It seems to me that high speed train travel is overrated. If time spent traveling is thought of as wasted time, then yes, speed is important. The longer the distance the more important speed becomes.
But if time spent traveling is useful then speed isn't as important. Wireless internet would be useful for business as well as recreational travelers. Other ways to make the train user friendly could mitigate the need for speed.
Speed costs, not only in the infrastructure to support it, but also in the power required to propel the train.
90 seems plenty fast. Of course, any top speed is not the average speed, which will be a function of how many stops the train makes.
Will Alphin's depiction of what happens is simply wrong. Yes, motorists initially center within the apparent clear space, but when passing a bicyclist within the shared lane the motorist will move over and/or slow down. The sharing creates ambiguity and thus caution. The more prominent the bicyclist makes himself, the more induced caution exhibited.
In contrast, if motorists' space is clearly defined and devoid of bicyclists, then the motorist is enabled to go faster with no regard for the bicycle user. The passing will be closer and faster. Further, the motorist may be subject to inattention blindness and "not see" the irrelevant bicyclist.
"So the new scheme, suggested by the state Department of Transportation, is not to mark the bike lanes. Simply stripe the car lanes and let the bicyclists figure out where to ride within the remaining 5-foot area."
So basically the idea is to effectively stripe a door zone "bike lane" but not to mark it as a bike lane. This way, when the bicyclist rides in the door zone space (because he is forced to by hostile motorists who object to his presence in the "car lane") and does a face plant into the door or is deflected into motor traffic and is killed, the DOT can absolve itself of any liability for poor design. Moreover, the "car lane" and faux bike lane result in a safe and extra convenient passage for motorists who have a buffer from the doors of parked cars and have those pesky bicyclists sequestered out of their way. Perfect!
The idea of placing the shared-use symbol (sharrow) in the door zone is similarly foolish. That is little more than another faux bike lane in the door zone.
No bicyclist should trust the sharrow because they are often misplaced in dangerous locations. See this page for how to properly place the symbol:
"Take the Lane" sounds like stealing something you aren't entitled to. Use the full lane, or something similar is less likely to evoke ire.
Like motorcyclists, bicycle drivers are narrow vehicle operators that must manage their lane space. The default minimum tracking should be four feet left of the edge of usable surface (no on-street parking). This results in a number of positive outcomes. Track further left under certain conditions, such as when high speed descending.
Mayor Chilton claims that Estes Drive Extension is dangerous for bicyclists. This is simply conjecture and superstition and is not supported by collision statistics. I've ridden it regularly for 21 years. Further, the 3 foot shoulders that he has worked so hard to have placed are not bicycle facilities, and are far worse than nothing at all. Shoulders are for preventing run-off-road type collisions, not for operating on. What is the legal status and support for a bicycle driver operating on the non-travel portion of the road?
The narrow shoulders have the effect of removing bicycle drivers from the good part of the road, the travel lane, and placing them on the worst part of the road. By striping a narrow area that dupes bicyclists into riding on it, and dupes motorists into thinking they can speed by without moving over or slowing down, and enables that, a hazard is created.
There are good reasons actual bicycle lanes are a MINIMUM of 4 feet wide with the adjacent standard lane 12 feet wide according to published NCDOT guidelines. Having a narrow 10 foot lane next to a 3 ft shoulder is asking for trouble, especially when it is placed on a steep descent generating high bicyclist speed. The busy driveway at Estes Apartments is a serious hazard to shoulder riding bicyclists who will be pinned in a vulnerable location to emerging vehicles, and may be obscured by left adjacent motor vehicles to those oncoming and turning left into the apartments.
On a related note, Carrboro is rife with substandard width bike lanes, and all of its bike lanes are constantly filled with debris because they are never cleaned. A bike lane on West Popular is as narrow as 1 foot, so it's not surprising that Mr. Chilton thinks 3 ft shoulders are "not perfect."
Bike lanes are merely formerly wide lanes that have been striped to reduce bicyclists' space to that area. Experienced bicycle drivers call them "Bike Reservations." They are more aptly described as benefiting motorists by sequestering bicycle drivers out of the way. The create a caste system. Three foot shoulders next to narrow travel narrow lanes are not bicycle facilities and should be avoided, as they are far more dangerous than nothing at all.
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