See latest updates below.
The new bike lanes on Arsenal west of Grand were painted this week. We rode and drove the stretch a few times — below are some thoughts and photos.
Generally speaking, we found the path a delight to ride. The lane placement, with a buffer strip between parked cars and the bicycle lane, gives riders plenty of room. In particular, even timid and inexperienced riders will be naturally positioned well away from parked cars and the dangerous “door zone”, something the previous lane arrangement failed to do.
The intersection at Grand is complex for a variety of reasons, including limited space and heavy car and pedestrian traffic. We observed and rode the intersection several times at different times of day in moderate traffic, and found that car and bicycle traffic merged quite well. Eastbound, the bike lanes seem to end at an appropriate spot, and merging to any of the turn lanes was straightforward. Our sense is the bike lanes create an expectation of cyclists on the road, and the narrowed lane arrangement moderates car speed, making it much easier for cyclists of all skill levels to negotiate this intersection. Importantly, parking on eastbound Arsenal has been pushed back by two parking spots. This is a welcome change, and significantly improves visibility and maneuvering room for both riders and drivers. Nevertheless, two cars can still park beyond the end of bike lanes; ideally, parking would end with the bike lanes, giving cyclists more time and space to merge safely.
Overall we think the new bike lanes on Arsenal are a tremendous improvement, a well designed and executed addition to St. Louis’ expanding bicycle infrastructure.
Update 3 (10/11/13)
We drove past the new bike lanes this morning, and the “No Parking” signs are now correctly placed. Thank you Streets Department!
Update 2 (10/7/13)
On Monday we heard back from the St. Louis Streets Department, indicating that they’d look into the positioning of “No Parking” signs described below and make corrections. Thank you for being so responsive! We’ll continue providing updates until this issue is resolved.
Update 1 (10/6/13)
On the Sunday after the lanes were painted, we rode and walked the new lanes again. We were surprised to see cars and trucks parked in the bike lane on westbound Arsenal immediately before the Spring intersection. We were even more surprised to see that they were parked legally, at least judging by the signs.
It seems that the parking signage has not been updated since the new lanes have been painted, and parking is technically permitted almost until the intersection at Spring. As a result, cars can (and do) park in the bike lane as it shifts right.
This appears to be a simple oversight. It can also be easily corrected, simply by placing a “No Parking past this point” sign where the bike lane shifts right, so that no parking is permitted in bike lanes. We hope the City remains responsive to cyclist safety concerns here, and will provide updates as the issue evolves.