Showing posts with label traffic and infrastructure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label traffic and infrastructure. Show all posts

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Going for a swim - Santa Barbara

I was inspired by Mark of Bicycle Dutch's latest post - "Going for a swim" and decided to document my own bicycle trip to the pool in Santa Barbara, California (About 215 miles / 344k north from the San Diego with the gym that has escalators... I could drive there in 3.5 hours).

My trip in town is about 3 miles (or 4.8 km) each way but this trip is a little less. For documentation, I started from the intersection of Bath and Mission, where the street painted bicycle lane ends and quickly becomes an "alternate route." This designation means it is recommended on a map but is unsigned and not painted.

Overall info idea stolen from Mark:
With cycle provisions

  •  On street cycle lane 1.4 miles /  2.24 km - 35mph / 56kmph speed limit
Without cycle provisons

  • 1 mile / 1.6 km (unsigned, unmarked) - 30 mph / 48kmph speed limit

So you can see from above that the bike lane has disappeared, and bicycles must act like cars to make it through the intersection. Street traffic speed limit is 30 mph / 48kmph.

Further up Bath street, past the hospital, there is one of the famous "dog legs" in the Santa Barbara street grid, where you must do a quick left, then right to get back onto Bath Street. This occurs because some guy named Salisbury Haley had crappy survey chains and basically sucked at surveying things.

I like to cycle up Bath to the end at Alamar Ave where I turn right and continue up to De La Vina. Again, it's a non-marked, non-painted route so I'm cycling like a car with the cars. The traffic speed here is also 30mph / 48kph - faster than a regular residential speed due to some seemingly random ordinance  stuff I don't understand.

Luckily, someone must have protested and they put in some Bumps (see later photo)!

The intersection of Alamar Ave and De La Vina is below. I take a wide, wide left,  into the painted and signed bicycle route on De La Vina. Yay.

De La Vina is a hill so it's a slow climb up to State Street. This is fine because it allows me to contemplate how much I hate the coming intersection and to steel up my resolve to run the red light.  I hate breaking rules, I always stop for stop signs but this one particular light...

Yes, I regularly run the red light above.

I do this because the traffic sensors do not detect me. It's insulting, annoying, exasperating and inevitable. My trip is usually at 6:30am so there's no traffic in any direction. The first time I did it, I was stranded at this light for over 5 minutes, stubbornly waiting until I gave up being a good law abiding citizen. Fuck it. You know? How long would you wait with no traffic anywhere?

Anyways. Fix the traffic sensor, City of Santa Barbara. 

After running the red, I'm on State Street with a painted, signed bike lane that runs in and out of the bumpy gutter to allow or not allow parking and make room for bus stops. The speed limit is 35mph / 56kmph.

Watch out for skateboards:

At Hitchcock Way, I can take a left but only as a car in the car lane. I carefully check behind me to cross the two lanes of 35 mph / 56kmph traffic to get into the left turn lane... and the sensor works perfectly! It sees me!! I love it!!!

Next challenge - cycling through a gigantic parking lot.
Okay, it's not a big deal. It's just big. Most people drive. 

Bicycle parking area before my swim.

Bicycle parking area after my swim (the sun has come up).

The sun is fully up now and glaring. My ride home is usually easier. The turn from State Street to De La Vina is well marked although I always wonder at the size difference of the cyclist markings.

De La Vina can be tricky... now it's downhill and you can pick up speed. Be sure to watch for parked cars and jerks like the guy in the photo standing next to his car door in the bike lane. (He's probably not a jerk, I'm just grumpy.)

Careful, careful.

Turn to Alamar Ave and BUMP! Yay.


But be sure not to salmon on Bath (it's one-way after Mission), there's a perfectly good lane one block over.

Enjoy the palm trees.

I have tried other routes but they all include larger hills, faster traffic and worse traffic sensors. Yikes.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bicycle parking amenities - Columbus, Ohio

The city of Columbus, Ohio (with the help of other organisations) has installed official bicycle parking shelters with "amenities" and green roofs. The first one I noticed is in the Short North part of High Street.There are more being installed this coming year.

It is February, so a lone bicycle is not unexpected... although, I am surprised it is not full of abandoned frames missing their quick release wheels. Either the city weeds the rack, people do not cannibalize bicycles in Columbus, or it's simply too far from campus for such shenanigans.

The thing that impressed me the most is the "fixit" station by the curb.

How cool is this??
Fix-it tool station & bike stand!
It's a bike stand, bike pump, tool kit combo. (The only thing missing is a lubricant dispensor but I guess that could be way too messy.)

Again, the lack of cut frayed cables and missing tools is surprising and very impressive. I'm sure these will get a lot of use!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Traffic signals

Santa Barbara is beautiful. The weather is fantastic... today was mild, warm, sunny... and the ladies in my morning yoga class were complaining. Does it get even nicer???

The only problem for me so far is too many cars and poor infrastructure for cycling (and this is considered a bicycle friendly area). I may appear as a yoga lady, complaining about what someone in the midwest would consider extreme bicycle friendliness, but it is relative. The infrastructure is absolute crap compared to the Netherlands.

My chief complaint (at the moment) is being unable to affect the traffic light signal cycle. I'm okay with cycling on the street with cars going 40-72kph, cycling right next to parked cars with the risk of dooring... but being forced to run red lights because the signal fails to detect me is incredibly annoying.

A local cyclist and some facebook friends have given me tips.

If the signal is tripped by a camera, you can wave your arms around like a lunatic.
Traffic sensor camera

If the signal is set by a metal detector in the road, place the bicycle upon it, not in it. Traffic light sensor circle
The one at the intersection where I have the most trouble is triggered by weight. I'm not sure how to get around that! I have hopped the curb and pressed the pedestrian signal... but that is demoralizing. I've also run the red light, again, there is no other traffic around. But maybe I can gain lots of weight and then jump up and down.

What I'd really like is more of these! Civilised!!! They can do it!
More of these, please.

Yay! The only one... These should be everywhere.

(And bicycle lanes should be separated from car traffic when the cars are going over 30kph, and should NOT be placed anywhere near dooring risk areas, people should never be allowed to park cars in the bike lanescurb cuts should be at the angle of the crosswalks, and most car parking lots could be halved and filled with avacado trees and gardens for hummingbirds.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fiets tunnels

Tunnel madness Friday!

First, I took the Maastunnel and cycled around through Pernis and back to Schiedam using the Benelux fiets tunnel.  Fun!

(This wasn't planned- I'd heard of the tunnels from BicycleDutch posts, so when I cycled past one on my way somewhere else, I decided to have a go. )

View from the southbank toward the north entrance (and euromast) across the water.

I cycled under that!

Here are some great posts about these tunnels and their history from BicycleDutch:
(Includes a translation of the poetry that adorns the walls)
(Long history!)


But be sure to follow the rules!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bicycle traffic counters

In the past week, I have noticed quite a few of these around Leiden.

Whenever I saw these in NY and Brooklyn, I would be deeply suspicious. Paranoid, even. I suspected that the results would be used to reduce bicycle infrastructure... so I'd roll over the counters as many times as possible. Super paranoid and ridiculous. I wonder if the city planners took that into account when looking at results. Sorry guys. I was crazed but probably not the only one.

In Leiden, I'm not sure what or why they are counting. My boyfriend speculates that they are counting both directions (two cords) on the one-way path...  so perhaps they are actually going to improve the infrastructure depending on the results.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

De eerlijke brommer

Brom and snorfiets are motorised scooters which are allowed to ride on the bicycle paths so long as they do not exceed a certain speed (25km? ).

Of course, they all exceed it regularly.

This is normal. They also tend to push ahead at lights and jockey for position at the front of the line so they can speed freely as soon as the light turns green.
This means they are spewing fumes (and noise) all over the cyclists behind them.

Whenever I stop for a red and there is a scooter rider present, I try to pull up next to them, not behind them. For other cyclists, I will wait behind in order of arrival  at the light.

 I know it's probably irrational to be upset about a scooter's exhaust when the cars are only a few feet away... but it's hard not to find them annoying.  I noticed the sticker recently and love it! I appears to be part of a campaign for change.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ring for service

If you ring this bell,
A cute dutch guy will come and transport you and your bicycle across the water.

This is a free service to the public while the bridge is being repaired.
View Larger Map

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ferry riders in Zeeland

There's a ferry between Vlissingen and Breskens for pedestrians and cyclists. Motorists can take the tunnel... but what fun is that? :)

I captured a dutch triple kiss near the end of the video when the waiting pair see their friend. Also, all manner of bicycle and pedestrian on daytrips or traveling home in Zeeland.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Waiting at the light

Behind a cyclist with a cigarette in one hand (resting on the post with the button) and a fishing pole in the other hand.  Meanwhile, the other lady is having a long cell phone conversation.
All is well with casual dutch cycling. 
Cyclists at a red

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Breestraat traffic

While I was reacting to the guy pulling his suitcase, I almost missed the guys pulling a shopping cart... by bicycle, of course. Just another day in Leiden.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Crosswalk request

Somebody would like a pedestrian crosswalk on the Lage Rijndijk just past the Zijlport. I know this because they've chalked it in very nicely...  and  perhaps a bit excessively- the car traffic is only one direction so right of way triangles are only necessary on one side.

Desire crosswalk

The problem is that the chalk crosswalk is placed across two bicycle lanes, at the outlet of a bicycle lane turning outlet which is prioritzed for the through-traffic (cars). It's meant for cyclists that want to cross the street, so they can wait out of the way of cyclists on the path, or ride up a cut-out instead of a curb.

This means that to use the chalk crosswalk, a pedestrian would have to cross over a bicycle path, then the road, then another bicycle path to the sidewalk... while there are actual prioritized pedestrian crossings not too far away.

But I guess they are too far- even the chalk path is too far for the guy above. :)

Here's the view by google earth. 

View Larger Map

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cycling around the Ringvaart

The Ringvaart is a huge circular canal just north of Leiden surrounding the Haarlemmermeer polder. On the inside, there is a road with on-street bike lanes all the way around around, about 60k. It's a cyclist training dream (except for the 30kph speed limit for cars and bicycles alike), with almost no stops, low car traffic and smooth easy paths.

A few sites list maps and routes.
The only potential problem is the pelo-tons of other cyclists. :)

I took this photo around 9am...
Peloton on the Ringvaart
However, if you wake up super-early like I do, then you can spend a peaceful time cycling by yourself. The peloton-ers don't appear until after 8:30 am, lazy bums...

Earlier in the morning with nice long shadows... 
Long shadows

Horses are just waking up.
 Lazy horses
Overall, the route is really pleasant. I'm not a racer or wielrenner, but sometimes I like to ride my bike for a good distance without stopping a lot. It took me about 3.5 hours door to door, 80k total... and that's fast enough for me!

(Although I was tempted and taunted by the speed capture cameras along the route.)

I'd recommend the route for a leisurely day ride, too. There are many cafes and bars lining the whole ring, a few cute little towns and at least two historical sites, the Cruquius and Fort Vijfhuizen.

And a tip- There's a bit of construction near Schiphol on the east side of the ring with an omleiding. Trust it... but ignore all other omleidings and just follow the canal. I got a bit lost on one omleiding and a nice elderly couple on a morning ride told me to ignore the closed path sign and ride up it, just like they did.

A lone racer at the top!
Always ignore the omleiding

Saturday, June 2, 2012


It took awhile before I noticed the speed markers on the road around the Ringvaart... but once I did, it became a challenge to see if I could make an angry face appear by going over the speed limit.

The fastest I can ride and take a photo.
Alas, no. I was up to 29 kph at one point, but no faster.

It was all smiles for me. :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Car in the bicycle lane...

Can someone please explain to me why this vehicle to me? A mini-car for the bicycle lane? Why? Who?

It's beyond me.

*** After posting
Yes, sorry... it makes sense as a handicapped mobility vehicle! In ignorance, I assumed it was an annoying pleasure vehicle like the scooters that teenagers love speeding down the bicycle paths, but no, it's a legitimate, and kind of cool vehicle that can contain an entire wheelchair.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cycling to work during the onset of the Onzet

They are setting up a street fair on ummm... every major street in Leiden. This makes cycling to work a bit tricky! They have banned most car traffic so it's okay to veer off the bike paths and ride in the road when necessary.

Also, my last point and shoot camera finally died after a valiant 7 years, so I have a new one to play with... :)

(So shaky! How do you keep it still??)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Magic roundabouts

Inspired by David Hembrow, I finally went and took pictures of the magically appeared roundabout in the Stevenhof neighborhood of Leiden.

The area was under annoying construction for a very long time, but before that, it was an annoying T-intersection with long traffic lights. Bicycles and cars had to wait for a green which was never fast enough. Is it ever?

Google maps out of date: 

Exact location for traffic design geeks:,+leiden&hl=en&ll=52.15847,4.449458&spn=0.002073,0.004726&sll=52.159191,4.449677&sspn=0.007964,0.018904&vpsrc=6&z=18 

The construction is now finished, revealing that they've removed all the lights and installed a roundabout!

It's lovely. Circular. Round. Wheeeeeee.

Cyclists and pedestrians now have the right of way, (indicated by the zebrapads and little triangles)

Cars or motorcycles no longer have to stop and wait for an entire light cycle. If the zebrapad and bicycle lane are clear, just keep going.

Vehicles must slow down but they keep moving with a flow which should be a relief to the red light green light system. I imagine. (I don't really know... I hate cars and even being in one makes me angry and unreasonable, lights, flow or not. Best just to tranquilize me and throw me in the back seat.)

Here's a little video: