As reported in October, the stretch of N 45th Street in front of the Wallingford Dick’s Drive-In saw the highest number of traffic collisions between cars and bikes in the whole city.
Responding to the issue, SDOT has installed a buffered bike lane in front of the popular burger joint. The lane replaces what previously was empty space on the roadway. The extra-wide lane on this segment of 45th, at the bottom of a fairly steep hill, made the behavior of all road users fairly unpredictable. And, as we know, wide lanes encourage speeding.
In addition to the bike lane, new signs will alert drivers to the presence of the bike lane.
The bike lane, which is only on the south side of the road, lasts one block before turning into what is basically a right-turn lane for Thackary and bus stop. After that, there are two blocks with on-street parking before the curb lane turns into a right-turn lane for southbound I-5 traffic.
I started receiving notes from readers as soon as the initial spray paint markings were put down, and opinions have been all over the board. Some say it encourages people to ride exactly where they shouldn’t while others are happy to have a place a refuge and a more orderly road design.
I have not yet tried it, so I can’t really weight in on how it works in practice (and I won’t get a chance to for a while, as I am headed back to St. Louis to see the family for the next couple weeks). I have a request out to SDOT for more info on their reasoning behind the design and will update when I learn more.
If you have tried it, what are your thoughts?
Below are more photos from my friend Adam Prairie (who recently finished writing and producing a new record with his awesome band The Hoot Hoots, which you should listen to here. Fun note: Your humble editor is a founder of the recording company that put out the record. I was also in the band years ago, before they sold out…)