My commute to work on this beautiful Monday morning was marked by two notable bike lane situations. You see, last week I was honked at three times in one day and several times enjoyed the cooling yet alarming breeze caused by very big trucks leaving a very small space between themselves and me. (More people need to check out our safety tips, clearly.) So, I'm trying to seek out less crowded roads and more bike lanes. This has led to mixed discoveries.
This morning, on 21st Street in San José, I discovered that the bike lane is converted on Monday mornings into a trash bin lane. It was the refuse container version of a group ride, with some of the bewheeled cans sitting squarely in the middle of the lane, and others taking up just enough room to render it impassable to bikes. It actually looked pretty funny, and there was little to no traffic in the travel lane, so it was more of a curiosity and annoyance than safety hazard. I imagine the situation will be different tonight, though, when rush-hour traffic makes the travel lane a little less inviting, and residents still haven't gotten back from work to bring in their bins…
A little later, on 11th Street, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the new buffered bike lane is almost complete (you heard about it here first, folks). The line separating parked cars from bike traffic was the only element left to be painted. The left-hand buffer is extremely wide, which kept me at a comfortable distance as the very same trash truck that had turned 21st Street into a minefield chugged alongside me.
How should cities handle the trash bin-bike lane conflict? Have you tried any of San José's huge new downtown bike lanes? Share your thoughts in the comments.