hate to change the subject here….


by problembear

but did anyone see this in yesterday’s paper.……hmmmmm. thoughts, opinions, insight…anyone want to share their favorite ped/bike story here? i am all ears. looks like mr smith takes a pretty good drubbing here. is it deserved? do you agree with the editor?……..just sayin’……………

  1. SeenClearly

    A Multi-Modal transportation engineer, Yes!… and move some advocacy collateral to Missoula in Motion… good idea!
    The Missoula Bike/Ped office has been failing the citizens of Missoula, and specifically the Bike/Ped constituency, for quite awhile now. Time for some changes.

  2. goof houlihan

    Bulbouts versus bike riders is a tough issue and I haven’t seen one bulbout that doesn’t extend into the space sometimes called, in the language regarding bikes, “as far to the right as practicable”.

    They will also get clobbered by the snowplows and the reflectors warning cars and bikes will be run over by just about everyone.

    Those crossing streets at bulbout corners have to step directly into the bike or traffic lane in order to be in the crosswalk. Without bulbouts there is at least that area next to the curb, sometimes called the parking lane, at least on most streets, that allows a pedestrian to be in the crosswalk, requiring the automobiles to stop, while still being far enough away from the driving lane to usually be safe. (Making sure that parking is restricted far enough back from the corners is an important part of pedestrian safety, and vehicle safety, too.)

    Another issue with bulbouts is that they reduce the turning radius significantly. This can force a school bus or big truck turning right to swing far, as in “all the way into” the on coming traffic, causing head on collisions or stacking up traffic as any turn requires sufficient break in traffic in both lanes.

    If you want an experienced bike ped engineer, make sure they’re from a state with lots of snow, that is, experienced in a town with snowplows, and the issues of “snow storage,” that is, plowed snow piling up on sidewalks and curb bulbs, and other issues not found in Davis or Boulder or Eugene.

    Oh and be clear what person you’re laying off in order to hire this new person. Local government budgeting is likely to be a zero-sum game in this period of “negative growth”.

  3. goof houlihan

    I appreciated the change of subject and it’s an interesting problem especially when re-engineering existing roads.


  4. Eric Edlund

    The “bulbout problem” seems almost too simple to me: the only place they make sense is on streets that have curbside parking that’s normally used by some cars. On those streets the bicycles are already 6 or 8 feet from the curb, and the bulbout makes perfect sense as a safe vantage point for the pedestrian to see around the parked cars. Snowplows don’t (shouldn’t) plow the parking spaces.

    On a street like Rattlesnake Drive next to the middle school where they’re just finishing the new pavement today, bulbouts are a dangerous blunder. Because there’s no parking next to the school, bikes tend to ride close to the edge of the pavement, and this winter some unsuspecting biker will veer and/or slide when the bulbout catches them by surprise. The City faces serious liability on this issue because they’ve been warned about how dangerous this is. I’ll be interested to see if they can address it with striping alone.

    That said, I was surprised by the aggressive tone of that editorial. Phil Smith has more than paid back his salary over the years by helping the City and County and local businesses obtain grants, subsidized bike racks, etc. There’s a little overlap but not duplication between his office and Missoula in Motion. As a disclaimer I should say that I have worked with Phil in the past as part of the Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Board, and I like him, although my bike-commuting philosophy is not the same as his–I’m more of an aggressive “take the fastest route” bike commuter, not so much of a recreational cyclist. That editorial should have come with its own disclaimer, as to who was its author and why they have such an ax to grind with Phil.

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