Friday, February 17, 2012

LeeDOT agrees to study bike/ped-friendly signalized intersections and senor loops for cyclists

 Over the past several months, both the MPO's Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinating Committee (BPCC) and the County's Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) have asked the county to address the problem of inconsistency in pedestrian signals through the county, and the problem of detecting cyclists trying to turn at various intersections.

At the 2/15/12 BPAC meeting, Awaldo Gonzalez from the Traffic Section of Lee County DOT made a presentation in response to the various requests.  He indicated that they want to focus on signalized intersections and make them better and safer for bicyclists and pedestrians by making changes to the Advanced Traffic Management System that is being installed and targeted for completion by January 2013.  In particular, his team wants to find ways to make the detection by loops in the road or by the cameras that are at some intersections to be more responsive and able to detect the presence of a bicycle.  

He explained that the loops that are buried under the roadway surface operate on an induction basis – they detect the magnetic field that is generated from the steel components on vehicles and bicycles.  Sometimes that is a “hit or miss” situation for many bikes, especially the ones made of titanium or carbon fiber.  Some areas and communities have tried to overcome this by marking on the road the optimum place to position your bike so that it is detected.  He believes that the equipment that is in place now can be reset or fine-tuned to accomplish this much better than it is today.

He requested 2 things of the BPAC:
     1.  A volunteer to ride their bike through various intersections working hand-in-hand with the Traffic Management team, with the goal being to understand how they have to make changes to the present technology and system in place to make it better for bicycles.  Steve Rodgers has volunteered to work with the Team on this.
     2.  A list of what intersections need to be looked at from the cyclists’ point of view.  Where do they ride the most and which intersections are “problematic” for them to get through?  Almost everyone on the BPAC committee rides a bicycle frequently and will provide this information to Awaldo.  If you have input, contact a BPAC member.

Report by Steve Rodgers

Thanks to LeeDOT and Awaldo for working on this longstanding issue for many cyclists and pedestrians.

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