Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Providence Medical Center via Crater Lake Ave.

This review is my daily commute. I start at Coker Butte and finish at Providence. CL Ave has some decent hills for the amateur commuter, especially just south of Hollyhock. Crater Lake Ave north of Delta Waters is one lane in either direction, and the speed limit is 45+. The hills serve to make it a little more dangerous, since at some points on the ride, some folks fly through in their SUV's at 55, and don't see a cyclist until they come over the hill. It makes a dangerous combination when they're not paying attention anyway.

I've been honked at and yelled at multiple times on this ride, since there is very little shoulder, and it's darn near impossible to move over far enough to share the lane.

I'm a very conscientious rider. If I wouldn't do it in a car, I won't do it on my bike. That includes rolling down the right side of the road at an intersection. The cars I pass have already passed me and it seems counterproductive to make them do it again, so I wait my turn at stop signs and signal lights. I think this helps mediate the negative attention I seem to get, mostly on the north end of the commute.

I come home at 0630, so traffic is light on the way home, and I don't seem to get much flack on that side. However, I ride to work at 1715, right at rush hour, so I can understand the frustration.

So, now that the review is done -

Total mileage (one way): 2.8 miles
Average speed: 14.7 mph
Time (one way): Average of 20-23 minutes
Route Safety: *
Route Efficiency: ***** (Straight shot)
Route Hill Grade: ** / ***. Hills are bad on the north side, but south isn't bad.
Mechanical Damage Potential: Moderate (Due to cars passing very very close on the north side of the commute)
Be careful on this commute, folks. It is one of the more dangerous in Medford.

Back up and running

I have no idea if anyone actually watches to see if this blog is active or not, but for anyone out there that does, sorry about the hiatus. I'm going to try to keep this up a little better this time around.

A lot has happened in the last year here in Medford. One thing is my appointment to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) here in the city. That should give me a good view on issues with bicycles and commuting here. Other things include the installation of bicycle lanes on Jackson and Hillcrest streets following the rebuild.

I use Jackson and Hillcrest, usually east of Springbrook to get from my place to my Mother-in-law's place, and I have to admit that having the bike lanes on that stretch of road is really nice. Now, the only time I have to ride without bike lanes, going that way, is on Crater Lake Ave. north of Delta Waters. I can use the bike lanes on Delta Waters east of CL Ave, and Springbrook has at least some bike lanes.

The area of CL Ave. north of Delta Waters still leaves much to be desired, but that's about to change. The BPAC just reviewed plans to fix CL Ave. between Owens and Coker Butte. The intersection at Webfoot will be going away, and they're going to be swinging CL Ave. east at both Owens and Coker Butte, moving the intersection away from CL Hwy. Also, they'll be signalizing intersections of Coker Butte and Owens Dr. with CL Hwy. The intersection of Cardinal with CL Hwy (by Costco), will turn into a right-in, right-out intersection with no light. 5' bike lanes are slated to be included in the redesign of CL Ave. and sidewalks will be put in on the east side of the street so as not to interfere with CL Hwy.

I'm stoked about this improvement, because it means I'll only have do deal with no bike lanes on the two-lane, high-speed CL Ave. north of Delta Waters for about a block. After that, CL Ave turns into two lanes each way, which means when I feel more threatened, I can just take the whole lane and people can pass in the left lane.

For anyone in Medford going my way (from CL Ave just south of Coker Butte to CL Ave and McAndrews), feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I'd love to ride with you.

Other updates: I'm going to keep an eye out for news regarding bicycling in Oregon, specifically commuting, and I'll keep an update here, so check back for those.