Kansas City resident Todi Hughes says she’s bothered by recent changes at 43rd and Walnut streets.
“The extension of all four curbs into the street seems strange. … It certainly is a hindrance to the bicyclists. Why?”
The changes at the corner are part of a Main Street corridor initiative that aims not only to beautify and unify the area, but also to make it safer and more friendly for everyone, whether getting around by car, by bicycle or on foot.
The curb extensions are a “traffic calming” tool to reduce vehicle speeds into the neighborhood. In addition, the site helps capture and clean storm water before it hits the sewer system, said Diane Burnette, who heads the Main Street Corridor Development Corp./Main Street Community Improvement District.
Burnette also noted that it isn’t safe for bicyclists to ride in the curb or next to parked cars.
She referred the Dog to an article found on the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation website, which says the usable width of the street begins about three feet from parked cars. Otherwise the cyclist risks not being seen by drivers or getting whacked by a car door. If going faster than 5 mph, the article says, the cyclist cannot stop in time to avoid a car door.
“Then your only choices are to hit the door or to swerve out into the street — maybe into the path of a passing car.”
The article also admonishes cyclists not to move closer to the curb when there’s a gap in a line of parked cars.
“It’s much safer to ride in a predictable, straight line, where everyone can see you. Motorists don’t mind slowing down for a predictable, visible bicyclist nearly as much as they mind a bicyclist who swerves out in front of them.”
The Watchdog says pedestrian-friendly design is always appreciated by guys on leashes.
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