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"Bike Box" coming to Church Street


Nashville's Newest Bicycle Safety Improvement

Nashville will be implementing the first bike box for eastbound mobility on Church Street at 9th Ave North and Church Street next Thursday evening, August 21, weather permitting. During the painting of the bike box, one lane will be closed. To minimize the impact on traffic, the work will be completed at night and will be completed in one night. The goal is to encourage more cycling by creating a safer, more comfortable road environment.

What is a bike box? A bike box is a designated area painted at the head of an intersection designed to prevent bicycle/car collisions. The bike box pavement marking is painted on the roadway with a special green adhesive material, thermoplastic, that is engineered for use in high-traffic areas subjected to vehicular traffic.

Bike Box concept drawing 1Green is used as it is the standard color approved by the Federal Highway Administration for bicycle lanes and boxes.

Bike boxes improve safety by increasing awareness and visibility of cyclists and helping cyclists make safer intersection crossings. The box serves as an advanced stop bar, creating space between motor vehicles and bicyclists (Figure 1).

A bike box allows bicyclists to position themselves ahead of motor vehicle traffic at an intersection. With cyclists in front of vehicles at the red light, they are able to continue going straight through the intersection prior to vehicles turning right (thus preventing potential vehicle/bicyclist collisions).

For this first pilot bike box, there will be a 1 foot green border around the space on the road (Figure 2) with painted white bicycle symbols inside the box, one for each travel lane.

What motorists should know: When the traffic signal is red, motorists must stop behind the white stop line. When the light turns green, motorists and cyclists may move through the intersection as usual, with cyclists going first. Motorists turning right on green should signal and watch for cyclists to the right, especially in the green bike lane in the intersection.

Bike Box concept drawing 2What bicyclists should know: When the traffic signal is yellow or red, enter the bike box from the approaching bike lane. Stop before the crosswalk. When the light is green, proceed as normal. As always, be aware of right-turning motorists. Be aware of right-turning motorists, especially while in the green bike lane in the intersection.

Bike Box Successes in Other Cities: Over 20 cities including Washington, D.C., Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, Phoenix, Portland, and Austin, Indianapolis, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York City, have successfully implemented bike boxes and report positive results in bicyclist and motorist behavior with regard to road safety at intersections with bike box treatments.

What is next? Metro Nashville is piloting the bike box program with this installation and will assess other areas for potential bike boxes in the future. This roadway was chosen as a pilot location for the bike box due to Church Street being a gateway into the city via bike mobility and this location provides important connectivity to the existing bikeway infrastructure. The bike box at this intersection allows cyclists to more safely transition from the dedicated bike lane to shared use roadway. This project also incorporates TDOT's Road Safety Audit Reports (RSAR) as a candidate to improve vehicular flow. Other roadways identified as gateways for bike transit include Demonbreun St, Charlotte Ave, Rosa L Parks Blvd.

Metro Nashville's bikeways currently total more than 142 miles. This includes signed shared routes, dedicated lanes, and the recent addition of buffered bike lanes along several bikeways including Fort Negley Blvd and Korean Veterans Blvd. Additionally, there are 75 miles of bikeable off-street, multi-use paved greenway trails.

"The new bike box is another step toward our continuing efforts to providing more and more complete street transportation options through roadway infrastructure improvements for our community, said Randy Lovett, Public Works Acting Director."