Hinkle lane has been confusing for years, if not decades. The signage and lane striping confuses all: pedestrians, cyclists, drivers. Developers have sought to remove it, a cyclist was killed on it decades ago, it’s a critical route between UNT and UNT Discovery Park (page 21), and cars drive and pass dangerously in the bike lane.
Hinkle is about to change.
I (Howard) have brought it up on the Traffic Safety Commission as a confusing situation needing clarification for all transit types. Another commissioner concurred and sought clarification of the lane configuration.
Yesterday, I noticed the previous signs which read “keep left [cars]” and “keep right[bikes]” had changed to the new signs in the above photo. City engineer Frank Payne explains that the city seeks to discourage cars from passing in the bike lane by defining two spaces: a 5′ lane for bicycles and an 8′ lane for parking. As a two-phased approach, the reflective buttons will be remove, and the bike & parking lanes temporarily striped. Eventually, he says the bike lane will grow to 6′ wide when the city can afford to resurface the street, which has been said to cost approximately $1,200,000.
Payne states “the purpose of the revised signs is to start the education process with the motorists as soon as possible in an attempt to get them to stop passing on the right and usurping the space for the bicycles.” Payne also explains that if they had made the entire West side into a huge bike lane, they fear that cars would still drive and pass there.
I’m not sure if this will actually work, but I’m glad to see the engineers working on this and trying a solution. The freshly defined bike lane will be a great improvement, since the old bike lane markings are worn away to almost nothing. The parking lane is admittedly a bit odd, since there’s no demand for anyone to park there. Honestly, I wonder if the neighborhood might like a pedestrian defined space there, since there’s no sidewalk for most of Hinkle, and I often encounter folks walking and using wheelchairs in this space. Given the excess of road width, no demand for parking, and significant pedestrian and cycling needs, I’d like to see a separated or buffered facility here eventually. Cars, buffer, bikes, pedestrians. I ride Hinkle daily, and when I ride in the defined bike lane, cars seem very close, and I am very uncomfortable.