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View Full Version : CaBi van in bike lane while balancing



DanB
05-19-2015, 10:54 AM
Does CaBi have policy on where it's vans park? I find this ironic.

I also wonder if others have seen this elsewhere. (This is the standard procedure at Thomas Circle, pictured below from two different angles.)

I don't have a solution for this either. I'm guessing that parking on the sidewalk is a no-no despite there being PLENTY of room.

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KLizotte
05-19-2015, 11:39 AM
Well, they are technically moving bikes in and out of the lane. Given how irate drivers would be if they took up a car lane, I give CaBi a pass on this, esp in an area as tough as Thomas Circle.

jrenaut
05-19-2015, 11:42 AM
I've complained to them before about this exact spot - they blew it off as being the only feasible spot, which I don't buy.

On the bright side, taking the lane there saves you from the daily attempts at right hooks. My favorite is the far left lane right hook without even looking. That's extra-special.

Raymo853
05-19-2015, 02:32 PM
I have seen them blocking bike lanes multiple times and in multiple places. When I worked at the Ronald Reagan Building, one of their vans spatially conspired with motorcycles to prevent me from getting my bike out of the rack at the corner of D and 14th NW.

scoot
05-19-2015, 06:56 PM
On the bright side, taking the lane there saves you from the daily attempts at right hooks. My favorite is the far left lane right hook without even looking. That's extra-special.

I've only ridden through Thomas Circle a few times, but I've taken the lane every time. If someone still tries to right-hook you (from the left lane), you at least have more time to react.

RideTheWomble
05-20-2015, 05:41 AM
The EPA employee shuttle habitually blocks the bike lane at Potomac Ave. and Crystal Dr. in Arlington. They've even placed a claim on the bike lane area by putting an official sign for a stop there, for Pete's sake. CaBi isn't the only head-scratcher of a bike-lane-blocker around here.

baiskeli
05-20-2015, 08:05 AM
If there were no bike lane, they'd be blocking a lane of traffic. It seems to me that vehicles like that have to go to the curb, and block whatever lane, car or bike, that's next to the curb. It's ironic in this case though, yeah.

Lt. Dan
05-20-2015, 11:32 AM
I've complained to them before about this exact spot - they blew it off as being the only feasible spot, which I don't buy.
.

Do you have a suggestion for a better spot that is still within easy reach of the racks they are servicing?

PotomacCyclist
05-20-2015, 11:54 AM
I'm OK with this if there is no nearby alternative. The vans shouldn't be driving onto the sidewalks.

Maybe they could park on Highland Terrace: https://goo.gl/maps/RU1Iz

But the staff members would have to cross the Massachusetts Ave. lanes multiple times, while pushing heavy CaBi bikes. There will be speeding drivers and drivers who take aggressive right turns off the circle without even looking. (This happens almost everywhere.) Over the course of a year, I'd have to think that risk of injury would be significantly higher for those employees if they are parking the van on Highland Terrace a few times a day during rush hour and pushing heavy bikes across those lanes.

Even if the van was allowed to drive onto the sidewalk, would it be possible? The van driver would have to turn onto Mass. Ave. briefly before making a hard left onto the sidewalk. There may not be enough space to do that. The other option is to drive directly from Thomas Circle onto the sidewalk, but that would also be awkward, with the curb and the lack of room to maneuver the van into place.

PotomacCyclist
05-20-2015, 11:57 AM
M Street would be another option. But first they would have to find a parking space or two. I don't think the van would fit into just a single parking space.

https://goo.gl/maps/FP1Ne

Then the employees would have to cross both M Street and a lane of Mass. Ave. The safety issue pops up again. Plus this would slow the process quite a bit. When they have multiple stops during the morning rush hour, adding all this extra time at several locations could hamper rebalancing quite a bit.

mstone
05-20-2015, 03:40 PM
Why not stop in the traffic lame instead of the bike lane?

PotomacCyclist
05-20-2015, 03:53 PM
The van is probably stopped in both, in part of the road lane too.

I don't think it would matter though. If the van were parked only in the traffic lane, with the bike lane free, there would still be a problem. The employees are going to be shuttling back and forth across the bike lane very frequently. It still wouldn't be usable. Even if the bike lane opened up temporarily, there would still be the risk of employees moving into the bike lane suddenly. The employees or an oncoming cyclist might not see the other party. That doesn't seem like a good situation either. There is no good solution here, other than to move the bike station completely, but that would bring up other problems. I think this is one of the closest stations to the Farragut Square and Franklin Park areas that doesn't fill up in the mornings. That has been my experience on the limited number of times I've checked. I've used that station a few times when all the Farragut/Franklin stations were full.

mstone
05-20-2015, 04:04 PM
The employees are going to be shuttling back and forth across the bike lane very frequently. It still wouldn't be usable. Even if the bike lane opened up temporarily, there would still be the risk of employees moving into the bike lane suddenly. The employees or an oncoming cyclist might not see the other party.

I disagree. They would not be continually in the lane. They go back and forth, and spend a good bit of time either at the kiosk or in the van, and people would be able to pass at those times. The visibility into the back of the van is great, so I fail to see how either party could fail to see the other.

83(b)
05-20-2015, 04:10 PM
There is no good solution here, other than to move the bike station completely...

That's why I'm not inclined to make too big of a fuss over this particular issue. We've seen local NIMBYs cite the rebalancing vans when pushing back against new stations. I'd hate to lose out on prime station locations because good loading zones aren't immediately adjacent.

PotomacCyclist
05-20-2015, 04:44 PM
I disagree. They would not be continually in the lane. They go back and forth, and spend a good bit of time either at the kiosk or in the van, and people would be able to pass at those times. The visibility into the back of the van is great, so I fail to see how either party could fail to see the other.

I've seen the rebalancing staff running pretty quickly between the van and the station at other locations. It would be pretty easy for someone to miss them if they weren't looking in that exact direction at that moment.

At Thomas Circle, there are other distractions. The cyclist has to be aware of the car traffic in the circle as well as car drivers leaving the circle or entering the circle. I've walked around there and through the crosswalks and found it challenging to keep an eye on all of the traffic patterns. If a cyclist were trying to squeeze between the sidewalk and the van, they would have to look for all of these car traffic flows in addition to looking for the rebalancing staff.

PotomacCyclist
05-20-2015, 04:46 PM
That's why I'm not inclined to make too big of a fuss over this particular issue. We've seen local NIMBYs cite the rebalancing vans when pushing back against new stations. I'd hate to lose out on prime station locations because good loading zones aren't immediately adjacent.

My thoughts exactly. I've had many more issues with FedEx, UPS or other non-CaBi delivery vans and trucks, and also with the large tour buses.

scoot
05-20-2015, 04:58 PM
For the reasons others have stated, I think the bike lane is probably the best place for the CaBi van at this station. (Unless there is room on the sidewalk near the edge of the bridge, behind the station)

If the van stays out of the bike lane but blocks the right travel lane, bikes traveling behind the van will also be temporarily invisible to the drivers turning onto M Street.

jrenaut
05-20-2015, 05:20 PM
If the van stays out of the bike lane but blocks the right travel lane, bikes traveling behind the van will also be temporarily invisible to the drivers turning onto M Street.
To be fair, none of the drivers who turn right onto M Street look for bikes anyway, so this would only be more dangerous because the cyclists couldn't see the cars trying to kill them.

PotomacCyclist
05-20-2015, 11:27 PM
A lot of car drivers block bike lanes too. On some afternoons, an entire block of the bike lane on New York Ave. gets blocked off, around 14th St. If people are trying to keep out CaBi stations because of the rebalancing vans, then they should probably oppose office buildings, stores/restaurants that have loading docks, churches, souvenir shops and apartment buildings too.

scoot
05-21-2015, 06:29 AM
Hey, those are real American churches and businesses you're talking about.

These red bicycles, with their redistribution schemes, are socialist. Get the vans out of the way and surely those bikes will trickle down to where they are needed.