Details are sketchy, because details are just about always sketchy when it comes to news reports of such things, but we do know a cyclist was hit and critically injured on northbound Broadway at Iron Wednesday night, a few blocks from where a cyclist was killed (Broadway and Central) last May. Original news reports stated the collision was at Coal and Broadway, but this was found to not quite be the case.
Exactly what happened Wednesday and verification of the cyclist’s current condition, along with much else, isn’t known. Again, this dearth of information is typical. As a society we just assume being on the road is dangerous, and try not to pay too much attention when our assumptions are confirmed.
But finding out more regarding Wednesday’s incident is important on many levels, including the bike roadway infrastructure involved. Here’s northbound Broadway at Iron. Notice anything interesting when it comes to such infrastructure?
Yeah, the bike lane suddenly ends. A generally dangerous series of bike lanes to nowhere occurs up and down Broadway in this part of town:
The red X above almost marks the spot of Wednesday’s crash. Notably, the most up-to-date Albuquerque Bike Map (the online version) errs slightly when it comes to Broadway and Iron/Coal. As we see in the Streetview screenshot, the bike lane actually ends northbound at Iron, disintegrating, as bike lanes so often do in ABQ, to allow creation of a right-turn lane onto Coal.
These disintegration points are, of course, terribly dangerous, particularly Broadway, with its high bike and auto traffic volumes. I won’t claim that this stop-start bike lane directly led to Wednesday’s crash. We don’t know enough at this time, and may, frankly, never know enough to make such a claim.
But even a casual look into the corner of Broadway and Iron reveals a dangerous, unsatisfactory stretch of bike infrastructure, one that encourages ridership by starting bike lanes, even a variation on “buffered lanes,” only to have them yanked and the rider bike lane stranded.
This situation reaches its dark humor “funny” low point with the new “Copenhagen Left” at Broadway and MLK:
Riders are encouraged to turn left onto Broadway southbound by getting into the green box above. Unfortunately, once in that box, the encouraged southbound rider becomes quickly discouraged looking out upon the dangerous stretch of road before them.
Broadway is a very important north/south corridor for all roadway users. Downtown, the train tracks and other factors make it vital to all. Unfortunately, in its current configuration Broadway is truly a death trap for cyclists. A look at the 2040 Long Range Bikeway Map reveals that the “plan” is for Broadway to have continuous bike lanes all the way from Candelaria to where NM-47/Broadway hits I-25 in the far, far South Valley.
Of course, the Long Range Map has innumerable “plans” for roadway bike infrastructure improvements all over town. Still, the ongoing carnage and reality that is Broadway Boulevard 2017 dictate that we should prioritize and expedite these Broadway improvements.