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Thread: Maine Avenue is Combat

  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan von Buckingham View Post
    There will always be a lot of pedestrians there. It has markings like a bike lane but it also has park like landscaping and is along commercial storefronts. It's more promenade the transportation. Bikes will have to use it like any multi-user trail (Custiss, W&OD, etc.) when they come up on pedestrians and slow down, just more often. Maine Avenue is 25 mph and 2 lanes each way of smooth, new paving. You can't ask for a better roadway for a cyclist.
    Of course I expect that the paving on Maine will deteriorate before the paving in the PBL does . But even so, I think the prime barrier to bike usage is not the pedestrians, but the connections at each end. In particular the sidewalk NW of the PBL, by the fish market, which is the way any low confidence rider is going to go between the PBL and points west, is absolutely terrible. That's why I suspect getting the construction workers to stick to the sidewalk is not a high priority for DC govt. I do think that when the construction is done, the proportion of riders in the PBL will increase relative to the number of peds, and that will increase further when the connections are improved. Whether the number of riders in the PBLs will ever increase to the point that all pedestrians avoid walking in them, as in certain European cities, I do not know - but it was my observation that even now, with few riders in them, pedestrians favored the sidewalk over the PBL.

    I also think that as transportation biking reaches its full potential, the share making short slow "Dutch style" trips, versus the kind of long fast commutes done by people who consider taking the lane on Maine 100% comfortable, will increase.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 11-03-2017 at 01:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I stopped for coffee at Velocafe this AM. Window only service from 8AM opening until 9AM, so took the opportunity to check out bike lane usage.

    3 different questions, and one kicker fact. 1. How much is the PBL being used by riders, vs peds. 2. How many riders are using the PBL vs the general lanes on Maine. 3 How many peds are using the PBL, vs sticking to the sidewalk?

    Note this was on a very nice morning, but a Friday when bike traffic is light.

    1. The bad news is that peds still definitely outnumber riders in the PBL, so to some degree it is functioning as an extension to the sidewalk, as predicted. The big qualifier is that most of the folks walking in the PBLs were construction workers - not sure why they favor it - I assume because they got used to walking on it before it opened. Also perhaps they are less interested in the retail than other peds? Also its not nearly as bad in the part further southeast, near Velocafe, where there is no active construction work.

    2. Hard to say with precision, as I did not have a good view of WB riders on Maine. But I would say roughly 50 - 50 using the PBL vs taking the lane. To be less precise "some of each" It seemed to me that most of the PBL riders were either going to/from the Wharf itself, or were riding CaBi bikes, or both. But I think there were at least a couple of non-CaBi through riders. But clearly the overwhelming majority of non-CaBi through riders were taking the lane (of course on a Friday AM the general lanes on Maine are particularly appealing, and also the pavement is fresh)

    3. The good news - MOST pedestrians were taking the sidewalk, not the PBL. Among non construction workers, 80 to 90 percent? The sidewalk itself is rather wide (I would love a sidewalk that wide on King Street near where I live) and door opening did not make it unuseable. Its possible that as more retail opens it will grow crowded enough people will switch to the PBL, but for now the sidewalk was at almost optimal levels of use - enough people to feel "vibrant" but not enough to slow any walkers down. A couple of runners did use the PBL. Naturally.

    The kicker - I did not see ONE bike rider riding on the sidewalk itself. Not even the CaBi riders. Considering what I see elsewhere, that is very good. And I think justifies the PBL right there. the separation of PBL from sidewalk may not have assured riders of a space free from peds- but it has (based on this limited observation) given peds a space free from riders. Which is a huge thing. It is good for peds, and removes one of the biggest complaints against cyclists in DC and Alexandria - a complaint that I think is a problem for bike advocates.
    Did you get a feel as to what percentage of the bikes using the PBL were counted by the bikeometer, as opposed to crossing Maine just to the northwest or going behind it to get to what is left of the old Water Street??

    BTW, I think the construction workers feel that they can go wherever they please and completely ignore my bell or my voice. I also managed to pass the bus stop where the new bus shuttle from L'Enfant Plaza lets people out. The passengers seemed to be just as clueless as the tour bus passengers usually are northwest of the Fish Market -- milling around on the PBL

  3. #73
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    This is the cycletrack after a show at the Anthem.


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    [Looking up] I observed the same thing, Friday night, around 10:30pm. So this will be a problem this time every night when The Anthem lets out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Of course I expect that the paving on Maine will deteriorate before the paving in the PBL does . But even so, I think the prime barrier to bike usage is not the pedestrians, but the connections at each end. In particular the sidewalk NW of the PBL, by the fish market, which is the way any low confidence rider is going to go between the PBL and points west, is absolutely terrible. That's why I suspect getting the construction workers to stick to the sidewalk is not a high priority for DC govt. I do think that when the construction is done, the proportion of riders in the PBL will increase relative to the number of peds, and that will increase further when the connections are improved. Whether the number of riders in the PBLs will ever increase to the point that all pedestrians avoid walking in them, as in certain European cities, I do not know - but it was my observation that even now, with few riders in them, pedestrians favored the sidewalk over the PBL.

    I also think that as transportation biking reaches its full potential, the share making short slow "Dutch style" trips, versus the kind of long fast commutes done by people who consider taking the lane on Maine 100% comfortable, will increase.
    Until the entire project is complete, connections will remain a problem. The construction at the Fish Market runs into spring of next year. Until then, a problem. (And even then, there is that section from under the 14th St Bridge to 12th, which is always a delicate sharing act with pedestrians) At the other end, from 7th to St Augustine's, Phase 2's three new buildings will not be ready until 2020. Access through the Old Channel Inn site will disappear in the next few months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    This is the cycletrack after a show at the Anthem.

    Clearly there will be some times when the PBL is unusable to even bike share riders. OTOH in conditions like that, it may be that any cycling accommodation not on the street side of parked cars would be taken over by pedestrians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starduster View Post
    Until the entire project is complete, connections will remain a problem. The construction at the Fish Market runs into spring of next year. Until then, a problem. (And even then, there is that section from under the 14th St Bridge to 12th, which is always a delicate sharing act with pedestrians) At the other end, from 7th to St Augustine's, Phase 2's three new buildings will not be ready until 2020. Access through the Old Channel Inn site will disappear in the next few months.
    I have managed the balancing act between 14th and 12th for years, as have many other riders willing to ride at a moderate pace. Once the fish market is done in the Spring, the entire route becomes more viable to less confident riders eastbound, and to anyone riding westbound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Clearly there will be some times when the PBL is unusable to even bike share riders. OTOH in conditions like that, it may be that any cycling accommodation not on the street side of parked cars would be taken over by pedestrians.
    Just curious as to where most of the pedestrians head when the performance at The Anthem ends. Are they going to bars, to the Waterfront Metro or ...? If it is to bars then it will cause more pedestrian traffic later.

    For several years there was frequently a lot of car and pedestrian traffic on Water Street early on weekend mornings due to the former Hogate restaurant being used for performances of some kind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Clearly there will be some times when the PBL is unusable to even bike share riders. OTOH in conditions like that, it may be that any cycling accommodation not on the street side of parked cars would be taken over by pedestrians.
    My issue is that, given the venue and the configuration of the area, the Maine Ave frontage space is basically designed (either intentionally or unintentionally) to bring lots of people in from the street, across the cycletrack/sidewalk, and into the various businesses within the complex. On a lazy Saturday afternoon or early weekday, the volume of people coming in is going to be relatively low, but there are two live music venues, several bars that also offer live music, and outdoor events spaces that are a regular draw for the Uber/Lyft crowd, and there is something going on down there almost every night. Obviously visitors eventually settle into venues within the complex, but to get there, they're almost all arriving along Maine Ave, either from L'Enfant or getting dropped off by Uber/Lyft (and a few will park onsite). Thus, the cycletrack will be relegated to the status of sidewalk during all but the quietest times, so why even bother other than PR value? Cycling infrastructure ideally will provide transportation corridors between different parts of the city, rather than be a vanity project to provide the veneer of "bike friendliness."

    My preferred solution: ditch the "cycletrack", make the sidewalk nice and wide with plenty of bike racks, then put in either a real cycletrack or at least some bike lanes along Maine Ave. to connect the Wharf to the Tidal Basin (in addition to the subpar sidewalk path), L'Enfant, Waterfont Metro, and on to Navy Yard (and eventually Buzzard Point).

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    Thus, the cycletrack will be relegated to the status of sidewalk during all but the quietest times, so why even bother other than PR value?

    Because A. It will be quite useful about 70% to 90% of the time. And B . will still function as the wider sidewalk during the times when it is unuseable to riders.


    Cycling infrastructure ideally will provide transportation corridors between different parts of the city, rather than be a vanity project to provide the veneer of "bike friendliness."


    It can also be useful to people riding locally in the neighborhood. I think its more than a veneer already - as noted, at least on weekday mornings it seems to have pulled CaBi and other less confident riders off the actual sidewalk, and created a reserved space for pedestrians. Even if its not terribly useful to many folks here.

    My preferred solution: ditch the "cycletrack", make the sidewalk nice and wide with plenty of bike racks, then put in either a real cycletrack or at least some bike lanes along Maine Ave. to connect the Wharf to the Tidal Basin (in addition to the subpar sidewalk path), L'Enfant, Waterfont Metro, and on to Navy Yard (and eventually Buzzard Point).


    Assuming you make the extra sidewalk as wide as the PBL (to accommodate those anthem crowds) you will need to take more space out of Maine Avenue to fit any cycle infra. I am not sure DDOT could see their way to removing a general travel lane. And taking out the lane for parking/buses/dropoffs could certainly have an impact on the functioning of the Wharf. I am also not sure that a "real cycle track" as long its sidewalk adjacent, would not get pedestrians as well at times like those in your picture. A bike lane to the left of parking wouldn't, but then we would have to deal with dooring issues, or else get even more road space.

    It was my impression that some kind of bike lane was planned for the section from 14th to 12th, but I am not certain.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 11-06-2017 at 09:01 AM.

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