Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Street Paving

This week, the City is re-paving Phair Place, 10th Street (from MD198 to West St), and the intersection of Greenview Drive and Clubhouse Blvd. The milling and resurfacing is expected to be complete this week, weather permitting. Any crosswalks and lane markings will be re-striped by DPW after the streets are resurfaced.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


If you're wondering what those strange markings along 4th street are,

they are called Sharrows - shared arrow markings. 

They are used to indicate to drivers that this is a
preferred bike route and to emphasize that the street is to be shared with bicyclists.  Where the markings are right in the middle of the travel lane, they are combined with this sign,
"Bike May Use Full Lane" to emphasize that bikes are allowed to use the entire lane, the same as a vehicle. This combination is used on preferred bike routes where the travel lane isn't wide enough for bikes to ride side by side with vehicles.

The first photo above shows 4th Street from Montgomery toward Main Street.  On-street parking is allowed on the left side of the street only.  The rest of the street isn't wide enough to incorporate a 5' wide bike lane and still have enough room for a vehicle to travel safely.  Instead, sharrows were used to indicate a safe bicycle riding location that also allows for a large enough gap between them and passing vehicles.

On other parts of 4th street, namely between Gorman and Talbot, sharrows are placed 11' from the right curb. This location guides bicyclists to an area that prevents them from getting hit by opening doors from cars parked on-street along the right side of the street, yet still allows for a comfortable separation distance for vehicles to pass on the left. See photo below.

Sharrow on 4th Street between Gorman Ave and Talbot Ave

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Bike Lanes

The City of Laurel is in the initial phase of implementing its Bikeway Masterplan.  As part of this phase, the City has installed their inaugural on-street bike lanes.  The lanes shown below are on 4th Street from Talbott to Montgomery Street.  This segment is one-way only with on-street parking on both sides.  The bike lane has been installed on the left side of the street to reduce the likelihood of bicyclists getting "doored."  The next set of on-street bike lanes to be installed will be along 4th Street from Gude Park to Greenhill Drive.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Turning roads into walking paths - literally

A short - but important - hiker/biker path was recently completed by the City in order to connect the intersection of the 4th Street and Cherry Lane with the popular walking paths around Gude Lake. The novel thing about this connecting path is that it was built from other City roads.

A recent repaving job on Sandy Spring Road provided the millings (ground-up asphalt) that comprised the foundation of the path. And the fill dirt that was used to provide a smooth grade on the sides of the path came from a new roadway currently being cut in another portion of the City.
From nothing, to a base-foundation, to a graded and top-coated path
The result is a path that required over 100 CY of base-course asphalt, fill dirt and surface-course asphalt - where over 90% of the materials used were recycled from other City roads.

Another view of the new connecting path

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bike Plan to begin roll-out

Tomorrow, the City of Laurel will begin implementing the first phase of its City-wide bike master plan. This initial phase is a north-south route that connects several neighborhoods, ending at Riverfront Park to the North and Gude Lake to the South.  The route runs along low-volume 4th/5th Streets and is a mix of on-street bike lanes and shared-route markings/signage, with a short hiker/biker trail connecting the intersection of 4th  and Cherry with the trails around Gude Lake.  In total, the City will be using signage and street markings to designate 3 miles of roads as preferred bike routes, with 1 mile of that stretch to include on-street bike lanes.*  Sharrows and signage will be used on the remaining two miles to emphasize the shared nature of the road. Work north of Greenhill Drive will begin on Friday, with the exception of any sharrows that need to be installed on roads that WSSC is in the process of patching/re-surfacing.  The on-street bike lanes on 4th Street from Cherry to Greenhill will be installed as part of a 4th Street CIP expected to start later this month.

A few of the bike guide signs to be installed

*To put this into context, the City maintains about 56 miles of local roadways and about 100 miles of sidewalk in a 4.5 square-mile municipality.