Build one-way bicycle lanes
June 15, 2011
To the editor,
I just received my copy of the May 19th Island Reporter and offer the following comments to your editorial entitled, "Can the causeway be shared safely?"
If I remember correctly the width of the three bridge spans between curbs is 40 feet, which is the same width as the old structures which were demolished. The roadway is painted to clearly provide two 12 foot (?) traveling lanes in the middle and two 8 foot (?) breakdown lanes, one on each side. (I am not 100 percent sure of the widths, which is why I added the question marks.) The breakdown lanes are needed to keep traffic moving in the event of an accident and/or a vehicle breakdown. They are not bicycle lanes.
Let's do the numbers to isolate two way bicycle and pedestrian traffic on one side of the roadway as is suggested in the editorial.
First, to be effective, the barrier between traffic and the bicycles would have to be able to stop or divert a moving truck traveling at the speed limit as a minimum. Something like a "Jersey Barrier" would be required which is about 2 feet wide.
Second, the vehicle lane on the side where the barrier is installed would have to be widened to at least 13 feet and preferably 14 feet. This leaves 5 or 4 feet for the two-way bicycle and pedestrian traffic, which certainly is not sufficient.
What might possibly be feasible is to build one-way bicycle lanes on each side of the roadway by cantelevering off the existing structure outside the existing railing. A quick engineering study would reveal the viability of separating the vehicular traffic from the bicycles even if additional light weight piling is required.
Something for Lee DOT to look at?