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Thread: Arlington Needs a new Bike Plan. We can do better.

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    Exclamation Arlington Needs a new Bike Plan. We can do better.

    Arlington's bike plan is obsolete. It was written in 2007, when sharrows were the most exciting development in bike infrastructure. It predates protected bike lanes, Capital Bikeshare and Vision Zero. Implementation of many of the projects called for in the plan have faced significant citizen opposition, because the plan lacked the robust, inclusive public process that is needed to generate consensus and support.

    To make Arlington a bike-friendly community for everyone, from age 8 to 80, we need an updated bike plan that lays out a complete network of low-stress bikeways. Without a clear vision of the network we are trying to create, opportunities to implement that network at a low cost through repaving and redevelopment will pass us by, resulting in higher costs later.

    Tell the County Board to fund a public process to update Arlington's bike plan in the FY17 budget.

    A robust process, worthy of the term "The Arlington Way" will ensure that we end up with the clear, shared vision necessary to move forward to efficient implementation.

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    DismalScientist is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    I know this is a minority opinion, but I think protected bike lanes suck, especially those protected by parked cars and those with contraflow bike traffic. Sightlines are compromised, leading to either bicyclist speed reduction and/or right and left hook problems. In addition, these lanes often have few routes of escape if facing a hazard. In these situations, I often take the main travel lanes, but these are narrowed due to the placement of the PBLs. Furthermore, drivers often are offended when cyclists are in the main traffic lanes in the presence of bike-specific infrastructure. Frankly, I find these situations more stressful than the original infrastructure.

    I was taught growing up not to ride my bike on the sidewalk for the obvious danger that is involve with moderate speeds. PBL, in my opinion, act as glorified sidewalks. I don't know if it is possible to simultaneously build urban bike infrastructure for both experienced cyclists and neophytes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I know this is a minority opinion, but I think protected bike lanes suck, especially those protected by parked cars and those with contraflow bike traffic. Sightlines are compromised, leading to either bicyclist speed reduction and/or right and left hook problems. In addition, these lanes often have few routes of escape if facing a hazard. In these situations, I often take the main travel lanes, but these are narrowed due to the placement of the PBLs. Furthermore, drivers often are offended when cyclists are in the main traffic lanes in the presence of bike-specific infrastructure. Frankly, I find these situations more stressful than the original infrastructure.

    I was taught growing up not to ride my bike on the sidewalk for the obvious danger that is involve with moderate speeds. PBL, in my opinion, act as glorified sidewalks. I don't know if it is possible to simultaneously build urban bike infrastructure for both experienced cyclists and neophytes.
    I respect your opinion, but the data runs counter to your experience. Studies of protected bike lanes indicate that they both improve safety and increase cycling rates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I know this is a minority opinion, but I think protected bike lanes suck, especially those protected by parked cars and those with contraflow bike traffic. Sightlines are compromised, leading to either bicyclist speed reduction and/or right and left hook problems. In addition, these lanes often have few routes of escape if facing a hazard. In these situations, I often take the main travel lanes, but these are narrowed due to the placement of the PBLs. Furthermore, drivers often are offended when cyclists are in the main traffic lanes in the presence of bike-specific infrastructure. Frankly, I find these situations more stressful than the original infrastructure.

    I was taught growing up not to ride my bike on the sidewalk for the obvious danger that is involve with moderate speeds. PBL, in my opinion, act as glorified sidewalks. I don't know if it is possible to simultaneously build urban bike infrastructure for both experienced cyclists and neophytes.
    Didn't I send you this link on Facebook last week? Build it for Isabella!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I know this is a minority opinion, but I think protected bike lanes suck, especially those protected by parked cars and those with contraflow bike traffic.
    I respect your opinion, but the data runs counter to your experience. Studies of protected bike lanes indicate that they both improve safety and increase cycling rates.

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    lordofthemark is online now I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    In these situations, I often take the main travel lanes, but these are narrowed due to the placement of the PBLs.
    Not to go all lawyer on you, but in my earlier thread on lane widths you said this

    My position depends on my speed relative to traffic. The faster I am, the more to the left. On a quiet street with or without a centerline, I take the middle of the lane. I will move right if a car is behind and it is safe to pass. On a two lane (in each direction) I take the middle of the right lane unless that lane is wide enough for safe passing when I am 3 feet from the curb.

    If the lane was previously not wide enough for a car to pass in lane on the left (so at least 13 feet, I think) then you are riding in the center of the lane anyway, and expecting the car to go across the center line to pass anyway. So why does the above loss of lane width (say from 12 foot lanes, to 10 foot lanes) make a difference?

    I understand the concern when a 13 foot or wider lane is lost (but those will often be lost due to traffic calming whether bike infra is added or not) and I understand the argument that drivers will be more aggressive towards cyclists taking the lane when bike infra is present (I am not sure I entirely agree with it, but I understand it) but I do not get the concern about lane diets, when the existing lane is already less than 13 feet.

    Note bike infra can be created via road diets (reducing the number of lanes) rather than lane diets - which raises different issues.

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    I think the data is in terms of perceived safety rather than accident rates. Frankly, I don't want to promote infrastructure that creates a false sense of security for Isabella. Why should we design infrastructure for the least common denominator if it has the effect of excluding the more experienced riders?

    A lane does not have to be at least 13 feet wide before passing is safe. Cars are explicitly allowed to cross double yellow lines to pass slow moving cyclists as long as they can pass safely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_s View Post
    Arlington's bike plan is obsolete. It was written in 2007, when sharrows were the most exciting development in bike infrastructure. It predates protected bike lanes, Capital Bikeshare and Vision Zero. Implementation of many of the projects called for in the plan have faced significant citizen opposition, because the plan lacked the robust, inclusive public process that is needed to generate consensus and support.

    To make Arlington a bike-friendly community for everyone, from age 8 to 80, we need an updated bike plan that lays out a complete network of low-stress bikeways. Without a clear vision of the network we are trying to create, opportunities to implement that network at a low cost through repaving and redevelopment will pass us by, resulting in higher costs later.

    Tell the County Board to fund a public process to update Arlington's bike plan in the FY17 budget.

    A robust process, worthy of the term "The Arlington Way" will ensure that we end up with the clear, shared vision necessary to move forward to efficient implementation.
    Alexandria budgeted $500,000 for their new plan. It took nearly 18 months with lots of meetings and citizen engagements to get the plan ready to work through the approval process. There are still at least two more public hearings and approvals to go.

    Implementation will take many more years.

    Hopefully, Arlington citizens will step up and push for funding a new plan.

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    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    How does slower speed make bike travel less safe? Bikeshare seems to show pretty clearly that slower speeds on a bike tend to be very safe. Bikeshare users tend to travel much more slowly than other cyclists. The injury rate is lower than among cyclists in general and the fatality rate... well, after something like 25 million bikeshare trips nationwide (probably higher at this point), there hasn't been a single bikeshare fatality in the U.S. That makes (slow-speed) bikeshare the safest common transportation mode out there. Plenty of drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists and some cyclists die on U.S. roads and trails. No bikeshare users so far. (There have been a couple bikeshare fatalities in Canada and Mexico.)

    The heavy, stable bikeshare bikes also play a role in the safety of bikeshare. So does the upright riding position (because it's easier to see hazards and an upright rider is more visible to other road users). But I think the slower speeds of bikeshare play a major role in the excellent safety history.

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    Let's do away with sidewalks as well. We can all become vehicular pedestrians after all...

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