Eyes on the Street: Market and 10th Get New Bike Lane Design

streetcar_bike_lane_small.jpgPhotos: Matthew Roth

After experimenting with one configuration for soft-hit posts for a few weeks along Market Street approaching 10th Street, the MTA has changed the configuration to give cyclists more room in approaching the intersection. The new soft hit posts extend from just before the intersection at 11th Street and Market up to 10th Street in the eastbound direction and the lane has a larger painted buffer.

As could be expected with any new treatment, users weren’t exactly sure what they were supposed to do. A number of cars turned in to the bus, taxi, and commercial vehicle-only lane, only to adjust later by driving through the spaces in the soft hit posts, using the crosswalk to sneak in, or pushing their luck with the PCO stationed at 10th Street, who inevitably turned them anyway.

Many cyclists were confused as well, continuing into the right-hand turn lane before realizing a wide-open swath of pavement to the left that was designated for them (granted, a couple more "e"s are still needed). Most moved over between the posts before the intersection.

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One or two cyclists had a more harrowing experience with vehicles crossing at the choke point, though everyone I observed eventually worked it out.

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Up at the intersection of 10th and Market, a new marking on the street made the mandatory right turn even more obvious to drivers.

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Of course, if it wasn’t completely obvious to motorists that they couldn’t proceed, this PCO was happy to direct them onto 10th Street. He told me he had been working the mandatory turn intersections off-and-on since September, when the trials first started. While some motorists were confused, he said it was a great help to be able to park his Interceptor and to be flanked by the big "Lane Closed" sign.

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Given the very recent change, users should expect a transition period where the new configuration becomes more familiar. A traffic engineer rule of thumb is to wait at least thirty days before gauging the success of significant changes.

Some got it right away:

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Some obviously need to take another lap:

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