Monday, March 28, 2011

Please Don't Ride Behind the Construction Barriers

Hello, folks. Its that time again.

PLEASE do not enter the work zones by riding behind the orange construction barrels and concrete wall barriers.  The traffic change occurred today and staff counted eight bicyclists riding in the work zone. That is unlawful ( potentially a misdemenor-see end of this post) and puts construction workers (and you) at a hazard. Do one of the following:

1. The most straightforward thing to do is ride in the lane as a vehicle. It is a short stretch. When traffic is heavy, you won't even have to worry about slowing anyone else down because its probably going to be backed up. When traffic is light, the delay is minor. There is nothing particularly dangerous about riding in the lane as a vehicle. Recall that on most streets in Los Alamos County, that's what you do anyway.

2. Dismount and follow pedestrian path. Kyle Zimmerman said this means walking along the sidewalk to the East of Diamond, as apparently the West sidewalk is closed due to construction. I wouldn't advise riding along a contraflow sidewalk made busier by the eastern one being closed, but use your own judgement. Remember--cyclists riding off of sidewalks and into the street are at a significantly elevated crash risk.

3. Find an alternate route. Riders coming in from north on Diamond can ride through the Orange/Sandia loop and take the right coming down Trinity leading onto Fairway and egress at West Rd onto the bridge. There is at least one decent detour through the western area park and UNM described by Jerry Merkey. See below for details. Riders coming in from Canyon/Central may have to do a bit of jogging to avoid the construction zone if they want to avoid it. Feel free to find a route and post it on the Comments section.

But PLEASE, don't endanger construction workers (or yourself) by riding behind the barriers, OR by passing cars in the gap between motor vehicle traffic and the jersey bouncers. That is a good way to get hurt, not to mention violate the 5 foot rule.


Khal Spencer and Kyle Zimmerman

Jerry Merkey's suggested route coming to work traveling south on Diamond:

1. Turn right onto Sandia at Metzger's Gas Station.
2. Turn left on 40th St., which goes to UNM.
3. Bear right at UNM onto the road to the back parking lot.
4. At the parking lot, ride onto the wide sidewalk to your right.
5. Just past the tennis courts ahead of you, turn left onto a more narrow
6. After the tennis courts, turn left for about 40 ft., then turn right.
This sidewalk dumps you onto 41st st.
7. At the intersection of 41st and Trinity, cross Trinity at the painted
crosswalk and enter the walkway at the south end of the crosswalk.  This
takes you to Fairway at the round paved area just off West Road.
8.  Ride up West Road to the Omega Bridge walkway.

Keep the speed down and watch out for peds, kids, dogs, etc.  This adds less
than 5 minutes to the commute and there are no extra hills to climb.  Just
reverse the route on the way home.  The only spot to stress over is the left
turn from Sandia back into the northbound bike lane on Diamond.

Construction zone law.

Sec. 38-243. - Establishment of speed zones. 

(g) When construction, repair or reconstruction of any street or highway is being done, the traffic engineer or other governmental authority with jurisdiction over that street or highway is authorized to designate as a construction zone that portion of the street or highway where construction, reconstruction or repair is being done and to close the construction zone to traffic or to provide for a single lane of traffic on any two-lane or four-lane highway in the construction zone.
(h) The traffic engineer or other governmental authority closing all or a portion of a street or highway or providing for a single lane of traffic on any two-lane or four-lane street or highway pursuant to subsection (g) of this section shall erect or cause to be erected traffic-control devices or barricades to warn and notify the public of any change in speed limit and that such street or highway is closed or limited to a single lane of traffic.
(i) Every pedestrian or person who operates a vehicle on any street or highway shall obey all signs, signals, markings, flagmen or other traffic-control devices that are placed to regulate, control and guide traffic through a construction zone.
(j) No person shall remove, change, modify, deface or alter any traffic-control device or barricade that has been erected on any street or highway pursuant to this section.
(k) Any person who violates any provision of subsection (i) or (j) of this section is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced in accordance with this chapter.


Jon said...

Be careful coming into/out of UNM; motorists tend to blast through there with little regard for what side of the road they're on. Otherwise that is a very nice detour.

I was also happy to see the orange barrels are no longer being stored on the bridge sidewalk. That made things uncomfortable for awhile.

Pamela said...

Any recommendations for those of us travelling westbound on Canyon or Trinity?

I generally ride to LANL heading west on Canyon then turning left on Diamond. Today I encountered the construction and was wondering the best way to get through the Canyon/Diamond then Diamond/Trinity intersection to the bridge. Everybody was nice today on the road (7:45 am), but it was an awkward route. I just turned left from Canyon and rode in the (narrow) southbound traffic lane on Diamond until I could get to the Fairway/Diamond intersection. But then there was a small backhoe at the crosswalk entrance to the Omega bridge, so I had to ride past the Fairway/Diamond intersection, behind the orange barriers on Diamond, just to get safely past the backhoe, over the curb, and onto the sidewalk to get over the bridge. Uff-da!

My alternate route would have been to ride west on Trinity to turn left on Diamond, I would still have to be riding in the traffic lane after turning left on Diamond, and would have encountered said backhoe on sidewalk to bridge. I don’t have problems riding in the traffic lane, but would like to avoid more dangerous circumstances whenever I can.

What is the known (or recommended) bicycle route? It’d be great if the known route was marked in the construction area and published so we could be a little safer, even if this means we’re in the traffic lane. At least we’ll know where we’re supposed to be.