A Look at Traffic

Case studies to allow an analysis of traffic.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Growth of Orange County Bike Lanes, Planning and Electric Bikes

Ask anyone in the Netherlands, Bikes work as an efficient mode of travel! Cities in the United States are slowly learning that bikes can have a huge impact on how people get around while also creating a healthy and enjoyable place to live.

 "Adding that more people on bikes eases congestion and boosts residents’ health, sense of community and economic opportunities." - BikesBelong.Org

Bike lanes and paths can also provide a cheaper alternative to traffic congested highways. Bike lanes and routes in Southern Californiaare continuing to grow, considerably in Orange County. OCTA provides a excellent GIS file containing the existing an proposed bike routes. Here is a simple map of these routes throughout the county.

Crunching some numbers on these bike routes, we find that currently (as of GIS data updated in February 2013) there were 1,035 miles of existing bike routes. This includes all three classifications for bike routes

  •    Class I (Off-street Paths)  – Separated multiuse path typically shared with flood channels or abandoned railways (Rails-to-Trails).

  • Class II (Bike Lane) – Striped bike lanes established along roadways primarily used by vehicles

  •  Class III (Shared Road) – Signs and some painted street delegations appended to roadways to inform drivers the street is shared with bicyclists 

View Larger Map

The Cities and public agencies within Orange County are making huge progress in addressing additional bike facilities to create a network of interconnected bike routes. Mileage wise, the total number of 2 or more lane streets sums up to 1,497 miles. Class II bike lanes currently cover 692 miles, or 46.3% of the wider 2 or more lane streets (Not bad!). If we only consider the number of street segments, and not mileage, we learn that about 33% of the higher volume streets have bike lanes.

Additional bike facilities are planned for the County. Class I bike paths are expected to increase 45% to 470 miles, while Class II bike lanes are expected to increase 37% to 1095 miles. While I am not a huge fan of Class III shared roadways, they are planning to increase 46% to 156 miles. All this is great news for bike riders in Orange County. Hopefully this trend continues and we see Cic-OC-via before 2015!

Planning additional bike facilities can sometimes cause quite a disruption with residents. While studies have shown that bike routes generally improve neighborhood, it can still be unsettling to know that your property will be a byway for a large number of bicyclists and the like. Regardless, creating bike routes that integrate well into the city/county is an important part of bike planning. Considerations for new or upgraded bike routes include
·         Safety
·         Cost
·         Available land to add facility
·         Connectivity to:
o    Schools
o    Parks
o    Shopping Centers
o    Entertainment Attractions
o    Bike Shops
o    Libraries
o    Connection to transit hubs
·         Elevation change along street segments

What if bike maps started to look more like transit maps highlighing the destination and simplifying it a lot while avoiding showing the way to get around by car.While route choice is one thing, adding bike lanes can help all types of active transport modes.

Idea: It would be nice to have an online mapper tool that allows cycling activists to use a fixed amount of dollars the city has, to plan bike lanes on certain streets within a city. Within the website, it would know how much it costs to develop bike lanes along each street depending on the available space and existing geometry. A tabulated list of changes and costs would be automatically calculated.
Growth of the Electric Bike cannot be ignored either! The synergies between bike routes and electric bikes can have huge impacts to change mindsets of biking. If pedal powered biking results in 1% bike commuters, how much could electric bikes increase bike commuters? 10 fold? And what about bike share changing the perception of who a bike rider can be?

At the end of this Blog post, I still have a few questions:  What bike facilities are being used the most? How would the best way to track bike lane usage?


About This Blog

This blog is to allow for case studys to begin studying traffic.

  © Free Blogger Templates Photoblog III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP