and worst-implemented installation of rumble strips I have encountered in 40 years of riding.
If you agree - and you should...
I plan to attend the next Brisbane City Council meeting, which I was told today by the city clerk is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m., to follow up on this request for removal (or mitigation through replacement with *intermittent* rumble strips) of the botched rumble strips on Bayshore Blvd. through Brisbane. I would welcome support, either by others who might attend the meeting or through letters to the City Council letters to the City Council.


Edward Hasbrouck

He has a pretty long complaint letter to Brisbane, very eloquent and descriptive. And he's correct, backed up by research shown in among other things this one from the Federal Highway Administration and this from the League of American Bicyclists

Some highlights.

According to your (Karen Kinser, Senior Civil Engineer, Brisbane) message to Ms. Radetsky:

"The incorporation of the traffic control device known as a "shoulder rumble strip" into bike lane design and in general as a tool to provide audible and physical (shaking) feedback to keep motorists in their lanes and off of shoulders, medians and the like is widespread, and is considered a nationally accepted engineering practice."

This is not correct. The use of rumble strips to separate bike lanes from same-direction all-vehicles traffic lanes, as a general practice, is contrary to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) standards.

In your message to Ms. Radetsky, you say that, "the southern portion of this project (Valley Drive to the southern city limit) has been in place for several years without a single complaint similar to your concern."

Had I known where to complain, I would certainly have done so sooner. I was appalled by what had been done to the southern portion of Bayshore Blvd., but it appeared as a fait accompli. Even then, nobody ever asked those who use the road what we thought, or told us how to give feedback, before proceeding to repeat the same mistakes (and more) to the north.

Unlike in San Francisco where I live, where notices of proposals such as for revised traffic patterns or bike lanes are required to be posted on- site *before* plans are finalized, and road users and others who might be impacted (perhaps in ways that planners hadn't anticipated) have a chance to review plans and have input before they are implemented, I never saw any notices along Bayshore Blvd. before the construction started.

Here is the (ridiculous? tone deaf? arrogant?) response from the Karen Kinser, Senior Civil Engineer, Brisbane, Ca

The City has received your email correspondence of 12/16/11.

As noted therein, the "best practices" for the design and installation of bikeways continues to evolve, with the oldest provided reference being a 2001 technical advisory (TA), and the newest being a May 2011 TA. We disagree with your conclusion that the city's installation of rumble strips on Bayshore Boulevard creates a hazardous condition; we believe that the new condition is a vast improvement over the previous Class I Bikeway on this 45 MPH arterial road. This project, which was initiated in 2004, has been reviewed by all appropriate regulatory authorities, designed by a licensed civil engineer, and approved by the City Council.

We will maintain the information you provided, and when the roadway is re-paved, we may incorporate those features which are deemed necessary by a civil engineer, and which are then current practice.

Thank you for sharing your concerns. Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

Karen Kinser Senior Civil Engineer City of Brisbane

Reminds me of this...


HenryMar said...

I think you need to have enough skill to ride over rumblestrips if you're going to ride on a major thoroughfare. I don't think rumblestrips are a problem.

Bob Sutterfield said...

See the California Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices ( Section 9C.04 "Markings for Bicycle Lanes":

Raised barriers (e.g., raised traffic bars and asphalt concrete dikes) or raised pavement markers shall not be used to delineate bike lanes on Class II Bikeways (Bike Lane).
Raised barriers prevent motorists from merging into bike lanes before making right turns, as required by the CVC, and restrict the movement of bicyclists desiring to enter or exit bike lanes.
They also impede routine maintenance. Raised pavement markers increase the difficulty for bicyclists when entering or exiting bike lanes, and discourage motorists from merging into bike lanes before making right turns.
Physical barriers may be used to convert a Class II Bikeway (Bike Lane) to Class I Bikeway (Bike Path).

See also Section 3B.106(CA) on Rumble Strips, particularly the paragraphs of caution regarding difficulties that Traveled Way Rumble Strips pose for bicycles and motorcycles.

djconnel said...

The ignorance demonstrated by these public engineering projects continues to amaze me.

I'm presently in New Zealand south island, on vacation, where I've been for 2.5 weeks.... virtually all roads are one lane each way, one shared land over most bridges, and rarely a shoulder. I've yet had a car come close to threatening me, even without soft barriers or rumble strips. The US remains firmly ranked as last in driver respect for cyclists in my experience...

DDD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DDD said...

Just found your blog by accident, surfing around while drinking coffee. I also dislike the rumble strips. Don't understand why they put them in, that section of bayshore was fine the way it was. I wonder if any cyclists like them?

When I first encountered them I searched for other people's thoughts about them and couldn't find anything. Yours' is the first I've seen pro or con.