Friday, May 15, 2009

Not cycling to work

Today is Bike to Work Day in Indianapolis. And I didn't bike to work. I'm not being iconoclastic or engaging in any sort of rebellion here; I had to be downtown at 6am, and I won't be leaving downtown until 9:30 or so. I picked up some extremely last-minute work programming lights for a teevee commercial, and I head straight from the shooting location to my real job. The Pedal-and-Park doesn't open until after I'd need to park, and it closes four hours before I'd need to claim my bike. On the other hand, I got to experience BtWD vicariously; a hundred cyclists biked through our set this morning, on the corner of Mass Ave and Vermont. Most of them were friendly, and only a few were actively surly.

Speaking of cycling things: the city recently added bike lanes on a few major streets. I think I speak for all cyclists when I say that we really appreciate the effort. And I think I speak for the majority when I say that I hope they get it right next time; they didn't this time. One of the added bike lanes was on New York Street, and in a five-block stretch of downtown, the traffic lane and the bike lane crisscross six times. It's an active hazard to navigate, much worse than cycling in normal traffic with no bike lanes. And, now that there's a marked bike lane, we're expected to use the unsafe bike lane; we can no longer ride where it's convenient and safe, we're stuck in the Zigzag-o'-Doom. I ride two blocks out of my way so I can ride on a street with no bike lanes. I've got better chances there.

The design of the new bike lane on New York is bad enough that it almost suggests malice; I can't imagine anyone planning that monstrosity without seeing the dangers. In my more cynical moments I almost wonder if it wasn't some sort of punishment for the cycling community, a payback for us complaining about the lack of bike lanes. At least it's asphalt, though. The obvious non-cyclist who designed the Cultural Trail decided that paving stones were an ideal cycling surface. I can't wait to see what it looks like after a few winters....

1 comment:

Auntie M said...

I know exactly what you mean! I take New York street home every day. Where the turn lane crosses over the bike land downtown is ridiculous. It is also near where two lanes can merge into one in the middle of the street. When the street was first re-lined, I thought it was bad enough that I would take another street...and I have 4 wheels and sides to my vehicle! I don't see too many cyclists on that stretch of New York street, probably for the same reason that you mention.