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Roundup 1-10-2020

January 9, 2020



— North Tampa BRT


— “BRT” Plan

— Virgin Trains

— Streetcar

— Flexi Lanes, Cont.

Economy – What’s Happening

— Known Knowns

— Looking In

Downtown – Encore Keeps Being Encore

Bayshore – We Will See

Downtown – X

Downtown/Channel District/USF – It Opens

Moffitt – What Gives?


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the State

Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

Because We Can



— North Tampa BRT

As we discussed recently, HART is beginning to develop a plan for BRT from USF to downtown (here and here). Just after New Year, the Times had a good editorial the line (here):

As envisioned, the line would run north on Florida Avenue from downtown, jog east to Nebraska Avenue and then north to Fowler Avenue. An exclusive bus lane would run down the median of Fowler east to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, on the campus’s western edge, before turning north. The bus would make 20 stops along the way, each about half a mile apart. Eight of the route’s 12 miles would use exclusive transit lanes, enabling the buses to bypass traffic. The goal is to shave the existing travel time of local bus service by one-third, to about 30 minutes, slightly longer than existing express service.

The concept marks a welcome change of thinking in two distinct ways. First, it recognizes that premium service requires dedicated lanes. These are the building blocks of any mass transit spine, especially in a crowded urban core, and in a city like Tampa so inhospitably planned for bus traffic. Second, it looks to bring rapid service to urban streets, alongside where people live and work, which should attract more riders than interstate-level bus service.

HART, though, needs to decide: Does it want bus-rapid transit, known as BRT, or merely improved service at the local level? Twenty stops? That’s not BRT; it’s not even express. If this service is meant for short-hauls, why not improve existing local service, rather than engage in a branding exercise that falls short of expectations?

Setting aside that we do not think it will form a “spine,” those are all reasonable points which have been discussed before but deserve reiteration and that were elaborated on by URBN Tampa Bay:

The second point is a point we make on here a lot that tends to get some pushback: that transit needs to be on the surface grid and not on an elevated highway like I-275. As the Times points out, BRT on the street grid will attract more riders, as opposed to FDOT’s I-275 #fakeBRT, which, while focus tested with the consultants who have no vested interest in the results, will fail to attract riders. Putting BRT on the street grid also allows the positive windfall of transit to radiate into the neighborhoods via redevelopment along the line. Lastly, by putting the line on the urban street grid and making it urban-focused, the line is designed to serve those most likely to use transit: those who have already self-sorted themselves into an urban neighborhood. The idea that a bus line on an interstate will convert Wesley Chapel residents into transit users is ludicrous.

The last point we’d like to make is that 20 stops seems a bit high for BRT on this route, but that’s a consequence of our land use patterns: when we don’t have dense nodes and instead have a thinner, more even urban fabric, transit has to make more stops to serve the same number of people. This makes transit less efficient. We need denser nodes of the development throughout the city to compliment the single-family home areas. Land use reform is an integral part of building transit, because land use and transportation are completely interconnected.

Those points often get ignored (see “BRT” plan below), and they are connected. It is much harder to have active nodes when you run on the interstate because, in fact, the interstate impedes it.

Getting back to the HART idea, right now speed is the main reason the biggest concern we have with the plan is the part where there is no dedicated lane. We understand that they are still developing the plan.  We also understand that Florida Ave. has a bottleneck. That needs to be worked on, and it is all the more reason to focus on speed in other parts of the plan.  In addition to going where people are and want to get to, to be really useful transit the service needs to be rapid and frequent.  We look forward to hearing what they come up with and hope that they are open to suggestions to making that even better.  And, of course, we will see what happens with the AFT referendum.


There was a bit of news on the slightly mysterious investigation into the head of HART:

An investigation into the Hillsborough transit authority’s chief executive officer is expected to wrap up this month, the agency’s attorney told the board Monday.

Ben Limmer, who took the helm of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in March, was placed on paid leave on Nov. 4 days after a whistleblower letter was sent to board members.

Agency attorney David Smith has said the complaint involves procurement processes, vendor relations and related matters, but the agency has refused to provide any other details.

Nothing to do but wait.

— “BRT” Plan

Speaking of running on the interstate, the Business Journal had an article/interview on the head of TBARTA:

Can you talk about the 41-mile bus rapid transit project and how the recent public workshop went? We are doing three workshops throughout the counties. I first want to mention the difference between our project and ones Hillsborough and the Pinellas authority are working on. They are working on arterial BRT, which could be a substitute for light rail. It goes through neighborhoods, it has stops every half mile or so not as many as a local bus route but frequent enough for locals. Our project is highway BRT, which is a substitute for commuter rail. It’s going 41 miles from Wesley Chapel to St. Pete and will operate on Interstate 275. It might dip off the interstate to go to certain stations but it will go back onto the interstate. We will have 12 to 13 stations. The initial feasibility study was about 21 stations, but that’s too many for a highway BRT project. We met with land use folks, transit operators in the three counties and talked through all station locations and trimmed it down to 12 to 13, with the 13th one potentially being in the Heights area.

What’s the feedback you’ve received on the BRT? Some at the Hillsborough meeting said it’s unnecessary, we should focus on the CSX tracks. People don’t understand that need for regional BRT on I-275. A lot of people gravitate toward the CSX tracks without fully understanding the cost associated with doing that project and the time. You can buy the tracks, but then you have to spend money to upgrade tracks because they aren’t passenger ready. We aren’t going to preclude it. BRT is the one we are moving forward with right now.

For the BRT, what type of right of way alignments are you evaluating? We’ve identified five alignment alternatives. The entire corridor could accommodate dedicated lanes. But the higher the cost becomes, for projects like this, there is a local match required. The federal government will typically put up 50 percent, the state will put up 25 percent but then the remaining 25 percent has to be shared among local jurisdictions. The higher the total cost, the higher the 25 percent will be. We need to come up with cost projections and get feedback. It would have all of the BRT features. We are doing as much of a gold standard as we can — ticket vending machines, traffic signal priority equipment, on-level boarding, etc. Five of the stations will be multimodal stations.

First, while some may not, we, and many others, do know the difference between the plans, the costs, and what running a bus on the interstate is like.  And we still do not favor the plan. We also note the change of approach from calling the “BRT” plan THE transit spine of the area to calling it a substitute for commuter rail (we are not even going to bother with the “gold standard” thing).  It is interesting, though not that relevant, except that it makes the plan even less ambitious than already was. (And the 100 million or so in local matching money would be far better spent on building some of the arterial BRT routes or rail that we actually need.)

Second, as far as has been reported even if the route has “dedicated lanes” those lanes will largely be made up of uses running on shoulders and in express lanes.  We are not going to belabor the point but, as we have noted many times, the normal bus on shoulder usage is when normal traffic speeds are lower than 35 mph (and the guidelines usually have a top speed on the shoulders of about 10 mph faster than traffic).  That is not a dedicated lane and is not really BRT.  (And, by definition, express lanes with other traffic are not dedicated lanes.)

The plan is still of limited utility, especially for the cost.  Once again, just run express buses as a cheaper and easier connection.  Then focus on real issues like BRT on arterial roads and rail.  That is the real need now.

— Virgin Trains

While the South Florida to Orlando leg is under construction, we are still waiting for a deal between Virgin Trains and FDOT for the Orlando Airport to Tampa leg.

The Florida Department of Transportation and Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) have agreed to Virgin Trains’ numerous previous requests for extensions and will agree once more to extend the January deadline for another 90 days, extending the due date to March 2020, according to a Dec. 23 letter to Virgin Trains USA CEO Patrick Goddard.

The original deadline prior to the extensions was February 2019. The new extension request is meant to give the company more time for due diligence.

“The Department needs to understand exactly what property Virgin Trains [formerly Brightline] desires to lease. The Department cannot indefinitely offer a lease opportunity in the Interstate 4 corridor, one of the busiest corridors in the state, for a project with uncertain and unspecified plans and impacts on Department projects,” the letterfrom FDOT Assistant Secretary Tom Byron reads.

* * *

The requested additional 90-day extension of negotiations is for Virgin to explore the potential for leasing Interstate 4 right-of-way to link to Tampa that includes finalizing its environmental planning and identifying the location and size of specific property it desires to lease, Byron stated, adding it was discussed between representatives of Virgin, CFX and FDOT that there are matters that will need attention before lease negotiations conclude.

The letter states that any interests in the Central Florida Rail Corridor, which is owned by FDOT, will need to separately obtain any necessary rights in the CFRC and the property owned by Orlando Utility Commission and the Orlando airport.

The proposal also did not include the ability to lease right-of-way along State Road 536, which runs between the State Road 417 and the International Drive intersection in Orlando and Intestate 4 adjacent to Disney World.

“These, and other, matters will all need to be resolved before lease negotiations can be successfully concluded,” the letter read.

We do not know why this is taking so long and why, apparently, so many issues have not been addressed.  Regardless, all we can do is wait.

— Streetcar

While we are waiting for the full plans for the streetcar extension/modernization and the AFT court decision, there is other news:

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board members will consider approving an item on Jan. 6 for a contractor to rebuild four of the city’s nine streetcars.

Out of the four, two have not been in service and the other two have “extensive damage.”

The original manufacturer Gomaco Trolley Co.,a division of Iowa-based Gomaco Corp., would lead the rebuild for a contract of exceeding $2.7 million.

The cars need work. They were originally placed in service 17 years ago, and now require both interior and exterior rehabilitation, as well as upgrades to the major systems on the vehicles, according to HART documents.

Funding for the contract is provided byState of Good Repair Grants awarded through the Federal Transportation Administration. The grant does not require a match from HART.

Clearly, maintenance has to be done on occasion and if there is a program for Federal money to pay for it, all the better.

— Flexi Lanes, Cont.

Before the holidays, we discussed the City’s installation of flexible poles to separate painted bike lanes from traffic (here):

That sounds very good to us.  While we prefer raised curb barriers, we understand they cannot go everywhere, especially all at once.  We are glad the City is moving to a more functional bike lane model.  If only the County would as well and if the two entities’ efforts were fully coordinated, we could really be getting somewhere.

Later on, URBN Tampa Bay had a post in which they said this:

Perhaps someday soon, Tampa officials will learn the difference between visual barriers and physical barriers. Plastic delineator poles do not form a physically protected bike lane, as a wandering car will still kill a cyclist just as easily as if there were no flimsy plastic poles. Making a bike lane more visible doesn’t really reduce collision rates, since drivers who wander into bike lanes tend to not be paying attention when they do so. However, a curb or other barrier physically stopping the car from entering the bike lane does… Like we’ve been telling the city for almost 5 years now.

We do not really disagree with their main point.  True physical barriers are definitely preferable and far safer than just flexible poles.  On the other hand, we favor any increased separation of bikes from traffic, and think that the flexible poles, while ugly, are better than just paint.  They will not physically stop a car, but at least they are something that makes clear that cars should not be going into those lanes.  In other words, while the painted lanes are pretty much completely form over substance, the flexible poles have some, though limited, substance.

In short, we view flexible poles as an intermediate step to getting proper bike infrastructure. The goal should be a true network, connected with the County, of trails and protected bike lanes.

In other bike news:

There are now four stations providing bicycle repair and air in the Downtown Tampa area, creating safer spaces for bicyclists.

* * *

The New North Transportation Alliance (NNTA), and the Tampa Downtown Partnership, with funding from the Florida Department of Transportation District 7, provided several bike repair stations around the area, according to Bike Walk Tampa.

The stations include heavy duty air pumps and tools for making small adjustments.

We are all for that.

Economy – What’s Happening

— Known Knowns

The Tampa Bay Partnership’s annual benchmarking report is set to be released this week.   However, a Times columnist apparently got a preview and, in a column entitled “Tampa Bay lags behind peer cities in too many ways” (sound familiar?), says this:

Competition can be humbling. Just when you think you’re getting good at something, a better player reveals your flaws. You go from feeling like the bee’s knees to feeling gut-punched.

I felt a little like that reading the 2020 Regional Competitiveness Report compiled by the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the United Way Suncoast.

The Tampa Bay area has record low unemployment, a vibrant restaurant scene and a widening tax base. Construction cranes populate our downtowns. The University of South Florida is on the rise. Tourism keeps setting records.

Still, the area didn’t stack up well against 19 similar-sized metro areas. We’re getting better in some ways. But so are Minneapolis, Denver, Austin and Raleigh-Durham. That’s the thing about competing with other cities. It’s nonstop. None of the players rest, let alone retire.

We are not sure why he would feel gut-punched.  For years, we have discussed how our area is improving compared to itself while not improving that much (or falling further behind) our competition.  One reason we like the Competitiveness Report is that, contrary to so much of the hype, it documents those facts.

For instance, the column’s author focuses on talent, which has been an issue for a long time. (See from a year ago here)  Over the last few years, some of the hype has been that we are now a magnet for Millennials, etc.  However,

Companies follow talent, especially young, well-educated workers. They open new offices or relocate to areas where they know they can find quality employees. While we enjoy a steady stream of new residents, we aren’t luring our share of millennials, “a key input to regional economic performance,” the report found. We ranked 14th for the number of 25- to 34-year-olds moving to the area, attracting them at half the rate of Portland, Oregon.

Our transit woes don’t help persuade well-educated young workers to move here. Nor do low wages — we ranked last among the 20 metro areas for median household income. The report found that only residents in Houston and Miami spent a higher percentage of their incomes on housing and transportation, dealing another blow to the Tampa Bay area’s tired pitch of being a cheap place to live.

While this should sound familiar to regular readers, this is not the norm for local officials:

“We either want to be exceptional, or we want to be average,” said [president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership Rick] Homans, who has helped publish a similar annual state of the region report since 2017. “And if we want to be exceptional, we need to pay attention to these numbers because they compare us to peer communities that have set the bar a little higher.”

First, by the terms of the report as represented in the column, we are presently below average.   Setting that aside, we do not want to settle for being average (though you have to get to average before you get to exceptional), and we agree with the comment (and we are glad he said it), with the caveat that some areas have set the bar much higher, especially regarding things like transportation and development patterns.

“Good transit allows people to access jobs throughout the market,” [Homans] said. “The data shows that when you don’t have the transit options that most other communities have, you’ve really limited yourself in terms of how far you can go as a community.”

And that is definitely true.  It is one of the reasons we do not support focusing on a commuter bus with limited utility, especially in the main urban areas (aka “BRT” plan).  While it may give a slight uptick in the transit spending category, it is not going to be much a draw and will not make much difference.  Such a plan is being average or worse, not exceptional. We need proper transit.

That is not to say there are not positives,

“We continue to have very favorable trends around migration, population growth, business growth, and quality of life,” Homans said. “Those things moving in the right direction create a real opportunity to solve the other problems.”

In other words, people move here and it is sunny and near the beach.  And those are good things and a place to start (though we started there a long time ago).  But, clearly, they are nowhere near enough.

Once again, we really like the benchmarking report.  While our challenges have been evident for a while, we think it helps get people on the same page, at least with what the challenges are, and provides a corrective to the common hype.  The biggest problem is that far too often this area has settled for either half solutions or no solution while, at the same time, hyping them as a real accomplishment.

We should always aim for being exceptional.  We may come up a little short, but, even then, we will still be very good.

— Looking In

It is also time to check in with some economic numbers, again.

Metro Tampa home prices rose 4.9 percent in the past year, the second-highest among major U.S. cities, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index reported.

(Report here). That is good news if you have a homesteaded house and do not need to move. Though:

A recent report from Zillow predicted how housing markets in 25 large cities would underperform, overperform or stay about the same in regard to housing value, and Tampa is expected to stay about the same.

To compile the report, Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) asked 100 economists and real estate experts to predict how home values in 25 large cities would fare in 2020.

In Tampa, over half, 53 percent, of panelists expect home values to stay about the same, while 38 percent expect the market to outperform the national average, leaving 9 percent who expect it to underperform.

And just keep this in mind:

Without a doubt, Tampa is a booming rental market. A recent report from apartment search website [RentCafe] looked at a decade’s worth of rental data from the Tampa metro area and found that a whopping 47% of residents are now renters.

The same report also found that from 2010 to 2019, the average rent has grown from $852 a month to $1,347, which is a rate increase of 58%, a jump that vastly outpaces the national average of 36%.

While it’s already bad enough that national wage averages haven’t stayed on pace with housing costs, the average apartment size in Tampa is actually shrinking. The report shows that over the last decade, Tampa’s apartments have actually shrunk by 10%, going from an average of 1,074 square-feet in 2010, to 969 square-feet in 2019. 

(Report here) But, at the same time:

Tampa’s hourly earnings grew 1.19 percent in 2019 — the lowest gain among the nation’s 20 biggest metro areas and lower than the state average in Florida, according to the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch.

Nationwide, a competitive job market drove an increase in wages of just over 3 percent.

Statewide, Florida workers saw a 2.18 percent increase in hourly earnings last year. Miami saw growth of 2.88 percent.

Do with that what you will.

Downtown – Encore Keeps Being Encore

A few weeks ago, the City Council approved a poor design for another Encore lot (see here).  Then this, about a proposal named Independent:

A Houston developer has closed on a parcel of land in downtown Tampa’s Encore, with plans to build a market-rate apartment building on the property.

Transwestern Development paid $4.66 million for the 2.14-acre Lot 9, which fronts East Cass Street . . .

We discussed this project here and here. The retail is minimal and the parking garage is huge (so people have a place to eat in their cars after going through the nearby Burger King drive-thru, no doubt).

Encore continues to be marked more by its lack of ambition than its quality.  It makes us quite concerned about what might be coming for the “West River” project.

Bayshore – We Will See

Before the holidays, there was some news from the Related Group:

The Related Group plans to transform an aging Bayshore Boulevard complex into the “most iconic looking” condo towers in Tampa Bay — a structure that CEO Jorge Perez says will call to mind a “glass sculpture.”

“Without a doubt, it will be the premier residential building,” Perez said Wednesday. “If you can afford it, you will not live anywhere else.”

In June, Related paid $25.26 million for Bay Oaks, an apartment complex with frontage on Bayshore Boulevard that spans from the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway to Bayshore. It’s almost 5 acres — huge by urban development standards — but Related is still looking to buy some of the neighboring properties, Perez said. Besides the condo towers, the site will also be home to several townhouse units.

The condos will represent the very top of the Tampa condo market. Perez said the type of product he plans to build would sell for $3,000 per square foot in Miami, but Related is still penciling out how much a building of that class would sell for here, maybe $700 to $800 per square foot. Its height would be in line with other Bayshore condo towers, possibly around 24 stories. Presales won’t begin until plans are filed with the city, which is still a few months out.

We know that the Related Group is certainly capable of buildings very nice buildings.  In this area, they have generally refrained from doing so, though the Icon Harbour Island is rather nice.  Given the anticipated lower price point, we are not sure the Bayshore project will really be like the product in other cities, but we are willing to reserve judgment.

Downtown – X

Also before the holidays, there were new renderings for the X project proposed for downtown. From URBN Tampa Bay:

We have new renders for X Tampa, a 29 story mixed-use project proposed for 412 East Zack Street. The project features 306 units total, some of which will be short term stay units. The project also features 17,138 square feet of office co-working space and a single large 13,126 square foot restaurant space at the corner of Florida and Zack St.

The historic Presbyterian Church on the block will be preserved, and become an amenity building for the apartment tower.

The code requires 342 parking spaces and 409 parking spaces are provided.


From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

Ok, there are other renderings, but ask yourself: why would anyone release that as a rendering for a new project in an urban area (or anywhere)?


From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post


From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

First, the parking garage is huge and un-screened.  Second, the building looks very institutional and has nothing really to recommend it other than its size.  Third, there is quite a bit of dead streetscape.  URBN Tampa Bay gives more detail:

Our position on this hasn’t changed. While we like the density, this is a relatively unattractive non-descript design, on the verge of being an eyesore from certain angles. The parking garage is also not covered up well. It’s also a shame the historic church building will be surrounded by parking garage.

Two sides of the project are complete dead zones with no street activation. The application packet itself notes that both the Marion and Polk frontage fall short of the code’s facade transparency requirement (a requirement which states that ground floor walls can’t just be blank walls for x.xx% of the linear facade) so we’ll see what happens there:

“-N. Marion Street (East Elevation) – Garage Frontage: Wall Transparency
Required: 70%
Provided: 7%

– E. Polk Street (North Elevation) – Garage Frontage: Wall Transparency
Required: 70%
Provided: 0%”

Nothing to argue with in that.  We are not opposed to building a relatively large building on this lot.  We just think it could, and should, be done much better.  And the code should be enforced.

This is just not good enough.

Downtown/Channel District/USF – It Opens

The first building in Water Street is now open.

The University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute is officially open.

The institute, a 13-floor building settled on an acre of land on the corner of Channelside Drive and Meridian Avenue in Water Street Tampa, held its ribbon cutting on Wednesday. The project was approved in 2015 and broke ground August 2017, on land donated by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.

You can see pictures here. To be honest, while we are sure it will be nice for those using it, the building design is not really our favorite (beyond some odd sign design choices, especially for a building that is as prominent and cost as much as this, here and here), but aesthetics are subjective.

At least now one Water Street (-ish) building is open.  We look forward to all the others.

Moffitt – What Gives?

Just before the holidays, something odd went down at one of this area’s points of pride, the Moffitt Cancer Center:

Dr. Alan List, the CEO and president of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, resigned under pressure Wednesday amid a controversy that linked him and others at the hospital to possible exploitation of American-funded research by China.

List was joined by Thomas Sellers, a vice president and director at Moffitt, and four of the cancer center’s researchers, who also resigned abruptly. The departures come during a time of heightened scrutiny by federal agencies of foreign attempts to take advantage of American-backed medical research. Among the investigating agencies is the National Institutes of Health, one of the largest funding sources for medical research in the world.

Timothy Adams, Moffitt’s board chairman, will assume responsibilities for operating the center while a national CEO search is underway.

Needless to say, on the surface, this did not make the facility look good.  On the other hand:

The compliance office at Moffitt had initiated a review of the center’s activities involved with China’s Thousand Talents Program, which the federal government says incentivizes scientists to illegally take information and property developed in the U.S. to China.

A Moffitt spokesman said the launch of the internal investigation was proactive.

Moffitt said it is also reviewing its 12-year partnership with China’s Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital. The relationship between Moffitt and Tianjin was formed prior to the Trump administration. The duo have conducted joint research projects together since 2008. Graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, physician-scientists and research nurses from Tianjin would travel to Moffitt for training, according to Moffitt’s website.

“Unlike other institutions, Moffitt first launched its own investigation then found problems and took serious actions and is working with NIH [National Institutes of Health],” a Moffitt spokesman said.

While having compliance issues, especially at the top, is never a good thing, being proactive and coming clean is.  There is an investigation ongoing, and we are not going to say more about this now.

Moffitt does good and important work that needs to continue apace.  We are glad they caught the problem and hope they get the leadership issue sorted out quickly.  Too many people are depending on them.


Rays news here.

Meanwhile, In the Rest of the State

How much does FDOT charge when both the free lanes and the express lanes are blocked?  Do people get refunds?  Don’t think it happens? See here.

Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

CBS This Morning had a report on the state of airports in the U.S. Even though we did not get mentioned (though neither did Portland), it is a decent report.  You can see it here.

Because We Can

Another nice shot from the Eagle 8 Twitter feed (here

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for Twitter account


2 Comments leave one →
  1. URBN Tampa Bay permalink
    January 10, 2020 12:12 PM

    Our comment with regards to the plastic delineator poles is based on research that came out recently. Researchers studied crash data in several US cities with robust bike facility offerings and compared crash rates between different types of facilities. Paradoxically, it was consistent across cities and conditions that bike lanes with the plastic poles actually saw slightly higher crash rates than lanes with no poles. Meanwhile, physically protected lanes were dramatically safer than both painted and delineated lanes. We had a post about it some time in the past few weeks.

    • January 10, 2020 1:22 PM

      First, we think that the goal is protected bike lanes. Second, not looking at the data, it might be that more people were willing to try the lanes with plastic poles than the simply painted lanes. Additionally, as noted in the iihs article you linked to:

      It’s not clear why protected bike lanes would be more dangerous than conventional bike lanes, but it may have to do with the locations cities choose for protected lanes.

      “Typically, protected lanes are installed on busy roads that pose more of a risk to cyclists in the first place,” Cicchino says. “Our finding that conventional bike lanes were less risky doesn’t mean that cyclists on roads with protected lanes would be better off without that separation.”

      Not to mention those lanes have issues at intersections and the ample curb cuts.

      Like we wrote, we think poles are an intermediate measure. If the City stops there, it will be a problem. We want truly protected lanes (ideally trails, really), especially if there can also be grade separation. We think we all agree about the end goal.

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