Posts Tagged Tax Dollars Asleep
It seems the DCW&WA SUV makes regular trips through the “No Motor Vehicles” bike access:
If it’s not them, then it’s somebody following their example.
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should … but, of course, the ordinary rules apply only to little people, not public servants.
Someone in the bike advocacy apparat once told me I’m the most cynical, bitter person they’d ever met, at least on the subject of getting along with public servants. As I see it, I came by my attitude honestly.
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:
The driver of HCX-1297 is having none of it:
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:
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.
My most recent description of not quite getting killed in front of the NYS DOT Region 8 office evidently did some good. Although I wasn’t informed directly, this happened:
The minimum green time was increased to 10 seconds.
Which is five more seconds more than before, allowing us to get nearly all the way through the intersection before crossing traffic on Rt 55 gets a green light.
As before, the numbers are video frames at 60 fps.
T=0.0 – Burnett signal goes green:
T=2.5 – The trailer ahead of us starts and we’re rolling:
T=8.0 – We reach the Burnett crosswalk. Note the car beside us isn’t making much headway, either:
T=11.93 – Burnett signal goes yellow overhead, so the green phase lasted 12 seconds:
T=16.16 – Rt 55 signal remains red, but will change within a second:
Seen from the rear view camera, the Rt 55 signal went green while we were still in the intersection:
You’ll note the cars on Rt 55 behind us weren’t visible three seconds earlier, so, as far as they can tell, we’re running the red.
Fortunately, we’re almost where we need to be:
The timing still isn’t safe, but after three years, five more seconds counts for a lot!
Some recent brush-clearing along our usual bicycle routes:
The bushes with oval leaves are Blackthorn, of which Wikipedia says “The shrub, with its savage thorns, is traditionally used […] to make a cattle-proof hedge.” They’re commonly found along the untamed border of Rt 376, as well as the rail trail.
It’s more effective than expecting my tax dollars to wake up and get to work …
The driver gave us plenty of room, which is always nice:
But then the SUV turned into the Maloney Rd entrance to the Dutchess Rail Trail:
Which was specifically designed to exclude motor vehicles:
Later, I was told it’s an “allowable access” for Water Authority vehicles and, in any event, because their SUV didn’t leave the biggest ruts and tracks, they think it’s all good:
The ramp joins the trail at an acute angle, so the SUV required some backing & filling to get around:
Then it’s an easy drive to the water meter about 2500 feet down the trail:
There’s an Official Vehicle Access gate one mile south of the Maloney ramp that’s about 3800 feet from the water meter. I’m told they use the Maloney ramp to reduce the distance they drive on the rail trail; evidently, destroying the entrance Just Doesn’t Matter.
I’m trying to develop an attitude between Zen and apathy, with just enough indifference to not care when somebody tells me how wonderful things will be in the future.
We’re waiting at the end of Burnett Blvd, with the signal red and the clock at T = -0.17 seconds (photo numbers in 1/60 second frames):
You can’t hear the car (barely visible) approaching on the far left, but we can.
T = 0.00 – We get a green light and the (more visible) car is accelerating hard:
T = 1.00 – The car reaches the crosswalk:
Note that the driver of the car to our right isn’t moving, either.
T = 2.03 – Car passes through intersection:
The view from above, showing the distance between those two positions is 100 feet:
Do the math: 100 ft / 1.03 s = 97 ft/s = 66 mph.
There’s a reason we don’t start moving instantly when a traffic signal turns green.
T = 3.17 – We start moving, as does the car to our right, with our signal still green:
T = 4.88 – Whoops, our signal turns yellow:
T = 9.28 – Our signal turns red:
The signal timing hasn’t changed over the years:
- Green = 4.88 s
- Yellow = 4.40 s
Elapsed time from green to red: 9.28 seconds. No problem if you’re a car, death if you’re a bike.
T = 10.42 – We’re pedaling hard in the intersection:
The white car to our far right started moving into the intersection about the time we did. If you’re going to say we shouldn’t run the light, you gotta deal with cars first, OK?
Note the car approaching from the right on the far side of Rt 55. That’s a 40 mph zone, the driver sees a green light, and we’re still in the intersection.
T = 12.50 – We’ve been moving for 9.33 s, which puts Mary directly in the path of the oncoming car:
T = 14.83 – The oncoming driver having spotted us and slowed down, we’re asymptotically approaching the right-hand lane of Rt 55, passing beyond the steel manhole cover:
If you plunk “burnett signal” into the search box at the upper right, you’ll find plenty of previous incidents along these lines.
Despite bringing this hazard to their attention many times (“We appreciate and share your interest in making our highway systems safe and functional for all users.“), NYS DOT obviously doesn’t care.
If any of their employees commuted to their office building (which overlooks this very intersection), perhaps they would care, but they don’t: we have yet to see a bicycle in the DOT’s token bike rack.
DOT says they’re in favor of Complete Streets, but, seven years on, it’s just another day on the only route between Arlington and the Overocker Trailhead of the Dutchess County Rail Trail.
For unknown reasons, NYS DOT milled away some of the newly laid asphalt north of Red Oaks Mill:
Then laid it down again:
As far as we can tell, there’s absolutely no difference, other than the opportunity for a huge longitudinal crack between the shoulder and the travel lane.
My guess: the contractor shorted them an inch of asphalt, got caught, and had to do it over again.
It’s only NYS Bike Route 9, so you can’t expect much in the way of bicycle-friendly design or build quality.