Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Along The Trail- NLR Broadway Bridge Site Detour, Felonious Drivers, and Unusual Trail Area Traffic

One year ago, I posted an article regarding the safety issues created by Massman Construction's closure of the River Trail at the Broadway Bridge and the resulting detour onto Riverfront Drive. I had met with Chris Wilbourn, City Engineer, Danny Dillon, alderman Charlie Hight, and the mayor's chief of staff Danny Bradley to help explain the dangerous situation from a cyclists point-of-view. The City quickly went to work to improve the confusing signage and to re-position the dreaded orange barrels along the eastbound lane in a manner that would provide cyclists with a bit of a lane headed east. The speed limit was reduced in the construction zone and a radar sign was put in place for a short period of time. The improvement was immediate.

There is no shortage of signage on the approach to the construction zone.

This is the lane alignment as agreed upon and as implemented last spring. This is still in place west of the bridge.
This is the situation as of Monday night between the work site and the entry to Riverfront Park.

 Since that time, Massman has regularly moved the barriers out in order to create more room for construction activities; sometimes realigning them, but usually leaving them near the lane dividing line. Over the winter, the lane was narrowed and remains so. Riders are once again forced into the single traffic lane, where I would guess the average vehicle speed to be about 45-MPH. I've never seen a hint of enforcement in the area. In addition, the area is often littered with sand and gravel from the job site. It appears that the area has been swept of most of this material pretty recently; except immediately adjacent to  the barriers where cyclists must ride to avoid drawing the ire of drivers or running the risk being run down.
Even as I started putting together this article, a local ride group complained about the situation on social media after being buzzed by a speeding driver, and they reported having contacted the mayor's office. I contacted the city engineer who had previously helped with problems in the area and received a promise that he would get with the mayor's office to follow up.

 I expect that we will get some resolution, if only temporarily.

Delays of the Broadway Bridge replacement project have only put off the inevitable mayhem that will result when the bridge is closed. At that time, I expect the screams of thousands of commuters will drown out our small voice at city hall.

As is usually the case, everyone is simply acting in their own best interest. It is inconvenient for Massman to maintain even the the narrow quasi-bike lane so they don't. Until now, the city has not received any recent push-back from the cycling community so it is most convenient for them to leave it alone. Polite input from NLR residents to their alderman or to the mayor's office often gets action.

Vehicular Assault On Pinnacle Valley and
 an Accident Involving Cyclist on County Farm Road

It was reported last week that a rider had been intentionally stuck by a vehicle on Pinnacle Valley Road. The rider escaped serious injury, but this is yet another example of the aggressive behavior of some residents of this area toward cyclists who share "their" road.
The vehicle was a white pickup with no license plates, likely a Ford. Other riders reported being verbally abused by the driver of a similar vehicle. Be alert and report incidents to the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department. The sheriff's department has promised increased patrols.

Another cyclist was hit by a car while riding west on County Farm Road. The driver ran a stop sign and had neither insurance nor a driver's license. The rider was luckily only bruised and pissed off. The bike was destroyed.

Driver's licenses and license plates seem to be in short supply in western Pulaski County.

On the lighter side...

While riding on the River Trail west of Burns Park this week I noticed a helicopter doing a couple of not-quite-touch-and-go's in the adjacent field.

Uh....on your left, please.

On approach for another pass.

You just never know what you will see along the trail.

For the sake of clarity, a telephoto lens was in use for the top photo and the helo stayed well away from the trail.


anoncow said...

I'd say tweet/call AHTD, but they'd probably instruct the contractor to make it more obstructive to cyclists.

Unknown said...

The mayors chef of staff responded to my email by asking what we thought of detouring bike traffic to the north side of the road on the side walk. I guess he forgot it's baseball season duh.

CTyankee said...

They guys with the model rockets in Burns Park might take out the helicopter one of these days.

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