With apologies to an old riddle: What’s black and green and white (striped) all over?
Answer: La Rue Road in front of UC Davis Health Stadium, between Garrod Drive and Hutchison Drive. The black is the new pavement laid down in the road’s reconstruction (the southbound lanes last summer, the northbound lanes this summer).
Now, with both sides completed, the campus has restriped this section of the campus thoroughfare so that it has, in each direction, only one lane for automobile traffic, instead of two, making room for bike lanes (painted green) and parallel parking for cars.
The parking spaces — approximately 50 of them — will be for A and C permit holders, and drivers with visitor permits. But, take note: Parking will not be allowed there until the permit signs go up (expected as early as Thursday, Sept. 18).
More striping will delineate a 3-foot buffer between the bike lanes and the curbside parking spaces — room enough for bicyclists to avoid being the victim of a “dooring” (the crash that occurs when a car door is suddenly flung open in a cyclist’s path).
With this project, La Rue has bike lanes almost its whole length, between Russell Boulevard in the north and Old Davis Road in the south. One gap, on the bridge across the Arboretum Waterway, is being filled in: bike lanes will be included on a wider span now under construction, with completion due next summer.
Campus’s 1st “bike boxes”
There will be more green paint in three “bike boxes” at the intersection of La Rue and Hutchison — the first bike boxes on campus, places for bicyclists to wait for green lights or safe openings to merge into traffic.
Two of the boxes will be for bicyclists southbound on La Rue who intend to turn left from La Rue onto eastbound Hutchison (into the campus core). Here’s how the boxes work, based on information provided by the UC Davis Bicycle Program, part of Transportation Services, or TAPS:
●︎ Riding south on La Rue, in the bike lane — If you arrive at Hutchison on a red light, wait in the bike box at the head of the turn lane where cars line up; when the light turns green, turn left onto eastbound Hutchison. If you arrive on a green light, safely merge into the flow of cars in the turn lane next to you and make your turn. If you are unable to merge safely, ride to the “two-stage turn queue” box in the intersection and wait for a green light allowing you to ride east through the intersection.
The two-stage turn queue box sits ahead of the crosswalk, but, said Ramon Zavala of TAPS, “Don’t worry — it’s well out of the way of cross traffic.”
●︎ Riding south on the shared-use path (for bicyclists and pedestrians) alongside La Rue — If you arrive at Hutchison on a red light, wait on the corner. When you get a “walk” light, walk to the two-stage turn queue box (the same one referenced above), mount your bike and wait for a green light allowing you to ride east through the intersection. If you arrive on a green light, walk your bike in the crosswalk to the two-stage turn queue box, mount up and wait for a green light allowing you to ride east through the intersection.
This is a time-saver for bicyclists who prefer the bike path off the street to the bike lane on the street. Previously, they used two crosswalks to enter the campus core, first walking their bikes across Hutchison (north to south), then La Rue (west to east), before they could resume riding. Soon, they can walk three-quarters of the way across Hutchison and resume riding (on a green light) from the two-way turn queue box.
The third box will be for bicyclists northbound on La Rue, riding in the bike lane, who intend to turn left onto westbound Hutchison (heading toward Highway 113 and UC Davis West Village). Information provided by the Bicycle Program states: If you arrive at Hutchison on a red light, wait in the bike box at the head of the turn lane; when the light turns green, turn left and merge into the bike lane on Hutchison. If the light is green as you approach, safely merge into the flow of cars in the turn lane next to you and make your turn. If you cannot safely merge, and the light turns red, move into the bike box so you can be ahead of the cars when the light turns green again.
Drivers and bike boxes
The Bicycle Program says drivers also need to learn about bike boxes, wherever they may be:
- If you arrive at an intersection on a red light, stop behind the bike box.
- Once the light turns green, wait for people using the bike box in front of you to clear the intersection before you proceed.