Thanks to the city of Nampa this has been a good year for new safety enhancements in our city, both for cycling and walking.
The road maintenance each year includes following the Bicycle and Pedestrian plan to add signage and lanes wherever possible. The engineering staff consults with your Nampa Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee several times during the year to address issues with following the plans. Sometimes we are limited, for example when there is not enough width to include bike lanes or not enough funding to follow through with a project, all of that must be taken into account. The city engineering staff goes out of their way to include whatever they can!
Pedestrian signaled crosswalks are installed where the engineering department finds safety problems such as at schools, pathway crossings or very busy streets crossings. The busiest locations get HAWK* crossings while smaller streets with less traffic may be eligible for simpler (and much less expensive) RFB* crossings. These plans are also presented to the NBPAC committee for our input.
Pathways are a whole different ball game! Two things have to come together to extend our pathway system, funding and the right of way (ROW). Often property owners don’t realize that
having a pathway behind them increases the value of their home and is a desirable asset, not an invitation for theft or mischief. The Idaho legislature recently took away the use of eminent domain (only for pathways!) which was rarely used but was a radical option so we must depend on the generosity of property owners or have the ability to purchase the ROW. Funding is mostly procured for the pathway itself via various grants perhaps with matching city funds.
Here are the highlights of what’s been added this year.
2016 PEDESTRIAN PROJECTS COMPLETED
*(RFB: Rapid Flashing Beacon, HAWK: High-Intensity Activated crossWalK beacon)
- RFB crossing installed at Canterbury Lane & 11th Avenue North to BirchElementary. Solar school zone flashers also installed.
- RFB crossing installed on 6th Street North at Idaho Arts Charter Elementary School.
- HAWK pedestrian signal at Amity Avenue & Chestnut Street.
- RFB crossing at Greenhurst Road & Stoddard Pathway. Includes improved parking lot. Estimated completion date: Fall 2016.
- RFB crossing on Greenhurst Road at Skyview High School. Estimated completion date: Fall 2016.
CYCLING ENHANCEMENTS THIS YEAR
- Birch – More bike lanes, Sharrows and signage to complete the stretch between Northside and Idaho Center Blvd.
- East Karcher – Sharrows and signage between Madison and Franklin
- 3rd- 4th Ave N – Sharrows between 6th St. N and Franklin
- 1st St N – Sharrows and signage between 11th Ave N and Railroad.
- 11 North Extension – Sharrows, bike lanes & signage from just south of the freeway overpass to Cherry.
- 16th – Sharrows and signage from the overpass bike lanes to Garrity.
- 6th St N – Sharrows and signage from 16th Ave N to Northside
- Lloyd Park Pathway -Between the train depot and 15 Ave S. Part of our downtown access route was completed. Will be extended to 17th Ave N next year!
- Edwards Pathway – The first section was opened between Middleton/ Iowa (behind the gas station) to just past S. Herron Dr.
We want to thank Mayor Henry and the city council for their concern with the safety of our Nampa pedestrians and cyclists. Also a special thanks goes out to Engineering project manager Jeff Barnes for making this all a reality and for promptly addressing any safety concerns that may arise during the year.
The Bike/ Walk Nampa volunteers and members of the Nampa Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee are working for you!
You’ll start to see these signs around town now in place of some of the Share the Road signs courtesy of our Nampa engineering department and its promotion by your fellow cyclists at Bike/Walk Nampa (You CAN make a difference!).
With the increase in bike traffic on our nation’s roadways the last few years it has become increasingly apparent that the “Share the Road” sign just doesn’t get the message across to motorists. In fact, the laws clearly indicate that if the lane isn’t wide enough for a bicycle to share with a car then the bike should take control of the lane for safety purposes and maximum visibility.
AASHTO (The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) guidelines, which cities use as a standard, classifies a “shareable” travel lane as not less that 14 ft wide, most lanes are not that wide!
Here’s a paragraph on taking control of the lane from Idaho Street Smarts, a publication available from ITD-
“It may seem dangerous to make a motorist slow for you, but it’s not. The usual reason that bicyclists feel unsafe on narrow roads is that they do not take control of the situation. Remember, the drivers behind you don’t have room to pass you safely anyway. If you ride all the way over at the right, you’re inviting them to pass you where the road is too narrow and, too often, you will get squeezed off the road. If you show clearly that it’s not safe for drivers to pass you, they’re unlikely to try.
On a road with two or more narrow lanes in your direction- like many city streets- you should ride in the middle of the right lane at all times. You need to send the message to drivers to move to the passing lane to pass you.”
No matter what, you should never “hug the gutter” when riding, it gives you no escape distance and someone’s going to squeeze you off the road or worse. Ride out in the road where it’s smoother and free of trash, give yourself room to maneuver around obstacles and potholes. When coming up on an intersection, move out farther into the road to be more visible to cars entering from a side street.
Always wear bright clothing and many of us also use a blinking red light on the rear of the bicycle even during the day. Be seen!
Idaho Bicycle Code-
49-717. POSITION ON HIGHWAY.
(1) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable* to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
(b) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(c) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge.
(2) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way roadway with two (2) or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable*.