Wednesday, May 14, 2008

City maps, signs aim to aid cyclists

opnions? comments ? something?

from nolen

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
By JOHN PECK
Times Staff Writer john.peck@htimes.com

Plans also include wider shoulders for road projects

City leaders hope to make Huntsville a more bicycle-friendly community with more sign markers and a map showing the city's 148 miles of designated bikeways.

The city is also including wider shoulders in downtown road-widening projects and soon hopes to install bike racks on the courthouse square.

James Moore, bikeways coordinator for the City Planning Commission, outlined the improvements Monday night to Huntsville's Spring City Cycling Club. He also gave an update on planned greenway extensions, including a proposal to extend the Aldridge Creek greenway north from Mountain Gap Road.

News of the improvements seem timely with the skyrocketing price for gas and National Ride Your Bike to Work week.

Huntsville and Madison riders can participate in the national bike to work week Thursday by joining organized rides that start at WHNT-TV and the Publix on County Line Road. Riders are to meet at the locations at 6:45 a.m. and depart at 7 a.m. for rides to Cummings Research Park.

Moore said the cycling club can be a major advocate for bike amenities.

"They are the ambassadors for cycling in town," he said. "That being the case, they can serve the general public and voice issues they have that would bring more light to them."

The bike route maps are targeted for July. Moore said he hopes to distribute them through places such as bike shops, libraries, tourist attractions and other outlets.

Huntsville bikeways were established in the mid-1970s with updates in 1981, 1992, 2001 and 2006. The system has evolved from simply a shared arrangement on roads to one that interconnects with greenways and city transit buses outfitted with bike racks.

Moore said city buses on all 13 public transit routes are equipped with bike racks.

At the bike club meeting, cyclists pitched other suggestions that would make Huntsville, Madison and Madison County more bike friendly. Several suggested planners require developers to connect neighborhoods when building their subdivisions.

Engineer/cyclist Michael Holderer, a citizens advisory committee member of the city's Metropolitan Planning Organization road planning group, said although cycling advocates welcome the city's interest in making the city more bike friendly, some are frustrated by the slow progress.


"This place has major bike-ped potential, so it's a shame to see many opportunities overlooked," he said. More comments from bicyclists in the planning process would create better results than seeking an after-the fact reaction to a draft, Holderer said.

The cycling community has long complained the bikeway system is confusing and not promoted well. James said that should change with the new maps and additional signs marking the routes.

The bikeways take into consideration traffic volume, lane width, road conditions and "connectivity" with schools, bus stops and greenways.

Only about 30 miles of bikeways have numbered marker signs. The problem: lack of money.

"At some point in the next year or so, we hope all 148 miles will be signed," Moore said.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the "Senior Citizen Cycling Commission" were included but the general public were not. It seems as if the recreational cyclist have a stranglehold on what gets done here (nada). It also seems they spend most of their time talking and getting their names in the paper than anything real happening.

Blah bLah blaH

Who wants to ride greenways? Are they going to get you to work? no! it just displaces people in public housing so the yuppies can walk there fat SUV riddled asses around in their Nike Suits.

How come they never were able to figure out that the first step is motorist education and bike racks.

Seems to me we need to get some youth up in here and oust this mayor and this whole administration.

What kind of place do you all want to live in Lame or Fun? Demand your government to get there asses to work and on a bike.

Anonymous said...

"How come they never were able to figure out that the first step is motorist education and bike racks. "

Why don't you write the editor about it? Maybe somebody will read it and we will get one step closer to a real change?

clintpatty said...

Motorist education was not mentioned in the article, but bike racks were. There are plans to add bike racks near the courthouse. I think bike racks should be added to the parking garage on Clinton in place of 2 parking spaces. That provides covered and more secure parking. And I ride greenways for transportation. I do not like the small yield signs; it is Alabama law that motorists yield to pedestrians at designated (painted or not) crosswalks, so why is this not extended to crossings of streets and hybrid bike paths/sidewalks? There is a planned Spring Branch greenway that will serve the purpose of Parkway for cyclists and pedestrians. The Big Cove Creek greenway is nice for Hampton Cove residents to ride to the grocery store or bank or such. I don't know the name of the one in Madison that extends from Old Madison Pike to Research Park, but I use it for nearly every trip to Madison.

clintpatty said...

There was a post on the SCCC list about 2 excellent articles in today's paper. Here is my reply:

One not-excellent part is the claim by James Moore about Huntsville's transit system. It is not reliable for mixed-mode commuting. I've found it better to just ride than try to depend on the bus for part of the ride and schedule my ride around it. I mentioned this problem to Mr. Moore, and he replied

" Thanks for your question, According to The Transit division the reason why there were no bike racks on the backup buses is because they're being replaced with new buses with racks already installed. These buses have been ordered and will probably be ready before the end of the year. Once this done the city's bus fleet will be 100 percent bike friendly. If you have any questions or comments please feel free

Anonymous said...

Well we did take action and got bikes racks installed. 5 in the last year and there will be 4 around the courthouse soon.

1: who is the editor?
2: I think all cyclists young, old, recreational and commuters should go and demand some action at the city council meetings. Like instead of spencer promoting herself and all she has done for the military industrial complex. she could put a PSA up to educate drivers and cyclists.

Anonymous said...

As stated before there are 4 bike racks that will be installed around the courthouse. This was done by ordinary cyclist not SCCC or Ala Bike. Point being they represent a club not us.

clintpatty said...

Also, does anyone know who to complain to about dirty streets? I wanted to request a street cleaning last month but could not find how to do it. There is non-cyclist-friendly gravel at the intersection of Kent and Overton. It made me wreck once, and now it slows me every time. If a developer or company spilled this gravel and didn't clean it, they should be fined. As it is they might think that their time and labor is worth more than my safety, but a significant enough fine would remove that and could fund bicycle infrastructure. And if the city did it, they should do better.

Anonymous said...

As far as the greenways I doubt you can get to where you need to go by them. We can argue this all day. Save the money and fix the roads widen them etc.. Greenways will fill up with roller bladers, skateboarders, runners etc.. this is not a real way to commute.

As far as mass transit it should run at longer hours like at least till midnight.

Why not try to have more progressive ideas instead of settling for this old way of thinking. Why not here are you all less deserving than chattanooga or other cities.

Anonymous said...

dont know who to complain too but maybe ask that michael holderer who is mentioned in the article.

Also what about these weighted stop lights I have to sit at and because I am not a car I have to wait for a car as to not run the light.

Bob Jones said...

I do not know what you all are on about? You cyclists are a bunch of idiots who should be run off the road or out of town. This city and this great Country was built for cars now please join the rest of us or shut up.

Marshmallow said...

Yeah, i don't know what we were thinking.

Anonymous said...

here is something about street sweeping i found on the SCC site

Within the City of Huntsville, if you see dirty streets, you have the power to request a street sweep. See junk on the paved roads or shoulders within the City of Huntsville? Call Public Works Department to schedule a road sweep. 883-3945 is the number and Rita is the contact. She will put it into the database. Supervisors will review and schedule. If you are NOT satisfied, within two weeks, call again. No need to suffer in silence.

Anonymous said...

here is something about street sweeping i found on the SCC site

Within the City of Huntsville, if you see dirty streets, you have the power to request a street sweep. See junk on the paved roads or shoulders within the City of Huntsville? Call Public Works Department to schedule a road sweep. 883-3945 is the number and Rita is the contact. She will put it into the database. Supervisors will review and schedule. If you are NOT satisfied, within two weeks, call again. No need to suffer in silence.

Anonymous said...

here is something about street sweeping i found on the SCC site

Within the City of Huntsville, if you see dirty streets, you have the power to request a street sweep. See junk on the paved roads or shoulders within the City of Huntsville? Call Public Works Department to schedule a road sweep. 883-3945 is the number and Rita is the contact. She will put it into the database. Supervisors will review and schedule. If you are NOT satisfied, within two weeks, call again. No need to suffer in silence.