Welcome to the first of my new series featuring the wacky, weird, creative, confusing, impressive, and depressing ways that planners try to accomodate cyclists, pedestrians, and transit users.

This week, I decided to start the series strong, with an example from my own commute: the Taylor/Mabury/Highway 101 bike/ped bridge!

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The Taylor/Mabury/Highway 101 bike/ped bridge isn't actually so much a bike/ped bridge as it is a regular overpass with a strange lowered side-deck that was apparently once designed for cars. Though it's nice to have a separated bike lane of sorts, this highway crossing suffers from a lack of visibility, questions regarding its safety, and the fact that westbound cyclists have to cross over oncoming traffic to actually use it.

Heading eastbound

The view on deck, eastbound

The pros:

  • A wide, two-way bike/ped path is always nice.
  • A sturdy-looking k-rail divider keeps cyclists and peds safe from cars.
  • The divide features some nice landscaping to nourish the eyes.

The cons:

  • Somewhat hidden – until you know it's there, you don't know it's there.
  • You might crash before you actually get to use it – the eastbound entrance is a raised ramp of crumbling asphalt next to the asphalt road, with no paint denoting the curb and a board covering up what is almost certainly a pit full of gators (see photo at top).
  • Westbound riders cross over oncoming traffic that has no stop sign. That is the opposite of safe.
  • Did you see those street lights? Yeah, there aren't any, making that invisible ramp even more thrilling.
  • The construction site appearance of the whole thing makes you wonder if you're really supposed to use it or if someone just tore down the yellow caution tape.

The westbound view

So, if you're headed to the Berryessa Flea Market or pedaling into Japantown from San José's Eastside, be sure to check out this off-the-wall piece of infrastructure! Just be very, very careful.

What's your favorite piece of off-the-wall infrastructure? Share your most notable bridges, benches, paths, tunnels, and “bike lanes to nowhere” in the comments, or send them to me at colin@bikesiliconvalley.org.