Monday, July 13, 2009

Flats, Rest Day And BIG NEWS

Today is the first of two rest days for the Tour De France. Good for them, good for me.

Well, my mechanical skills remain suspect. I fixed Annie's flat last night and all seemed good, bu she flatted again just as we neared the Falls Bridge. Much further along the route this time and once again I flew home (I'm guiltily getting in some good speed riding as she waits) to bring back the car to pick her up. Of course, the verdict is not in: There could have been something wrong with the tube; there could be something wrong with the tire (I did check it for anything sharp inside but still it could just be past its prime. After all, I put on new tires last year and Annie is still on the originals.); or I could have pinched the tube somehow when I put it in. We may nver know, but I'm not sanguine about changing another flat. Anyway, this time it will go to the shop. There are a couple of other issues that need to be looked into anyway. Meanwhile I managed a shortened ride of 10.9 miles.

And now for the Big News this just in from the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia's website:

Coming Soon - Bike Lanes for Spruce and Pine
Our January 10th post - Dreaming of a bike friendly Spruce and Pine presented a long talked about 'what if' scenario, especially in light of the Bicycle Coalition's documentation that bicycling in Philadelphia doubled between 2005 and 2008. Thanks to the pro-bicycle Nutter Administration, the City of Philadelphia has adopted this vision and is planning to make it a reality. Not sometime in the future, but this summer!

Our understanding is that a one way buffered bike lane will be installed in both Spruce and Pine Streets along most of their lengths, made possible by the dropping of a travel lane. Clearly, when implemented, it will be the most significant bicycle friendly improvement in busy Center City since the opening of Schuylkill River Park Trail and street level crossings in 2003. It will also be the City's first (but we hope for additional ones north of Market St.) "river to river and east-west connector" set of bicycle friendly streets.

The reduction of travel (for motor vehicles) lanes may be a concern to some, however more road space does not necessarily mean smoother traffic flow. Delivery vehicles, utility trucks and double parkers already cause Spruce and Pine to function as weaving single lane streets. A great example of less is more would be the closing of Broadway in Manhattan, which actually improved north south traffic flow by eliminating Broadway's angled cross street interference.

6 foot bike lanes with a 3 foot buffers on Spruce and Pine Streets will finally make the concept of a Center City bikeway a reality.

The project, overseen by the Mayor's Office of Transportation and carried out by the Streets Department, will be a simple and inexpensive line painting operation; construction could begin as soon as August. Over the next 9 months or so the streets will be evaluated, and if the lanes are proven to be beneficial, then permanent striping will be added when the streets are repaved in 2010.

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