Richter/Sutherland intersection


Richter St. is the main bike route from the Mission into the downtown area. It has bike lanes on both sides, from it’s start at the intersection with Lakeshore all the way up to Clement.

Note that the photo is taken facing west bound on Richter.

Some time ago, one of the local utility companies needed room for a pole – you can see in the photo above – they put a huge concrete pole in the middle of the west bound bike lane at the intersection at Sutherland Ave. Not to be outdone, a while later work was being done on Richter and the east bound bike lane was choked off at Sutherland (someone must have decided they wanted symmetry.) My guess is that east bound bike lane was blocked because there was no desire or ability to move a fire hydrant back from the roadway.

The photo above was taken last summer and you can see that not only is the concrete pole in the way but also there is vehicle parking about 100 feet before it, also blocking the bike lane. Behind the cars and the photographer is a corner, making this area a real obstacle course for cyclists.

On the east bound lane you can see a truck parked in the bike lane – not an unusual event in the area. If it wasn’t for bike lanes we would have a real scarcity of vehicle parking.

I am not particularly impressed with the sign – block the lane and then direct cyclists “caution cyclists – share lane”. I don’t really think that there is a lane to share. Perhaps it was the only sign available at the time. You can see this sign just ahead of the two parked vehicles although it is in the shadows.

This situation has been brought to the attention of city engineering several times over the last year – it is one of Don Knox’s pet peaves and he has mentioned it at every meeting I have attended. Nothing has been done so far and until very recently there has been no interest. Mike Kittmer is now aware of the situation and we hope that he can be successful in improving the intersection.

I see two ways to improve the west bound lane. One option is to remove the left turn lane (for motor vehicle traffic) and with the extra room, route the bike lane out from the pole. This would also require outlawing vehicle parking in that area (and enforcing the no parking area). Mike advised that there is no parking in that area but the signs? are faded and need replacing. He will be requesting that this be done.

The second option is to route all bike traffic for a full block before the pole onto the sidewalk and ensure that getting on and off the sidewalk is safe (ramps on and off). This would also require getting rid of parked vehicles on this side of the road.

As far as I can tell there is only one solution to the “squeeze” on the east bound lane and that is to move the fire hydrant back from the road and get rid of the “peninsula” that cuts off the bike lane.



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