UPDATE: The piles I've described in this post which were on or near the East Covell corridor have been removed. There are some others in the bike lane on Loyola between the entrance to Korematsu Elementary and Alhambra, and still nothing either here or in general to communicate to people driving motor vehicles that people on bikes may deviate from the bike lanes....
Last week's storm was the worst in ten years by many accounts, with serious damage to trees and property, a significant loss of perishable food and other problems caused by lack of power.
Obviously city staff, private contractors and others had their work cut out for them and certainly we applaud their efforts, though many cheered PG&E field staff and they pooped on their bosses (and shareholders).
From what I saw, arterial streets in Davis were cleared for the most part by January 28th, the day after the storms mostly ended. When out then to photograph the weird non-standard lane design on Lake at Russell I passed the dangerousafety radar speed sign on East Covell Blvd. that I blogged about last week.
I noticed that street sweepers had made at least two passes on the traffic lanes of East Covell, because there was a consistent line of debris that started a foot or two into the bike lane from the number two lane. I noticed the same, um, edging on other arteries.
In the winter in Denmark - or at least in Copenhagen - bike lanes are cleared of snow BEFORE traffic lanes are cleared. It's not just about optics: Bikes have a tougher time with snow than do motor vehicles. Similarly, people riding bicycles have to ride around branches that motor vehicle operators can at least pass over slowly. If bike lanes on arteries are blocked with branches and other significant debris - and it's hard to a person on a bike to tell if something's dangerous or simply very annoying in them - they may have to divert into a traffic lane -- just like with the radar speed sign.
The radar speed sign is gone - perhaps as of Monday or Tuesday, I don't know why and they didn't get back to me - but the bike lanes are arteries such as E. Covell and 5th St are still there, a week later.
To be clear, I'm not all j'accuse about the situation, because everyone's clearly overwhelmed, also due to power outages that impacted City administration. But it seems fair to ask about priorities: What's the sequence for such extraordinary events? Traffic lanes on arteries first, then collectors (which seem to be done), then local streets? How do bike lanes fit in, at all? Is there a plan, even an improvised one?
Unfortunately the City already has a chronic problem with yard waste in local streets (legal under certain conditions) and in bike lanes (never normally allowed when living trees are shedding), and from what I saw this morning on 5th St roughly between the police station and Alhambra makes it clear that some of the same offenders in the neighborhoods on the north side of 5th are also taking an advantage of this situation.
While it's understandable that some bike lanes may be blocked by debris that fell on them during an exceptional weather event, debris must not be collected and piled in bike lanes. Ever! It's dangerous to require a diversion out of the bike lane, perhaps especially when there's no communication to drivers about the situation. Please write the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission at <firstname.lastname@example.org> to tell them your opinions (about my opinions).
Enjoy my photographs and video from Wednesday morning (I re-checked Wednesday evening and all were still present; the ones that are intentional piles were prepared no later than Tuesday evening. )
Video: East-bound East Covell near Birch Lane. The traffic lanes were cleared, but was the debris removed or put in the bike lane?