Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cycle Track and Buffered Bike lane, Western Avenue, Allston

Peyman Noursalehi


 Western Avenue is located between Central Square T station and Arsenal street bridge, with bike lanes running in both directions from Travis Street to Soldiers Field Road.

Western Avenue is a primary route for cyclists getting between Allston/Brighton, the Charles River and Cambridge", the city of Cambridge Community Development Department said in its announcement

Bike Lane

 Bike lane is installed starting from Soldiers Field Road towards Travis St. It has a width of 5 ft. 

But not all of this 5 ft. width is or can be used; at least a foot from the curb is covered with thick dusts and debris, and there are many gutters along the route.

There are parking spaces on some parts of the route, in which case bike lane is relocated on the left side of parked cars.
 When bike lane is next to parked cars, its width is reduced to about 4 ft which increases the chance of dooring.
There are buses operating on both sides of the street. When they stop to service passengers, they block the bike lane. But the real problem is when a bus decides to pull over and might overrun a bike riding next to it on the bike lane. That said, the road is wide which enhances detectability and both bus drivers and cyclists are very much aware of each other. 
NACTO design guidelines recommend 4 ft width for bike lane, while here it's a foot more than that. but in case of bike lane next to parked cars, NACTO recommends a minimum of 6 ft. while here it is 4 ft.


Cycle Track

A 10-foot cycle track runs from Travis St. to Soldiers Field Road. In some portions of the route-just before intersections- it becomes a buffered bike lane with 2 ft. buffer. 

 NACTO recommends 5-7 ft plus 3 ft  buffer zone for cycle tracks, and 5 ft plust 2 ft buffer for bike lanes near the traffic. here, there is a 10 ft wide cycle track without explicit buffer zone, and a 8 ft track with 2 ft buffer zone when approaching intersections.

Intersection Treatment

bike lane and cycle tracks are continued through intersection and are painted green, to attract drivers attention.

There are also signs cautioning cyclists about cars turning right.
 When the cycle track reaches Soldiers Field Road, it is guided out of street and into the side walk.

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