ASK THE BORED: If bicycles should be on the street, not the sidewalk, then why has the two-way grid plan been stripped of most cycling safety measures?


Yesterday we surveyed the scandal-plagued Gahan administration’s Tour de Sharrow.

Grid Control, Vol. 15: Dooring enhancement perfectly epitomizes Deaf Gahan’s “biking last” approach to grid modernization.

As noted previously (and often) in this space, a sharrow symbol might as well be the Mark of Blithering Idiot on Jeff Gahan’s forehead, and my old friend K, a veteran cyclist, offers this excellent comment on the utter uselessness of the concept.

What few know about the “smash cyclist here” sharrow is that it’s purpose is to remind motorists that they are potentially sharing the roadway with bicyclists, thereby theoretically making for safer cycling. So, sharrows are painted in the center of a roadway where they are obvious to motorists.

Sharrows do not delineate a bike lane. The great misfortune in the sharrow strategy is that the sharrow has the luring appearance of granting center-of-the-roadway, or “cycle here”, safe cycling rights to unwitting bicyclists. Nothing improves cycling safety more than this combination; a busy roadway, a couple of doses of cognitive chaos, and the subliminal message of motorists repeatedly running over painted images of cyclists.

Ironically, at the Board of Public Works and Safety meeting last week (July 11), a member of the public returned to a favored topic, riffing on a previous appearance described here:

ASK THE BORED: “Design Is Better Than Enforcement To Make Cities Safer For Everyone.”

Mr. Peterson’s point, as offered last week as well as an October 2016 letter to the News and Tribune, is that we can have arterial streets designed for moving traffic at unsafe (and altogether anti-social) speeds, then easily reduce these speeds through constant enforcement — though we wouldn’t want to be a speed trap, would we? In other news, I can have my cake and eat it, too. Yet again, for the umpteenth thousandth time …

Design Is Better Than Enforcement To Make Cities Safer For Everyone, by Charlie Sorrel (fastcoexist)

As an aside, it’s never been clear to me which section of Jeff Speck’s Downtown Street Network Proposal concedes a higher rate of vehicular accidents, as Peterson alleges. I’ve just now searched the word “accident(s)” in the proposal, and found the word used four times, each in a context of accident reduction, not increase.

Reading incomprehension is a civic institution, so let’s leave it aside and proceed to one of Peterson’s better recent points, though it takes a while to get there, and he may well have inadvertently stumbled on truth from a collection of flawed premises.

Take note: Warren Nash now has agreed that education about bicycle behavior is a good thing, and that bicycles should be on the street, not the sidewalk.

Note also that Nash just approved, and is implementing, a street grid plan that negates the majority of Speck’s measures to make bicycle riding on the street (not the sidewalk) … safer.

Me thinks that Nash speaks with a forked tongue. Unfortunately, this practice also is a civic institution in New Gahania. K gets the coda, too:

Speaking of cognitive chaos, the complete dismissal of Speck’s ideal bicycling concept (protected bike paths, see attached picture) from two-way street implementation defies logic, at least from where I sit a couple of hundred miles from there.

If I had the opportunity, I’d be knocking on the doors of City Hall seeking a cogent explanation for the omission of protected bike lanes in favor of a MUCH MORE DANGEROUS concept that will see less use. Other than the notion that protected bike lanes initially might have an eccentric appearance to some, I can’t imagine why protected bike paths were abandoned. Sure there could be a few fogyish complaints from residents, but those complaints have no merit once two-way implementation is a given. Perhaps the cognitive deficiency is mine in this case. Is there an explanation for choosing the less ideal and more dangerous while expending virtually the same resources for implementation?

There’s an explanation, K: City Hall’s minions neither bike, nor walk. They drive. What they have not personally experienced, they cannot fathom.

Welcome to New Gahania.

As an addendum, NA Confidential has been unable to confirm whether New Albany Mayor Jeff M. Gahan or anyone working in the city’s administration is under federal investigation or indictment for corruption, bribery or racketeering. It is standard policy of the U.S. Justice Department to refuse to confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of investigations or subjects of investigations. A similar policy exists at the F.B.I.