Tuesday, November 11, 2003

What Bike Lane Striping Contract?

An email from the PennDOT project manager wrote to me with this correction "I would like to clarify that the Department is not installing exclusive bike lanes. The Department is looking to provide wider shoulders so cars and bicycles can 'Share the Road'."


This was clearly not the intention of the project, as indicated in the minutes of the Southeast Pennsyslvania Bicycle Issues Task Force meeting minutes on 7-19-01 (item #2)

In fact it sounds more like a local directive of PENNDOT 6-0 in late 1997. At the urging of the SEPABITF roads Penndot supposedly adopted a policy to stripe the fog line (white edgeline) 11 ft from the centerline which would in effect create small shoulders on wider roads.

DVRPC asked PennDOT if they could stripe bike lanes as a part of this process when there was sufficient width, the reply was that extra engineering work was not included in the maintenance budget. So money ($300,000?) was found elsewhere in the regional transportation budget (The TIP) and added for the bike lane striping contract.

Penndot widening shoulders to accommodate bikes is a good thing, but for 300K we should be getting our money's worth. How do we measure the results? Bike lanes built to standards are easy to quantify, measuring shoulder width improvements are not. In order to measure success PennDOT would need to diligently keep track of every shoulder improvement.

PennDOT 6-0 already has more bike lanes on its state roads than any other district on the east coast; nearly one half of the 170 miles of bike lanes in Philadelphia are located on state roads.