Search Results for: "Raymond Avenue"

Sharing the Road on Raymond Avenue

This time, I neglected to give my “We’re taking the lane!” signal, whereupon the driver behind us assumed we would all fit into the roundabout / traffic circle at Vassar’s Main Gate:

Raymond Ave - passing into Main Gate roundabout - rear camera - 2019-03-28
Raymond Ave – passing into Main Gate roundabout – rear camera – 2019-03-28

Raymond Avenue’s original “standards compliant” design has undergone some revision during the last few years:

Raymond Ave - passing into Main Gate roundabout - helmet 1 - 2019-03-28
Raymond Ave – passing into Main Gate roundabout – helmet 1 – 2019-03-28

The brace of black bollards centered on the median at the “pedestrian refuge” now replace the original quartet of illuminated, albeit non-reflective black, bollards, after errant drivers successively destroyed them.

There’s apparently no standard governing the placement or depth of drain grates along the right edge of the lane, nor the amount of gravel and trash allowed to accumulate to the right of the fog line:

Raymond Ave - passing into Main Gate roundabout - helmet 2 - 2019-03-28
Raymond Ave – passing into Main Gate roundabout – helmet 2 – 2019-03-28

Mary is just barely clearing the grate, I’m moving leftward to ensure I’m the first one to get hit. Fortunately, common sense broke out:

Raymond Ave - passing into Main Gate roundabout - helmet 3 - 2019-03-28
Raymond Ave – passing into Main Gate roundabout – helmet 3 – 2019-03-28

We got through the traffic circle without further contention and continued on our way.

Getting squeezed into a traffic circle happens often enough to show whatever NYS DOT uses as a “design standard” doesn’t include pedestrian or bicyclist safety as measurable quantities.

As we all know, anything you don’t measure doesn’t happen.

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4 Comments

Sharing the Road on Raymond Avenue: Squeeze Play

We’re riding home with groceries along Raymond Avenue, approaching the Vassar Main Gate roundabout, and, as is my custom, I’ve been pointing to the middle of the lane for maybe five seconds as I move leftward to take the lane:

Raymond Passing - Approach - 2018-10-04

Raymond Passing – Approach – 2018-10-04

The driver of HCX-1297 is having none of it:

Raymond Passing - Near Miss - 2018-10-04

Raymond Passing – Near Miss – 2018-10-04

The mirror passed maybe a foot away from my shoulder; I’d reeled my arm in as the front fender passed by.

All three traffic circles / roundabouts on Raymond neck the lane down and angle it rightward into the circle, which is supposed to “calm” traffic:

Raymond Passing - Roundabout - 2018-10-04

Raymond Passing – Roundabout – 2018-10-04

The design doesn’t allow much flinch room for cyclists and certainly isn’t calming for us.

The NYS engineer who designed the Raymond roundabouts said the whole thing was “standards compliant”, refused to go on a check ride with me to experience what it was like, and told me to detour through the Vassar campus if I felt endangered while sharing the road.

Obviously, NYS DOT personnel do not dogfood their “share the road” bicycle standards by riding bicycles.

 

2 Comments

Sharing the Road on Raymond Avenue: Passing into the Roundabout

We’re approaching the Vassar Main gate roundabout on Raymond Avenue. I’m signaling for the middle of the lane, which involves extending my left arm straight out and pointing downward:

Raymond Avenue - Passing at Main Gate 1 rear - 2017-08-31

Raymond Avenue – Passing at Main Gate 1 rear – 2017-08-31

Evidently, the driver figures he can get past us into the roundabout, missing my hand by maybe a foot:

Raymond Avenue - Passing at Main Gate 2 - 2017-08-31

Raymond Avenue – Passing at Main Gate 2 – 2017-08-31

Six seconds later, we’re all stopped, because the planter in the middle of the roundabout is designed to hide the oncoming traffic and make you slow down:

Raymond Avenue - Passing at Main Gate 1 - 2017-08-31

Raymond Avenue – Passing at Main Gate 1 – 2017-08-31

I’m getting more assertive about moving leftward before we enter the approach, but obviously I’m not quite far enough over.

So it goes.

3 Comments

Sharing the Road on Raymond Avenue: Impatience

We recently had one of those rare “Get the fuck off the road” incidents on Raymond. To set the stage, we’re on our way for groceries and I’m towing the trailer.

The rear view shows the second car behind us veering far to the right side of the lane, trying to see around the car ahead of him, with much blowing of horn:

Raymond Ave - Impatience - 2016-09-27 - 1

Raymond Ave – Impatience – 2016-09-27 – 1

The big GMC had been following us at a reasonable distance from the Juliet roundabout as we trundled along Raymond at about 12 mph, riding out of the Door Strike Zone for well and good reason.

The GMC passed us at the end of the median, which let the impatient driver zoom up next to us. You can’t hear the horn that will blow as he pulls up next to me:

Raymond Ave - Impatience - 2016-09-27 - 2

Raymond Ave – Impatience – 2016-09-27 – 2

Our usual route takes us into Davis St, so Mary’s already leaning into the right turn. I think he intended to go straight on Raymond for at least another block to the arterial, but he made an abrupt right turn into Davis St directly in front of me:

Raymond Ave - Impatience - 2016-09-27 - 3

Raymond Ave – Impatience – 2016-09-27 – 3

Perhaps that’s to Teach Us A Lesson after all the horn-blowing?

I always ride behind Mary and slightly to her left, so that if / when bad shit goes down, I can bring it down on me, rather than her. In this case, she was safely beyond what was about to happen:

Raymond Ave - Impatience - 2016-09-27 - 4

Raymond Ave – Impatience – 2016-09-27 – 4

The wide-angle lens is deceiving, as I’m less than three feet from the car and closing rapidly; I’m obviously not turning as sharply as he expected and I’m not slowing to avoid a collision. There’s a parked car just ahead of Mary, to her right, and her path is as far to the right as it can get.

He apparently realized that Teaching Me A Lesson would produce a nasty scuff on the side of his shiny black car and, perhaps having spotted the helmet camera, a nasty loss in the ensuing insurance squabble. He also wasn’t willing to swing wide, head-on into the oncoming lane of Davis, so he stopped dead in the intersection:

Raymond Ave - Impatience - 2016-09-27 - 5

Raymond Ave – Impatience – 2016-09-27 – 5

That’s fine with me.

I continued wide past the parked car on Davis. He accelerated hard, decided, once again, not to ram me from behind, turned abruptly left into the parking lot, and proceeded to the eastbound arterial:

Raymond Ave - Impatience - 2016-09-27 - 6

Raymond Ave – Impatience – 2016-09-27 – 6

I’m stopped in that picture to aim the helmet camera backwards over my left shoulder. The car behind the white one is parked near the intersection, just to my right in the previous picture.

As nearly as I could make out, he shouted, in addition to the usual obscenities, “Roads are for automobiles!”, a surprisingly articulate word under the circumstances. Evidently, he hadn’t noticed NYSDOT’s “Share the Road” signage helpfully posted on the far end of Raymond.

Elapsed time from the Juliet roundabout to the parking lot: 45 seconds.

Maybe he had a cake in the oven?

14 Comments

Bicycle-Hostile Design: Raymond Avenue

I generally ride somewhat further into the travel lane than some folks would prefer, but I have good reason for that. Here’s how bicycling along Raymond Avenue at 14 mph = 20 ft/s on a pleasant summer morning works out…

T = 0.000 — Notice anything out of the ordinary?

Raymond Ave - Door Near Miss - 2016-08-03 - 0018

Raymond Ave – Door Near Miss – 2016-08-03 – 0018

T = 1.000 — Me, neither:

Raymond Ave - Door Near Miss - 2016-08-03 - 0078

Raymond Ave – Door Near Miss – 2016-08-03 – 0078

T = 1.500 — Ah!

Raymond Ave - Door Near Miss - 2016-08-03 - 0108

Raymond Ave – Door Near Miss – 2016-08-03 – 0108

T = 2.000 — I’m flinching into the right turn required for a sharp left turn:

Raymond Ave - Door Near Miss - 2016-08-03 - 0138

Raymond Ave – Door Near Miss – 2016-08-03 – 0138

Less than half a second reaction time: pretty good, sez me.

T = 2.833 — End of the flinch:

Raymond Ave - Door Near Miss - 2016-08-03 - 0183

Raymond Ave – Door Near Miss – 2016-08-03 – 0183

T = 3.000 — Now I can lean and turn left:

Raymond Ave - Door Near Miss - 2016-08-03 - 0198

Raymond Ave – Door Near Miss – 2016-08-03 – 0198

T = 3.267 — This better be far enough left:

Raymond Ave - Door Near Miss - 2016-08-03 - 0214

Raymond Ave – Door Near Miss – 2016-08-03 – 0214

T = 3.333 — The door isn’t moving:

Raymond Ave - Door Near Miss - 2016-08-03 - 0218

Raymond Ave – Door Near Miss – 2016-08-03 – 0218

T = 3.567 — So I’ll live to ride another day:

Raymond Ave - Door Near Miss - 2016-08-03 - 0232

Raymond Ave – Door Near Miss – 2016-08-03 – 0232

I carry a spectacular scar from slashing my arm on a frameless car window, back in my college days: the driver flipped the door open as I passed his gas cap at a good clip. The collision wrecked the window, the door, and my bike, but didn’t break my arm, sever any nerves, or cut any arteries. I did discover human fatty tissue, neatly scooped from under my arm onto the window, is yellowish, which wasn’t something I needed to know.

Searching for Raymond Avenue will bring up other examples of bicycle-hostile features along this stretch of NYSDOT’s trendy, traffic-calmed design…

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11 Comments

Sharing the Road on Raymond Avenue: Part 3

This truck driver gave us as much room as he possibly could, given the cramped conditions on Raymond Avenue:

Raymond Ave - 2015-07-17 - Truck Clearance 1

Raymond Ave – 2015-07-17 – Truck Clearance 1

Notice the street lamp in view directly above the cab? Keep that in mind.

In order to give us that much clearance, he had to put the left wheels up on the median:

Raymond Ave - 2015-07-17 - Truck Clearance 2

Raymond Ave – 2015-07-17 – Truck Clearance 2

That’s exactly what the NYSDOT engineer who designed Raymond Avenue explained to me drivers should do. Driving on the median is the intent of the Raymond Avenue layout.

FWIW, the “brick paver” median surface is actually stamped asphalt (or some thermoplastic material) painted brick red. It has marginal durability; the same material in the rotary islands began disintegrating after a few months, has accumulated many non-textured patches, and was obviously not intended to support routine travel.

After that truck passed, the FedEx driver also gave us plenty of clearance, also with left wheels on the median:

Raymond Ave - 2015-07-17 - Truck Clearance 3

Raymond Ave – 2015-07-17 – Truck Clearance 3

Notice the minimal clearance between that lamp post and the protruding driver-side mirror? You’re supposed to drive on the median to avoid cyclists, while simultaneously not colliding with a zero-clearance black lamp post.

Those lamp posts replaced the original bollards bracketing the crosswalk (just ahead of Mary in the first picture). Those bollards stood directly in the pseudo-brick area on both sides of the travel lane, with zero clearance from the inclined curb and roughly in line with those truck headlights: anyone driving up on the median at the crossing to avoid a cyclist would mow down a nonreflective black bollard.

And, indeed, mowed down they were.

A few years ago, NYSDOT removed the bollards from the “pedestrian refuges” (that’s their term for the crosswalk median area) and repositioned the remainder in the center of the median, presumably to protect them from drivers.

Share the road, that we do…

3 Comments

Sharing The Road on Raymond Avenue: Part 2

A few days after I didn’t get sideswiped at the Vassar Main Entrance Rotary, we were returning from errands. Traffic is light, but Raymond Avenue doesn’t provide much clearance. This orange car is about as far away as one can expect:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 0

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 0

Two seconds later, however, there’s a door opening ahead of Mary (clicky for more dots):

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 1

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 1

I’m shouting “DOOR! DOOR! DOOR!” in the hopes that the driver won’t step directly in front of Mary, but most likely the orange car whooshing by three feet away made more difference:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 2

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 2

Fortunately, there wasn’t any overtaking traffic and, during the four seconds after the orange car passed us, we could move to the left:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 3

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 3

The driver’s body language suggested that, until we passed her, she remained oblivious to the outside world and, in fact, she was probably annoyed that two cyclists came that close to her.

“Sharing the road” requires two parties. Raymond Avenue’s design doesn’t encourage motorists to share the road and certainly doesn’t provide a fair playing field for the most unprotected party in the transaction.

Broken by design, I’d call Raymond Avenue, and that’s pretty much what NYSDOT’s original planning documents admit.

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4 Comments