Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Riding To DOL

I rode up to the Department of Licensing today. It's on Lidgerwood, a block north of Francis. Usually when I go to the central-north part of town, I'd take Monroe on the west or Crestline on the east.

Today, I decided to see what happens when you hook up with the bike lanes on Buckeye and how well that hooks you up with Addison. Addison is a popular route and one I've not ridden before.

View Larger Map
Generally, I was impressed with how well the signs are done. This is a real route, in the sense that you are provided on-street directions with a number of turns. Signs will guide you from Buckeye, across Ruby/Division to North Foothills, left on Mayfair, up to Lidgerwood, across Liberty and finally onto Addison. That's pretty good signage.

The hard part of this route though is crossing Division/Ruby and then this beauty:

What a mess. So, you (the cyclist) are to ignore the "Dead End" and "Road Closed" signs and just see follow the Bike Route sign. That's a bit confusing. But whatever. You continue north about 1/2 a block and you hit this:

The signs are a bit hard to see here, but there's a "Do Not Enter"in the foreground and a "Wrong Way" about 50 yards up. I also chopped off another "Road Closed" sign with a bit of a barrier on the right side of this road.

The deal here is that this is a one-way road. We are routing bikes against traffic on a one-way road. That's bad. The fix is pretty simple though:

- For each "One Way," "Do Not Enter," "Dead End," and "Wrong Way" sign, attach an "Except Bikes" sign to the bottom.

- Stripe a bike lane up the right hand side of this hill (which has a blind corner at the top as a nice added touch -- so, make that, "we're routing bikes against traffic on a one-way road with a blind corner at the top"). Maybe there is a striped lane for north-bound bike traffic. There's snow, so I don't know.

I'm not really sure that's the best way to fix this -- my gut tells me that creating on-the-ground, bike-specific expectations to normal traffic law is not good planning/policy/idea. Why is this a one-way road in the first place?

On the way back from the DOL, I took the same route and saw this sign:

This is heading west on North Foothills. This sign is on the block b/t Ruby and Division. After Division, this street turns to Buckeye. Not a particularly pleasant part of this route and one that would need some work to get most non-daily cyclists to ride this section.

Anyway there are two things about this sign that I wonder about:

1) What is with the Bike and 2/395 signs randomly placed around town? I understand that Division is also part of Hiways 2 and 395, but what's with the bike?

2) As a cyclist, I feel like this sign is telling me that taking a left there on Division is recommended or part of some Hiway route. Bikes are illegal on Division. It's the one place (besides I-90) in the Spokane area where it is illegal to ride a bike. Why is this sign pointing here?


Anonymous said...

next time you are on the "upper" northside, stop by for coffee.

Anonymous said...

When I looked at the Spokane bike route maps for accessing Addison near Division they never made sense to me, now I understand why. I generally use Cincinnati to get up past North Foothills and then cross over.

John Speare said...

Hey Mr/Miss Anonymous -- I live to stop for coffee. That's why I ride my bike I can stop for beer or coffee. Send me an email; I plan on spending more time up north over the next few months.

Anonymous said...
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Hank Greer said...

John, my commute home is that northbound route all the way to Hwy 2 past Northpoint. There are striped north and southbound bike lanes on that piece of one-way Fairview. I always stay way to the right at that blind corner at the top. That route is a great way to go north, especially during rush hour.

It's crazy, but bicycles are allowed on Division south of Buckeye/Foothills. (See I've tried to follow those Hwy 2/395 signs headed for downtown and couldn't tell if I was on the designated bike route or not. Besides, just because you can ride on that part of Division doesn't mean you should.

John Speare said...

Hey Hank -- so there are stripes going up that hill. That's cool. I think there should be "except bike" signs tacked onto the other signs though. Actually -- any idea why this is a one-way street?
The only thing I can think is to keep cut-through traffic out of that neighborhood.

Hank Greer said...

It's probably a one-way because of that killer blind turn at the top. Two cars passing each other at that spot would be very tight.

keri marion said...

that used to be my route home from work when i lived on glass. i had the shittiest schwinn for hills, ever. i'm not sure if that hill is scarier going down or up, but the good thing about it is hardly any cars are ever on it. at least back then.