Thursday, October 30, 2014

At the Intersection of Happy & Healthy

I recently attended some training on the latest improvements in bicycle facility design with examples of various kinds of improvements and treatments from across the country. Walk Bike Columbia, an initiative that supports the state capital city bike and pedestrian plan, hosted a workshop. National experts came in to share their experiences and wisdom with a group of local, regional and state planners, engineers, landscape architects and other professionals.

One of the most interesting designs that was shared was the idea of the protected intersection.

Design for a protected intersection that's better for bicylists & pedestrians.
 Not yet found anywhere in the country, the inspiration for the facility came from similar installments from across the pond. Here is a video for a similarly designed intersection in The Netherlands. This idea blows my mind...and has me really excited to ride on one some day in the (hopefully not too distant) future. Can you imagine riding with your family on a bikeway like this? I can. *SMILE*

Let's break down the benefits of how the design works. There are improvements for bicyclists crossing the intersections. Pedestrians also keep their designated, separated place. Though the right turn for cars is not as convenient as it is in some states, like South Carolina, there is still room to react to potential conflicts. (That means that there should still be enough space and time for a car not to hit a bike or pedestrian.) It's a win for all, and huge improvement for the folks on two legs and two wheels.

Since this hasn't been installed anywhere in the country, it would be really cool if a city in South Carolina (*ahem, Greenville, cough*) stepped up to the plate. Share an intersection where you think this might work in your community in the comments below!

And don't forget to vote on Tuesday, November 4, especially if you live in Greenville County. There's an important opportunity to fund bikeway improvements around the county. Get out and make your opinion heard.

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