Contra-Flow Bicycle Lane Advantages and Considerations

 

A contra-flow bicycle lane in Boulder, Colorado.

Over the past week, I have conducted an analysis on contra-flow bicycle lanes as a potential opportunity at Fort Carson for a few of our one-way streets.  The following cities were case studies for determining advantages and design considerations:  Boulder, Colorado; Eugene, Oregon; Portland, Oregon; Madison, Wisconsin; and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I have determined the following as advantages for the addition of a contra-flow bicycle lane:

  • Increased connectivity for cyclists in the presence of one-way streets
  • Decrease in illegal bicycle travel on one-way streets with a defined legal option
  • Sufficient Street Widths capable of addition of a contra-flow bike lane while maintaining existing capacities and posted speeds
  • Greater awareness for bicycle traffic results in greater use of the bicycle as a mode of transportation

I have determined the following design considerations for the addition of a contra-flow bicycle lane:

  • Pedestrians and motorists do not expect bicyclists traveling in opposite directions of one-way streets, therefore intersecting streets and driveways must have signage indicating contra-flow bicycle traffic
  • Contra-flow lane must be well defined and placed on the motorists left side
  • Additional pavement markings should be included for contra-flow bike lanes indicating the direction of bicycle traffic
  • Traffic signals must have push button mechanism for contra-flow bicycle traffic

Any additional feedback will be more than welcome regarding contra-flow bike lanes.  Please either comment at the bottom of this blog post, or email me at john@olsonplanning.com.

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