Brew bike blogger Liam Quigley sent us this post about problems with the new President Street bike lane. Just as we were about to post it, City Paper’s Michael Byrne says the city is painting over or destroying the bike lane markers. Well, that’s one way to solve the problem!
If any of it is left over after Veolia gets through with it, here’s what Liam thinks is the problem with the lane.
Recently, I was made aware of the new President Street bike lane, and some potential problems with it. I am usually around just as new lanes are being laid down, but in this case, I was off by a week or more. As speculated, the new lane is of the standard, white line and bike symbol variety.
I have criticized the city before for referring to sharrows and bike symbols as real bike lanes, and it’s nice to see a legitimate on street lane. It is on the right side of the street, Northbound side of President from the traffic circle at Aliceanna street, and a brief section exists on the Southbound side of President street approaching the traffic circle.
As was noted on twitter yesterday, the section of the lane approaching Fleet street is in between two lanes of vehicular traffic. I pulled up to the light in the bike lane, and upon the change to green, I was rushed on both sides by traffic. I am very comfortable riding in traffic, but it took a lot of focus and patience just to safely get up to speed and merge over to where the bike lane and sharrows direct cyclists where the lane continues. I don’t predict this part of the lane getting a lot of use, as it will definitely scare away cyclists who are much more comfortable just staying in the right hand lane and riding to the rest of the bike lane from there. It appears that a bike box, similar to the new one at Wyman Park Drive, would have been appropriate here.
The rest of the lane is not much to write home about. It feels slapped onto what is essentially the shoulder of a three lane speedway. I predict complaints from experienced cyclists who will feel lashed out at by motorists for not using what they see as a substandard lane. Bumps, dips, sewer grates, and cracks in the bike lane are plentiful. In many cities, this effort would be laughable, but for Baltimore, I would argue that it is an improvement for an unfriendly Northbound street.
I don’t mean to pile on the complaints, but the lane inexplicably ends just before the transition to the Fallsway. I cannot find city records showing if the lane will be continued, but this seems like a no-brainer and a big missed opportunity if it isn’t continued.