Every SEBL Tells a Story, Don’t It?

I guess this story has a happy ending, at least for one involving a Suddenly Ending Bike Lane (SEBL).

SEBL Broadway South of Coal
Looking north on Broadway between Santa Fe Ave. S.E. and Iron Ave. S.E.

Official BB Staff Photographer John Fleck sends along the photo above this morning. We’re looking at the northern terminus of one of the singularly most curious “Orphan Bike Lanes” (OBL…so many acronyms, whatever you do) in the entire area. And that’s saying something, as we have quite a large number of OBLs in this town.

Here’s the OBL as shown on the online bike map:

Broadway orphan on bike map
Using the Google measurement tool, we’re looking at 1,150 feet of OBL here

What exactly happened to cause City/County/State (remember, Broadway is actually NM-47, a state road) to start a bike lane where the busy road narrows (see below) and end just before getting to popular public destinations like the South Broadway Cultural Center (also see below)?

SSBL Broadway South of Coal
Here’s the Suddenly Starting Bike Lane (yes another acronym, SSBL) as Broadway narrows at Iron S.E. Yeah, that’s a blue pickup truck driving on the bike lane. Maybe, in part, because the roadway is narrowing (let’s give the driver a tiny, tiny “excuse” here)

The orphan lane makes no more sense going northbound. It’s all rather inexplicable, including the lack of new development along this stretch of Broadway, something that has led to many other OBLs around town, especially along Coors Blvd.

Does anybody have ANY idea why this OBL was created? And why it’s still here?

That story I honestly don’t know, and am keenly interested in hearing. Here’s a story I do know at least a little bit about, and it starts out extremely depressing. Back in March of 2017, a cyclist was struck, and I hope only critically injured, at Broadway and Iron. I say that as I do not know, and I checked around a bit, if the cyclist is still with us.

Reading of the incident, your humble blogposter went to check out the area on his bicycle, one I admittedly never went to, even though I live in the South Valley. It was a “no-go zone” throughout as I understood it, and while there were bits of blue (bike lane) on the City map, nothing was going to get me on/anywhere near Broadway/NM-47 in this stretch.

So in riding around Broadway and Iron, trying to figure out what happened and why somebody would ride a bicycle anywhere near there in the first place, I happened across William Street, a north/south street over by the train tracks:

birds eye broadway at SEBL
William Street and other bits (Pacific Ave./Edith Blvd. – red line) that are scheduled to make up part of a new Bike Route or even Bike Boulevard (details still being worked out). Note South Broadway Cultural Center achingly yards south of the SEBL on Broadway.

While I found Broadway every stinking bit as dangerous and undesirable from a cycling standpoint as I’d thought, SEBLs very much included, personally discovering William Street was a veritable “Eureka!” moment. Here’s a 25 mph street, speed bumps included, that goes all the way from Pacific to Woodward, AND has a protected (as in no busy street access) underpass at Cesar Chavez AND doesn’t interact with Gibson Blvd.

It’s been something of a bicycling life-changer for me, as someone who lives in the South Valley and goes to Nob Hill and environs weekly. Sometimes more than weekly.

So, I guess, taking the really long, very relaxed view, the existence of that SEBL/SSBL/OBL along Broadway between Iron and Santa Fe isn’t the horrible, inexplicable roadway treatment one might think.

No, that’s far too kind. It is still horrible and inexplicable.

To give this story a truly happy ending, work needs to be done not only to make William Street part of a Bike Route or Bike Boulevard, but to either continue the bike lanes on Broadway in a way that doesn’t actually endanger those riding the street more by means of suddenly starting and stopping separation, or to get rid of the OBL currently in place and offer wayfinding signs which very specifically direct riders new to the area of the far safer William Street (and Edith Blvd.) alternative.

Until then, we’ve just got a long list of acronyms and a highly dangerous roadway treatment.

Inexplicably so.

One thought on “Every SEBL Tells a Story, Don’t It?

  1. It would be nice to put something like Edith, Pacific and Williams SE as bike boulevards. Also Woodward to 2nd would be nice. It would shorten my ride from NE Heights to Valle de Oro.


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