Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Making progress

Metro government officials have made good use of comments from Bicycling for Louisville lately. In response to my complaints about bicycle-insensitive loop detectors at traffic signals, two engineers at the Department of Public Works and Assets have been looking into how to improve the situation. They made clear that improvements will need to take place gradually: the loop detectors get replaced routinely in connection with repaving a street, but are too expensive to replace otherwise. They have decided to make bicycle-sensitive detectors their new standard, to place the "sweet spot" of the detector behind the stop bar, and mark the sweet spot so cyclists can find it easily. I'm thrilled. Thank you, Dirk and Pat.

As money becomes available (and one can only guess when that will happen), they also want to move the signal-change buttons back farther from the intersection of Spring Street/Adams Street with Story Avenue so that a bicyclist who stops to hit the button will be able to ride back into a safe lane position before the light turns green. My comments spurred this change, too. Thanks again to Dirk Gowin (Public Works) for listening.

Two of us from Bicycling for Louisville, with help from Scott Render in the Mayor's office, appear to have influenced Louisville Downtown Management District (LDMD) to use simple design guidelines to ensure that the next round of artistic bike racks downtown actually serve well for parking bicycles. After looking at several sets of bike rack standards from around the country, I supplied LDMD the ones developed by Atlanta Bicycle Campaign for a design competition a few years ago, with one added requirement. I thank Ken Herndon of LDMD for listening to the bicycling community and taking advantage of this opportunity to make their investment in public art serve also to improve the stock of functional bike parking downtown.

Dirk Gowin at Public Works has responded very rapidly to an incident in which an experienced bike commuter crashed (without injury, thankfully) on the railroad tracks on Frankfort Avenue when an impatient motorist attempted to pass him on the right (!) while crossing the tracks. Dirk has explored several options for improving safety at that badly angled crossing and is pressing to find a solution that the city can afford. This has involved a long (and continuing) dialogue with me and three other League Cycling Instructors associated with Bicycling for Louisville.

In his first year at Public Works, Dirk has gone beyond any of his predecessors in the city's bicycle program to seek and incorporate input from technically savvy members of the bicycling community. I probably give him heartburn sometimes, but he keeps listening to me and we keep learning from each other. I really appreciate this improvement in the quality and quantity of communication. It bodes well for cycling conditions in Louisville Metro.


purple haze said...

As the "experienced commuter" mentioned in the next-to-last paragraph, I am elated that my brief and minor misfortune may lead to progress on this front. All of the progress you cite is important, but it feels good to have something good come of my experience.

crankedmag said...