Monday, April 26, 2010

Avoiding the Construction Zone

This from Jerry Merkey:

"I rode in today and got to the construction around 7:05. There was no backup at all. I've decided not to have to do a sprint through there so I go up Ridgeway and cut through the pathway (1/3 of the way up) onto 43rd St. From there go through the UNM lot and pathways back out to the bridge walkway. This adds a little time to the commute and you must be careful of walkers. You can also of course ride across the top of the western area on the streets.

Tonight's traffic jam on the way home should be spectacular. The fast bike route will be across the bridge walkway, Tour de Western Area, and come out to the light on Sandia. Go straight through the intersection onto Orange and turn left onto 39th. From 39th you can go "off road" for all of 4 feet to get onto the Diamond sidewalk near the end of the construction. Go 50 feet on the sidewalk and back into the bike lane at the curb cut. This should be the fastest and safest way home tonight (and for the rest of the summer)."


I would only add that you need to look and see if there is traffic coming out of the construction zone. In that case, wait until it clears or stay on the sidewalk until you get to the Pueblo School driveway. Those motorists are shooting out of the construction zone chute pretty fast and its a tight squeeze if you hop off of the sidewalk right in front of one of them.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oprah: Don't Txt N Drv

In today's NY Times.

My wife Meena said that a colleague of hers was rear ended the other day by a texting teen. Fortunately no one was hurt and according to Meena, a cop saw the person texting from his police cruiser, so this one should be sanctioned both by the courts and hopefully, a furious insurance company.

But what if Meena's colleague had been riding a bicycle or a pedestrian crossing the street? We have enough roadside memorials already.

Video courtesy of the League of American Bicyclists.

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!