The new protected intersection in Davis, the first in the United States to open, has been in the news recently (#Damien Talks Episode 13 – The Davis Planning Department on the Bike Protected Intersection (Streetsblog), This California city just built the country’s first protected intersection for bikes (Vox), It Just Works: Davis Quietly Debuts America’s First Protected Intersection (Streetsblog), Davis Dutch intersection, first ever in U.S., unveiled with no drama (Davis Enterprise), and others). Though it did not initiate the movement towards protected intersections, which have long existed in some form in Europe, Nick Falbo’s Protected Intersection video has popularized the idea in the United States.
Yesterday I spent about an hour looking at the intersection. It was mid-day, so lightly used by bicyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles. I might have a different impression at a different time of day. I was on my knee scooter, my current method of getting around, so acting as a pedestrian and not a bicyclist. The design is at the intersection of Covell Blvd and J Street/Cannery Row, on the north side of Davis. The intersection was revised because of the major new development north of Covell, The Cannery, which has recently opened but is still being developed. Some photos are on Flickr.
With one exception (below), the intersection worked just fine for all modes. Most bicyclists were on Covell headed east or west, and they used the on-street bike lanes. I saw one person use the ramp up to sidewalk and back down, and one bicyclist use the design to turn left from Covell westbound to J southbound. No issues. I also saw a number of pedestrians crossing in various directions. No issues. The signal cycle is slower than it probably needs to be, but, again, that might be different during commute times.