Monday, September 8, 2014

Bay Road Safety - Recommendations from Local Motion

As promised, Jason Van Driesche from Local Motion has provided a list of actionable and feasible recommendations to help improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists on Bay Road following our Bay Road Community Conversation on September 4. These recommendations will be brought to the Path and Pedestrian Committee tonight, 7pm at the Town Offices.  As always, it is an open meeting, in case anyone is interested in attending.

Bay Road Safety Enhancement Recommendations:

  • Stripe the entire length of Bay Road with foglines set exactly 10' from the middle of the yellow centerlines.  As the road width varies from 22 to 26 feet, this will give you shoulders of 1' to 3' on each side.  This isn't enough for a bike lane -- and it shouldn't be marked as such -- but it will be useful for bikes in that it will move cars closer to the middle of the road and slow them down a bit.  Even more important, it will be a huge plus for people walking, checking their mailboxes, etc., as it will give them real breathing room.  
  • Bring those foglines a few feet in towards the center of the road going under the railroad bridge to make it a single lane.  This will reenforce the sense that you can't just fly through that pinch point, AND it will preserve space for people walking and biking under the bridge.  Some sort of enhanced signage -- SINGLE LANE UNDER BRIDGE or the like -- will be needed, and it would probably be good to put in a lowered speed warning sign (yellow, not white). (Note: Yellow "Narrow Lane" sign currently posted before rail bridge.)
  • Institute and sign a 25 mph speed limit between the two bridges.  I think it would be overreach at this point to drop the speed limit on the entire road, and it would be a bit pointless anyway absent physical changes to the road that would actually slow people down.  But that segment is a logical place to start. (Note: 25MPH posted from rail bridge and ends just before Yacht Haven and La Platte bridge.)
  • Put in a flag crossing system at the Ti Haul crosswalk.  My sense is that this will be enough -- that traffic volumes are not high enough to warrant a flashing ped crossing system.  But you can always upgrade later if you need to.  
  • Site a movable radar speed feedback sign somewhere along the road.  Likely candidate sites include the stretch between Route 7 and the RR bridge, the section between the two bridges, and the area around the Ti Haul path.  I'm assuming these signs collect data on speed (both maximum approach speed and how much speed declines), which would allow the Town to evaluate the impacts of siting the sign at each location.  

Stop Signs & Seeing Red

Do cyclists have to stop at stop signs? Surely, since they are so inconvenient, they only apply to cars, right? Especially when a stop sign is at the bottom of a hill, like the new one at the corner of Bishop and Spear?

That’s a particularly nasty stop sign because the cyclist headed south toward Irish Hill has to immediately climb that unforgiving little hill with no way to generate momentum.  And with no risk of interacting with motorists when traveling south, there’s really no reason a bike has to stop there, right?

Wrong. Cyclists are required to follow the rules of the road. And the rules of the road are not situational choices. So, yes, the cyclist has to stop at the sign no matter what.  Just like the car that has to stop at the proverbial four-way intersection in the middle of the desert even when they can see that no one is coming for miles in any direction.

Is a track stand acceptable? Yes, and makes it really worth working on your riding skills to be able to do this at stop signs.  Also, be sure to gear down so you’re starting out in a low enough gear to handle the hill ahead.

Cyclists who don’t stop really get drivers seeing red. If we’re going to share the road, let’s not give real cause for drivers to complain!

Track Stand Stop

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Shelburne Community Conversations

On September 4, our first Community Conversation was held at a Shelburne residence to discuss concerns about safe walking and biking on Bay Road.  Fifteen residents participated in a discussion about short term and long term solutions to the varying issues that residents brought to the table.  Some residents who were unable to attend shared their thoughts via email.  The conversation was guided by Local Motion, who provided useful insights, infrastructure best practices and creative and cost-effective ideas for residents to consider.  We’ll keep you posted on any ideas that move forward.

IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT SAFE WALKING AND BIKING IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, and would like to see a Community Conversation in your neck of the woods, let us know!  We can help you organize your own, or host one on your behalf.  Email us!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

In A Hurry? Consider This.

The next time you’re bombing around town in your (insert make/model here), consider what the consequences of a mere 10 mph increase in speed could be.

Img source: dailytech (

Put another way...

  • The chance of a person dying if hit by a car traveling at 20 mph is 5%. 
  • Increase the speed to 30mph, and the chance of that person dying is now 45%.
  • Pushing the pedal to the medal a bit further to 40 mph increases that unfortunate person's chance of dying to an incredible 85%! 

Something to think about the next time you’re doing 45 in a 35.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Community Conversations - Bay Road - September 4

Dear Shelburne Neighbors,

Some residents along Bay Road have been expressing concern about the safety of walkers and cyclists along this road, particularly near the tunnel, bridge and boat launch areas.  Please consider participating in a discussion to share ideas about how to make Bay Road -- and Shelburne in general -- a better and safer place for biking and walking.  We believe this is an important time to hear from Shelburne residents about the kinds of changes we'd like to see in our community, starting with Bay Road.  Come help us decide what to ask for first!

We'll be joined by Jason Van Driesche, Local Motion's Director of Advocacy and Education, who will lead a discussion on effective and low-cost ways to improve conditions for walking and biking, with a particular focus on Bay Road opportunities.  He will also help us strategize about how to make those improvements happen sooner rather than later.

DATE:    Thursday, September 4
TIME:     7 PM to 8:30 PM
PLACE:  40 Old Stage Lane (home of Susan Grasso)
RSVP:    At this link
PARKING: Parking is limited, additional parking is available on Lilly Creek or at Boulder Hill. To help alleviate parking, please consider carpooling.

Spoiler alert:  this party will also be a fundraiser for Local Motion's advocacy work on behalf of walking and biking in Shelburne.  Some of us will share a few thoughts about why we support Local Motion, and will ask you to consider doing the same.  They've been a tremendous ally for Shelburne as we've worked to become a better place to walk and bike, and they deserve our support.

Looking forward to seeing you on the 4th.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

So That’s Why It’s Called “Falls Road”

Perspectives on Sharing the Road: Take 1

It’s difficult sharing the road! Many drivers don’t know what the rules are and many cyclists don’t either. Even when rules are known, they are often not followed.  Most of us know more than a few drivers upset by how cyclists ride and cyclists upset by how drivers drive.  And some of you have perhaps felt frustration sitting in both seats!

Welcome to our first post in our series on sharing the road.  We hope it will help drivers AND cyclists appreciate each other’s vantage points when we use transportation infrastructure together. Our posts will alternate between cyclist and motorist points of view.  Sharing the road, after all, goes both ways.

Let’s start the series off looking at a common issue faced by motorists…

“Grrrr… that cyclist just swerved into my lane! What the HECK! Get off the road if you can’t ride a bike!”

Why do cyclists swerve? Why do they move into the roadway where the cars are? Typically, it is because there is a hazard. These pictures taken on Falls Road show a grate next to a manhole cover both in the lane that a driver might expect a cyclist to stay within. The pictures are very good, but the indentations are even greater than they look. A cyclist sees a hazard and has to quickly maneuver around it. But a driver might not see the hazard at all!

Drivers: be aware, especially around cyclists, of the shoulder conditions.
Cyclists: use a rearview mirror and be aware of traffic.

Other things that cause a cyclist to move left:
  • Potholes
  • Thick sand/gravel built up at the end of a driveway
  • A branch protruding into the road
  • Washed out road edges
  • Passing a slower cyclist 

And just as importantly:
  • Walkers/runners/horseback riders in the shoulder or bike lane – cyclists are expected to move left toward the yellow/white line in the middle of the road to give the on-comer (who will be traveling against traffic) complete control over the side of the road.

  • Cyclist turning left at an intersection – in this situation, cyclists need to command the road. They should position themselves just like a car, and act just like a car. They should be in the middle of the lane, they should signal, wait their turn and then, when it is their turn, proceed through the intersection. When clear of the intersection, they should move back over as far to the right as conditions allow. 

We’re sure, if you’re a cyclist, you can think of more situations. We’re sure, if you’re a motorist, you’re thinking…”what about when cyclists ride two abreast, or just take up the middle….” Don’t worry, we’ll get to those concerns in a later post.

This series is the work of the Friends of Shelburne Paths.  Please share your comments, experiences or sharing the road questions.  Thanks!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Wheels are Turning at SCS!

Thanks to a collaboration between Friends of Shelburne Paths, Shelburne Community School and Local Motion, SCS has introduced a bike education program into its physical education curriculum.  The program, which ran from May 5 through May 16, was delivered to students in grades 3 and 5 using bicycles provided by Local Motion. According to SCS teacher Jason Lewis, the program went very well and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The students were engaged and enthusiastic.  Not only were students sharing what they were learning at home, but parents reported seeing evidence that they were implementing their new knowledge. Mr. Lewis observed at least two non-riders become riders and three or four others that made great progress toward unsupported riding. 

What's next?  Current plans are to roll out the program to 7th graders after next year, when the current 5th graders get there.  But expect a twist...working with local police, the plan is to create an experiential program that honors the older riders by providing opportunities to implement their learning through local excursions in our village.  We will keep you posted!

In the meantime, please enjoy these pictures of SCS students learning lifelong safe bicycling skills.  And please be sure to check out the 27 second video at the end of the images to see just how far bicycling in our community has come in just a few short years!  Prepare to be amazed!


Video taken on a beautiful Wednesday morning, June 11, just before 8 am.  Students are seen crossing Route 7 to head west on Harbor Road towards the Shelburne Community School.  
(Video credit:  CVU Student Leo Antinozzi)