I recently put the truth-o-meter to the first comment under an Off the Couch post about the critical mass riders over the Hoan Bridge. Well today Tom forwarded me another completely “Pants on fire” comment from his recent Off the Couch post about the protest ride over the Hoan Bridge. Get ready, this one is a doozy:Actually it’s far more than “2 lines”. Again, I’m a city person. Our roads are poured concrete, around 10-12″ thick (B) with an asphalt cap. That includes the bike lanes, they’re about 4′ wide with the stripes (A). The real cost to road projects as always is the labor(D). It costs the same to build a bike lane as it does a standard lane.(E) On National Ave. and Bluemound Road the added bike lanes actually took away from vehicle lanes.(C) Certainly not my idea of progress, what’s next, removing the car/truck lanes totally to make room for horse & buggies?
Do these trolls think if they just make something up, say it with authority and get it published in the comments section it become true? Deconstructing this comment I will attempt to get to the truth:
(A) Including the width of the stripes, bike lanes are 5 feet to 6 feet wide, next to parking.
(B) Bluemound Road in the area under discussion, like most other reconstruction projects, is 8″ thick concrete on an aggregate base, and there is no asphalt “cap.” Roads with more heavy truck traffic can be 10″ thick. Roads are often later resurfaced with asphalt once or twice before they are redone in concrete because it is cheaper in the short run than to do a full reconstruct in concrete first thing.
(C) National Ave does not have bike lanes. Bluemound is 48 ft-50 ft wide with 2 11 ft -12 ft motor vehicle travel lanes, two 5 ft bike lanes and two 8 ft parking lanes. We did not remove a travel lane. We did not widen the road to add the bike lanes, all we did was add the bike lane lines to delineate space that was always there as a wide parking lane.
(D) Road projects are about 30% engineering and 70% construction. Construction projects are bid out with quantities that include labor, so it is difficult to separate the two costs on a particular project. But larger scope studies of construction projects in the US have found labor costs can vary between 20% to 40% of construction and on rare occasion equal the cost of materials.
(E) Bike lanes cost the City $.02 per linear foot to paint with our City forces, including wages and benefits. Since there are typically four bike lane lines on a two-way road, that averages to $422 per mile, a lot less than a mile of urban freeway, which cost $4.9 million to $19.5 million per lane mile. The number varies quite a bit depending if there are bridges or interchanges.
The City of Milwaukee spends about $25,000 per year of its $70 million DPW annual budget to maintain bike lanes. Bicycles are a cheap date.
Many of our roads were constructed 30 years ago to a width that would accommodate future traffic projections. Traffic volumes have remained flat or gone down over the last decade, so we are on occasion able to be fiscally responsible and narrow some of our City roads that have more capacity than needed. We do this when we can to reduce future maintenance costs and the amount of runoff we have to treat.
OK, now that I have refuted another baseless claim, do I really want to keep doing this? I don’t have enough time after work to keep up with all the crazy statements in the comment section of the Journal Sentinel. Until they actually require people to register with their name and email address, I suggest you do what I do: read the articles for the facts and skip the false sense of democracy promulgated in comments section.
What do you think, should I continue to refute crazy comments from trolls in jsonline or let it go?