Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Diamond Drive: The Orange Cone Fun Begins Anew

Well, the attitude and posturing is undoubtedly about to start. Seems like traffic cones bring out the worst in people.

I received the email below this afternoon and am setting up this section for folks to post any significant experiences they have while riding through the construction zone.

If you are physically threatened, run off the road, or have an emergency issue needing immediate attention, call 911. For other issues best directed to the County, the Diamond Project contact is in the Dept. of Public Works, 662-8150.

Diamond Project Web Site is here.

Everyone is going to have to give a little. That may take a few days to catch on.

I'll be riding it too, and will communicate frequently with Public Works Director Kyle Zimmerman.

"The traffic diversion to single lanes on Diamond has been in place for about three hours now. In my out and back through there this morning, I had two close calls with vehicles who apparently don't realize cyclists have a right to be on the roadway, and one who flipped me off for good measure (an out-of-state plate).

I don't think it is safe to ride through that area. I'll be riding around it in the future.


This from Kyle Zimmerman in response:


The work zone yesterday was a lane drop to allow for the removal of some pavement markings. We are scheduled to setup the work zone that will move traffic to the east side of Diamond to allow work on the west side of Diamond. This is dependent on the County receiving the signal timing for the Temporary Signal at Sandia and Orange. I will request the contractor to include some "Share the Road" signs in the work zone. We will also include information in our press releases.

J. Kyle Zimmerman, P.E. & CFM
Public Works Director/Traffic Engineer
County of Los Alamos
1925 Trinity Drive, Suite B
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Phone: (505) 662-8150

cartoon caracature of Los Alamos drivers and bicyclists courtesy of Patrick O'Grady/Maddogmedia

4-26-10 --Sent this to Kyle Zimmerman this morning


On the way in this morning, everything went smoothly for me riding in and I was followed by at least two other content bicyclists. Actually the two riders behind me were happy to be on bikes rather than stuck in a car backed up to the Conoco Hill intersection.

One heavy truck drifting into the bike lane made life interesting but otherwise no problems.

One question--is it possible to have the work crews be consistent in setting up the traffic control signs telling motorists that the left lane is ending? The first one completely blocked the bike lane while the second and third were flush with the curb and I could get around them.

Frankly, I am not sure which is better. My worry about a sign half blocking the bike lane is that someone will not be watching their right handlebar and clip the sign while going around it, causing them to careen to the left into traffic. At least when the sign is completely blocking the lane, I had to slow considerably and maneuver around it. Actually, that might be better. My fear is someone trying to go around the sign at high speed and clipping the sign and thus losing control.

We don't want to block the travel lane, bike lane, or sidewalk, so we are kinda skunked. Not sure what to suggest. I guess minimize signs, and we all get to share the suffering.

Nice "Share the Road" advertisement in the Sunday Monitor. Thanks!


Neale said...

I went through there at about 3:00 PM and thought it was fine, maybe even sort of nice. At that time it was basically just a wide outside lane (wide lane with no bike lane stripe). I was actually coming here to post about wide outside lanes: be sure to ride far enough out, but it's wide enough to lane-split. Wide Outside Lanes are one potential solution to the right-turning conflicts on the north side of Conoco hill.

Neale said...

My ride in today was just fine, except for one motorist who seemed upset to be behind me and gunned their engine as soon as they had a chance to pass me on Canyon. But watching that motorist, they then tailgaited all the way up to Central the car they came up to after a couple hundred feet of speeding.

I think it's important to bear in mind that the jerks on the road are the exceptions, and really, it's them vs. the world, not the world vs. you. Jerk drivers don't reserver honking and intimidation for just bicyclists.

Khal said...

When I rode in this morning there were no obstructions or construction controls. So nothing to report.

Neale, that is a good point you make, but as a cyclist, we tend to be a little more exposed to the bullshit these occasional jerks shell out rather than being in our own cages.

But point well taken. The jerks are the exceptions, not the rule.

Neale said...

I finally stopped on my way in this morning and kicked that "LANE ENDS" sign until it was flush with the curb. Not a huge difference but it did scoot in 2-4 inches.

You're welcome, everybody :)

Anonymous said...

may we ride through the High School property to get from Orange street to Canyon Rd. and then downtown?

Khal said...

Unless the High School property is generally off limits to taxpayers, I imagine you can ride through. I often walk our dogs on the Middle School grounds (and occasionally run into Councillor Gibson up there) so as far as I know its fair game as long as not posted otherwise for hazard reasons.

Might be worth flying this question past the Superintendent of Schools Schmidt or Kyle Zimmerman.