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Thread: Making Seminary Road in Alexandria better

  1. #21
    lordofthemark's Avatar
    lordofthemark is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    I hope someone was able to attend last night. If so, did City staff explain the rationale behind that center section using seven foot buffers plus sharrows on the travel lanes? ISTM if you have seven feet between the main travel lane and the curb, you'd want to make that a painted bike lane. The proposed design looks more expensive (in addition to painting the lines at the edge of the main travel lane and the buffer and the bike logos, it requires lots of diagonal striping), more dangerous (advocating mixing modes of travel into the same lane), slower (when folks like Ken & I take the lane), and more dangerous (as motorists swerve into the other travel lane to pass us).

    Is there some engineering guidance from AASHTO or some other organization explaining when you'd choose a no-man's-land buffer plus sharrows over a normal painted lane?

    I just don't understand that part of the recommended design at all.
    Re guidance. Standard FHWA guidance would have suggested a 4 to 3 road diet with a center turn lane the entire way from Howard to Quaker (probably all the from Jordan, but there the volumes are closer to where FHWA says the road diet is marginal, and we don't yet know the impact of the I395 HOT lane opening) But it allows for differences based on local conditions. Which T&ES chooses to read as including community sentiment.

    As for the issues of cyclists slowing traffic by taking the lane uphill, I think they do not expect there to be many cyclists. Certainly the opposition assumes no bike lanes = no cyclists.

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  3. #22
    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Doesn't painting sharrows automatically revoke Vision Zero policy?
    Not on a neighborhood bikeway, like Wilkes Street, where it is a good treatment.

    But this is an arterial (as the antis keep pointing out) where traffic routinely goes 35 to 40MPH, and the T&ES proposal includes nothing to address speed west bound, and nothing to address speed west of St Stephens.

    So certainly not in line with some standard or other (I don't think our VZ gets that far in the nuts and bolts of bike infra)

    The Transportation Master Plan DOES call this an "enhanced bicycle corridor" - the form of infra is not specified, but certainly does not mean sharrows.

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  5. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    ...(note the outspoken critics of bike/ped infra do NOT like the City proposal...)
    Yeah, I figured the current proposal would please no one.

  6. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    The critics are suggesting all these policies (and also the bike/ped chapter of the transportation master plan, and the sustainability plan) have been passed by stealth and with the support of the evil bike lobby. When someone from T&ES mentioned that the City has a goal to reduce VMT and auto commute mode share, about a dozen voices shouted "why?" Fun times.

    (note the outspoken critics of bike/ped infra do NOT like the City proposal - it still makes too many changes to the road for their taste, and it does not keep Seminary 4 lanes for the entire length. The politics as this goes to Traffic and Parking Board, and then to Council, will be interesting)
    Regardless if the critics like/dislike the laws, policies, and master plans, those are what planners are supposed to follow, not what some critics bring up as disliking current policy. If the critics don't like the policy and laws on the books they need to advocate for changing those. In the meantime transportation planners need to follow current policy. If they don't, that's how bigger projects become tied up in court or otherwise.

    If the city's policy is to reduce VMT and have complete streets, then the design should be supporting that, which doesn't appear to be the case here.

  7. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    There is no sidewalk part of the way there (the uphill side) . The City has a policy to fill sidewalk gaps. This is a priority gap to fill (one of the few in the City on a street with volumes this high) They can call the striped buffer "filling the gap"
    Thanks much for the details. The illustration suggests the striped buffer will be "protected" on one side. Is that with the cheap plastic bollards of the sort we see around CaBi stations that are often knocked over with no evidence of damage to the car that knocked them down? Is there some authority like FHWA or AASHTO that blesses this treatment as a substitute for a sidewalk? ISTM it'd be better to make it safe for people to cross the street to the side where there's a normal sidewalk with a 6" concrete curb as protection from distracted motorists.

  8. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    a 6" concrete curb as protection from distracted motorists.
    A 6" concrete curb offers no protection from distracted motorists. In general, pedestrian safety is based on "it's unlikely that a pedestrian will happen to be standing there when a car runs off the road". (This is because there are a lot of regs about protecting motorists from themselves, but very few protecting pedestrians from motorists. Priorities.) Every once in a while you'll see a spot where for some reason someone decided pedestrians needed protection, and then between the pedestrians and the road there will be a very substantial jersey wall. This is rare. In many places you'll see a combination like "curb, then sidewalk, then guardrail". Why do you see that combination? Because there are regs about making sure that cars don't run off the road and down a hill. Now, I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader as to why it's ok for the pedestrians to be between the road and the thing that keeps cars from falling down the hill.

    For fun, google "car runs into dunkin". It's amazing (depressing?) how common that is, and every one of those cars ran over something to get there. Cars hit things other than dunkin donuts, but they're harder to google.

    TL;DR: don't hold your breath waiting for better protection from cars.

  9. #27
    Steve O's Avatar
    Steve O is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    For fun, google "car runs into dunkin". It's amazing (depressing?) how common that is, and every one of those cars ran over something to get there. Cars hit things other than dunkin donuts, but they're harder to google.
    "Car runs into Starbucks" also has a nice yield.

    I have noted this in the past:
    Protection for drivers:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    "Protection" for people on bikes:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #28
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    Default Yet Another Survey (closes this Monday night!)

    Yet another chance to tell Alexandria staff that you think the new "hybrid" plan is inadequate: the City has a survey open until 11:59pm on Monday, June 10.

    https://www.research.net/r/Alexandri...dPublicComment

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    Done.

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  13. #30
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    Alexandria Time poll on this today:

    https://alextimes.com/2019/08/semina...te-to-council/

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