Good news, friends. We recently received an email from new FDOT District 4 Secretary Gerry O’Reilly, in followup to our requests for a better, safer design on the Flagler Bridge reconstruction. Here’s the email reply, pasted below, along with a typical bridge section.
We appreciate your interest in the bike facilities on the Flagler Bridge project. The project team has reviewed your February 14, 2015 request and will implement the following lane configuration. A depiction is shown in the attached bridge typical section.
- Reduce the vehicle travel lanes from four-12ft lanes to four-11ft lanes. This will align with the proposed 11ft lanes east and west of the bridge. This change provides an added benefit of increased space for bicyclists near the drainage inlets that collect storm water runoff from the bridge.
- Provide a 2.5ft striped buffer between the travel lanes and bike lane.
- Provide a 6ft bike lane.
- Provide a “gutter stripe” 1.5ft from the roadway side of the barrier wall located between the bike lane and the sidewalk.
Thank you again for your continued interest in the successful completion of the Flagler Bridge project. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact Jim Hughes, the Department’s project manager, at 954-777-4419 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gerry O’Reilly, PE
District Four Secretary
Florida Department of Transportation
This is a very substantial improvement in bike facilities compared to the prior design, which was essentially a bike lane that shared space in the shoulder, as we wrote about in a prior blog piece titled “Why Johnny still won’t be able to ride to the beach”. This new design narrows the travel lanes from twelve feet to eleven feet, provides a striped buffer, and a generous bike lane of 6 feet wide.
Is this the ideal outcome? No. We had hoped for a protected bike lane, with a physical barrier between cars and bicyclists. We will continue to advocate for FDOT to implement safer designs on bridges that physically separate both pedestrians and bicyclists from fast-moving cars, so that little Johnny will indeed be able to ride to the beach comfortably and safely one day.
Nonetheless, as this design was already well under way and FDOT showed a willingness to take our concerns seriously for better bike facilities, Mr. O’Reilly and staff are to be commended for hearing the community’s voice.