We previously covered the controversy surrounding a proposal to install bike lanes on West Broad Street in the Hilltop here. Basically, the city wanted to strip parking from the north side of the street in order to install bike lanes (see Figure III below), but business owners wanted to keep on-street parking.
The City’s Transportation and Pedestrian Commission has recommended a compromise by implementing the alternative above for most of West Broad Street, but allowing parking and providing a signed shared lane instead of a bike lane on westbound Broad Street from Wheatland to Eureka.
Any westbound cyclists who feel uncomfortable on the three-block portion of the route without a marked bike lane would be routed north on Wheatland, west on Steele, and south on Eureka.
The Dispatch coverage of the issue is below, but they ignore the orange line in the map above and make it sound like all westbound cyclists would be diverted along the route marked by the green line. In reality the 14′ westbound curb lane will be wide enough to make the three-block segment very comfortable for cyclists on Broad Street.
Hilltop bike route
Plans differ on W. Broad parking
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 2:52 AM
By Mark Ferenchik
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
A city advisory group recommended a bike route through the Hilltop yesterday that would save on-street parking for a section of W. Broad Street, but not as much as some residents and businesses want.
By a 4-1 vote, members of the city’s Transportation and Pedestrian Commission endorsed a plan that significantly differs from one the Greater Hilltop Area Commission approved last week.
The transportation commission is suggesting a route that would send bikers north on Wheatland Avenue, west on Steele Avenue and south on Eureka Avenue to connect them back to W. Broad Street. That would save three blocks of on-street parking along the north side of W. Broad for businesses and residents.
But the area commission wants a longer alternative route, sending cyclists up Wheatland, west onto Steele and past Hague Avenue, then south on Westgate Avenue. That would keep about 11 blocks of on-street parking.
Given the reasonably comfortable 14′ wide westbound curb lane, the green diversion route to Steele seems a bit pointless to me. If a cyclist were to follow the diverted route on Wheatland/Steele/Eureka, he or she would travel a total of 3,540 feet instead of the 925 feet on W. Broad from Wheatland to Eureka. That is almost exactly half a mile farther, or 283% longer than staying on West Broad Street. Do you know any cyclists that would do this? Before you answer, consider that most cyclists will lock up to just about any sign post or tree instead of a bike rack if it’s 50 feet closer to their destination. So the three block detour seems like a useless gesture to me.
The area commission has instead suggested using Steele from Wheatland to Westgate. This would be a 1.6 mile route compared to a 1.1 mile route, still a 0.5-mile difference, but only 49% farther than the direct route. This route would not be ideal for people passing through the Hilltop, but if you’re a resident of the area living north of Broad, it could be very nice while still having reasonably comfortable accommodations on Broad Street.