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Tandem Travails:
Notes from a Stoker
Steve Tarkington | 11th Street

Steve (stoking in rear) and Al Tarkington in Majorca.
Photo Jan McCready.
Click to enlarge.

Living in Del Mar and riding a bicycle go together. Nice scenery. A few climbs to get the heart pounding. That’s all good.

However, there are a few scary spots that also get the heart pounding that I would like to call attention to. I’m the “stoker” in the back of the bike, so the scary spots get magnified. And, as a seasoned cyclist (having ridden bicycles around the world), I know it is no contest between a bike and any other moving object: the bike is at risk.

A frequently used danger spot is where the railroad tracks cut across Coast Boulevard, between 15th Street and the Powerhouse. In theory, a cyclist should cross tracks at 90 degrees. This is not possible because according to Google Earth the angle of the street to railroad crossing is less than 30 degrees. To accommodate riders, the existing bike lane does an “S” jog that increases the angle to 40 degrees. In my opinion, that is still too narrow an angle to comfortably and safely cross. On our tandem, we need to travel into the traffic lane. A temporary fix would be to post a warning sign to cyclists; a more permanent solution would be opening the traffic lane to bikes with a sharrow, eliminating the narrow bike lane. Long term could be a rethinking and reconfiguration of the rail/vehicle intersection.

Another troubling area is on the south end of Stratford where many cyclists ride as an alternative to Camino del Mar, at the point where the street turns into a path and then intersects CDM. The pavement there has risen above the concrete path, creating a dangerous ridge. Solutions: grinding down the pavement and filing the cracks would make for a safer, smoother transition onto CDM: improving line of sight by trimming back the foliage would make the path and the intersection safer for both cyclists and pedestrians. Also, a warning sign on CDM would alert drivers, cyclists and pedestrians traveling south to possible cyclists entering from Stratford.

Let’s do what is needed to welcome cyclists to a bike-friendly Del Mar.

Steve is a long time Del Mar resident and rides on the back of a tandem bicycle with her husband Al Tarkington.

A danger spot on the railroad tracks between 15th Street and the Powerhouse. Map data @ 2018 Google, INEGI.
Click to enlarge.


 

 

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