Posts Tagged Tax Dollars Asleep
NYS DOT ground the asphalt surface and repaved Rt 376, dramatically improving the southern route to the rail trail along Maloney Drive.
Alas, the Japanese Knotweed continues to flourish:
I sent a note to their email contact and got the usual autoresponder message, but may have a side channel through the Dutchess County Planning Department to their Bicycle Coordinator. We shall see.
When we get to the end of Overocker Road, we occupy the entire left-and-straight lane, because we’re turning left onto Burnett Blvd and there’s no room for another vehicle beside us:
I’m towing a trailer of groceries.
On Burnett Blvd, we take the left side of the right lane (marked for left-and-right turns), because we’re turning left onto Rt 55, don’t want to get right-hooked by right-on-red traffic, and will be on the right side of the right lane of Rt 55 when we’re through the turn.
Without turn signals, it’s not clear whether the car following us from Overocker will turn left or right, but the driver is snuggling up next to Mary:
The driver’s window is sliding downward. Fortunately, we started moving before any comments were made. Perhaps he was going tell us we’re riding cool bikes?
Ah-ha! The driver is turning left and intending to pass me on the right while we’re in the intersection:
I’m moving rightward across the turning lane to end up on the right side of the Rt 55 lane, while not riding across the steel manhole cover at the car’s front wheel:
Mary doesn’t accelerate nearly as hard as I do; those pictures are one second apart.
I’m un-leaning from the turn into Rt 55, with the trailer still on my left and the driver accelerating toward me:
A close pass, but not too bad:
Most of the time, our rides aren’t this interesting, but I have plenty of examples showing how NYS DOT’s road designs ignore cyclists. The Burnett intersection signals still give us four seconds to clear the intersection.
I’m towing a trailer of groceries southbound on Rt 376 (a.k.a. Hooker Avenue in this section), intending to turn right onto Zack’s Way for a library stop.
T=0.00 s, car @ 26.4 mph, me @ 19.8 mph
The transverse cracks through the asphalt are a convenient 60 ft apart, with the last one 20 ft from the stop line, and the frame numbers tick along at 60 frame/sec, so you can easily compute distances, times, and speeds.
I’ll be turning right at the intersection. The light is green.
T= 2.07 s, car @ 26.7 mph, me @ 19.7 mph
Now I can see the car’s right turn signal, so this might not end well. I can’t jam on the brakes and avoid a collision by dumping the bike at speed; I’ll slide under the car in the middle of the turn.
T=4.15 s, 15.2 mph
I’m 20 feet from the stop line and, suddenly, the driver also realizes this might not end well.
What he doesn’t know is that my trajectory must use the traffic lane: the shoulder around the corner is deteriorated, with several potholes, and vanishes completely where the intersection paving ends.
The driver is turning wide, into the opposing traffic lane, but if I weren’t lining up for the turn, we’d be on a collision course. My line will take me just to the left of the seemingly tiny, but very deep, pothole just ahead.
Leaning hard into the turn, but our paths won’t cross.
I’m back upright in the middle of the lane, with the shoulder ending in a pothole to my right.
Remember, I’m wearing a fluorescent (“safety”) orange shirt, running a blinky light (which is also the rear camera), and towing a trailer with a fluttering flag: I am not inconspicuous!
In case there’s any question:
The rest of the ride proceeded without incident …
This might have had something to do with my email and followup from the Dutchess BPAC leader, all with absolutely no feedback:
To judge from the shattered stems lining the route, NYSDOT positioned an articulated rotary mower vertically and ran it along the guide rail, cutting the Japanese knotweed more-or-less flush with the rail, then cleaning up most of the debris. Absent glyphosate treatment, the bushes will return in full force next summer.
Even though the disintegrating pavement isn’t any more rideable than before, not having weeds brush our elbows and grab for our eyes makes for a much more comfortable riding experience; now, we’re set for the peak Halloween-to-Groundhog-Day riding season.
As NYSDOT says: “Maintaining roads goes far beyond the edge of the pavement.“
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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?
NYSDOT seems oddly reluctant to perform routine brush clearing along Rt 376 from Red Oaks Mill to the Hamlet of New Hackensack, despite the obvious hazard presented by the bushes:
If it were a pleasant back-country lane, rather than our main route to the Dutchess Rail Trail, perhaps having the greenery take over the shoulder wouldn’t matter quite so much:
Turns out the shoulder just north of Maloney has developed lethal cracks as the pavement subsides into the adjoining section of the Mighty Wappinger Creek. A bit more clearance would still be nice.
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?
T = 1.000 — Me, neither:
T = 1.500 — Ah!
T = 2.000 — I’m flinching into the right turn required for a sharp left turn:
Less than half a second reaction time: pretty good, sez me.
T = 2.833 — End of the flinch:
T = 3.000 — Now I can lean and turn left:
T = 3.267 — This better be far enough left:
T = 3.333 — The door isn’t moving:
T = 3.567 — So I’ll live to ride another day:
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…