Bike News Roundup: A dangerous rail crossing. No not that one.

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup!

First up, University of Tennessee Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Chris Cherry and graduate students Ziwen Ling and Nirbesh Dhakal recently documented a ton of bike crashes at a single railroad crossing (hmm, this reminds me of a certain “missing” trail in Ballard…). Not only did they publish their findings, they also put together this video:

Pacific Northwest News

National & Global News

Halftime show! Vox recently interviewed Donald Shoup for a quick reminder that land use rules in most of America require free homes for cars even while homes for people get more and more expensive:

This is an open thread.

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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10 Responses to Bike News Roundup: A dangerous rail crossing. No not that one.

  1. Matthew Snyder says:

    SDOT recently started construction on the new Rainier Valley North-South Neighborhood Greenway. The alignment changed a few times during the planning process, but the final alignment has the greenway running along Renton Ave S heading north from Orcas towards Columbia City.

    A portion of that segment of Renton Ave S (from Orcas to 37th Ave S) has no sidewalk on either side of the street. There’s not even really a path along the side of the street for pedestrians or children biking, or a curb for that matter. It’s just asphalt.

    I naively assumed that SDOT would be adding sidewalks there as part of turning the route into a “greenway,” but I asked, and they’re not going to.

    The response I received from SDOT stated, “The project seeks to make people walking and biking the priority by including elements like 20 mph speed limit signs, speed humps to calm traffic, stop signs for side street crossings, and pavement markings to help people find their way.” It’s hard to understand how people walking and biking can be the priority when there’s no safe and separated path for people to walk or (if they choose to) bike.

    I get that we don’t have the money to add sidewalks to all of the, what, 20%? of city blocks that currently lack them. I just think that if we’re going to spend the time, money, and political capital on building “greenways,” we should make sure the word means something. At minimum, a greenway should have a sidewalk, or be closed to cars. Otherwise, I really don’t understand the point.

  2. Christopher Burke says:

    I could almost not bear to watch all those crashes next to the highway. Is there a camera on point at the Ballard crossing?

    • Southeasterner says:

      Based on this video they should. It would be easy enough to mount something under the Ballard Bridge.

      Even more interesting than the bike crashes would be how many trains use the track! I always love the irony that the same people who claim nobody uses bike lanes and trails to back their opposition to the missing link also point to the absolute need for a “vital” industrial rail spur that is never used.

  3. Andy Sapuntzakis says:

    Marysville has a similarly oblique RR crossing on Old Hwy 99 / State Ave / Smokey Pt Blvd at about 120th St NE.

    The sidewalk on the northbound side was recently redesigned to cross the tracks perpendicularly. Northbound cyclists could use it assuming it’s properly signed, but the southbound ones are out of luck?

    IMO they should replace the small northbound gravel areas with pavement, preceded by a cycling warning / diagram. Build the same thing on the southbound side.

    At least they’re trying.

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