The Stanton Street Bike Lane

To accommodate the trolley running down the middle of Stanton Street, the City choked it down to one lane each direction. To make us think that we were getting a feature instead of a flaw, the City also introduced a two-way bike lane.

People who ride bikes know that Stanton Street is the steepest of all accesses to the mesa. No one rides up Stanton Street from Rio Grande to Schuster unless they’re doing hill training.

To further dissuade cyclists from commuting on Stanton Street, the City has installed sawhorses across the bike lanes. If you ask City employees about it, they mumble something about the traffic lights.

Currently, if you want to ride your bike on Stanton, every block you have to pull out into the traffic lane to negotiate those saw horses.

I suspect that the real reason that those saw horses block full access to the bike lanes is because they want to use the Grand Opening of the bike lanes as a political stunt before the city elections in November. Kind of like the way the immediate past representative for District 8 delayed the opening of the Country Club Road improvements till she could get her photo op.

Those political shenanigans will fail if some cyclist gets hit by a car riding around the saw horses.

Anybody in?

7 comments

  1. People walked on the streets because of not having sidewalks. They got sidewalks, then they rode bikes in the streets because of no bike lanes. So they got bike lanes, there are many open bike lanes,

    So now we see walkers and bikes avoid the sidewalks and bike lanes and walking on the streets !

    I am waiting to see a 350 lbs person on a hill in 100 degree weather riding a bike. ERs will be very busy.

  2. Umm…. technically if a traffic control sign says that it’s closed then it is closed. They haven’t turned on the fancy new bike specific traffic signals which are kind of important since bike traffic will be going “backwards” from what it would otherwise be doing (i.e. going the same way as the rest of the traffic). I was driving down Stanton earlier this week and I saw them testing the traffic signals and one of the new ones actually indicates no right turn. I’m not entirely sure how it’s meant to work but it seems clear that they want to keep cars from turning into the path of cyclists at the intersections with lights. If they haven’t gotten the new timing patterns approved or if all the equipment isn’t in place and functional then I’m glad they haven’t opened the new bike lanes (which I think will cause all sorts of chaos when they do open).

    Basically while I’m sure that some shenanigans go on at City Hall, I’m pretty sure none of them are quite that pointless and traffic signals does seem like a legitimate reason not to open the bike lanes yet (remember it’s the first one of these in the City so I’m sure it has lots of bugs to be worked out).

    1. Mr. Geek, obviously you haven’t spent much time on a bicycle in an urban setting. Cyclists know that riding on the streets is dangerous. I always pretend that cars are trying to hit me. And I ride accordingly.

      If two-way bike lanes are as inherently dangerous as you seem to think, then signals can’t justify them.

      You think pushing cyclists into the narrowed Stanton Street lanes is safer than removing the sawhorses?

      Mr. Geek, with all due respect, and maybe a little extra, you are an unrepentant apologist for city government. I suspect you don’t believe everything you say, but you feel obliged to argue your team’s side.

      Regardless of the evidence.

      1. I am not an unrepentant apologist for the City. I just don’t happen to see nonsensical conspiracy theories behind every action or inaction that the City undertakes. Your reasoning behind this is pretty much exactly why I won’t vote for you for City rep. I don’t think our politics are as far apart as you might think, but posts like this make me incredibly wary of having you in on council deciding what to spend money on.

        I happen to know a fair bit about road and bike lane design and the liability that goes with these things and I can confidently say that the City can’t open the bike lanes until they are finished. If they opened them right now then cyclists riding north on Stanton could easily end up facing oncoming traffic without any signalized protection. Considering the fact that many cyclists have been known to run red lights and stop signs if they think it is safe to say that’s a huge potential liability issue while it is incomplete. I’m not judging cyclicsts for that, but how stupid would it be for the City to knowingly open the lanes when we know what happens and then just waiting for someone to get wiped out because a car turned in front of them?

        I also happen to have a good bit of experience riding bikes and I don’t think the bike lanes are inherently unsafe or badly designed (I really don’t see how you came to the conclusion that I think they are unsafe), but I suspect that this first one is going to be a huge mess because of how people in El Paso ride their bikes and how they drive. I don’t think the community is ready for something like this. Given how much the damn thing cost I hope I’m wrong, but based on what I’ve seen I have a bad feeling that this won’t work because people are just too inattentive. I’ve already seen at least half a dozen people drive in the bike lane at the intersection of Stanton and Baltimore despite all the green paint and street markings that are in place. Why would I assume that these same people will do any better when it comes to the rest of the Stanton bike lane area? Similarly I constantly see cyclists blithely going the wrong way up Kansas or down Campbell up near Schuster without giving a shit when they put themselves in front of vehicles that might not be expecting to see someone going the wrong way on those streets.

        I ride bikes for fun and I work in the engineering field so I happen to have a pretty decent grasp of this issue and you are wrong. The City needs to finish the bike lanes complete with the signals and signs that need to be there before they open it for use. Personally I don’t see why they don’t just hurry up and finish it, but I’ve actually seen them working on it just a few days ago so I know they aren’t done yet and I won’t fault them for making sure they get this right. The people around here are likely to disregard a lot of that stuff but I still think it’s better that Streets puts everything in place so people at least have some idea of how they should be using those things (even if I suspect some folks will ignore the traffic control).

        1. You’re not an engineer. You’re a lawyer. And no cyclist says they “ride bikes for fun.” What is that? Twice a year?

          Man, we were getting along so good, and then you start spouting drivel.

  3. I was wondering about that yesterday. As well as having a bike lane that most people aren’t going to try riding, they’re also making no right turns on streets crossing Stanton. How is THIS going to affect the traffic in the area since people using Stanton will have to take another street to get to their homes. This boondoggle also means that people living on Stanton now have nowhere to park their cars. Be nice if we had intelligent people running city departments.

  4. Why didn’t they put the bike lane on campbell and redirect it at schuster or hell down brown . . . oh wait… I will be avoiding stanton st. bike lane like the plague once it’s open. I might ride the section in front of crazy cat cuz rob says he’s going to keep it clean of debris. BTW how are they going to keep that lane free of debris with those stupid “candlestick” delineators, an oreck?

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