Completing the Alder Signature Bikeway in Eugene, OR – Intersection with 19th

Completing the Alder Signature Bikeway in Eugene, OR – Intersection with 19th

(This is a re-post from: http://schlossb.tumblr.com/)

Alder Street in Eugene is a bicycle backbone connecting a good portion of south Eugene, the University of Oregon, the extensive river path system, and downtown commercial areas.

The corridor is very busy with bicycles at all times of days and night.  It truly is a signature corridor that should inspire more like it around the community. It is about to be repaved from 19th -24th.   But, it is still incomplete (!) and I have three suggestions to complete the Alder Signature Bikeway, including two moderate decisions, one easy decision, and one category of tweaks.  This post will focus on a moderate re-design of the intersection of Alder and 19th to make it more consistent with the  Alder Signature Bikeway.

Quick peak: this proposal reverses the stop signs to allow throughput of bicycles on Alder and eliminates the southbound automobile left turn from Alder onto 19th.

Here is the basic context:

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Alder street is a major north-south bicycle corridor, serving elementary, middle, high, and university educational facilities, is a critical link to the river path (east west access) and is a primary connector to downtown businesses and activities.  Unlike much of the rest of the Alder area, most of Alder is without stop signs as they have been flipped to stop cross traffic and prioritize movement on Alder.  Occasional restrictions on accessing Alder by automobile largely keeps vehicular traffic to a minimum and generally very localized use.  (Inexplicably, there is one stop sign on Alder and 28th that has not been flipped.)

On Alder at both 19th and 18th, bicycles do not have the right of way.  At 18th, an automobile arterial, there is a newly installed bicycle signal alongside a pre-existing, more traditional traffic signal.  This signal generally supports bicycle movement on Alder, but it still defaults to traffic on 18th and some sensors and settings designed to prioritize bicycles on Alder still need tweeking.

At 19th, there is a stop sign facing Alder, allowing free flow of vehicles on 19th.  To truly create the Alder Signature Bikeway, it really isn’t acceptable to have two consecutive intersection designs that favor cross vehicular traffic over bicycles.  The re-design below aims to improve the 19th street intersection to prioritize bicycles and to improve safety for turning vehicles as well.  Here is the intersection looking south on Alder:

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This is basically what it looks like today, with one-way vehicular traffic on the right and two-way bicycle traffic on the left (in this image). Vehicles may not go straight (only bikes can), but they can turn right or left on 19th.  The left hand turn is quite difficult, however, because there is a large number of bikes going in both directions and it has poor visibility for left turning cars. From personal experience driving here, it is quite stressful to make a left hand turn and be fully aware of bikes.  The stress is higher at night and especially when it is wet (which it is often in Eugene!).  Many cyclists do not use lights at night, making it even more stressful in a vehicle turning left.  (I would love to have a program that gave out free bike lights here.) As much as I would hope that more people put lights on their bikes so others can see them, I also recognize that many will not and that making a safer design for all makes sense.  It is also not a very comfortable crossing for bikes sue to the poor visibility of what is happening on 9th and for the uncertainty of left turning vehicle behavior on Alder.

There is no bicycle access on 19th despite a boom in dense, multifamily housing construction and that the region’s major high school is three blocks to the right or west (perhaps a blog post for another day).  19th slopes fairly steeply from east to west (left to right), so vehicles in the proposed re-design will need to stop while traveling downhill.  Vehicles also have a traffic light one block to the west (right), which is true on 18th as well.

And here is the proposed re-design:

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Changes:

  1. stop signs on 19th have been erected
  2. a green lane spans the intersection to emphasize bicycle crossing – bikes do not need to stop
  3. a “right turn only” stencil has been added for cars, eliminating cars turning across the bike lanes
  4. a cement diverter reinforces the right turn only for vehicles
  5. zebra crossings have been put in for pedestrians – this is also a very high pedestrian corridor
  6. vehicle stop lines have been put in behind the zebra crosswalks

And that’s it – another simple tweak that helps complete the Alder Signature Bikeway by prioritizing bikes throughout the corridor and strengthening this bicycle backbone for users of all types.

This is a re-post from: http://schlossb.tumblr.com/

– Marc Schlossberg

Author: Marc Schlossberg

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