Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New work and ongoing thoughts

Thanks to Tom Cochrane via Flickr

I am starting on my second working internship this summer with the Rockingham Planning Commission in Exeter, NH. This I am actually paid to do which is very very nice. My main project is working on designing implementing, logging and then fieldwork verifying locations for strategic share the road signs at problem spots around southern NH.

We will be implementing an online question survey for people to put in locations and problems as well as an option to plot the points live on a Google maps page. The goal is to give people as many options as possible to report problem areas. In August, we will also be doing a series of three live workshops where people can come and update problem spots live.

Once we start having some data filled out we are going to merge the maps into one layer file which will overlap the problem spots and create areas which (in theory) have a greater risk to more cyclists.

Once areas have been located I will be going out into the field with data sheets and a camera and take note of these locations for a final report to give to the state DOT for best areas for share the road signs.

Now true this is not an ideal option, share the road signs are very very limited and data about their effectiveness seems be inconclusive as far as I know.
But in this instance where there are only a handful of signs in the region and only 2 that I know about, perhaps some benefit can come of this, if only to let cyclists know about areas that are potential problem points.

I do hope this can help the current situation in some way. The roads are narrow, corners are tight, as well as speed being relatively high on many seacoast roads, it is dangerous for all but the most experienced riders.

We must never loose sight that these are only interim measures, share the road signs, sharrows, and bike lanes as means to provide safety, education, and connectivity about and for cyclists are very limited if successful at all. To provide for all cyclists and if we wish to encourage cycling as a true form of transportation and not just recreation, we must have separated infrastructure.

Now we do not need it everywhere, neighborhoods of 20mph can be safely shared spaces but when applied correctly and in their right context separated is the only proven way to get people to choose the bicycle for a majority of their trips.

The Netherlands (and Denmark) are really the only places that have a sustained level of cyclist mode share. We can do it too, but it starts by making everybody more aware of cyclists every day, and that I hope can start with increased pinpointed signage, at least the theory of it can.

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