There is a curious infrastructure in Valencia which I rarely see in any other great city in Europe or at least in the most advanced European countries as it comes to sustainable mobility. They are the “urban highways”. In other words, I am referring to avenues with three, four, five or even six lines in each direction. This causes a lot of pollution and noise. One secondary effect consists of cars not respecting the traffic-light line. In the next figures, you can clearly see them on the road.
And still lots of cyclists have had fights with cars and motorcycles which have not respected it. It is just a matter of time that a crash occurs.
Getting parking right is key when it comes to biking infrastructure: do it wrong and you’ll create a deadly trap waiting for you to get doored, do it well and create a barrier that will improve the cyclist’s security.
If you think about it, often times drivers ride alone, which means that, often times, cycling on the right of parked cars is safer. Additionally, cars parked on the left of bikeways are a great substitute for physical elements plus you get them for free. Additionally, if cars park on the left of bikeways there is no interference between bicycles and cars when the later are about to park.
Seattle has at least a dozen different ways of designing parking, ranging from terrible through excellent, here is a very good one.
Just like werewolves get wild at full moon, and gremlins get really angry if they are fed after midnight, inner cities are a madness jungle at 5pm in the US.
Drivers block the intersections, stop at crosswalks, invade bike ways, and honk the horn for no reason.
Adrenaline pumps up, anxiety jumps, futile attempts to advance are tested, and resignation skyrockets because you are stuck in a traffic jam.
And in places like Manhattan this is the norm.
A couple days ago a fellow biker asked me “Do people just get crazy when they’re driving?”.
This is the result of 50 years of wrong transit policies by misguided politicians. And there are simple solutions that could solve it in a matter of months, here are some I’ve seen working in other countries:
- Build free, big parking lots outside of downtown and have fast public transportation take you there.
- Pedestrianize popular streets which, by the way, will have a positive impact on those retailers sales.
- Every month, the police department should start a new awareness campaign. The sheriff appears in mass media warning drivers they are going to enforce something, lets say, blocking intersections. After a week, every single car that blocks an intersection gets a ticket no matter what. And after a month, we move to another campaign. In half a year transit safety improves exponentially without installing any additional infrastructure.
When traffic lights look like this