Suburban Assault

Posts Tagged ‘Bike Lanes

New Orleans – A Place To Ride

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I started this as part of a recap for 2015, but as I started writing, I realized there was more to say about New Orleans.

During this past summer, we took our first family vacation in 5 years – a much needed break. This time, we went to New Orleans – close enough to drive, but far enough to feel like we went somewhere. We stayed in an Airbnb in the north side of town, outside of the touristy French Quarter. I discovered that the locals weren’t fans of out-of-town folks staying in their neighborhoods. I overheard one woman in a coffee shop say, “I don’t like them…They’re not invested in the neighborhood…They just park anywhere (parking was awful and extremely limited)…They’re just using it like a hotel room.” As a homeowner, I completely understand how they feel and would probably think the same way if there were some Airbnbs in my neighborhood. However, as a visitor, I highly recommend an Airbnb stay. It’s much better than a hotel room, where we felt like out-of-town guests, instead of tourists. Just try to be respectful and treat each neighborhood as if it were your own.

I brought my bike and I’ll discuss that in a bit. First, I want to give my overall view of New Orleans. Although I’ve been there a few times, it’s always been in the tourist areas, eating lots of touristy foods, drinking lots of touristy booze. Going as a family, we wanted to get a taste of how a local would experience the city – with a little bit of sightseeing in the mix. We drove a lot, and now I have a love/hate relationship with the Google GPS App. Since the streets are extremely confusing to a non-local, the GPS was helpful, until it took us 10 blocks out of our way to get to a place just down the street. Once we were more familiar with the area, we only used it for pre-trip mapping and going the last mile(s). It was funny listening to the voice prompt attempting to pronounce some of the French street names. Dupre was referred to as “Dupper.”

As expected, New Orleans is truly different than my north Texas suburb. If you’ve ever coveted the idea of living in a more dense city infrastructure, you should visit a city like New Orleans. At first, you’ll find yourself complaining about how crowded and overlapped the buildings are, as well as how narrow the streets get with limited parking. But when you settle in, you start to notice how well the people exist around each other, how well transportations syncs and how nearby destinations are actually more of a convenience—because they are actually nearby. I started to view the wide-open space of my suburban sprawled neighborhood as less of a luxury and more of a burden. There is something really nice about and old, dense neighborhood with local coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants within walking distance. It makes you hate those drive-thru Starbucks and mega-marts even more.

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Riding a bike in the city of New Orleans is much different than in my city. My first impression of a cyclist in the Big Easy was more of a shock, than a familiar comfort. As we were driving back from dinner, our first night, I saw a cyclist queue-jumping and running red lights. It was late, she didn’t have any lights or helmet and she was weaving all over the road. We saw a few cyclist who rode like this, so I started to equate all New Orleans cyclists as scofflaws. As it turns out, everybody is like this in New Orleans—cyclist, drivers AND pedestrians. Transportation was an awkward, clumsy ballet of wrong, where everybody was making up their own rules—but somehow, it all synchronized well.

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I was able to sneak in a few morning rides around town. I even managed to ride down to the French Quarter. I discovered, even riding my slowest, I was still one of the fastest cyclists around. Slow and easy was the pace in New Orleans, and I was ok with that. I was also one of the few wearing a helmet. For a while, I was worried that it would give me away as a tourist, but I think having air in my tires was already doing that (see pic above). In the end I realized that nobody cared about me, my full tires or my helmet head and I was able to enjoy some really nice rides around town. There were also some nice bike lanes, with more on the way, which made the slow pace easier around the not-so-slow traffic. Riding early in the morning helped as well. Overall, if I lived in that area and with parking as bad as it was, I would definitely ride my bike much more often.

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We loved visiting New Orleans. It was good to get a new perspective of an old city. Although the city is known more for it’s tourist attractions, and less about it’s strong neighborhoods communities, I can see how folks are proud to call it home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by dickdavid

December 28, 2015 at 9:40 am

New Bike Lanes Along Collins Boulevard – Richardson, Texas

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Collins Bike Lane

Heading East From Alma Road

Thanks to Bruce, over at the Bike Friendly Richardson Facebook page, for spotting the new Bike Lanes on the eastern section of Collins Boulevard – in my city: Richardson, Texas. Although not complete, lacking ‘bike’ markings on the pavement and ‘bike lane’ signage, they are ready for riding. Eventually, these bike lanes will continue east, right into my neighborhood, where more bike lanes are scheduled. Unfortunately, the bike lanes will not continue west, right now, and connect to the other bike lanes on the western section of Collins.

I got word from the City of Richardson‘s Asst. Director of Development Services, Transportation and Traffic, Dave Carter, who reports:

This Bike Lane will connect from Alma all the way to Jupiter. The portion east of Plano Rd is being paid for with Safe Route To School (SRTS) funding. The western half is Richardson funding. We wanted to get it all done at the same time. There is a new trail that will be going in adjacent to the Apartments under construction that will connect from Alma down to Greenville. There is also trail along Alma that will lead down to the Arapaho DART station so getting this Bike Lane in now really connects quite a few projects.

As for the Collins bridge over US75 – we don’t have enough funding to make all the improvements we need yet. However, we will be adding some “Bikes may use Full Lane” signs and sharrow markings across the bridge for now.

With these new Bike Lanes as well as the recent extension of the DART Central Trail, it’s really great to see the Richardson Bike and Pedestrian Plan actually getting built out.

From a personal perspective, I ride down this part of Collins, almost every time I ride. The traffic is usually very light and having it three lanes in each direction, made it very accessible for me – even without bike lanes. My first thought was that these bike lanes might be overkill for this road. I was completely wrong.

First, having these bike lanes opens this section of Collins Boulevard for many, less confident, cyclists who would never attempt to ride on this road. This creates a great connection between east Richardson neighborhoods and the Central Trail. Also, it wasn’t until I actually rode the bike lanes, before I realized how much more relaxed I am riding down Collins. This has become a great upgrade to my commute.

Collins Bike Lane

Heading West From Plano Road

As you can see from the map we’ve made of completed bike lanes, the City of Richardson is doing a great job at making bike connections all around town.

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Update: Apologies. I had the map set to private. It should be visible, now.

Written by dickdavid

June 8, 2014 at 7:57 am

Cycle Tracks In Dallas

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Cycle Tracks Dallas - Jefferson Bridge

The cycle track over the Jefferson Boulevard bridge is older news to the locals in Dallas, but I wasn’t able to try it out until last weekend. This cycle track is the result of the new city streetcar project which necessitated the, neighboring, Houston Street Viaduct bridge to be closed down. The, once, one-way Jefferson Boulevard bridge was now re-striped to accommodate two-way traffic as well as bike lanes.

Although this is a temporary solution, some hope that it serves as a way to show how this could work well in future planning.

Having it built on the far left lane, I was curious as to how safe it was – especially running cycle traffic right up against fast, oncoming automobile traffic. Even though it is only protected by paint and plastic posts, I felt pretty comfortable – even as cars whizzed by. There were several other cyclist using it as well, who seemed to feel the same way.

The cycle track lane is nice, but it isn’t perfect – especially getting on and off. Because of all the bypassed traffic and special detours, cyclists have to cross a maze of redirects to get you onto the cycle track. Once in downtown Dallas, cyclist are forced onto, and then off of the sidewalk to get back into the traffic lane.

Forced onto and off the sidewalk

Again, this is just a temporary solution. Once it’s properly designed from end to end, I can see myself and many other cyclists using it to cross the Trinity from Oak Cliff into downtown Dallas.

Written by dickdavid

April 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

More Bike Lanes In Richardson, Texas – Collins Blvd.

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Bike Lane - Southbound Collins (north of Campbell)

We got a notice from our city that more bike lanes were being installed – with more planned for the summer. I’m excited because the ones installed this summer will be in my neighborhood. Click here to see a map of the completed bike lanes in Richardson (so far).

Another 1.1 miles of new bike lanes are being installed this week on both sides of Collins Blvd from Campbell Rd. northward to tie into the existing bike lanes on Collins Blvd at Palisades Creek. This installation will connect the existing bike lane system on Collins Blvd from the Renner Trail all the way down to Campbell Road.

Later this summer there will be three additional bike lane segments installed as part of the Safe Routes to School program grant received from TxDOT.
Collins Blvd (Plano Rd to Jupiter)
Yale Blvd (Arapaho to Campbell)
Owens Blvd (Woodoak to Campbell)

All of these bike lane segments were discussed in the City Council worksession on 10/22/2012 and continue to address the Council Near Term Action Item #29.

I went out to take some pics:

Bike Lane - Southbound Collins (north of Campbell)

Bike Lane - Southbound Collins (north of Campbell)

Bike Lane - Southbound Collins (north of Campbell)

Bike Lane - Southbound Collins (north of Campbell)

Bike Lane - Southbound Collins (north of Campbell)

Bike Lane - Southbound Collins (north of Campbell)

Bike Lane - Southbound Collins (north of Campbell)

Bike Lane - Northbound Collins (north of Campbell)

Bike Lane - Northbound Collins (north of Campbell)

Bike Lanes In Richardson - Paint Crew

Bike Lanes In Richardson - Paint Truck

Written by dickdavid

April 6, 2013 at 9:53 am

Videos Of More Richardson Bike Lanes

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We have more bike lanes in Richardson. This time, they run through the Duck Creek neighborhood in east Richardson. I took a spin to test them out and captured some video to share. Most of this first one is pretty boring – with the exception of the first minute or so.

You’ll notice the driver of the car that passes makes an error in timing that almost caused a collision (good thing my squeaky old brakes held out). I chalk this one up to driver inexperience – in dealing with new street markings and in with cyclists. I’m hoping as time passes, the resident drivers of the neighborhood will become more aware of their two-wheeled friends.

If you were wondering if the new bike lanes are helping to slow down traffic, I shot some video of passing cars on Yale Boulevard to help gauge it. You can see that there are mixed results. I’m hoping that as folks become more aware of the new lane markings, there will be a more traffic-calming effect.

Written by dickdavid

December 12, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Richardson, Texas Bike Lanes

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I am a Richardson cyclist with over a year and a half of two-wheeled experience exploring of my home town. I thought I knew all the bike routes around here, until I discovered a new bike lane on Grove Road. This made me wonder if I was missing anything else. So I did a little research and found some information that local riders might find helpful.

Here is a map of the Richardson, Texas Bicycle Route Plan. It appears that Richardson has a pretty extensive plan for cyclists. There’s the bike lane that I took down Grove Road. It stretches between Arapaho and Continental. There is also another bike lane on Custer Road, between Renner Road and Campbell Road. There are planned bike lanes for Mimosa Drive, Waterview Drive, Lookout Drive, Collins Boulevard, Canyon Creek Drive, and Owens Boulevard (between two existing bike trails). I’ve noticed that there are several planned trails as well to connect with the existing ones.

These won’t cover the entire city, but at least they are planning on making many of the other roads “signed routes” which will hopefully help with bicycle awareness around here. It’s a good time to be a cyclist in my town.

If you want more, great information about the Richardson bike lanes and links to Plano, Frisco and Dallas plans, go here. Also, here’s a link to the Texas Transportation Code about bicycles.

Written by dickdavid

September 10, 2009 at 6:20 am