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How Copenhagen accommodates cyclists during road work

From Copenhagenize:


Many construction projects are likely to pose significant problems for cyclists this year. Dexter construction, which is scheduled to begin pavement removal today, will likely prove problematic to anyone who it not extremely familiar with the area. Cyclists have also expressed confusion and frustration over construction on Alaskan Way S. King County has yet to announce a reasonable detour for the closure of a large section of the Burke-Gilman north of Seattle this summer.

It seems relevant to look at how other cities accommodate cyclists during road work. And where better to look than Copenhagen? Copenhagenize published a piece a few days ago with photos of construction mitigation all around the Danish city. Spoiler alert: The Danes prioritize their cycle tracks over motor vehicle traffic lanes during construction.

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From Copenhagenize:

At all times, prioritising bicycle traffic is of the utmost importance. A city must send concrete signals that it takes bicycle traffic seriously. Cycling citizens need a city that is reliable in its maintenance and prioritisation of bicycles. If they can count on their infrastructure being taken care of, it will encourage them to ride. If trains, for example, are unreliable, fewer people will use them and look to other modes. The same applies to bicycle traffic. Rain or snow. Roadworks or smooth sailing. 24-7.

Clearly, we can’t just shift our cycle tracks around construction in Seattle. We don’t have any cycle tracks. But you get the point. If cyclists are not provided with dependable conditions, they will be less likely to view cycling as a dependable method of transportation.

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7 responses to “How Copenhagen accommodates cyclists during road work”

  1. I’ve noticed, more often than not, that bike lanes here on the Eastside are the prime locations to erect temporary road crew signs such as “flagger ahead”, “caution”, “detour”, etc.

  2. Sean

    The truly frustrating thing is that nobody takes care to make it clear where to go and/or even provide a safe alternative!

    Take the Alaska Way S route (I commute from W Sea to downtown) as an example. If I’m heading into work (northbound) and follow the detour signs I have to cut across oncoming traffic, ride on the sidewalk (made from rough brick and bordered on one side by a concrete building and on the other by concrete barricades – about 4′ wide, not enough to easily fit a pedestrian and a bike) for one block just to merge back across traffic onto the proper street. From there it’s relatively ok.

    The funny thing is that I suspect that this part of the detour exists not to keep bikers safe, but to keep them out of the way of cars – which have a stop sign and light slowing them down anyway.

    It’s infuriating.

  3. Jonny B

    Copenhagen keeps bike routes swept clean, unlike the Seattle area. Where I usually ride on the Eastside, bike lanes are where all of the debris collects-glass, gravel, nails, etc.

    The main roadway is often completely clear, while the bike lanes are absolutely filled with junk. Not all of it is hazardous, but there’s so much stuff that it’s harder to visually pick out and attempt to avoid the broken glass. Ironic, since the cars could drive over much of the bike lane debris without incident, while thinner bike tires are vulnerable.

    Bike lanes on major arterials can go several weeks at a time without cleaning. It would seem to make sense to sweep ONLY the curb/bike lanes, since most debris gets pushed over there by motor vehicles.

    One example would be NE 124th Street leading from Totem Lake (Kirkland) to the Sammamish River Trail. This road is a major link to the regional trail system, and there’s a wide shoulder/bike lane, but it’s usually extremely cluttered. It probably upsets those motorists prone to being upset by bicyclists when riders use the main roadway, because a bike lane is available (you can’t expect non-bicyclist motorists to appreciate hazardous surface conditions).

    If bike paths are not maintained, they are worse than nothing.

  4. jeanette

    the bike path that runs through the alaskan way south construction zone was reopened early this week so that cyclists aren’t rerouted onto atlantic and over to royal brougham, and a new crosswalk has been painted across the entrance to t46. the bike detour is really clear (and the crosswalk is bright white and coned off, seems like it’s easier for trucks going in and out of the terminal to see pedestrians & cyclists). kudos to the city for making it so. also, after my ranty post about the confusing detours and inattentive traffic police last week when cyclists had to reroute onto atlantic, the detour route for cyclists had better signage & markings. and – the traffic cops also did a better job of paying attn to us. thanks for getting the word out about last week’s messy detour.

  5. WTF

    This is America. This is not Europe. Cars and apple pie baby! When will you guys learn to stop playing in the street with your bikes? Kids these days.

  6. Dave Cary

    Anyone with a moniker of “WTF” can’t be all that bright, and then he goes on to prove it with his post.

  7. […] first, but local businesses wouldn’t have been keen on that option either. There’s also the Copenhagen strategy where “the Danes prioritize their cycle tracks over motor vehicle traffic lanes during […]

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