Why do they think this is a good idea?
Government bureaucrats often make bad or okay situations worse by trying to reinvent the wheel and justify their bloated, taxpayer-funded budgets. An excellent example of this catastrophic way of trying to throw out everything in favor of a far worse design comes via Kalamazoo, Michigan where they apparently think two-way traffic needs only a single lane.
Mind you, there are two bike lanes in this new street design layout, because of course there are. Instead of just making the street one way, the city thought having cars traveling in opposite directions in a single lane was a great idea.
When the two cars get close to one another, both are supposed to swerve into the bike lanes so they don’t have a head-on collision. Of course, cyclists have right of way, so as these two cars are traveling at each other head-on, they both have to check for bicycles while also ensuring they don’t hit each other. What could possibly go wrong?
This design is supposed to be used on low-volume residential streets and the new layout caters to people who want more on-street parking spots. Narrow city streets provide a real challenge to city planners and we’ve seen all kinds of whacky, creative so-called solutions to making them work better. But this might be the worst of the bunch yet.
What’s the best part about this design is how drivers are treated like the true burden while cyclists enjoy this almost holy space on the road. Our prediction is this design will result in many drivers just occupying the bike lane except for when they see someone on a bicycle. And it will probably lead to some serious accidents. Just because a street doesn’t have much traffic doesn’t mean a design like this won’t ever lead to a series of errors from drivers and cyclists, possibly costing one or more people their life.
But bored bureaucrats feel compelled to reinvent the wheel instead of simply improving it. And they often tend to think everyone will behave like well-trained sea monkeys on roads, like we’re all mindless drones. That’s why designs like this are doomed to fail, they just don’t take into account how real people behave.