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Bike Lane Trial Project

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Overview

Improving and expanding Longmont’s bicycle network is an important and ongoing effort guided by the City’s Envision Longmont Multimodal & Comprehensive Plan and supporting Enhanced Multi-use Corridor Plan. As part of that effort, the City of Longmont utilized routine street re-striping work to test ways of creating new bicycle facilities on existing streets.

Goals

  • Allow bicycle users of different abilities to explore what bike lane treatments they prefer
  • Test treatments in the field for bicyclists, drivers and City maintenance crews
  • Collect feedback from residents about their experiences traveling in the test areas

Feedback from Riders and Motorists

Riders of all cycling comfort and ability levels were encouraged to try out the different bike lane facility styles and share feedback. Motorists were also encouraged to check out the test areas and offer feedback. Feedback surveys were open from June 2018-June 2019.

City maintenance crews also provided feedback on the ease or difficulty of performing tasks with the various treatment options.

The feedback gathered from the Bike Lane Trial Project was provided to the Transportation Advisory Board and City Council in September 2019. View the full Bike Lane Trial Project report >

Recommendations

As a result of the Bike Lane Trial Project, City staff recommends continuing the sharrows and buffered bike lane treatments that were installed with the trial project. Due to the negative public feedback and maintenance challenges associated with the separated bike lane on Pike Road, City operations staff removed the delineator posts in August 2019.

The removal of the delineator posts converted the westbound Pike Road bike facility from a separated bike lane to a buffered bike lane.

Recommendations for future implementation of the three types of bike lane treatments tested with the Bike Lane Trial Project include:

Sharrows

Staff recommends this treatment on low-volume (2,500 Average Daily Traffic (ADT) or less), low-speed (25 mph) roads or in rehabilitation situations where there is insufficient pavement width to stripe a conventional bike lane.

Buffered Bike Lanes

Staff recommends buffering conventional bike lanes adjacent to on-street parking and in other retrofit situations where there is sufficient width to provide a buffer between a conventional bike lane and the adjacent vehicle lane. The City’s Design  Standards and Construction Specifications are currently being updated to require buffered bike lanes on all new collector and arterial streets.

Separated Bike Lanes

Separated bike lanes are only recommended on higher speed (35 mph or higher), higher volume (8,000 ADT or higher) roads. Separated lanes must be designed to accommodate maintenance activities. City street sweepers require a minimum eight (8) foot width between the delineator posts and the curb.


Map of Routes for Bike Lane Trial Project

Styles of Bike Lane Facilities

Several different bike lane facility styles exist, but not all styles are feasible for all streets. Each street segment and the treatment identified for it had to fit specific feasibility criteria. Retrofitting bicycle facilities into existing streets requires evaluating space available, traffic travel speeds, maintenance operations (such as snow removal, street sweeping, etc.) and connectivity to the greater Longmont bicycle network.

Through the Bike Lane Trial Project, Longmont travelers had the opportunity to try out three specific types of on-street bicycle facilities.

View a map showing the selected street segments for the trial >

Shared Lane Markings / Sharrows

sharrow

The “sharrows” or shared street is appropriate for low-volume, low-speed streets where bicyclists can share the travel lane with vehicular traffic. This type of bicycle treatment is typically used on roads with wide travel lanes (greater than 12 feet) or local/neighborhood collector streets with average speeds of 25mph or less.

Selected Street Segment: South Bowen Street between Iowa Avenue and South Pratt Parkway

 

  

On-Street Buffered Bike Lane / Additional Street Striping

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Buffered bike lanes are conventional bicycle lanes paired with additional street striping that creates designated buffer space separating the bicycle lane from the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane and/or parking lane.

Selected Street Segment: South Pratt Parkway between Ken Pratt Boulevard and Pike Road

View 3D renderings detailing various buffered bike lane configurations >

 

Separated Bicycle Lanes

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Separated bicycle lanes, also referred to as protected bike lanes, use a combination of horizontal separation (like buffer distance) and vertical separation (such as flexible posts, curbs and/or parked cars) to protect bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic. The combination of separation elements can provide a lower stress bicycle experience as compared to a shared or conventional bike lane.  

Some of the challenges with protected bike lanes relate to maintenance operations, such as snow removal and street sweeping. The lane widths (distance between curb and vertical delineator) is usually narrower than a standard travel lane; therefore, specialized equipment and different snow removal strategies are required. To better understand the challenges/impacts associated with maintaining separated bike lanes, the time period for the pilot program may extend several months (including through the winter) to allow City staff to evaluate the treatments.

Currently, this treatment is only being considered for high-volume, high-speed roads.

Selected Street Segment: Pike Road (westbound only) between South Sunset Street and South Hover Street

Note: Due to the negative public feedback and maintenance challenges associated with the separated bike lane on Pike Road, City operations staff removed the delineator posts in August 2019. 

The removal of the delineator posts converted the westbound Pike Road bike facility from a separated bike lane to a buffered bike lane.


Types of Bicyclists

Bicyclists generally fall into one of four categories and are roughly distributed among the population as shown in the chart below.

Safety and comfort have been identified as the biggest concerns to the largest group, Interested but Concerned, which is made up primarily of women, youth and seniors. Implementing options that address these concerns have the most potential for improving bicycling use among residents in this group.

category of rider
 percentage of population (approximate)
 definition

 

Interested But Concerned

 56%

 Require physical bicycle infrastructure improvements before wanting to ride

 

No Way, No How

 31%

 Will not ride, no matter the circumstances

 

Enthused and Confident (also called Casual and Somewhat Confident)

 

 9%

 Ride ably on most types of streets, with a few uncomfortable situations or road conditions

 

Strong and Fearless (also called Experienced and Confident)

 

 4%

Willing to ride in any road condition or environment


Program Key References

Urban Bikeway Design Guide provides information on benefits of Buffered Bike Lanes

City of Fort Collins Bicycle Master Plan

City of Colorado Springs website page provides information on benefits of Buffered Bike Lanes

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Separated Bike Lane Planning & Design Guide

Contact

The Bike Lane Trail Project is a collaborative effort between City of Longmont engineering, operations and transportation planning staff.

Project Engineer Micah Zogorski

Traffic Engineer Tyler Stamey

Transportation Planner Phil Greenwald

 

 

 

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