Because Davis pioneered the bike lane and other bicycle facilities in this country, it is not surprising that some "experiments" were less successful than others. One such example was the construction of "protected" bike lanes where motor vehicle and bicycle traffic was separated by a raised "buffer" or curbing. In some cases, the bike lane was established between the parking shoulder and the curb line (i.e. cars were parked on the left of the bike traffic lane). Needless to say, any "benefits" of such facilities were soon found to be outweighed by the many hazards created for their users.
Most such well intended, but ill-fated designs were phased out long ago. However, some facility design decisions made decades ago have not been easy to remedy. The most pervasive example in Davis is the two-way bike path immediately adjacent to a roadway. Particularly problematic are single two-way paths located on only one side of the adjacent road.
The problems associated with these designs have been described in any number of publications, and they are well illustrated at several locations in Davis. In spite of this documentation, some residents, city officials, and developers remain quite vocal in advocating such facilities when new construction is being planned and designed.
The city and campus have attempted a variety of mitigation strategies to reduce the hazards or inefficiencies associated with these side paths, but many observers believe that continuing to build such facilities is wasteful at best.
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The League of American Bicyclists, 1612 K Street NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20006-2802
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