Cycling Infrastructure - Cities

 

Missoula, Montana

 

Cycling in Missoula        
Signage Missoula has signs along the streets where cycling facilities are located – “Missoula Bike System”. In a lots of ways that explains Missoula. This small university town has bike paths, rail-trail, and bike lanes that will take you though the urban development and residential areas effectively.

   
  There were destination and direction signs at the right location where they where needed, well almost.

   
Rail-Trail There is a rail-trail from the river to the south that is not recreational in nature, but is there for commuting. It takes you directly into a large shopping mall, as an example. Both sides of the river have bike paths. There is not much need of a bike map here for most trips as bike lanes are just a few major blocks apart.

   

Bike Parking

Bike parking can be seen in front of medium density buildings in the residential areas. Downtown, there are plenty of bike parking spots located on the sidewalks and within the utility corridor of the sidewalks. While I am not supportive of the u-bent pole design used here, it is great to see so much of it. It is difficult to properly secure your bike on these poles, depending on type of bike and if there is another bike there, as well. Many bikes were loosely tied and would fall if anyone brushed against them.

In some commercial developments, car parking spots are taken for bike parking. In one case, one car parking spot is now providing 10 bike parking spots. Again these u-bent poles are usually secured on top of curb sections that are placed right in of the car parking spot.

 

 

 

 

 

Helmets Helmet use may not be the best used here in 35 degrees Celsius temperature. On the other hand, many cyclists are into their everyday wear, flat shoes, and so on. Spandex cyclists are more rare to be seen, unless you are looking at us.

   

 

Bike Lanes The city is quite willing to put in bike lanes of a block or so when there is room and then maybe transition to a bike route

   
 
  There was a bike lane through an intersection to the left of a right turn into a shopping complex. There was even a sign for motorists indicating that they must on right turns yield to cyclists. How brilliantly creative of a sign.

 

Traffic Calming - Traffic Circles Traffic circle on roads with useful direction signs were noted. There were, even, traffic circles on the intersection of two bike paths.

 
   

   
So what can be improved?

       
Rail-Trail For the rail-trail, the transition section from the path to the road could use a more non-shock design. As the rail lines diagonally intersects the roads, the path could use more 90 –degree transitioning at the road to allow full and easy view for oncoming cars in both direction.

   
Bike Path All sections of bike paths should be paved. All sections of bike paths should be 4 metres wide.

   
    The tress bordering the bike paths should be trimmed back before there is no room to cycle on the path.

   
Maintenance - Bike Lanes Maintenance - The bike lanes could use much better sweeping and removing gravel and other debris.

   
Bike Lanes - Intersection Design Intersection design – There is a tendency to halt the bike lane before an intersection rather than designing t properly though it, along with the trade-off of removing a few car parking spots.

   
Share the Road Share the road – The pavement markings for share the road could be larger in sign and better positioned beside the parked cars where a cyclist would actually be cycling, rather than partially under a parked car.

   
Network - Bike Lanes Finally, there should be bike lanes right through the centre of downtown in each direction.