SDOT and PeopleForBikes make a video about 2nd Ave that’s … well, just watch it

There are a couple ways to encourage and teach people to use a new piece of bike infrastructure. In the first handful of days after the 2nd Ave protected bike lane opened, for example, volunteers and SDOT staff were out telling people face-to-face how to use it. Then the police focused enforcement on the bike lane, handing out tickets and warnings to people driving or biking who were still using it wrong.

Or, of course, you can do this:

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11 Responses to SDOT and PeopleForBikes make a video about 2nd Ave that’s … well, just watch it

  1. Stuart says:

    This must be the “viral” video they were talking about at the Westlake meeting last week…

  2. Josh says:

    Feel-good vibe, but a lot of missed opportunities in the content (or lack thereof).

    They illustrate the two-way turn boxes, but it turns out they’re just a pretty background for telling drivers not to park in the sidepath… Quite a few people still seem not to understand how they’re supposed to work.

    No mention of how drivers should cross the path to get into driveways.

    No reminder that people on bikes are still allowed to ride the street if they feel safer there.

  3. Andrea says:

    I don’t get how to turn right (e.g., to 1st Ave going southbound) when the bike lane is all the way in the left lane… help!

    • Capitol Hillian says:

      I’d recommend pulling in front of cars heading westbound while you have the green bike light. When the light changes, you’ll be at the front of the line for vehicles heading westbound.

      Alternatively you can exist in-between the plastic pylons and merge over and turn right as usual.

    • Josh says:

      At about 1:50 in the video, toward the right side of the screen, you’ll see two green boxes with turn arrows in them, to the east of the sidepath. Those are two-stage turn boxes.

      To make a right turn when riding southbound, veer left across the oncoming lane of the path and stop in the green turn box. Pivot your bike 90 degrees, and wait for a green light on the cross street.

      Turn boxes are still experimental in the U.S., except at tee intersections, so they’re only legally allowed under federally-approved FHWA Request to Experiment. The ones on Second Avenue don’t comply with published FHWA requirements for approved experiments, and FHWA doesn’t list any approved experiments in Seattle, so it seems likely the turn boxes violate Federal law and the Bicycle Master Plan requirement to comply with adopted design standards. But there are no MUTCD police to enforce these requirements; violations mostly increase the city’s liability if someone is injured using a noncompliant facility. Technically, violations could make the city ineligible for Federal grant funding, but I don’t think there’s much risk of that over bicycle violations, they’re not much of a priority.

      FHWA’s MUTCD guidance for turn boxes says, in part:

      [blockquote]A two-stage turn box for use other than for a jughandle turn at a T-intersection is experimental.

      Required design elements include:

      * Bicycle symbol pavement marking, and
      * Pavement marking turn or through arrow, and
      * Full-time turn on red prohibition for the cross street, and
      * Passive detection of bicycles if the signal phase that permits bicyclists to enter the intersection during the second stage of their turn is actuated.

      The size of the two-stage turn box should consider peak hour bicycle volumes and adjacent land uses to accommodate multiple users so that overflow of the two-stage turn box does not subject any bicyclist to conflicting movements.[/blockquote]

      http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/design_guidance/mutcd/turn_box.cfm

      • Augsburg says:

        I think the lengthy explanation above is well intentioned, but the idea that “turn boxes” are “legally allowed” in the U.S. is stretching the truth. The problem is the Washington State “Rules of the Road” laws (RCW 46.61) has not been updated for such bicycle devices. I think anyone that follows some of the advice above about turning right may find themselves in trouble for two reasons: 1) drivers do not expect cyclists to make such random maneuvers, 2) cyclists (or their surviving family members once they get run over) will have little legal argument in Washington State law supporting such maneuvers.

        This gets to the heart of the problem with “solutions” like implemented on 2nd Ave. There are no codified rules to follow. Nothing written down – no wonder no one knows what to do or expect!

        Decades ago, only shortly after bicycles became popular and the horseless carriage was introduced, the public and lawmakers quickly decided they could not allow chaos to rule on the roads. It was just too dangerous. Laws were enacted to ensure public safety. Today, while government bureaucrats “experiment” we may discover we need to re-learn this lesson again.

      • Josh says:

        Well, if you want to get old-fashioned and care about the law, turn boxes are the least of your worries… the bicycle signal faces used on 2nd are not recognized in the RCW or the Seattle Municipal Code.

        Signal faces are legally defined by both color and shape, and “bicycle” is not one of the shapes that has any legal meaning.

        A green bicycle does not give anyone the right to proceed; a red bicycle does not require anyone to stop.

        There’s also no legal meaning for green paint, shared lane markings, crossbikes, etc.

        In fact, the RCW doesn’t even recognize bike lanes.

  4. AJL says:

    I had a lot of trouble making a right turn to get to the waterfront last week. My first time on the re-worked 2nd Ave. Here’s what I encountered, at 5:00 rush hour, heading southbound trying to make a right to get to waterfront:
    * Good access to new lanes from Stewart/2nd. Other than an errant jay-walker it was super intuitive.
    * Found the lanes nice and wide with good separation from vehicles for the most part. I was keeping any eye out for drivers leaving garages (two vehicles were blocking the sidewalk and the northbound bike lane at one point) and making left turns (one driver was definitely damn well going to turn on her red light no matter what).
    * I started looking to make a right just south of Union.
    – my bike lights stayed green and I had no opportunity to make a safe stop in the bike lane (cyclists behind me) nor was there room to pull over to the right into the motor vehicle lane.
    – I couldn’t make a left anywhere either due to oncoming cyclist or the major reason, pedestrians taking up the entire curb area so I couldn’t pull up there either.
    – Or, the traffic signal was green and I couldn’t cross in front of moving vehicles.
    * I ended up turning right on Marion and going down the sidewalk to Western. The waterfront is really bad for cycling in general and the construction messes with the flow almost daily so I didn’t want to have to go all the way to Yesler and then backtrack, having to search for a safe left turn space.
    * I won’t be using 2nd again unless I need to go allllll the way to the end of it. I’ll stay on 1st or Western. 1st is better IMHO if needing a quick route to make a right turn; there’s no garage traffic entering the road from the west, drivers are slowed by other motor vehicles, it’s easy to get around motor vehicles stopped in traffic and I can easily make any number of right turns to the waterfront w/out using a crosswalk/sidewalk manouever.

  5. Britt G. says:

    Still dangerous on 2nd, despite “improvements” IMHO. First time taking the new lane after 2 weeks of it being installed I had to skid out to avoid a car turning against her red light and my green bike signal. Not riding it again. I’ll pace traffic in the street on 5th instead. Just my $0.02

    • Russ Payne says:

      I got lazy and tried the 2nd to get out of the climb on 5th while biking under a load last week and nearly laid my tour bike down when a car turned into a parking garage at 15+ mph. I’d like to know what garages are doing to help their clients figure out how to cross the bike lane safely. The other barrier I find to using the 2nd avenue lanes safely is that there is no well designated safe route connecting it to the interurban on Dexter to the north end or to the international district and the I 90 trail on the south end. Yea for great bike infrastructure, but we need networks, not segments.

  6. Astrid says:

    Dude needs to tighten his helmet strap. Just sayin’.

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