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BobK
05-14-2013, 04:24 PM
Hopefully you guys can help me out with a couple of route questions for Friday's extended commute. My usual commute is from Alexandria to DC via the 14th Street Bridge on the MVT. But I am thinking about extending the ride on the MVT up to Rosslyn on Friday to check out the pit stop there and to snag some of the premium swag (the water bottles look like a must have to me!). I do have a couple of questions though.

First, what is the accepted protocal for the single lane section of the MVT under the (I think) Memorial Bridge? The signage there says to walk the bike through that section, but the cyclists I see there are usually riding through. I have only riden that area of the MVT on weekend mornings without any traffic to speak of, but assume it will be a lot busier on Friday. Do most of you dismount for that narrow section?

Also, am I really going to die when I cross Lynn St. at the Custis trail? It sure sounds like there are a lot of accidents there, but it does have a signal there, right? Are the majority of people who get hit there running the red light?

Thanks for the help with these questions!

Bob

TwoWheelsDC
05-14-2013, 04:35 PM
First, what is the accepted protocal for the single lane section of the MVT under the (I think) Memorial Bridge? The signage there says to walk the bike through that section, but the cyclists I see there are usually riding through. I have only riden that area of the MVT on weekend mornings without any traffic to speak of, but assume it will be a lot busier on Friday. Do most of you dismount for that narrow section?

Also, am I really going to die when I cross Lynn St. at the Custis trail? It sure sounds like there are a lot of accidents there, but it does have a signal there, right? Are the majority of people who get hit there running the red light?

Thanks for the help with these questions!

Bob

1. No need to walk, but don't enter if someone is already in the tunnel headed toward you. My opinion is that the situation calls for a modified "zipper" method (like exiting parking lots after events) where people alternate the right of way, one at a time, and not in groups (although a-holes still do this regularly). When approaching, yield to folks coming toward you if they are closer to the tunnel entrance than you.

2. No, you won't die...just don't bomb into the intersection expecting cars to yield. Also, keep an eye out for cars coming off 66 in the southernmost right turn lane....they get impatient that the cars in front of them aren't turning through the light, not realizing that the cars in front of them are waiting for pedestrians, so they speed around into the crosswalk. The times I have seen near-misses (including one of my own), that is how it happened. So cross quickly, but cautiously, and you'll be fine.

jrenaut
05-14-2013, 04:54 PM
I ignore pretty much all "cyclists must dismount" signs. They're ridiculous. TwoWheels' instruction is, I think, exactly correct.

Amalitza
05-14-2013, 05:02 PM
What Two-Wheels said. Just wait for anyone already there to get through. It is too narrow for two-way traffic.

I was once partway through when an oncoming cyclist entered the other end. Rather than doing the sensible thing and just stopping in place until he was passed (I was there first, right?), I just slowed as much as possible and squished as far over to the right as possible, which resulted in my bumping my handlebars (I think) against the wall on the right, which knocked me over against the railing on the left. Or something like that. Skinned my hand, bruised a knee, or maybe the other way around. Other guy just kept going. His friend (who had stopped before entering to wait for me to get through) apologized on his behalf as I sheepishly shrugged at my demonstration of grace and style. :cool:

dasgeh
05-14-2013, 05:03 PM
Also, am I really going to die when I cross Lynn St. at the Custis trail? It sure sounds like there are a lot of accidents there, but it does have a signal there, right? Are the majority of people who get hit there running the red light?

The danger at Lee and Lynn is from drivers not looking for cyclists. One would hope this would not be an issue on bike to work day. One would also hope that ACPD would be there, ticketing scofflaw drivers, but that's probably wishful thinking.

sjclaeys
05-14-2013, 05:16 PM
I find using a jousting lance helps when going under the Memorial Bridge. Seriously, what Two-Wheels said, though there can be some tricky stand offs from either both cyclists thinking that they were there first and have the right of way or engaging in a perpetual "no, after you" waiting for the other one to go.

rcannon100
05-14-2013, 05:19 PM
In celebration of Bike to Work day, it is the one day of the year where Arlco acts like a grown up urban environment and posts po po at the intersection of Lynn and Lee, helping traffic to negotiate safely through the box.

Unfortunately the rest of the year we cling to our memories of Arlington as a place of chicken coups and dairy farms - refusing to acknowledge the big city traffic at our door step and acting responsibly.

DismalScientist
05-14-2013, 05:32 PM
It is too narrow for two-way traffic.

The most bad-ass cyclist always has the right of way.:rolleyes:

bobco85
05-14-2013, 05:56 PM
The most bad-ass cyclist always has the right of way.:rolleyes:

I just pictured two cyclists, each trying to get a KOM on opposite traveling Strava segments that pass under that bridge, colliding in a big jumble of stupid.

BobK
05-14-2013, 09:40 PM
Thanks everyone for the responses and lesson in trail etiquette. The tunnel did have me stumped! :p

Looking forward to the Friday festivities!

DCAKen
05-15-2013, 10:33 AM
The most bad-ass cyclist always has the right of way.:rolleyes:

More like the most dumb ass cyclist always has the right of way

DismalScientist
05-15-2013, 10:47 AM
:rolleyes: is the universal smiley of sarcasm.


Actually, I disagree with the zipper approach to the tunnel. It would seem much more efficient for groups of cyclists/pedestrian to alternate north and southbound under the bridge rather than individual cyclists/pedestrians. I don't see any problem with tagging along at the end (not significantly behind) a group with temporary right-of-way.

baiskeli
05-15-2013, 11:18 AM
The danger at Lee and Lynn is from drivers not looking for cyclists. One would hope this would not be an issue on bike to work day. One would also hope that ACPD would be there, ticketing scofflaw drivers, but that's probably wishful thinking.

I'd say the dangers there are due to several causes. Some cyclists do their best to increase their odds of getting hit there.

dasgeh
05-15-2013, 11:28 AM
I'd say the dangers there are due to several causes. Some cyclists do their best to increase their odds of getting hit there.

For a law abiding cyclist, what danger is there other than a right-turning driver not yielding to cyclists? There are no left-turners there. There are some design issues that make it harder for right turners to see cyclists early in their turn, but all drivers can see cyclists before driving through the crosswalk. I'm asking because I cross there twice a day now, and I don't want to miss something.

baiskeli
05-15-2013, 11:43 AM
For a law abiding cyclist, what danger is there other than a right-turning driver not yielding to cyclists? There are no left-turners there. There are some design issues that make it harder for right turners to see cyclists early in their turn, but all drivers can see cyclists before driving through the crosswalk. I'm asking because I cross there twice a day now, and I don't want to miss something.

Well, you went and used the term "law abiding cyclist." That's your problem right there. ;) Some cyclists fly through against a red "don't walk" signal, right when cars are seeing their last chance to make it through on that light and likely to gun it. Or worse.

But even abiding by the law isn't enough sometimes in dangerous situations. I'm extra careful there because the intersection is poorly designed and Washington drivers are, well, let's say poorly designed too, and some cyclists can be hazards there too. I take it slow there, I watch for cars that don't see me, I watch for bikes crossing against the opposite red or flying past me without calling, I give motorists eager to turn right to the bridge the chance by not entering the intersection on the red countdown for the crosswalk (technically illegal anyway, I believe), and if I see the need to yield even when I have the right of way, I do (though I may sometimes indicate my displeasure afterward through verbal means or sign language).

Nothing more than defensive riding, in other words, which we cyclists must do double because we are so vulnerable in a collision.

rcannon100
05-15-2013, 12:02 PM
Lynn St and Lee Hwy scares the crap out of me. Cars constantly run the red light - its not a question of whether a car will run the red but how many. I have seen cars run through the red WAY after it went red. Cars in the right lane on Lee west bound will creep forward attempting to jump the light, and slam into anyone in the crosswalk. Cars behind those cars that have properly yielded, will start honking and acting aggressively in order to force the first properly-yielding car to move.

I dont do it.

Instead, going east bound, I hop up the ramp beside the Marriott, which puts me in Gateway park. Now when I cross east bound, all the cars next to me will be at full stop. And when I cross north bound all the cars will be full stop. No more salmoning through psycho rush hour aggressive drivers. It takes a couple seconds longer - but it is a lot safer.

2861

Going west bound, with the 2 second head start the cross walk gets, I find not as bad.

Cyclists have been complaining to Arlco and VDot about the intersection of doom for as long as I have been in Arlington (almost 25 years). And nothing changes (oh wait, we got new curb cuts. y a y ) :rolleyes:

baiskeli
05-15-2013, 12:16 PM
Lynn St and Lee Hwy scares the crap out of me. Cars constantly run the red light - its not a question of whether a car will run the red but how many. I have seen cars run through the red WAY after it went red. Cars in the right lane on Lee west bound will creep forward attempting to jump the light, and slam into anyone in the crosswalk. Cars behind those cars that have properly yielded, will start honking and acting aggressively in order to force the first properly-yielding car to move.

Yeah, and the cars turning right from the east to the bridge are a hazard because they are looking to their left for a chance to turn and may not see you on their right crossing--especially if you are approaching from the east and in their right shoulder blind spot. That's when they have a green. They are often stuck in traffic getting to the intersection, and eager to turn right once they get there, but then they have to yield to the bikes and peds and wait for room behind cars already in the road toward the bridge, or even wait for traffic that is blocking the intersection to clear. So as they see they are about to get another red light, they may try to rush through. That's a bad time to be going through the intersection in front of a desperate, frustrated driver in a steel box. That's why I don't cross there near the end of the cycle.

From what I think you're saying you do, it looks like your route is my idea for fixing this intersection - run the trail over to cross further down so there's no right-turning cars to deal with.

dasgeh
05-15-2013, 01:41 PM
Yeah, and the cars turning right from the east to the bridge are a hazard because they are looking to their left for a chance to turn and may not see you on their right crossing--especially if you are approaching from the east and in their right shoulder blind spot. That's when they have a green.

When the cars coming from 66 have green, they don't have to look over their left shoulder for traffic coming from the left. Green means they can turn right if the crosswalk is clear.

I completely agree with you about the defensive cycling, but for the reason I stated. The danger here is that drivers don't look for (ok, I'll add) and appropriately yield to crosswalk traffic. So as long as you expect that, it's not that hard to get through this crosswalk. Especially at the beginning of the cycle. rcannon, you have a leading ped cycle whether you're heading east or west. I do find it's safest to cross in that part of the cycle, but as long as I make eye contact with drivers and am ready to stop for drivers being aggressive, I don't find it impossible to get through that intersection in other parts of the cycle.

Honeybadger6
05-15-2013, 01:45 PM
The most bad-ass cyclist always has the right of way.:rolleyes:

In that case, I WIN! I'll be taking that to the bank...

Honeybadger6
05-15-2013, 01:46 PM
More like the most dumb ass cyclist always has the right of way

Doh! I'll continue zippering per two wheels' directive...

baiskeli
05-15-2013, 03:40 PM
When the cars coming from 66 have green, they don't have to look over their left shoulder for traffic coming from the left. Green means they can turn right if the crosswalk is clear.

Oops, sorry, like I said, it's complicated. You are of course correct, on the right turn on red they're looking left.

baiskeli
05-16-2013, 10:05 AM
Here's why I included the right on red.

Car is coming off the Parkway and waiting at the red to turn right onto Lynn toward the bridge. Looking left for a gap. Cyclist comes from behind driver's shoulder. At that intersection, the pedestrian crossing light turns green a second or two before the light for cars turns green. A driver who was trying to turn right on red may not see you in the crosswalk at that point. And when the car's light turns green, he/she may not even bother to look, and just turn. I've had three or four near-misses in that situation where if I wasn't looking carefully at those cars, I would have been right in their path.

dasgeh
05-16-2013, 10:56 AM
Here's why I included the right on red.

Car is coming off the Parkway and waiting at the red to turn right onto Lynn toward the bridge. Looking left for a gap. Cyclist comes from behind driver's shoulder. At that intersection, the pedestrian crossing light turns green a second or two before the light for cars turns green. A driver who was trying to turn right on red may not see you in the crosswalk at that point. And when the car's light turns green, he/she may not even bother to look, and just turn. I've had three or four near-misses in that situation where if I wasn't looking carefully at those cars, I would have been right in their path.

I'm not disputing that you have to be very careful with drivers - many of them don't look to see if there are people in the crosswalk. I agree that making eye contact with each driver who will cross your path (there are two lanes, I've even seen a car go around and create a third) is very important. But it's doable. I worry that newbs who hear about Lynn and Lee will think "there's no way I could possibly cross there" and give up. It's very possible to cross there. If you're not comfortable at very low speeds, it's best to dismount and walk your bike, so you can stop on a dime. If you wait so you're crossing at the very beginning of the walking person so all cars have red, it's easier. It's also easier to cross with other bikes and peds. It's annoying to go so slowly, possibly dismount, not be able to use the full "walking person", but it's at most a 1 minute delay.

So new people reading this, it's not inherently a death trap. It's a place to be very, very careful, and not expect to go fast, but you can get through it. And welcome to cycling. Despite this one intersection, it really is AWESOME!

baiskeli
05-16-2013, 11:00 AM
I'm not disputing that you have to be very careful with drivers - many of them don't look to see if there are people in the crosswalk. I agree that making eye contact with each driver who will cross your path (there are two lanes, I've even seen a car go around and create a third) is very important. But it's doable. I worry that newbs who hear about Lynn and Lee will think "there's no way I could possibly cross there" and give up. It's very possible to cross there. If you're not comfortable at very low speeds, it's best to dismount and walk your bike, so you can stop on a dime. If you wait so you're crossing at the very beginning of the walking person so all cars have red, it's easier. It's also easier to cross with other bikes and peds. It's annoying to go so slowly, possibly dismount, not be able to use the full "walking person", but it's at most a 1 minute delay.

So new people reading this, it's not inherently a death trap. It's a place to be very, very careful, and not expect to go fast, but you can get through it. And welcome to cycling. Despite this one intersection, it really is AWESOME!

Exactly!

This crossing is okay if you just do it right. It's one of those crossing where you shouldn't push your luck, like some cyclists do at other crossing (and sometimes this one).

Hope to see lots of newbs crossing there tomorrow from the Rosslyn pit stop.

BobK
05-16-2013, 01:09 PM
Excellent additional comments, guys! I am getting a pretty good sense of the issues I will be running into in Rosslyn tomorrow.

I think I have been incredibly spoiled on my normal ride. No really bad intersections to speak of at all. I tip my hat to those of you who have to deal with this route on a daily basis!

Thanks, again.

Bob