HW4 Delft Justin Clark

HW4 Delft Justin Clark

Bike Lanes

Bike lanes are the cheapest facility type available, but leave cyclists feeling unsafe due to the proximity with ongoing traffic. Bike lanes are typically represented by a red lane with solid white lines. Another fear to consider as a cyclist is the potential of getting what is called “doored”, which is when someone in a parked car swings their door open into the bike lane, clipping the biker and sending them flying into ongoing traffic. We visited three stops that gave us a good feel of the bike lanes here in Delft. The streets visited were Martinus Nijhoflaan, Nassaulaan and Julianalaan.

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This is a stoplight on Martinus Nijhoflaan. The street was one lane up until the stoplight, where it split into three. The bike lane becomes a pocket lane at the stoplight and cars must maneuver around the bike lane in order to turn right. For this to be successful, the right hand turn lane must be very short, and the turn must be fairly sharp to ensure that the cars are not speeding and thus can avoid hitting any bikers in the lane. The bike lane is painted red to let drivers know where it is, and the lane itself continues straight at the intersection. If a biker were to take a right at the intersection, they would exit the bike lane and enter the right turn lane that the cars are using. This also applies for when bikers are taking a left turn, which felt less safe as the cars were not slowing down to cross over a bike lane, we were crossing over into their lanes. Before the stoplight when the street was only one lane, it felt fairly safe due to the lack of parked cars, so the only real worry was the cars driving alongside the bike lane.

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Nassaulaan also had bike lanes but this time had parking along street for cars. This added to the fear of riding alongside the cars because we now had the worry of being doored by the parked cars. Pictured is Nassaulaan at an intersection, where you can see the bike lane split into two lanes. One of the lanes allows you to go left and the other lane goes straight or right. To me, this is better than the stoplight at Martinus Nijhoflaan because there is a designated bike lane for bikers taking a left, and cars have to respect them and give them space, whereas at Martinus Nijhoflaan bikers have to be wary of turning left. At one point on the street the speeds drop immensely as it becomes a school zone, so Nassaulaan is not a street that people would be driving very fast on which also adds to making it feel safer to ride on.

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Julianalaan was the least comforting of the bike lanes. Even though the lane was the widest (5.6 feet) compared to the other two bike lanes, 5 feet for Martinus Nijhoflaan and 4.7 feet for Nassaulaan, it was an arterial lane so traffic was much higher compared to the other to roads visited. Julianalaan also had parking like Nassaulaan, so the worry of being doored was also present when riding in the bike lane on this road. Because this is a main road, I feel as though that changing it from a bike lane to a cycle track would make bikers feel much better. There is a sidewalk and the bike lane is fairly wide, so some tinkering to this road could be done to bump the parking lane closer to the car lanes and then have a cycle track instead of a bike lane on this main road. When this road ends it turns into a cycle track, so the continuation of that cycle track could be done.

Bike Boulevard

Bike boulevards are a low stress facility that utilizes the following of main roads while discouraging through traffic, so that biking is the main form of transportation on them. We visited two bike boulevards, Abstwoude and Buitenwatersloot, and they were fairly different from one another. Even with these differences, the ride on them was very pleasant.

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Abtswoude was a long path that started near the university, crossed a bridge and many local streets and then ended at Pr Beatrixlaan. This bike boulevard was very low stress, as no cars could ride on this at all, and for the most part of the boulevard, the bikes had priority and did not have to yield when crossing streets. We had to yield when we arrived at the cycle track at Papsouwselaan, but this was nearing the end of the bike boulevard. The two-way path was very wide, 14.7 feet and came from the university area so students leaving the university had an easy access facility to quickly leave the campus without any worries of cars. At one point there was an area with cars parked that looked like it should be accessible from the bike boulevard, but due to cars not being allowed on the path, the entrance to this parking lot was located somewhere else. What made this bike boulevard even nicer was the lack of pedestrians for the first half of the boulevard, it was strictly bike path so there was no potential of having a pedestrian cross the path like you run into with a cycle track.

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Buitenwatersloot was nicer than using a bike lane, but to me was not as nice as the Abtswoude path. It was a diversion from a historic road and allowed for cars to be on it at some points, but then presented a barrier that cars would bottom out on, so if they were able to continue driving they would receive a fine. This barrier is shown in the picture, there is a bump in the road that is not portrayed well in the photo that causes the bottoming out. Buses are allowed on this road at all times, and do not bottom out at this barrier. Because buses and cars are allowed at some points, there is contraflow as the bikes will go with and against traffic on this boulevard. The lane for the barrier is 10 feet wide, and the lanes for the bikes are 5 feet wide, so spacing is done well. There is also a sign when entering the barrier that symbolizes be aware for bikers, so drivers know they are entering a bike boulevard. The presence of cars and public transport on this bike boulevard made me feel a little less safe, but the bike boulevard itself already eases stress by providing a fair amount of space and discouraging through traffic.

Cycle Tracks

Cycle tracks are a safe but expensive facility type that can be one way or two ways depending on the space available. Two way cycle tracks allow for bikers to not have to cross the street in order to travel in the right direction and gives a bike path feeling that lowers the stress of bikers. One way tracks are useful for complex intersections where multiple paths are being crossed, allowing for there to be less worrying of crashing into another biker. One-way tracks are also useful for when the cycle track ends, as most bike lanes or advisory lanes are one way, so you would still be going in the correct direction. Cycle tracks have some form of separation from traffic, whether it is a sidewalk, some combinations of grass and trees or even parked cars.

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Papsouwselaan was a fascinating cycle track, as the street used to be a 2 by 2 lane road and was converted into a 1 by 1 lane road with two-way cycle tracks on both sides. This road diet did not ruin the flow of traffic and allowed for a much safer and less stressful path for bikers to ride on. This road had a lane for cars and the center of the street was used for the tram as well as buses. The cycle track was 10 feet wide and the car lane was 10.6 feet wide, which is fairly close in size, but the road diet performed really focused on giving the cycle track plenty of space. The Abstwoude path crossed over this cycle track, and had to yield to bikers on this cycle track, which made sense because the bikers on Abstwoude were about to cross a bike path, a car lane and a tram lane, so slowing them down would promote safety when crossing. As you can see in the photo, trees were used as the form of separation for each lane on this street, and the sidewalk was right next to the cycle track.

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Voorhofdreef was a two-way cycle track along a parkway that used natural barriers as a means of separation. The grass and trees of the parkway separated the cars and cyclists, and even the sidewalk for pedestrians was separated from the cycle track with some grass rather than being right next to it. This cycle track felt very safe as the complete separation from cars and pedestrians allowed for a straightforward bike ride.

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Ruys de Beerenbrouckstraat was a 1 by 1 road with parking and cycle tracks. At one point on the street, there is no parking, and in order to make the transition from having no parking to parking along the side some adjustments must be made. The road gets narrower, there is a change in color on the road to make drivers believe they should now slow down, a 2.3 foot wide slightly raised divider appears to make the lane seem even narrower and there is a small speed hump. The cycle track remains at a constant the whole time, with the parking lane and vertical separation used to separate from the cars when parking is present and using a vertical separation and grass to provide separation when there is no parking on the street. This street also felt safe due to the separation from the moving cars that is always found on cycle tracks.

Advisory Lanes

Advisory lanes are used for unlaned roads that have an average daily traffic of 2000-5000. The road contains two suggested bike lanes, usually represented with red lanes and white dashed lines and a central space, not a central lane. Cars are to use the space provided on the road and can go into an advisory lane to avoid a bike in the advisory lane. Speed limits must be slow in order for the bikers to be safe on the road. We visited three streets with advisory bike lanes: Hugo de Grootstraat, Adriaan Pauwstraat and Schimmelpennick van der Oyeweg.

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Hugo de Grootstraat was a very wide street with advisory lanes on both sides, along with parking on both sides. The advisory lanes were 5 feet wide and the center space was 16.5 feet wide, bringing it to a total of 26.5 feet. This is almost enough space to provide bike lanes and a two way street, and could easily be done if parking on one side of the street was removed. Riding on the street was not too stressful except for when a car doubled in the advisory lane, so we had to ride out in the center space and hope not to get hit by a car coming in the opposite direction.

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Adriaan Pauwstraat was a narrower street with advisory lanes and parking on each side. Not as many cars appeared to use this street compared to Hugo de Grootstraat, so the lower volume made the ride feel safer.  The width of the lanes for bikes were still 5 feet, so even though the road was narrower the lanes for bikes to travel in were not effected.

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Schimmelpennick van der Oyeweg was a little different from the first two streets because it was a rural local road that allowed cars to go faster than the typical road with advisory lanes. The road itself was not as wide as the previous streets, but because it was a rural area the volume of traffic was so low that the worry of a narrow road was not too much of a problem. There is a transition from the 60 km/h to 30 km/h at one point on the road when it transitions from rural to suburbs, and to do this they used a form of retrofitting with a chicane. The chicane makes the lane only allow for one car, so the cars entering the suburban area must slow down in order to get over into the area to enter that zone, which is more effective than simply putting up a street sign. This road, though it allowed for faster travel by cars, felt like it was the most safe because there were so few cars on the road that you never felt worried about being hit.

Service Road 

Service roads provides a parallel road to a main road, and can provide low stress biking as long as there is little traffic and low speeds on the service road. It is low stress for bikers because there are typically dead ends created on the service road so through traffic will prefer using the main road instead to get to where they need to be.

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We visited Zuidpoldersingel to witness a service road with bike connectors that acted as permeable barriers. The road was wider than the bike boulevard, and lacked lanes so travel with cars just depended on respecting each other’s space. This area was interesting as the service road connected to the bike highway, which acted as the permeable barrier for bikers to continuing riding, but for through traffic to stop.

Bicycle Highway

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Bicycle highways are an expensive facility due to the complete separation from other modes of transportation. The N470 bike highway, the one we visited, was a fourteen-foot wide, two way highway that allowed for bikers to travel easily and much faster than any other facility type. Scooters also use this highway and speed, so bikers must be aware that a scooter can go zipping by at any moment at a high speed. Riding this highway felt safe even with the scooters going fast, because we had more space to use so the scooters never really got too close to us, they typically stayed in the center of the highway when approaching a bike on the same side as them, the biker would hug the side, similar to what is done with an advisory lane. The bike highway has a fairly low traffic volume when out in the rural area, but increases as you approach the suburbs and the city of Delft.