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Measuring up: Bike lane project can use help

Scot Key is hoping some crowdsourcing will eventually help bicycles riders in Albuquerque get around easier (and safer).

Key, a longtime cyclist and member of the Greater Albuquerque Bicycle Advisory Committee, has started a communitywide campaign to measure the width of every mile of bicycle lane in the Duke City. The city says it has 540 bike lane miles and 170 miles of dedicated multiuse trails.

“What it boils down to is that it’s difficult to move forward with planning under the Complete Streets Ordinance until we have a good idea of where we are,” Key said.

But budget constraints and other problems have kept that from happening. So Key is hoping to get the city’s large cycling population involved in taking the inventory.

The city’s Complete Streets Ordinance, adopted in 2015, directs city planners and engineers to consider pedestrians, bicyclists and others when re-striping or rebuilding streets in older parts of the city, or when building entirely new ones.

Key says that once he compiles information on the location and width of the bike lanes, it will be much easier for the city’s Department of Municipal Development to develop a priority list.

“In some cases, the traffic lanes are wider than current standards and the bicycle lanes are narrower,” he said. Knowing where those are would allow planners to put those lanes on a priority list when it comes to re-striping projects.

The data will help in other ways, too, as planners etch out what the transportation system looks like in a future Albuquerque.

To get the much-needed data, Key suggests as many people get involved as possible.

“Let’s see how much of this work we civic-minded cyclists, pedestrians and any other folks willing to do so, can accomplish in fully auditing our bike network,” he wrote in a recent post on Duke City Fix announcing the project.

It’s not all that complicated, he says, and you can put in as little or as much time as you want to help.

“All you need is a camera and a tape measure,” he said. And remember the first (second, third and fourth) rule. “Do not kill yourself measuring these bike lanes.”

After documenting the location (a photo of street signs at a nearby intersection is the easiest way to keep track, he says) simply use a semirigid tape measure spread from the middle of the bike lane stripe (on the outside of the traffic lane) to the crack that separates the road surface from the gutter/curb area. Take a photo of that.

Then prepare a quick report that looks something like this:

Reporter: Scot Key

Location: Isleta Boulevard between Gun Glub and Camino del Valle (northbound)

Width: 37 inches

Photos are not required for the report but are helpful, he says.

As the reports come in, Key plans to keep an updated spreadsheet of the work posted on his blog.

“If we get going,” he says, “we can get 80-90 percent of the work done by the end of the year.”