Wednesday, August 3

An Answer

I emailed a fellow that works for the City of Golden and explained my concerns about the railroad crossing on 10th/44th where I crashed just over two weeks ago. He responded promptly, and while it was heartening to discover he also commutes by bike from Golden to Arvada, I was disappointed by his answer.

I won't go into a point by point analysis, but here is the gist of the letdown:

In my 10 years of riding over those tracks, I simply wait for my gap in eastbound traffic, cross the rails at a right angle, and continue on my way. To wait for my gap I will stop on the west side, in the bike lane, then proceed when it is clear so that I don’t have to remount on the east side of the tracks in the traffic lane.

In other words: there will never be an improvement to that crossing.

It's just not feasible to stop the bike and wait for a break in traffic. In the afternoons (and often in the mornings) there can be a long string of traffic, especially if the train has just passed through. And of course motorists make an effort to beat cyclists to the crossing so they don't have to be behind them on the narrow roadway to the east. It's rare to have a motorist slow down and give me room as I go across the steeply-angled-tracks-of-doom.

Because of the configuration a cyclist not only has to wait for a break in traffic going in the same direction, but also for a corresponding break in opposing traffic because to cross safely on a bike requires skirting the yellow line.

I'm not going to discount the guy's solution because he claims to have been riding there for 10 years, but I just don't see his method as a viable solution for the mass of riders that cross the tracks along 44th.

My solution will have to be to avoid the crossing, which increases my mileage and travel time. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect an overnight solution, but I was hoping for some avenue to dialogue. Oh well...

But not "oh well." I'm not going to give up.

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