Monday, October 27, 2008

Ok, Mister 11 to Downtown MAT bus driver.

If you have ever headed east bound on Leavenworth in the 7am to 9am hours between Saddlecreek and 42nd street, you'd know that there is supposed to be no parking along that section.  I'd like to think this was an early attempt to allow cyclists some passage, though it's more likely that it just allows more space for heavy traffic flow.  Regardless, this section has proved to be great most the times and annoying other times.  

It's great when the weather is nice and people move all the way over so I basically have my own bike lane for 5 blocks or so.   However, when it gets rainy, or when large vehicle drivers use the right lane, it get's annoying.  Last week when it rained for a month (at least that's what it felt like), I was on my way into work when this person came way too close to me so they could avoid spray from the cars in the left lane.  Does that make sense?  Risk running over a guy on a bike instead of getting your car sprayed?

Then this morning, it was perfectly fine out, weather-wise, but again along that section, a MAT bus (specifically a 2002 version, number 11 to Downtown, that hit 42nd and Leavenworth at about 7:15am) came way too close to me as I was in the "parking" lane.  Had there been a parked car there, he would have been running over it.  Yes, that's a large vehicle, but I'd think he'd fit in the right lane without needing to spill over into the "parking" lane.  But he did anyway.  This has also happened with school buses and large delivery trucks.  Hopefully, the plan is to paint some bike lanes along this route so people will know that I'm SUPPOSED to be there and will give me some room.  But that is probably more wishful thinking. 

8 comments:

Biker Bob said...

I would think the painted bike lanes will encourage most to stay out of the area of the road. However, a few will still consider them "optional".

On a related note, I had a school bus pass me last Friday on Sorrenson. He couldn't have been more than 1.5' off my left shoulder. Considering his mirror stick out another 1.5' from the side of the bus, I swear I felt it wizz past my left ear. A very enjoyable experience I must say.

johnny said...

Not to change your subject but I have bought a cross bike it will arrive friday. How many burritos do you charge? The components are on another bike. You are brave to ride to work. I fear for my life and until I have a trail east west i will drive.

brady said...

That's very disappointing. For the most part, I've found MAT drivers to be extremely professional. Reckless/careless driving should be reported: customerservice@metroareatransit.com

Scott Redd said...

Don't 'cha hate those close calls?

Take those details and email the address Brady provided. It's not to punish, but to educate the drivers.

Unfortunately, I don't think Leavenworth will get a bike lane west of Park Ave. It would be ideal, but my guess is the city is too protective of keeping Leavenworth a clear automobile corridor into and out of downtown.

Despite the heavy volume, Leavenworth continues to be an important bicycle corridor, as well. The wide lanes usually do provide cyclists (myself included, from Turner Boulevard on east, and the occasional westward jaunt from downtown to Elmwood Park) a virtual bike lane for much of its run from Saddle Creek to the Old Market.

Incidentally, Roxanne (my wife and sometimes cycling partner) drives a school bus along Sorenson. I asked her if she encountered any cyclists on Friday and she did not. Her company, First Student, is big on safety and anyone who has a close call with a school bus should report that, too.

bryan said...

other than the actions of BMW drivers (OK, just the one), I've never had any problems on Leavenworth. It's actually one of my favorite streets in Omaha.

What? What are you staring at?

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

Buses scare the crap out of me. Since the engine is in the back, without warning there is a huge mass of the bus in your space. Up close and personal.

Scott Redd said...

Joe's comment about bus engines in the rear also brings up the point about electric cars.

Imagine when the road has more hybrid and plug-in electric cars. Those things will be stealthy, and you may never hear them coming.