Stuck in the Gutter: What to Do About that Ugly Girard Blvd. Bike Lane

by Scot Key

gutterbikelane

An observant BB reader relates that it’s right there on the cross-section drawings shown in an earlier post. As circled above, the bike lane width of 4.5′ in the Girard Complete Streets plan definitely includes the gutter between Lomas and Indian School.

While we won’t be entirely sure about the veracity of the purported 41′ of roadway until we eschew the Google Maps measurement feature and fully endanger our lives with tape measures across the entire road, it’s painfully clear that the bike lane gutter was included along with the permissible parking lane gutter in the planning.

Impermissible is about the kindest word I can use to describe counting the gutter as part of the bike lane. It’s also much longer than the four-letter words I would rather employ.

So what do we do now? How do we fix this situation? One complication is that ABQ Ride’s #12 commuter bus runs down Girard between Constitution and Lomas. This hinders, and some would say kills, the idea of reallocating space by reducing the current 11′ driving lanes to 9.5′ or 10′. Based on prior interactions, I think it safe to say ABQ Ride would use the word “kills.”

So, assuming (perhaps prematurely) that fight lost, would it be better to:

  1. Lose the opposite side door zone buffer and restripe the whole damn thing?
  2. Restripe the ugly bike lane and replace it with green-backed sharrows and “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs.

A veritable cycling “Sophie’s Choice” there. I started to make the argument for #2, but my heart is far from in it. One complication is that the door zone buffers are too skinny in the first place.

It’s a mess. Got any ideas?

Here’s one more. The #12 bus is a commuter, with only four runs, and only on weekdays. Let’s just reroute the #12 to, say, (looks for any parallel streets nearby that don’t bend and twist) Carlisle, and skinny those driving lanes to 9.5′. Let’s drop the speed limit to 25 and throw a speed bump here and there while we’re at it (we can have speed bumps now that there’s no bus service!).

Ah, that’s a pretty big rerouting. Chances of implementation: close to zero.

Like I said, got any ideas?

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