Posts Tagged Tax Dollars Asleep
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:
Evidently, the driver figures he can get past us into the roundabout, missing my hand by maybe a foot:
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:
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.
A silver Honda
Accord Civic (NY HLS-3678) passed me on Raymond, just before the Vassar Main Gate roundabout, with about as much clearance as one might expect:
I noodled along Raymond at 18 mph and the car pulled ahead at the usual 30 to 40 mph. Just after the College Avenue roundabout, the car pulled off to the right, as if to park, but continued rolling slowly and I gave it plenty of clearance:
The car immediately pulled out into the lane, directly in front of the Escalade that’s been following me at a courteous distance since the Main Gate roundabout, and pulled up close behind me, which immediately put me at DEFCON 3. Basically, drivers get exactly one bite at my apple; anyone who deliberately passes me a second time is likely up to no good.
As always, I signal and take the lane going into the Collegeview Avenue roundabout, still at 18-ish mph, whereupon the driver lays on the horn rather heavily. Apparently, he intended to accelerate past me into the roundabout, but I got in the way:
I’m now cranking 20 mph. A block later, the car passes me, rather closely this time:
Maybe this is a friendly wave, but the horn thing suggests otherwise and, in any event, it’s hard to tell in real time running:
At this point, I presume he’s gesturing me to GTFO the road:
And we part company:
Raymond Avenue would be a lot more bicycle-friendly without some of the drivers …
Well, bypass pruning shears, anyway …
Although NYSDOT did cut back the Japanese Knotweed along Rt 376 north of Maloney Rd, perhaps because they were repaving that section, the overgrowth south of Red Oaks Mill continues unabated:
I’ve been carrying shears to deal with the most egregious offenses, because some sport inch-long thorns:
Unlike the NYSDOT Wappingers (a.k.a. Dutchess South) Residency , their Poughkeepsie (a.k.a. Dutchess North) Residency has no compunction about defoliation around road signs:
And guide rails:
So, obviously, different strokes for different Residencies.
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.“