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Thread: Bike/freight conflicts in industrial or port areas

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    Bike/freight conflicts in industrial or port areas

    I want to look at what cities do to integrate a bicycle network into heavily industrialized areas of the city, with lots of heavy vehicles. What are ways to get those who work in these areas safely there on a bicycle? What about crossing rail and highways while maintaining ease of use for the cyclist? Is separation or integration of bike lanes safer? I am looking for approaches from around the world. Thanks for any ideas and leads.

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    What an interesting topic!

    I am from Detroit and being a manufacturing hub, we have several places like this. I have seen plans for the extension of greenways that go through such areas, but know of no actual pathways that are built yet. In many places there are sidewalks where bicyclists could ride if they would find the street to be too dangerous. I am defining dangerous areas as grade separations under railroads or places where trucks far outnumber other vehicles.

    Safety would have to be a primary issue. I would suspect that areas with lots of trucks or frieght railroads do not see a whole lot of bikes so they are not allways looking for them.
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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    We have a roadway with bicycle lanes that runs right through our port area. We had to install pavement bulb-outs just before and after a skewed railroad crossing to allow bicyclists to cross the tracks perpendicularly.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Bicycle paths can sometimes be built in rail corridors, but generally not where there are numerous sidings and spurs that would need to be crossed. On-street facilities would seem likely, but the condition of roads in port areas (as well as many older industrial areas) do not lend themselves to this. Picture a damaged asphalt street with no curb and gutter, an undefined edge, and often extending into asphalt or gravel lots abutting the pavement. Then add countless trucks.

    In Milwaukee there is a path through the port area that was constructed on an abandoned railroad right-of-way. Davenport has a rail with trail, but the port area has become more tourist-orineted in recent years, with gambling boats replacing a working port in teh downtown.
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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Bicycle paths can sometimes be built in rail corridors, but generally not where there are numerous sidings and spurs that would need to be crossed.
    We have had a great deal of difficulty dealing with the one partcular freight railroad, which requires a 50-foot buffer between its tracks and any bicycle or pedestrian facilities.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello View post
    We have had a great deal of difficulty dealing with the one partcular freight railroad, which requires a 50-foot buffer between its tracks and any bicycle or pedestrian facilities.
    Interesting. I have run into similar thinking here. Some railroads have taken an enlightened approach to say that people are already using their right of way and the path is going to keep them from getting onto the track. Another has said that it wants a six-foot chain link fence between the path and the track. This is for several miles in a rural area! Not only is it unneccessary, but from an environmental standpoint, it is not going to work. I proposed using vegetation (wild rose, raspberry, hawthorn, etc.) as a meansd of preventing access where grade, ditches, or other features did not already exist. The path has never gotten beyond conceptual planning, though, so the point is moot.
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