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Gordon Whitman
09-20-2015, 10:06 PM
Hi, I'm new to the list. Now that Ft. Myers is closed I'm experiencing the lack of a safe route into DC. And more generally frustrated by the poor bicycle infrastructure in Arlington. I'd like to connect with people who want to push for much greater investment and a more coherent set of connected bike lanes that connect to one another. And understand better who makes these decisions and what the timing is. Thanks! Gordon Whitman

chris_s
09-21-2015, 08:56 AM
Hi, I'm new to the list. Now that Ft. Myers is closed I'm experiencing the lack of a safe route into DC. And more generally frustrated by the poor bicycle infrastructure in Arlington. I'd like to connect with people who want to push for much greater investment and a more coherent set of connected bike lanes that connect to one another. And understand better who makes these decisions and what the timing is. Thanks! Gordon Whitman

Let's get coffee or beer and chat. Look for a PM from me.

dasgeh
09-21-2015, 09:45 AM
Hi, I'm new to the list. Now that Ft. Myers is closed I'm experiencing the lack of a safe route into DC. And more generally frustrated by the poor bicycle infrastructure in Arlington. I'd like to connect with people who want to push for much greater investment and a more coherent set of connected bike lanes that connect to one another. And understand better who makes these decisions and what the timing is. Thanks! Gordon Whitman

There is a group of people working on this. Join us! There's an Arlington Action Committee (WABA-related) tonight at 7pm at Clarendon Presbyterian Church, and the next Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting is Monday, October 5, 7p, 2100 Clarendon Blvd, 3rd floor. All are welcome at both.

Steve O
12-03-2015, 10:58 AM
I saw on the BikeArlington blog (http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/news-events/blog/get-lost-arlingtons-wayfinding-sign-project-is/) that the long-delayed signage project has picked back up. Should be really helpful, since signs for cyclists in general tend to be so poor or non-existent. So kudos to Arlington for working on this.

Quick focus group question everyone: Without reading the blog, what does this sign mean? That is, if you were riding along and saw it, what would it tell you?

You and DismalScientist were both using your prior geographic knowledge to figure out where you (and the sign) are.
My interpretation of the sign was without any such assumptions. As though I were lost or had dropped in from the sky...
Please use ginacico's approach.

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DismalScientist
12-03-2015, 11:15 AM
It tells me that the sign makers don't realize there is a Metro station at Courthouse as well.:rolleyes:

ginacico
12-03-2015, 11:17 AM
Quick focus group question everyone: Without reading the blog, what does this sign mean? That is, if you were riding along and saw it, what would it tell you?


a) I'm in Rosslyn.
b) GMU is thataway.
c) Clarendon is 0.4 miles ahead, and there's a Metro station there.
d) Courthouse is 1.2 miles ahead.

DismalScientist
12-03-2015, 11:21 AM
Actually, you are nearer to Ballston, probably on Fairfax Dr., and you are on a Bike Route designated as "Rosslyn".

I think the system would be better if it had numbered routes or something, with final destinations not on the Bike Route signs themselves since there are multiple ways of getting to Rosslyn from different parts of the county.

lordofthemark
12-03-2015, 12:51 PM
It tells me that Court House is further from me than Clarendon. Ergo I am west of Clarendon, and headed east (in the general direction of Rosslyn? I can't be in Rosslyn if the mileages are correct? Or are there things about the routes I do not know?) Which is even more confusing, because the corner of Braddock and Roberts Road (cause that is where GMU is, right?) is in the same direction.

Clearly I have entered a warp in space time.

lordofthemark
12-03-2015, 12:57 PM
Actually, you are nearer to Ballston, probably on Fairfax Dr., and you are on a Bike Route designated as "Rosslyn".

I think the system would be better if it had numbered routes or something, with final destinations not on the Bike Route signs themselves since there are multiple ways of getting to Rosslyn from different parts of the county.

Plus they might want to add words like "law school" or "Arlington Campus" to the GMU sign, to help confused people from Fairfax. Though I guess few such people would be in Ballston on a bike, seeking out GMU.

ginacico
12-03-2015, 01:13 PM
Clearly I have entered a warp in space time.

You and DismalScientist were both using your prior geographic knowledge to figure out where you (and the sign) are.

My interpretation of the sign was without any such assumptions. As though I was lost or had dropped in from the sky, and was expecting the sign to tell me something useful about where I am and where I'm going. Isn't that what signs are for?

Nothing indicates that "Rosslyn" is a route, instead of a place label; a small "To" between the bike symbol and "Rosslyn" would fix that. As mentioned, the other flaw is that Courthouse has a Metro station.

kwarkentien
12-03-2015, 01:24 PM
I agree with ginacico. If I didn't know that Courthouse was east of Clarendon and Rosslyn even further east, I would think I was in Rosslyn.

lordofthemark
12-03-2015, 01:55 PM
You and DismalScientist were both using your prior geographic knowledge to figure out where you (and the sign) are.

My interpretation of the sign was without any such assumptions. As though I was lost or had dropped in from the sky, and was expecting the sign to tell me something useful about where I am and where I'm going. Isn't that what signs are for?

Nothing indicates that "Rosslyn" is a route, instead of a place label; a small "To" between the bike symbol and "Rosslyn" would fix that. As mentioned, the other flaw is that Courthouse has a Metro station.

:)

I use signs to tell me where there is a friggin' way to get someplace on my bike, without being run over. Despite living in the region for 24 years, and being a map nerd with a very good sense of direction, on my bike I am still often left wondering which way to go (where is that trail entrance? Does that street become one way in a block? If the road becomes useless in half a mile, is the sidewalk rideable? Is that the street that leads to the Custis, or will it pass under it instead? How do I get out of the Pentagon parking lot? Where, oh where, is the exit from the Chinquapin loop road to the nearby neighborhood? ) Knowing which neighborhoods are east or west of which other neighborhoods is no protection against getting lost (and while a combination of my smartphone and paper maps usually helps, sometimes the problem is too micro even for them. I have decorated many a strava map with little loops and reversals, in places where I know the macrogeography almost perfectly.)

And yeah, of course it will be more confusing for those who don't know the "macrogeography"

mstone
12-03-2015, 02:59 PM
worst. sign. ever.

wait, are there more?

Erin Potter
12-03-2015, 03:22 PM
When I first moved here, these signs actually helped me quite a bit. I pretty much knew two places existed in Arlington--Rosslyn (where my new work was) and Ballston (where I had an apartment). Those first few months, I could normally sort out where I currently was (metro stops, other signs, asking someone, etc)... but needed a ton of help figuring out how to get to where I wanted to go on my bike. A sign that merely proclaimed "Rosslyn" when I was in Rosslyn would have been affirming, but not necessary. Signs that lead me from one to the other and were clearly connected? Super helpful. Granted, it took me a beat to understand what they were communicating, but once I learned the language, they were more helpful. Follow these signs to the end, and you'll reach Rosslyn. Reverse to come home.
Also, I had a buddy visiting from Philly who I gave careful directions on how to get from my new apartment in Cherrydale to the metro (which I thought would be somewhat confusing)...and he ignored them, in favor of the signs. In fact, he wondered why I had bothered to give him directions when there were posted signs. So he sorted it out without any coaching at all.
But this is an interesting conversation about how folks get around and navigate through a space, something that is super important for everyone, but especially for people riding bikes, as lordofthemark points out. Just wanted to share my experience as person who actually plunked down in the middle of Arlington with little prior geographical knowledge.

KLizotte
12-03-2015, 03:24 PM
a) I'm in Rosslyn.
b) GMU is thataway.
c) Clarendon is 0.4 miles ahead, and there's a Metro station there.
d) Courthouse is 1.2 miles ahead.


+1

scoot
12-03-2015, 04:08 PM
That sign is very confusing. Why not move "Rosslyn" to the bottom of the sign and show the distance, in the same font size as the other destinations?

Tim Kelley
12-03-2015, 04:16 PM
When you are driving on I-95 and you see a sign for New York (https://www.flickr.com/photos/raymondyue/14839478168), do you think that you're already in New York?

Steve O
12-03-2015, 04:27 PM
but once I learned the language, they were more helpful.
Signs, by definition, should not need instructions to be understood nor require effort to understand. They should be self-explanatory and unambiguous. If they can be interpreted more than one way, they fail in their function. This one fails for that very reason.

It is counter-intuitive. Think of virtually any sign with just words on it (no arrows or other explanatory graphics): "Parking," "Madison Manor," "Coffee shop," "Arlington," "Empire State Building," "Restroom," etc. I can't think of any examples of this kind of a sign that does not refer to the thing it is actually at. One would not see a sign that just said "Arlington" somewhere out in Fairfax County. If it had an arrow or a "5 miles" or something, then that would indicate it's somewhere to go, but if it's just the word without context, then it means "this is where I am" or "this is the thing the words say."



Also, I had a buddy visiting from Philly who I gave careful directions on how to get from my new apartment in Cherrydale to the metro (which I thought would be somewhat confusing)...and he ignored them, in favor of the signs.

What if he had wanted to go to DC? And he didn't have you to instruct him? Strangely, there are no signs that say "Washington DC" in Arlington. Not along the Custis anyway, which is essentially the main corridor to get there.




But this is an interesting conversation about how folks get around and navigate through a space, something that is super important for everyone, but especially for people riding bikes, as lordofthemark points out.

Which raises the question about why this conversation did not occur before the signs were designed. Arlington has an active Bicycle Advisory Committee with members who have literally decades of experience riding bikes around here. Yet they were never included in this kind of a conversation. Clearly the designer of this sign did not do user testing or focus groups or they would have instantly learned that it fails in its fundamental objective to be clear and unambiguous.

I just showed this sign to about 20 people in my workplace with the question, "If you came across this sign, what would it tell you?" About 2/3rds said what ginacico said ("I'm in Rosslyn and this is how I get to these places"). About 1/4 couldn't figure out what the top part meant at all other than it had to do with bikes and maybe there's a bike path in Rosslyn?, and a couple interpreted it kind of the way the way it is intended, but not quite. Not a single one understood the sign exactly the way it was intended to be understood as described in the blog.

Steve O
12-03-2015, 04:36 PM
When you are driving on I-95 and you see a sign for New York (https://www.flickr.com/photos/raymondyue/14839478168), do you think that you're already in New York?
Touche, although the sign right before it is better, and almost certainly less ambiguous. Plus the Interstate sign and the "South" put it in context a lot better than just a picture of a bike.
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(Edit) Actually, your sign is a sign for I-95 South, which tells me where I am (which is always good information on a sign), supplemented by the information, "New York," which tells me where it goes. It's more like the signs along the Custis, which have the blaze "Custis Trail" and the fingerboards that point to destinations. Those signs make sense.

The point, however, isn't what it means to you or what it means to me, but what it means to everyone who needs it. Based on my small sample size of 20 people in my office, it fails to convey the meaning it was intended to convey and can be interpreted in several different ways. A sign that means different things to different people and can be easily misinterpreted fails in its fundamental task.

Erin Potter
12-03-2015, 04:46 PM
Signs, by definition, should not need instructions to be understood nor require effort to understand. They should be self-explanatory and unambiguous. If they can be interpreted more than one way, they fail in their function. This one fails for that very reason.


There are different sorts of signs, so understanding what kind of sign you are looking at is key. So on Metro, Franconia/Springfield is a place that means pretty much nothing to me other than I follow the signs and get on the train that says "Franconia/Springfield" because it will take me to Crystal City along it's route. In the metro station, the sign that says "Rosslyn" is not useful to me--the one that says "Franconia/Springfield" is because it tells me where to go and where the train will go, but I still had to learn a bit to understand how to use the signs when I moved here.

The bike wayfinding signs are operating as the same sort of signs--marking bike routes with start and end points. Which I think is more useful to someone trying to navigate space than a sign that says "Virginia Square" in Virginia Square.

DismalScientist
12-03-2015, 04:55 PM
The Custis Trail sign (the other photo on the blog) does not follow that convention. Custis Trail is not a destination, but rather a designation. This makes sense to me.

As far as Metro goes, the lines are designated by colors, followed by destinations, I suppose because people can't handle cardinal directions.

Erin Potter
12-03-2015, 05:03 PM
As far as Metro goes, the lines are designated by colors, followed by destinations, I suppose because people can't handle cardinal directions.
I do kinda like the idea of colors to differentiate main routes...

And I wonder if cardinal directions would actually work. The metro routes are pretty wiggly, with multiple lines. North of one stop wouldn't necessary be north of another station along the same route--so is that actually helpful information for navigating?

DismalScientist
12-03-2015, 05:06 PM
I think some subway systems use inbound and outbound.

Steve O
12-03-2015, 07:30 PM
There are different sorts of signs, so understanding what kind of sign you are looking at is key. So on Metro, Franconia/Springfield is a place that means pretty much nothing to me other than I follow the signs and get on the train that says "Franconia/Springfield" because it will take me to Crystal City along it's route. In the metro station, the sign that says "Rosslyn" is not useful to me--the one that says "Franconia/Springfield" is because it tells me where to go and where the train will go, but I still had to learn a bit to understand how to use the signs when I moved here.

The bike wayfinding signs are operating as the same sort of signs--marking bike routes with start and end points. Which I think is more useful to someone trying to navigate space than a sign that says "Virginia Square" in Virginia Square.

Out of towners find the metro signs very confusing for that very reason. How much better it would be if they included "to DC" "to Virginia," etc. Just because Metro's signs are suboptimal does not make it smart to make others less than excellent. The fact that it took you a while to figure them out just proves that they could be better. How many times have you been on a platform and had someone ask if this is the train into DC?

I was riding through Ballston this evening, and all of the directional signs (and there are many) are great. They point to places and give symbols for Metro and distances: useful and clear information. Non-ambiguous.
The sign in question, though, would work better if the top were just removed entirely. Or replaced with one of the directional signs: "Rosslyn 2.2"
Or if we are designating some sort of route, then something like "Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor" would make it similar to the ones on the Custis Trail. The top sign is designating what you are on and the directional ones are directing you.

But with this sign, it just raises questions: How is Rosslyn different from Courthouse and Clarendon? These signs present Courthouse and Clarendon as destinations with directions and distances. But Rosslyn is clearly different somehow. It's in bigger print and has a bike by it. So it must be different than these others?

Don't get me wrong. The vast majority of these new signs are really good and helpful. With a few tweaks (like including Washington DC on the Custis), it'll be even better.

That all said, even if you and I totally understand what the signs mean, my small poll both here and with a group of others indicates that most people understand the sign to mean that you are in Rosslyn. That's a problem. Wishing that people would somehow interpret the sign the way you want them to does not make it so. You cannot change the people. So you must change the sign.

Steve O
12-03-2015, 07:51 PM
If you are even the slightest bit interested in my thinking about these signs and signs in general, I have posted several blog posts on the topic:

Rethinking Trail Signage (http://www.steveoffutt.com/2009/06/rethinking-trail-signage.html)

Arlington County Begins Posting New "Wayfinding Signs (http://www.steveoffutt.com/2012/03/arlington-county-begins-posting-new.html)
(posted when the first pilot signs were put up)

Arlington County's New "Wayfinding" Signs Going Up (http://www.steveoffutt.com/2013/03/arlington-countys-new-wayfinding-signs.html)
(posted when the full program got rolling)

lordofthemark
12-03-2015, 10:04 PM
I think some subway systems use inbound and outbound.

In Brooklyn it was "from City" and "to City ", generations after Brooklyn had become part of NYC (in 1904 I think)

lordofthemark
12-03-2015, 10:09 PM
If I see a bike way finding sign, at least I know I am not in Alexandria. Other than on the MVT I don't think I have seen any. Maybe a couple on Holmes Run? But I think none on Eisenhower, or on the bike lanes.

scoot
12-03-2015, 11:57 PM
Actually I've seen quite a few of these little signs (https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8212448,-77.118725,3a,18.2y,205.58h,80.18t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sC83kpMdfc4bPpPAvCkxhMQ!2e0!7i1 3312!8i6656) around Alexandria. Not super easy to read (and this example should really be before the intersection rather than after it), but they do exist.

mstone
12-04-2015, 07:41 AM
In Brooklyn it was "from City" and "to City ", generations after Brooklyn had become part of NYC (in 1904 I think)

Well, part of London is still called The City because Romans. If anything, New Yorkers change too quickly.

Steve O
01-14-2016, 10:28 AM
Moving from the conditions thread:

In Arlington if you want to see more attention and funding going to trails, they need to be treated more as a transportation option and not for recreation.

And for at least six or seven years I have been advocating for this exact thing in the ABAC meetings. I remember recommending it to Jay Fisette when he visited our meeting years and years ago. IMO, the main car-less arteries, like the Custis, should be transferred to streets from parks. Maybe they'd even repair the lights that have now been out for more than three years, with no likelihood of being repaired before at least two more winters have passed. Oh, and let's take the little bit of funding that was specifically dedicated to complete streets, bikeshare, etc. (http://projects.arlingtonva.us/programs/vehicle-decal-fee/) and raid it for the general fund. Aspirational gold community, indeed.

dasgeh
01-14-2016, 02:36 PM
So about the turn in the Custis behind the Lyon Village Shopping Center (O.G. Italian Store):

• Yes, this is substandard design
• No, this isn’t a priority to fix
• Yes, it makes sense to talk about what a solution would look like:
o (1) <spoiler alert> we’ll be talking about the “ideal bicycling network” at the ABAC over the next year and hopefully will be updating the Bicycle Element of the MTP very soon: the fact that this should be fixed should be in both discussions and
o (2) this matters for efforts like the Lee Highway Alliance’s planning for the future of the area – at the charrette last year, there was work done on what this shopping center/intersection could look like, which did impact the trail.
o A full solution would probably involve a big change, which would realistically be done in conjunction with a redevelopment of Lyon Village. Once we have more of blank slate, we have more options.
o An improvement could include improving the transition from the sidewalk along Lee to the trail, or taking a few parking spots to change the radius.
• In the meantime, there are multiple things DPR could do to make this safer – mirrors, signs to indicate that folks should really, really slow down and, more importantly, stay on the f*ing side of the trail (all my close calls have been peds walking 2-4 abreast, and I slow to a near stop on this corner). But given that DPR gives no indication that they care about the trails or make them a priority, I’m not holding my breath.

Oh, and yes, there are substandard roads in Arlington (see e.g. Quebec north of Lee), but they are not the main arteries (I won’t comment on FFX). This kind of turn would not be tolerated on Lee, or Wilson, or Quincy, or even Barton.

About about DPR: After years of being met with the attitude of "it doesn't matter where trails are in our management structure", I have taken to pointing out what a TERRIBLE job Parks is doing with the Trails. TERRIBLE. It took over a year to even have a meeting to figure out what is wrong with the substructure of the Custis that is failing. Asphalt problems (potholes and the like) routinely take over a year to be fixed. DPR makes no effort to evaluate where to make repairs based on a plan or object analysis of need. And the kicker: in the presentations I've seen for DPR (e.g. to the FAAC to discuss their budget requests) they do not even mention trails. No mention. {fart noise}

S. Arlington Observer
01-29-2016, 03:15 PM
This seems as good a place as any to post a small rant and illustration.

Arlington has done a pretty good job of clearing the roads in the Courthouse and Clarendon neighborhoods, including bike lanes. (Much less so in Virginia Square.) So, taking advantage of the good civic services, I went for a midday ride and encountered this. I have no idea if it was left by a county crew, a county contractor or the private construction crew building the hotel around the corner. No markings on it to identify it.

No, it has not been there since the snow started. I don't recall seeing it yesterday. Nor was it being used for any current hazard. And maddeningly, there were actually empty vehicle parking spaces all around it, but the bicycle lane seemed so much more inviting. (See the Jeep in front of it -- spaces behind and in front of the Jeep and similar ones behind where I took the photo.)

There is so much public consciousness and education to be done. I am sure a contractor (or the government) would not simply park an item so as to block the automobile traffic lane of Veitch Street. But most people seem to regard bike lanes as temporary parking, storage, unloading or (in Crystal City, particularly) walking spaces. Anything but an actual transportation route.

Sigh




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Tim Kelley
01-29-2016, 03:56 PM
This seems as good a place as any to post a small rant and illustration.

Arlington has done a pretty good job of clearing the roads in the Courthouse and Clarendon neighborhoods, including bike lanes. (Much less so in Virginia Square.) So, taking advantage of the good civic services, I went for a midday ride and encountered this. I have no idea if it was left by a county crew, a county contractor or the private construction crew building the hotel around the corner. No markings on it to identify it.

No, it has not been there since the snow started. I don't recall seeing it yesterday. Nor was it being used for any current hazard. And maddeningly, there were actually empty vehicle parking spaces all around it, but the bicycle lane seemed so much more inviting. (See the Jeep in front of it -- spaces behind and in front of the Jeep and similar ones behind where I took the photo.)

There is so much public consciousness and education to be done. I am sure a contractor (or the government) would not simply park an item so as to block the automobile traffic lane of Veitch Street. But most people seem to regard bike lanes as temporary parking, storage, unloading or (in Crystal City, particularly) walking spaces. Anything but an actual transportation route.

Sigh




10733

My inside man says:

"If it's parked on the street without tags or a permit, then I'd say it's a parking enforcement issue. Start by reporting it to the ACPD non emergency line."

DismalScientist
02-02-2016, 09:24 AM
I note that there is a wayfinding sign at the corner of 13th North and Lynnbrook Dr that directs some north/westbound traffic up Lynnbrook. Ummm.... Lynnbrook is one way in the opposite direction. Lynnbrook is not a bike trail on either the Arlington Bicycle Map nor the Bicycle Comfort Map.

Oh yes, there still is the issue that some parts of the frontage roads on Arlington Blvd are one way, yet are signed as bike routes and this one wayness is not indicated on the Bike Maps.

Steve O
02-02-2016, 11:20 AM
I note that there is a wayfinding sign at the corner of 13th North and Lynnbrook Dr that directs some north/westbound traffic up Lynnbrook. Ummm.... Lynnbrook is one way in the opposite direction.

(sshhh. we like it that way)

dasgeh
02-02-2016, 01:24 PM
I note that there is a wayfinding sign at the corner of 13th North and Lynnbrook Dr that directs some north/westbound traffic up Lynnbrook. Ummm.... Lynnbrook is one way in the opposite direction.

Hush your mouth!

ShawnoftheDread
02-02-2016, 01:30 PM
I don't get it.

DismalScientist
02-02-2016, 02:38 PM
I think they like the government's stamp of approval on scofflaw salmoning activity.