Thursday, April 26, 2007

Negotiating the appendix

I guess we're calling the new security bypass road "The Large Intestine". So I'm going to call the driveway into the Motorola building parking lot "the appendix". It's hasn't opened yet, but when it does, I predict big trouble for pedestrians and cyclists.

Currently it is easy to cross the appendix at 12MPH going in to LANL. This is fast enough that it's not possible to do a sufficient check behind for right-turning traffic. I've tried. In fact approaching the crossing at a proper angle for cycling requires swinging wide and doing basically a 90° left turn, then (possibly) a quick stop. It is a very badly designed crossing and I'm really concerned someone's going to be hit as soon as it opens.

Pedestrians fare better at the crossing since they're already travelling under 3MPH. However, many pedestrians cut across the now-gravelled area as a shortcut to the light that never changes. In order for those people to check for oncoming traffic, they are going to have to look 180° behind them for traffic going 25-35MPH through that wide turn. This is a scary proposition.

Fortunately the county is going to change the whole design into a tradition "double-T" intersection. But if LANL decides to open the appendix in the meantime, we need to spread the word to be really careful. Anyone have ideas for a short-term fix should LANL decide to open the road?