By Bruce Cohen - October 16, 2014
On Wednesday, October 8th, I rode out to Edmondson Avenue bike lanes in Catonsville, MD. On the western edge of the lanes they connect into wide shoulders and finally into the Trolley Trail #9. On Wednesday there was no signage for the bike lanes and there were a significant number of cars parked in the lane, forcing bicyclists to merge back into traffic. We are unsure if the bike lanes are in their final form.
An interesting feature is the occasional concrete buffer which narrows the bike lane by about half and provides a several feet of hard buffer between vehicles and bicycles. Unfortunately, on the day that I visited the lanes a metal sign had been left in this buffered area. A Catonsville resident who checked out the lanes before me said that the lanes are much more suited to running, especially when cars park on either side of the buffered area. Runners can navigate around, but bikes are not able to fit. No cars were parked too close to the buffered zone when I rode through.
The Edmondson Avenue bike lanes are a good start, and we are pleased that Baltimore County is at least experimenting with bicycle infrastructure. We hope that these lanes will feel comfortable to children and families using bicycles as transportation and recreation. However, vehicles parked in the lane and buffered areas that create pinch points are dangerous to cyclists, especially novice cyclists who are not familiar with riding in traffic. If parking is allowed in these lanes, then they are not bike lanes.
Update 10/21: The final product of “bike lane” on Edmondson Road is not what was presented to local cyclists and it appears that parking in the “bike lane” will be allowed. The point of these “bike lanes”, at least in their original form, was to create a safe, comfortable cycling environment for novices and children who may be riding to school. With the installation of the concrete “buffers” mixed in with on-street parking the road is now dangerous for novices and experienced cyclists alike. Drivers will not understand why cyclists will spurn the designated (but unsafe) cycling infrastructure.