November 3, 2005
Segmenting the Pavement
These two pictures, besides demonstrating my incompetence at photo composition, show an approach sometimes used in the Netherlands. This is a street in Utrecht.
The non-auto portion of the pavement is broken up into three zones. A bike lane is closest to the auto lanes. And the sidewalk of course is against the buildings.
What's interesting here is the middle segment. It feels a lot like sidewalk, but it is also available for use as a loading zone. Utility poles and street furniture can also go in this zone.
Frankly, it feels a little strange to me, but it's a pragmatic solution to make the street workable for all its functions, and proof that the Dutch deliver workable bike lanes in a variety of environments. Of course, it also requires a lot of available right-of-way.
And yes, that's the Portland delegation milling around. Kind of like herding cats.
November 4, 2005 7:23 AM
Lenny Anderson Says:
This arrangement is common in Germany as well, at least the two zones...bike and ped above the curb, differentiated by pavement color. And you had better not walk or stand in the bike lane!
I see that someone is riding the wrong way in the top picture or is this a bi-directional bike lane.
Opening the doors to more bicyclists requires a combination of infrastructure...paint, signals, signs...,attitudes of motorists and bicycists, and just numbers....the more folks on bikes we see, the more in comes to be taken as normal and expected.
Portland's biggest shortcoming is still signage and gaps in the network; progress on those fronts is painfully slow for a city that touts its bike-friendly character.
November 4, 2005 8:22 AM
The lack of curbs is what strikes me. Where does the rain water flow? Surely they get rain there too?
I think Americans are too used to sidewalks being up on the curb and would be very uneasy about walking on a street in which the only barrier between them and car traffic is a white line. Something about the curb being there and all the hardware along the curb like parking meters, signs, newspaper boxes and trash cans that makes it feel like there is a protective barrier between the sidewalk and the street.
November 4, 2005 10:07 AM
Chris Smith Says:
Actually on this street I believe there are (low) curbs between the traffic and the bike lane and the bike lane and the sidewalk. However, the two 'zones' of the sidewalk are not grade separated.
November 15, 2005 10:57 AM
Louis Haywood Says:
Everyone believes that Americans would be too scared to walk next to bikes and cars without a curb. It is probably more true to say that the cars would be more scared of hitting people, and so would slow down, which would make pedestrians a lot more happy and secure than a curb seperating them from speeding drivers. Right?