Vote ‘Yes’ For Capital Improvements Tax

Tomorrow is election day, and among the chances you have to make Springfield a better place to live is renewing the 1/4-cent Capital Improvements Sales Tax.

Please vote “Yes.”

This tax pays for numerous infrastructure improvements including projects that benefit pedestrians and bicyclists.

You may have noticed sharrows appearing on the streets of the city’s bicycle route system. These shared-lane marking indicate that bicyclists should control the lane. Springfield offers the world a model for how to handle the placement of sharrows well.

Sadly, I cannot say the same for the city’s handling of bicycle lanes. Far too many of the recently-painted lanes fail to meet even the minimum standards of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. For an example on Cherry, see this recent post and this video. The gutter lane that you’ll see pictured violates an important standard — no part of a gutter pan should be counted in the width of the bicycle lane. Gutter lanes, such as the one on Cherry, typically include differences in  surface angles and pavement seams — both are crash hazards for bicyclists. Further, the picture shows a lane painted on a 13-foot travel lane. The minimum standard for sharable width — in which a car and bicycle may safely occupy the same lane at the same time — is 14 feet.

Another example, the city continues to paint door-zone lanes, in which the lane takes you perilously close to parked cars. Click here for a quick lesson about why this is bad. Door-zone crashes can be deadly. Why anyone would paint a bicycle lane next to parked cars is beyond belief given what we know about where it is safe to ride: at least five feet from parked cars, six feet would be even better. See this video for a lesson in riding near parked cars.

I’m not at all sure what’s going on that the city should be handling sharrows so well and lanes so poorly, but that is the reality.

We should vote yes for the tax renewal. And then we must keep and eye on what the city builds and complain when dangerous, out-of-compliance infrastructure is built.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments 24

  1. Steve A wrote:

    Aren’t these c#%^ lanes paid for with this tax? Won’t renewing it merely encourage more of the same, followed by MBL legislation if you eschew what your tax dollars provided for you?

    Posted 01 Apr 2013 at 6:59 pm
  2. robert wrote:

    Serious Question…perhaps mostly for Steve (assuming his comment was serious)

    Where in the United States are MBL laws being passed? It seems to me that the exact opposite is happening. For example, Missouri got rid of their MBL law several years ago and many other states have done the same. I don’t know of any places where these have been increasing, rather than decreasing. Yet, Andy has listed this as a consequence of bicycle lanes. Steve just did the same.

    The LAB counts these policies as a major negative on their BFC application and I don’t know of any advocacy groups that don’t fight these laws tooth and nail.

    States like Oregon have them but I suspect that even there the law will be going away soon.

    Now I realize that there are occasionally elected officials who attempt to pass these laws but they are mostly individuals with an agenda and are not successful…or even taken seriously. (at least not in Missouri) You can’t judge public sentiment or future laws based upon individual elected leaders introducing unpopular and unreasonable legislation.

    This may be one of those 1970’s John Forester type of issues and perhaps 40-years ago bicycle lanes were quickly followed by MBL laws. However, just the opposite appears to be happening today.

    At least on a national scale, there may be individual cases (towns in Florida, etc) where this is happening. Assuming that’s true, I’d love to read about it.

    Again – serious question. Not flaming or demonizing Andy Cline.

    BTW – even the much criticized law in Oregon has exceptions like when preparing to make a left turn, avoiding debris, etc.

    Posted 01 Apr 2013 at 7:14 pm
  3. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    Robert, ‘Exceptions’ don’t make a MBL non-mandatory. We have ‘exceptions’ here in Maryland too, but we still have to use one where one exists.

    Posted 01 Apr 2013 at 7:48 pm
  4. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… Good question. I do not have an answer. But it’s worth looking into.

    It has been my assumption that money spent on bicycle lanes will lead to MBL laws.

    What evidence can you offer re: the Oregon law might be repealed. I certainly hope you’re right.

    To other readers… Anyone from FL want to discuss the situation there?

    Posted 01 Apr 2013 at 8:01 pm
  5. Andy Cline wrote:

    Steve… We need a lot of the other things this money pays for, hence my plea to readers to complain.

    I have mounting evidence that bicyclists are not buying into these gutter and door-zone lanes. The chatter on Facebook when pictures such as the one from Cherry were published were decidedly negative. There’s also an informal group called the Ozarks Pedalers that has entered the fray on the side of proper traffic bicycling. A couple of the members (it’s a Facebook group) are doing CyclingSavvy training and instructor training. We may soon have more CSIs in Springfield than LCIs :-)

    Posted 01 Apr 2013 at 8:06 pm
  6. Robert wrote:

    No evidence – just chatter from groups in the state. However, not that long ago many states had these laws. The momentum is against these laws.

    Posted 01 Apr 2013 at 8:50 pm
  7. Anthony Carter wrote:

    Will voting for the tax mean more or fewer bike lanes? I’m fine with more sharrow painting; it’s potentially helpful even if it’s unnecessary. I just can’t stand even looking at a bike lane anymore.

    Posted 01 Apr 2013 at 9:25 pm
  8. Andy Cline wrote:

    Anthony… I fear that, yes, it means more lanes. And some of them will surely be gutter lanes and door-zone lanes. But there are other necessary projects that need funding. I urge you to vote ‘yes.’

    Posted 01 Apr 2013 at 10:22 pm
  9. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… I hope you’re right.

    Posted 01 Apr 2013 at 10:22 pm
  10. Steve A wrote:

    Robert – I can think of three major MBL/path laws in the last decade. Florida, Texas, and the USGS (in parks as part of the 2012 transportation bill). Even LAB objected to the USGS path rule. The Florida one is on Commute Orlando. The Texas one came in along with the “narrow lane” rule.

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 2:35 am
  11. Robert wrote:

    Thank you, Steve. It appears that the places removing such laws vastly outnumbers places passing them.

    Here is John Allen discussing the fact that States have been repealing them.

    http://john-s-allen.com/blog/?tag=sidepath

    My point: these are far from being a certain consequence of bicycle lanes.

    Florida: I just read an article about a new set of laws in Florida and it sounds awful. Actually, it sounds like Cycling Savvy is now illegal in Florida. Maybe that will actually help bicycle education, many people love breaking laws or joining a counter culture. :-)

    Seriously hope this is just a dumbed down article that isn’t accurate.

    http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/article/289902/3/New-laws-for-Florida-bicyclists-in-2013

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 6:59 am
  12. Keri wrote:

    The First Coast article is a typical lazy reporter getting all the facts wrong.

    We already had a MBL — a consequence of needing to make bicyclists use bike lanes, the sponsor said so. The law had been pushed to the legislature for years by a bike lane advocate in South Florida as being necessary to gain more public support for bike lanes.

    The recent statute changes were minor wording changes to the exceptions.

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 7:22 am
  13. robert wrote:

    I worked in 18-States last year. I’m beginning to think that Florida is more different than anywhere else, and that includes Alaska.

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 8:17 am
  14. Khal Spencer wrote:

    You don’t necessarily need a MBL law to have a de-facto MBL situation. The AFRAP laws make bike lanes quasi-mandatory since a bike lane is legally part of the traveled portion of the street. A cyclist riding to the left of the bike lane is not AFRAP in the eyes of most people, including most cyclists.

    Sure, the usual exclusions might apply if AFRAP is written expansively, but AFRAP means AFRAP and it muddies the water.

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 10:04 am
  15. Dan Gutierrez wrote:

    Robert wrote: “Where in the United States are MBL laws being passed?”

    Florida 2010 and South Carolina 2008, have added such laws. I know this because I keep track of all state bicycling laws in the US, do you? or do you just up make stuff to fit your ideology on any given day?

    “It seems to me that the exact opposite is happening. For example, Missouri got rid of their MBL law several years ago and many other states have done the same. I don’t know of any places where these have been increasing, rather than decreasing. Yet, Andy has listed this as a consequence of bicycle lanes. Steve just did the same.”

    Missouri? Really? Missouri didn’t have a MBL in December 2007 when I first checked, and I found no prior record of such a law. And please name the “many other states” of which you speak, since I know of no state in the US that had a MBL law prior to 2007 that has repealed it since 2007 (in fact none have repealed MBL laws since then). Apparently there’s a lot going on in the US that you don’t know about. Weren’t you the guy that wrote that Long Beach has a network of cycletracks in the downtown area, when in fact they have two, each less than one mile long parallel tracks that do not connect? That’s not a network. It would appear that what “seems to you” to be reality is anything but real. I don’t know of any states where MBLs are being repealed or have been since 2007, instead at least two states have added them; thus the onus is upon YOU to provide the evidence for your assertion, since I have presented clear evidence of the exact opposite, that state MBL laws are increasing in the US!

    “The LAB counts these policies as a major negative on their BFC application and I don’t know of any advocacy groups that don’t fight these laws tooth and nail.”

    That’s amusing view of the BFC application process that is similarly divorced from reality as your previous comments. The BFC applications do not score by applying negatives and have no disqualification criteria. They grade what the League considers positives, such as bike lane miles, and as long as the city has positives in enough categories, the negatives will not prevent a BFC award. I lobbied League staff as far back as 2008 to have disqualification criteria and was unsuccessful, so I know better than most how the process workes, also having served on the team to put together and evaluate the first Long Beach application. Regarding advocacy groups that “don’t fight these [MBL] laws tooth an nail”, that would include every bicycle coalition in California, many in Florida, and the South Carolina MBL was added by their statewide coalition, so again I’m calling you out on your delusional view of how bicycle coalitions relate to mandatory use laws.

    “Now I realize that there are occasionally elected officials who attempt to pass these laws but they are mostly individuals with an agenda and are not successful…or even taken seriously. (at least not in Missouri) You can’t judge public sentiment or future laws based upon individual elected leaders introducing unpopular and unreasonable legislation.”

    This is simply factually incorrect, since your earlier statements that set up this fake position are also factually incorrect.

    “This may be one of those 1970’s John Forester type of issues and perhaps 40-years ago bicycle lanes were quickly followed by MBL laws. However, just the opposite appears to be happening today.”

    Not true. It is clear that you don’t have a clue about the history or the present state of bicycling laws across US states. Please do us all a favor and shut up. You simply don’t know what you are trying to talk about.

    “At least on a national scale, there may be individual cases (towns in Florida, etc) where this is happening. Assuming that’s true, I’d love to read about it.”

    Towns in Florida? The entire state has a MBL law in effect since 2010. What part of “the whole state includes every town within it” don’t you get?

    I take your words to mean that you don’t read about bicycling issues at the national level, or you would have read about the SC inclusion of an MBL law in 2008, or the 2010 passage of an MBL in Florida, which were both supported by bike advocates in those states; so much for this BS tooth and nail opposition you imagine.

    You remind me of Tea Party politician who spews factually disprovable garbage, and provides no data of your own, in an attempt to dupe suckers into believing your message, and then challenges others to produce evidence to the contrary. That won’t work with those of us who know the facts and the history. Please take your untruths and innuendo to other places where it will be better received. You have no credibility here, except as a spreader of untruths.

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 11:50 am
  16. Robert wrote:

    Dan,

    Wow, not much makes me LOL, but that certainly did. :-)

    I’ll respond to everything in your comment that seemed like a question.

    No, I don’t track every bike law in the United States. I supplied the John Allen blog already where he discussed the general decline of MBL laws. Did you miss that link? It’s kind of buried, but if you look again you will see it.

    Missouri did have a MBL law. It probably was pre-whenever you started tracking. If you do a google search, it will be the first thing that pops up. Maybe you should incorporate Internet searches into your search for data?

    Im not an expert on the BFC applications. I’ve written one and saw the question listed. Knowing that the LAB lobby’s against these laws, I drew the conclusion that it was a “negative.” I recognize that the entire thing is subjective.

    Let me know if I missed anything.

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 1:26 pm
  17. Robert wrote:

    Dan,

    I didn’t see much of long beach and was surprised that I would refer to it as a “network.” However, it was a long time ago and I thought that perhaps I had.

    But I just checked and this is what I wrote:

    “Recently I was in Long Beach, California and they had seperated facilities complete with bike only lights all over downtown. It seemed that it had reached a point where several destinations could be reached using this system and they were filled with locals using them. I know they were locals because even though there was a bike/ped conference in town these were mostly minorities using Wal-Mart bicycles….and doing so”

    Hardly what you stated, but I understand that Internet conversations can be challenging

    Hope that clarifies my statements.

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 1:34 pm
  18. Dan Gutierrez wrote:

    Robert, you wrote: “No, I don’t track every bike law in the United States. I supplied the John Allen blog already where he discussed the general decline of MBL laws. Did you miss that link? It’s kind of buried, but if you look again you will see it.”

    John Allen was talking about the decline of MSP laws, not MBL laws. Do you even understand the difference? Did you see the map he referenced in the article? Take a look at the author credit.

    You really don’t realize how dangerously unaware you are of the issues. Your original statements were outrageously backwards and you seem to have no shame when your factually incorrect prose is refuted.

    “Missouri did have a MBL law. It probably was pre-whenever you started tracking. If you do a google search, it will be the first thing that pops up.”

    I did a Google search and found nothing about a Missouri MBL law. The onus is on YOU to present the data about Missouri’s alleged pre-2007 MBL law. And where are all the states you claim have been repealing MBL laws? You have yet to support your claim. I can’t tell from your muddled prose if you are merely delusional or deliberately misrepresenting the facts. Neither speaks well for you…

    Regarding Long Beach, there is no system or network of connected facilities in the Downtown area. Besides the cycletracks, there are a few sharrows on San Antonio at the east end of the cycletracks, but not bikeways connection at the west end. Long Beach has a way to go before there is anything resembling a system, which is construed by planners and advocates to mean a connected network.

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 4:20 pm
  19. Khal Spencer wrote:

    There are ways to disagree without being disagreeable. Gentlemen???

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 4:24 pm
  20. Robert wrote:

    I typed this on my phone so I apologize for the errors.

    First – I’ve found you to be way over the top and I’m not going to communicate with you any further. I read and comment on Andy’s blog for two reasons, (1) I know Andy and, (2) I used to live in Springfield. It’s not because I hope to change Andy’s mind or debate the group of “old school” VC advocates. I don’t want to debate the LAB name change or anything else from the past several decades. I’m not even “anti-VC,” you can keep fighting the good fight but it’s just not an argument that I want to have.

    I don’t involve myself in listservs (apbp or lci) anymore because the conversations usually end like this. It’s amazing how many times they end in a public reprimand or someone being removed from the listserv altogether. Something about the Internet, I guess. Not wanting to read people discussing topics with anger, and having an old fashioned pissing contest, I just ignore them. I suppose that does keep me uninformed about specific topics like Florida’s MBL law which may not have garnered much play on the national (mainstream) websites that you guys might hate (streetsblog, bike Portland, lab, rails to trails).

    Yes – I know the differences between a MBL law and a MSP law, or should I say that I certainly understand the difference between a sidepath and bike lane. I thought (assumed, etc) that most of the laws were like Oregon’s: which is the one that I’m familiar with. http://bikeportland.org/2008/09/05/from-seattle-how-were-coping-with-fourth-place-8599

    I admitted after your first attack that I don’t research and compile every states bike laws like you do. I wonder if you misinterprete me saying “it seems to me” as a sarcastic remark when it means “I’m not entirely sure, but I assume.” Just something to consider if you find yourself reading a future comment of mine on here.

    I wonder if they (MBL) laws don’t reach much national discussion because many people see nothing wrong with such laws, especially if they have “exceptions.” If so, that’s probably very frustrating for you.

    Long Beach: it’s pretty clear that this was a case of misunderstanding. I wasnt making the claims that you said I was…you didn’t remember it clearly and there is nothing else to say. If you want me to admit that you know more about LB than I do….absolutely.

    Last thing about me: if I ask someone for facts (links, etc) it’s because I really want to know not because I’m trying to prove them as a liar. For example, the person criticizing the “road diet” and 11′ lames. The MSP law in missouri was repealed in 1995 and i cant find the language, only several web references to it being appealed. I was 15-years old when it was repealed and didnt follow these issues then. The director of the missouri bicycle and pedestrian federation would have it if you sincerely want it.

    Take care

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 8:08 pm
  21. Robert wrote:

    And Dan-

    I wasn’t talking about anyone in particular with the listservs. I haven’t been on the labs listserv since probably 2006.

    Posted 02 Apr 2013 at 8:14 pm
  22. Michael wrote:

    Did It pass?

    Posted 03 Apr 2013 at 7:43 pm
  23. Andy Cline wrote:

    Michael … Yes! :-)

    Posted 03 Apr 2013 at 8:28 pm
  24. Michael wrote:

    Yay!

    Posted 03 Apr 2013 at 9:23 pm