This article really nails it on the head: Making Connections in Atlanta, Georgia
It’s all about connections. Connections to places, connections to people, and connections to the resources that will make your ideas work.
It’s amazing how one bad intersection can discourage people from cycling. For all the work that’s been done to add bike lanes to various streets, it’s amazing how little effort or thought has gone into the intersections that those streets invariably are a part of.
For example, try to find a safe way to cross I-80 anywhere between Sutro and Sparks Blvd. I’ll spare you some time. There isn’t one. That’s a 4.5 mile barrier that cuts right through the middle of the Reno/Sparks region. There’s a similar (though not quite as drastic) problem with I-580. And the river. And Virginia. And, and, and…you get the picture.
Even those roads that have bike lanes can be spoiled by poorly designed intersections. For example, traveling west on McCarran through the Pyramid intersection. There are bike lanes on both sides of the intersection, but the concrete island on the west side of the intersection extends so far out into the lane, that if forces a cyclist into the right lane. See for yourself:
The speed limit on McCarran is 45-50mph.
©2013 Google ©2013 US Geological Survey
It’s not like the concrete island needs to stick out that far. It could have easily been pushed back a few feet, but the design was so poorly thought out, that this hazard exists every day, week, month, and year.
And that’s just one of dozens of intersections that cause even the highly experienced urban cyclists to hold their breath and hope that the wrong vehicle driven by the wrong person doesn’t come by at the wrong time.