Bike trail and intersection problem

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I live next to a rail to trail bike trail that intersects with a very busy two lane road with a center turn lane and three side streets that run parallel to the trail if you can envision that. Anyway, the intersection has always been a problem and several accidents between cars and bikes have occurred here.
For years it has just been marked as a cross walk with signage warning of the crosswalk for approaching cars and signs on the trail warning walkers and cyclists to stop before crossing. Over the years they have tried some modifications including those little rubber poles in the middle of the street with a picture of a bike and small stop sign that caused people to stop even though no bikes or walkers were in the intersection. They also installed overhead flashing yellow lights to call attention to the crossing. In Maryland vehicles are required to stop if someone is in the crosswalk, but not if the bike or walkers are approaching the crosswalk, only within the crosswalk.
Most drivers would slow down and stop if they saw someone approaching the crosswalk as a courtesy or out of fear that the bike or pedestrian would not stop and dart out in front of them which was a common occurrence. Some drivers would jam on the brakes when seeing a bike or runner 50 yds up the trail!
Very frustrating for traffic behind this type of driver and confusing to cars approaching from the opposite direction since they may not see any reason to stop. It was also not good for a biker because he would see the car stopping for him to cross but not sure the cars coming from the opposite direction were also going to stop since he wasn't to the crossing yet. Technically the bike had the stop sign, not the cars.

Recently the county decided to add additional measures to the intersection. They installed traffic lights that sense automatically when someone is on the bike trail approaching the intersection and change the flashing yellow lights to red for the cars to stop.
They also installed the walk/don't walk signs for trail users with a button to push at the crossing in case the sensor doesn't pick them up or if they approach the crossing from other than the trail.
This system cost the county several hundred thousand dollars (maybe $800,00 IIRC). It has been a miserable failure. Bikes reach the intersection before the light turns red so cars stop anyway to let the bikes cross. Once the bikes cross, the light turns red and the cars are still sitting there with no one using the crossing! The bikes cross even though the walk/don't walk sign says don't walk. Once the bikes cross, the light for the cars stays red for another 15 seconds or so and then goes back to flashing yellow again. About this time the pedestrian on the trail makes it to the crosswalk as the don't walk sign comes on again. The line of cars that started to proceed through the intersection comes to a stop for the pedestrians even though the light is not red.
Again, they are stopping as a courtesy to the pedestrian, not because of traffic laws. In the meantime the pedestrian has pushed the crosswalk button so the signal is sent to the traffic light to turn red again, but by the time it does turn red the pedestrian has already crossed and the cars are sitting at a red light with no one crossing!
Adding to this, the side streets on both sides of the trail also have red lights that are synced with the main roads signal so they turn red at the same time. Lots of cars sitting idling at red lights for no reason. So now the county sent out a letter stating that the lights are not working as planned and will just go back to flashing yellow with no red lights! Could have used that money to build another mile of bike trail!
 
Wow, that is a classic example of someone THINKING they had a solution, but not testing it properly.
For $800k, maybe just building a bridge over the road for cyclists and pedestrians might've been a better option, and no one has to stop.
 
I've noticed for years that a lot of drivers seem to lose their minds if a bicycle is riding down the street. What I really love is when you're going about 8 to 12 mph, near the curb, no traffic, and street is 40 yards wide, and they follow you going 8 mph.
 
I just went back and found what the county said the cost was. I was off a bit. $135K plus the remotes added later so approaching $200k. Plus $2500/year for maintenance. Can't build a bridge for anywhere near that.
 
I just went back and found what the county said the cost was. I was off a bit. $135K plus the remotes added later so approaching $200k. Plus $2500/year for maintenance. Can't build a bridge for anywhere near that.
$2500/yr for maintenance?! C'mon. I know they may have budgeted for that, but I bet there's almost zero maintenance. Maybe just replacing a push-button every 5 years.

The bridge I'm thinking of would be a simple steel one, just for bikes and pedestrians, not for cars. I think that could easily be done for $200k. No?
 
This intersection works really well. It has two spots where it crosses traffic. Here at this link and on the next block , to the left. Push to cross, the bollards you see have embedded lights that blink, and there are blinking lights embedded in the pavement running along the borders of the crosswalk that do the same when you push the button. Also a couple of signs saying yield to pedestrians, where the light starts blinking when the button is pushed. Minimal impact on the neighborhood. Also this town has a reputation for not suffering fools lightly so people tend not to blow off the rules.

Often as not there's no need to stop and push the button. People driving thru know the rules.


If you follow the map to the left there is a city park mid-block with power outlets under the canopy, and a water fountain. Good place for a layover especially in summer when its 105 fahrenheit outside and NOBODY is outdoors.
 
And here further along the same path is the REAL solution. An underpass. When I lived in Fresno I used this path as a main artery that let me range about 15 miles, almost entirely away from traffic. If a shop was along this path I shopped there instead of riding thru the rapids.

 
A common problem in many government solutions.......people designing the solution don't have a clue and nobody is held accountable for the spending. We see it everyday.......it's shameful.
 
And here further along the same path is the REAL solution. An underpass. When I lived in Fresno I used this path as a main artery that let me range about 15 miles, almost entirely away from traffic. If a shop was along this path I shopped there instead of riding thru the rapids.

Looks like CA is getting its act together with bike infrastructure a lot faster than most of the rest of the country.
 
The only problem is that urban underpasses tend to become bad, dangerous and dirty places. Better a bridge, perhaps with a nice design like those built everywhere: https://www.arch2o.com/10-amazing-bridges-passageways-bikes/

I don't think it would cost much more, but without a photo it's hard to say if it would be technically and environmentally possible. And even if it would cost more, nothing compared with one of the millions of infrastructures for cars under development every single day all over the US.
 
My neighbor works for a firm that is currently involved with building a bike trail that will have several bridges. None of the bridges cross over roads though. Mostly over ravines but price should be in the ballpark. I'll ask him if he knows approximately what it costs for a bridge. Also I'll see if I can get a picture of the intersection in question.
 
16.8 million! The bridge would have to be 17' high which means the approaches would be 380' long. 12' wide to accommodate Ranger vehicles and Gas& Electric Co. vehicles. Retaining walls, utility relocation, etc. No wonder they did a crosswalk. I'm trying to figure out how I can add a Google Earth link to this thread so you can see the intersection.
 
16.8 million! The bridge would have to be 17' high which means the approaches would be 380' long. 12' wide to accommodate Ranger vehicles and Gas& Electric Co. vehicles. Retaining walls, utility relocation, etc. No wonder they did a crosswalk. I'm trying to figure out how I can add a Google Earth link to this thread so you can see the intersection.

admitting this is correct, yeah, it looks like a lot of money!

But consider this: it is a tiny fraction of what is spent every day on infrastructure for cars, even for a single vehicle overpass. But in many countries - and especially in the US - people is used to thinking that those are necessary, while spending on infrastructure for sustainable mobility is throwing money down the drain. Instead, the exact opposite is thought is true, since improving the road system only increases traffic and the distance people can live from work.

I would again recommend taking a look at NotJustBikes, a youtube channel created by a compatriot of yours who moved to the Netherlands. For example starting with this one:

... and continuing perhaps with this one:

We all need to change our mindset. And quickly, if you want to exploit that little chance to avoid the collapse of our civilization.
 
I don't think ebikes....infrastucture or even gas guzzlers are going to be the collapse of our civilization......but... I am betting that rich politicians trying to remain in power at all costs will be......it's a worldwide problem.
 
admitting this is correct, yeah, it looks like a lot of money!

But consider this: it is a tiny fraction of what is spent every day on infrastructure for cars, even for a single vehicle overpass. But in many countries - and especially in the US - people is used to thinking that those are necessary, while spending on infrastructure for sustainable mobility is throwing money down the drain. Instead, the exact opposite is thought is true, since improving the road system only increases traffic and the distance people can live from work.

I would again recommend taking a look at NotJustBikes, a youtube channel created by a compatriot of yours who moved to the Netherlands. For example starting with this one:

... and continuing perhaps with this one:

We all need to change our mindset. And quickly, if you want to exploit that little chance to avoid the collapse of our civilization.
He makes some good points but cherry-picks what's bad about the U.S. and Canadian road systems. Of course, you can find "stroads" all over the U.S. and Canada but they are not inefficient wastes of low tax revenue generating properties. There are plenty of roads, streets, highways, beltways, parkways, and other places we drive our V8 autos. Unfriendly to cyclists? You bet. But our economy, population, lifestyles, climate, land mass, etc are way different than the Netherlands. Sounds like someone is jealous of our culture. If it's so great in the Netherlands, good for them. We kind of like it here.
 
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