#1 – SAKURA SANDO
Running on the sidewalk for about 300 meters on both sides of the street the Nishiarai lanes nicely separate cyclists from pedestrians with many blue plastic posts placed fairly close together. Cherry trees along the road provide shade in Summer and lovely hanami opportunities when the trees are blossoming. Plant boxes along the curb separate bike riders from car traffic.
There is plenty of easy to understand signage and lane markings. Located close to the train station in a residential area, these lanes had the highest usage score out of all the bicycle lanes we observed.
SAFETY RATING ( 8.5 )
Transition points – Well marked with ground signs and overhead signs and enough space for cyclists and pedestrians to make their way to their side of the path.
Cohesion – Adachi-ku should try harder to build more space for cyclists on other roads because they have a lot of them and they find their own paths along back streets and shopping roads.
Obstacles – The manhole covers are mainly in the middle of the path between the pedestrian area and the cycling area but there are a few in the bike path and the metal covers do get slippery when wet.
Traffic Separation – The one thing you notice immediately when you arrive at this section of bicycle infrastructure is the massive amounts of blue bollards that are between the pedestrian area and the cycling area.
Lighting – There are lamp posts just for the bike path. This is nice but there could be a few more of them. They do seem spaced a little bit too far apart. The signage could also be illuminated.
DESIGN RATING ( 8.5 )
Communication – The entrance points are well labeled with two signs (pogo-stick) one with a brown background and one with a green background, both not the color of a standard bike path (usually blue). There is also a tiny bicycle symbol with a green background on the first blue bollard with arrows pointing for which side pedestrians and cyclists should use on the sidewalk.
Understandable – While most of the signage is clear and uses only pictograms there are issues with all the color mixing and some signs have Japanese without any furigana. Children use this space too, it’s not just people who don’t know Japanese.
Promotes Safety – Arrow markings indicate which side of the bike path users should be on. An unfortunate thing is that the path disappears at parking lot entrances and street crossings.
Transition Instructions – This is one of the few places with bike paths that had some signage about the transition between the bike path and road/sidewalk. It’s not much more than a “careful” sign but it is better than nothing.
USEAGE RATING ( 8.8 )
Popularity – The big points for this short stretch of bike path comes from the fact that it is very popular. The attractions in this area contribute to its popularity but also the bike parking areas at Nishiarai Station and the small unofficial bike path that runs on the south-west side of the Tobu Isesaki Line. Being located outside the city center bicycle usage is higher and more prevalent.
Broad Spectrum – Every age and demographic range uses this bike path. In a short period you can see young kids riding with their parents and elderly traversing the path with their tricycles. Youths tend to use the path in small packs making their way to the shopping mall (Ario Nishiarai).
Scalable – This is a standard (for Tokyo) bike path mixed with a pedestrian path separated only by lots and lots of blue flexible bollards. This means that to increase the space for cyclists it will be at the expense of the pedestrians and not the vehicle space.
Majority Preference – Yes. As it happens to be a well labeled and somewhat protected (but easily escapable) bike path, cyclists really like to use it. They make their way over to the path and will dodge between the blue bollards to get into the bike path and avoid the pedestrian areas.
Illustration purposes only. Feasibility studies would need to be conducted for viability for cost, local ordinances, and other unknown specification.