Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Improving riding safety on Ocean Parkway

Click here for photos of bike path issues. Click each photo to see a description in upper right hand corner===> Improving safety on Ocean Parkway

The following letter was sent to the Dept of Transportation:

On Ocean Parkway south there are four locations that I will call "access roads" (I'm sorry that I don't know the DOT name for them) leading to or from the Ocean Parkway service road. I have enclosed photos with captions taken from north and south of these "access roads."These are:

1. Bay Parkway (south of Avenue I) leading to Bay Pkwy
2. Belt Parkway West (south of Avenue Z) leading to Belt Parkway West
3. Lincoln HS (south of Belt Parkway) leading from service road
4. Neptune Avenue (south of Neptune Avenue) leading to service road

Here are my concerns about each of these locations and the current or missing signage:

1. Bay Parkway. 
The signage alerting drivers to yield to pedestrians crossing the access road is the best of all four locations. If it could be upgraded to yield to pedestrians and bicylists would be even better. Cars enter this road at a very fast rate of speed and pedestian/ bicyclists must be very alert since not all cars will turn into the road and many don't signal. There should be signage alerting the cyclists of the danger of cars entering the roadway but that may be a parks issue. rather than DOT since those type of signs must be installed on the mall.

2. Belt Parkway West
This is the most hazardous of all the locations. There are no signs on Ocean Parkway for approaching cars to yield to walkers/cyclists crossing that road. And cars and buses often speed into this access road as they proceed towards the service road after traveling very fast on Ocean Parkway. Many take the turn at a high rate of speed. A yield sign similar to the Bay Parkway sign is necessary. The only indication to alert riders/walkers is a "stop" decal on the ground right next to the roadway. Most cyclistsare not even aware of it and don't pay attention to cars turning into that lane.. And the only way southbound riders can assess the oncoming traffic is to turn their heads backwards to check if any cars are coming through. Again, this may be a parks issue. A small stop sign on the mall rather than a decal would be more effective.

3. Lincoln High School
The current sign on the service road shows icons but I believe both text and graphic characters (like the Bay Pkwy sign) should replace it. Traffic is not as heavy as the first two locations above except for city buses that have to return to the main road..

4. Neptune Avenue
This also needs the yield signage as above.

I do feel that DOT and Parks need to work together for the best solution to proper signage at these particular locations. 

There is a also great need for "risk" signage on the west mall bike path traveling north from the beach. There are no signs warning of risk for riders going north along the path as they cross the above locations. Of course, they can see the cars entering the access road but too often drivers don't signal their intentions and riders may already be entering the intersection as the cars veer off from the parkway into the road. Unfortunately, we have noticed too frequently how cyclists rarely stop fully at any of the intersections on Ocean Parkway They sort of pause at the red lights and move across when they believe the coast is clear. The left turning cars are suddenly confronted with a rider who was still on the bike path when the cars began making the left turn. This is a very dangerous situation at all intersections which puts driver and cyclist at grave risk..