Bike Sensor Adjustment Project (BSAP): It’s Working, People!

Loyal BB readers will instantly know what BSAP stands for and of our efforts (those efforts include you, right?) to alert the City to any and all cases in which intersection red light inductive loops are currently not detecting bicycles/cyclists, leaving us on bikes to either hit the beg button or wait for a car to show up, and trip the detector, like were sitting outside the liquor store and the driver/car is our 21+ means to get a bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill.

Your author is somehow strangely reassured to find that Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill is still produced/sold, but he digresses.

Far more to the point, readers: BSAP is working! To wit, here are a few case studies.

“Adjusted Vehicle Detection to Maximum Sensitivity”

While several forays into the world of making 311/SeeClickFix reports about insensitive red light detectors have been made by BB staff, our first concerted effort using what we now know about all this stuff concerned the case of Campus Blvd. eastbound at Monte Vista Blvd. Reported to 311 by John Fleck, Official Better Burque Staff Photographer, on August 18th, here is the thread of communication between Mr. Fleck and the “311 Citizen Contact Center”

campus monte vista

Huzzah! and Great Googly-Moogly! An unmitigated BSAP success, one since tested by BB staff to confirm that “maximum sensitivity” has been achieved, or at least enough sensitivity to detect a bicycle. Perhaps even more important than this historic achievement in cycling freedom is that the expression “Adjusted vehicle detection to maximum sensitivity” has now entered the lexicon. Feel free to use this expression in naming your next garage band or pulp fiction paperback.

Central Avenue Proves, Again, Trickier

The author tried his hand at a BSAP report concerning the fact that a cyclist waiting on 47th NW for the light to change at Central Avenue could conceivably have entire presidential administrations change before ever getting a green light. So another 311/SeeClick Fix report was made, but this time we’ve run into the bigger issue of “ART traffic engineering firm HDR.”

47th and Central

HDR is the big mega-engineering outfit hired by ABQ Ride to design/implement traffic aspects of Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART). One is tempted to think “HDR” here does not actually stand for the last names of the three guys who formed the firm, but instead stands for “Black Hole in Which Nothing Will Happen, at Least Not For a Very Long While,” an expression which uses none of the H-D-R initials, but is probably closer to reality. This is especially true as about 18% of all 311/SeeClickFix reports are from drivers being made to wait ungodly times (like 30 seconds!) due to the current signal timing along the ART route.

Well call this case study a work-in-progress.

A Mystery Fix: The Case of Edith at Mountain

This one doesn’t involve a call to 311/SeeClickFix. We at BB now ride Edith Boulevard east of downtown just about once a week because it is so wonderful, goes through so many cool neighborhoods, and connects with William Street, a great way to get to the South Valley that you might be tired of hearing the author gush about.

During one such ride, the author spent, again, a good while sitting, standing on the bike, standing beside the bike on Edith, waiting for the light to change at Mountain (i.e. for a car to show up), while absolutely no cars/drivers appeared in any of the four cardinal directions. For a long while; well beyond long enough to take this photo:

sensor edith and mountain with pointers
Here I’ve added little red pointers to illustrate the cut made to install a loop detector (black line)

The photo and situation outlined above has been brought up a time or two in various settings, including a blog post here, because your humble blog poster is irritating that way. And guess what happened this past Sunday when your irritating blog poster stopped at the deserted intersection of Edith and Mountain?

The red light changed to green, almost immediately upon my riding into the loop detector rectangle. Like within a second.

How did this happen? What set into motion the link of events that have evidently led to the Edith/Mountain light to be set to: Adjusted Vehicle Detection to Maximum Sensitivity? I don’t know; I can only misquote Lazarus, that blind guy back in one of the books that seems to cause all the trouble: Once I couldn’t legally cross, and now I can.

Big thanks to the mystery person and process that led to this happening. By the way, could we also mysteriously set the sensor at Edith and Lomas to “Maximum Sensitivity”? I know, one miracle happens and I immediately ask for another. Faith is like that.

The BSAP Extends Beyond Bike Sensors

While the work of all associated with BSAP (this includes you, right?) has centered on bike/cyclist detection, BB’s tactical urbanism efforts have also included moving road signs out of bicycle lanes and sidewalks, especially in cases in which they can be moved to a “buffer,” that usually narrow strip of striping created to grant more space between cars and cyclists.

Those buffers make great places to relocate road work signs, as has been documented in a couple of prior BB posts.  Of course, it’s needless to point out that ideally these buffers should be employed to place road signs the first time, not requiring BB’s tactical urbanism efforts, but…one step at a time.

Which gets us to the 311/SeeClickFix experience with a road work sign in the bike lane as Central crosses the Rio Grande River eastbound.

central at river

Yeah! “The construction coordinator will discuss the concern with the responsible contractor.”

Does this mean the problem is permanently or even temporarily solved? No, and BB will continue to monitor the situation. As was satirically pointed out here at BB yesterday, that monitoring will extend to trying to figure out precisely what “road work,” if any, is being done in this part of Central. We’ll let you know what we find out.

BSAP Status Conclusion, 8.28.18: Reporting is Working

The upshot of our efforts (this includes you, right?) so far indicate that bringing defects in the bike infrastructure system, such as bike detection, to 311/SeeClickFix is showing results, perhaps more so that was the case in prior years. Those mysterious folks behind the scenes at 311/SeeClickFix and pertinent City departments are to be commended for this increased responsiveness, and to continue being called upon in a responsible manner as we (this definitely should be including you) discover other deficiencies.

Happy discovery and reporting, BB reader. If you could, drop us a line with details of your own experience.





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