Rt 376 at Red Oaks Mill: Semitrailer Squeeze Play

We’re southbound on NYS Rt 376, approaching the Wappinger Creek bridge at mile marker 1102, avoiding the overgrowth coming through the guide rail:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 - Royal Semi Squeeze - 2020-07-15 - 01
Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 – Royal Semi Squeeze – 2020-07-15 – 01

Avoiding the pothole growing across the right wheel track:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 - Royal Semi Squeeze - 2020-07-15 - 02
Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 – Royal Semi Squeeze – 2020-07-15 – 02

Normally, I ride to the left of that pothole, down the middle of the lane, so it’s easier to avoid the next section of overgrowth through the guide rail:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 - Royal Semi Squeeze - 2020-07-15 - 03
Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 – Royal Semi Squeeze – 2020-07-15 – 03

This time, we’re as far to the right as we can get, because we’re being overtaken by a semitrailer trash hauler:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 - Royal Semi Squeeze - 2020-07-15 - 04
Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 – Royal Semi Squeeze – 2020-07-15 – 04

Which is proceeding as far to the left as the driver can possibly squeeze it:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 - Royal Semi Squeeze - 2020-07-15 - 05
Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 – Royal Semi Squeeze – 2020-07-15 – 05

Half a lane is more than we sometimes get:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 - Royal Semi Squeeze - 2020-07-15 - 06
Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 – Royal Semi Squeeze – 2020-07-15 – 06

Away he goes:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 - Royal Semi Squeeze - 2020-07-15 - 07
Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 – Royal Semi Squeeze – 2020-07-15 – 07

We always try to be friendly, because we’re sure to meet again some day:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 - Royal Semi Squeeze - 2020-07-15 - 08
Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 – Royal Semi Squeeze – 2020-07-15 – 08

Mary says he waved back, so it’s all good.

Elapsed time: about twelve seconds.

For whatever it’s worth, eight years ago, NYS DOT Region 8 South Dutchess Residency did a much better job of clearing the overgrowth along Rt 376:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 - Royal Semi Squeeze - Google StreetView 2012-04
Rt 376 SB Marker 1102 – Royal Semi Squeeze – Google StreetView 2012-04

That was then, this is now.

Sharing the Road on NYS Bike Route 9: Squeeze Play

I’m southbound on Rt 376, a.k.a. NYS Bike Route 9, riding inches to the right of the fog line on the only sliver of navigable asphalt remaining after NYS DOT applied homeopathic scab patches along this section:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1110 - Near Miss - oncoming bicyclist and wide trailer - 2020-07-07
Rt 376 SB Marker 1110 – Near Miss – oncoming bicyclist and wide trailer – 2020-07-07

On the northbound side, another cyclist rides the sliver of pavement between the fog line and the gravel ridge built up from the deteriorating patches, being overtaken by a huge pickup towing a full-width quad-wheel trailer full of lawn maintenance equipment. The driver has eased about as far toward the yellow line as possible to give the cyclist barely enough clearance:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1110 - Near Miss - oncoming trailer - 2020-07-07
Rt 376 SB Marker 1110 – Near Miss – oncoming trailer – 2020-07-07

I am not “taking the lane”, because I’m towing a trailer of groceries and there’s always overtaking traffic coming around the blind curve behind me:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1110 - Near Miss - horn - 2020-07-07
Rt 376 SB Marker 1110 – Near Miss – horn – 2020-07-07

You can’t hear the car’s horn, but it’s right in my ear.

The white patches beside and behind the trailer are the fog line paint on the original asphalt surface showing through the disintegrating scab patch. Cyclists cannot ride safely on broken pavement with half-inch discontinuities, which is why I’m to the right of the fog line, mostly off the edge of the patch. If I “took the lane” as expected by NYS DOT, I would be riding about two feet into the lane, in line with the car’s right headlight, to avoid the wheel-grabbing longitudinal fissures showing through the scab patch.

Elapsed time: 10 seconds.

Just another day of bicycling on NYS Bike Route 9, one of the roads NYS DOT makes “safe and functional for all users.”

Traffic Signal Timing: Vassar Rd at Rt 9

Our southbound bicycling routes take us through the intersection where Vassar Rd becomes NY Rt 9D at NY Rt 9. This is a large intersection:

Rt 9 Vassar Rd SB - distances
Rt 9 Vassar Rd SB – distances

It’s worth noting that Rt 9D and Vassar Rd are also NYS Bicycle Rt 9., so bicycle traffic is expected, if not precisely welcomed.

We’re traveling south on Vassar Rd, stopped in the right-hand lane (in the upper right of the picture). Eventually, the signal turns green:

Vassar Rd at Rt 9 - Green signal - 2020-06-21
Vassar Rd at Rt 9 – Green signal – 2020-06-21

The traffic to our left starts moving, we start pedaling, and ten seconds later the signal turns yellow:

Vassar Rd at Rt 9 - Yellow signal at 10 sec - 2020-06-21
Vassar Rd at Rt 9 – Yellow signal at 10 sec – 2020-06-21

The traffic hasn’t cleared the intersection, either, but they’re moving faster than we are. The first distance marker on the map shows we’ve traveled 85 feet at an average 5.8 mph from a standing start.

After another five seconds, we’ve traveled 80 more feet (at 11 mph!), almost the far side of the intersection. Which is a good thing, because the signals on Rt 9 have already turned green and vehicles are accelerating toward us.

There’s no point in reporting this to NYS DOT, because they don’t care and definitely won’t adjust the signal timing just for bicycles.

Traffic Signal Timing: Burnett Blvd at Rt 55

Nothing has changed since NYS DOT added another five seconds to the green phase on Burnett Blvd in front of their Region 8 HQ building to give bicyclists a generous ten seconds to cross six lanes of traffic from a standing start.

The Subaru WRX next to us will have no trouble clearing the intersection:

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 - Green signal - 2020-06-16
Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 – Green signal – 2020-06-16

Ten seconds later, he’s far down the road (barely visible under the median signage) and I’m just lining up with the third traffic lane:

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 - Yellow signal - 10 sec - 2020-06-16
Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 – Yellow signal – 10 sec – 2020-06-16

Four seconds later, traffic on Rt 55 gets a green signal and I’m almost lined up on the far side:

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 - Rt 55 Green signal - 2020-06-16
Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 – Rt 55 Green signal – 2020-06-16

You’d think with all the emphasis on bicycling these days, NYS DOT would be receptive to change, but … there’s a reason I’m such a bitter, cynical person on that subject.

Monthly Image: Rt 376 Overgrowth Clearing

NYS DOT cleared the Japanese Knotweed from the shoulder along Rt 376 north of Maloney last year:

The last image in that gallery is from the end of April; you can see the weeds just starting to grow under the guide rail.

Japanese Knotweed, being basically a weed on crystal meth, becomes a lush hedge from a standing start in five weeks:

Knowing how NYS DOT’s Region 8 Dutchess South Residency’s brush trimming has(n’t) worked in previous years, this took us by surprise:

Rt 376 Marker 1095 - 2020-06-10
Rt 376 Marker 1095 – 2020-06-10

Because chopping Japanese Knotweed to the ground doesn’t actually discourage it, we hope they’re scheduled to return every couple of months …

Frozen Fire Hydrant, One Year On

It seems reporting a frozen hydrant to the local fire company didn’t produce any meaningful action:

Frozen hydrant - Sheldon at Rt 376
Frozen hydrant – Sheldon at Rt 376

We didn’t have any fires in the neighborhood where it might have been a problem, but I’ll try the water department this year …

Oddly, the water department repainted most of the fire hydrants along most of the roads last year. This one apparently didn’t qualify, for whatever reason, despite being only slightly off Rt 376 on Sheldon:

Frozen hydrant - Sheldon at Rt 376 - Google Streetview
Frozen hydrant – Sheldon at Rt 376 – Google Streetview

When it’s not frozen, it’s not obvious …

Rt 376: Clearcut From Red Oaks Mill to Maloney Rd

NYS DOT Region 8 Dutchess South recently did enough over-the-rail clearcutting to make Rt 376 bicycle-able from Red Oaks Mill to Maloney Rd!

To the best of our memories and judging from the tree stumps along the rail, it’s been a decade since DOT last clearcut that section; the Japanese Knotweed has definitely taken over since then.

Here’s what the Knotweed looked like in June, just north of Maloney Rd, after a trimming in May:

Rt 376 at Maloney - knotweed overgrowth - 2019-06-07
Rt 376 at Maloney – knotweed overgrowth – 2019-06-07

Now, it’s not nearly so snug out there:

Rt 376 Clearcut - 20 - 2019-08-29
Rt 376 Clearcut – 20 – 2019-08-29

Here’s a slide show starting with Dutchess North’s routine grass mowing in Red Oaks Mill and ending with Dutchess South’s clearcut just north of Maloney Rd:

The Wappinger Creek bridge seems to be a no man’s land between the two Residencies, but we can generally take the lane:

Rt 376 Clearcut - 03 - 2019-08-29
Rt 376 Clearcut – 03 – 2019-08-29

We hope Dutchess South’s over-the-rail maintenance will become an annual event and prevent the brush from taking over again.