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Thread: NOVA Parks Hearing in e-bikes

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I have to point out that most advocates (myself included) have emphasized that the the MUTs ARE commuter routes. That is one justification for getting more MUT's and widening those that exist. It's a reason that some localities have agreed to remove snow from them in winter. In many cases (like the W&OD) there aren't any other relatively low stress routes.

    I certainly want more low stress routes that are not MUTs for a variety of reasons. I would like to see options for faster riders, whether recreational or commuters, around the parts of MUTs with lots of peds and slow riders (I personally like to use Eads to avoid the crowded part of the MVT between 4MRT and the 14th street bridge, though I am not a particularly fast rider)

    But a big help in getting more in street bike routes (whether PBLs, conventional bike lanes, or slower streets) would be more people who ride, period. Including more ebikers, who may need trail access to decide to start riding.
    The MUPs may be used as commuter routes, but MUPs most certainly are not chartered as commuter highways. Nothing in NOVA Parks mission is about creating facilities to allow high speed commuting by bike (or e-bike). Their mission is around recreation, not transportation.

    Moving the MUPs to a commuter route model, starts creating the same issues that exist with Rock Creek Parkway, Beach Dr, or the GW Parkway. They've become so essential to commuters that doing anything that improves the experience for park users, which is the primary mission, is a huge fight because it can slow down commuters. I don't want to see the same thing happen with MUPs where high speed bikes and e-bikes crowd out all other recreational uses.

    There are a good number of non-MUP places to ride fast. I see lots of cyclists at Hains Point or on Beach Drive, and those are quite appropriate places to ride fast.

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  3. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    The MUPs may be used as commuter routes, but MUPs most certainly are not chartered as commuter highways. Nothing in NOVA Parks mission is about creating facilities to allow high speed commuting by bike (or e-bike). Their mission is around recreation, not transportation.

    Moving the MUPs to a commuter route model, starts creating the same issues that exist with Rock Creek Parkway, Beach Dr, or the GW Parkway. They've become so essential to commuters that doing anything that improves the experience for park users, which is the primary mission, is a huge fight because it can slow down commuters. I don't want to see the same thing happen with MUPs where high speed bikes and e-bikes crowd out all other recreational uses.

    There are a good number of non-MUP places to ride fast. I see lots of cyclists at Hains Point or on Beach Drive, and those are quite appropriate places to ride fast.
    They are not "highways" - they do not accommodate actual motor vehicles (the cut point between an ebike and a motor vehicle is well established in the Ca model law, so allowing ebikes is consistent). They ARE commuter routes, and all the local govts and local DOT's treat them as such to a greater or lesser degree, regardless of what is in the park org charter. In Alexandria our local DOT - the Dept of Transportation and Environmental Services - works WITH the city parks dept on issues related to trails in the parks such as the Holmes Run Trail.

    its very nice that people can ride fast at Hains Point (even people who load their bike on their car and drive to HP in order to do so). That does not help anyone from Alexandria to get to work in DC or Arlington, as the Mount Vernon Trail for example does. Alexandria (and Arlington and Fairfax) all want to increase the number of bike commuters (and shift people from cars) for reasons ranging from road congestion to auto emissions. Doing so necessitates considering major MUTs such as the W&OD, the MVT, the Custis, Holmes Run, as routes for bike commuters.

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    https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transp...ke/master-plan

    The plan recommends what steps should be taken to improve the existing transportation system and make Fairfax County bicycle friendly. It includes a recommended network of both on-road and off-road facilities that will serve as a bicycle transportation network.

    ....


    The study area for this phase includes the greater Tysons Corner area, an approximate three mile radius surrounding Tysons Corner including portions of McLean, the Town of Vienna, Wolf Trap, the City of Falls Church, the neighborhoods of Dunn Loring, Pimmit Hills, and the W&OD Trail.


    The NVRPA website includes the following:

    Become a Friend of the W&OD Trail and help support the maintenance and enhancement of one of Northern Virginia's favorite natural, recreational and transportation resources.

    Note NVRPA belongs to the following jurisdictions - Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, the City of Alexandria, the City of Falls Church and the City of Fairfax.

    If there is a proposal to discourage bike commuting on the W&OD, I would have to ask the City to ask its reps on the NVRPA board to oppose that, and even to consider withdrawing from NVRPA were that to occur. I would suggest that Arlington, Fairfax, and City of Falls Church would be even more opposed to such a change.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 02-13-2019 at 01:06 PM.

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  6. #54
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    Ebikes can be a major game changer with getting people out of cars and onto trails whether for commuting or recreational travel. I personally never considered commuting on a conventional bike due to the need to change clothes at work in the summer, but my ebike allows me to get to work in my shirt and tie and plop straight into the old office cube. As a side benefit, I've (re)discovered the joy of riding and have been finding excuses to get out on the bike.

    If there were some ban on ebikes on trails, I never would have gotten on a bike. Instead, I'm plumbing Alexandria Small Area Plans and showing up to local government hearings on infrastructure because I suddenly care a lot about good bike facilities in this region. So I say bring on the ebikes because they represent a rising tide that will lift all boats around here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christob50 View Post
    Any rider on any bike equipment has equal potential to create riding that is dangerous to the other users; that is my point.
    Any rider can be dangerous. You CANNOT be as dangerous on an analog bike as the fit rider. You can't do 30 (presuming based upon your story). By being on an e-bike you have added a new dangerous ability.

    *Edit to be clear here - I think the e-bike argument is that you do a hell of a lot less damage to people on an e-bike at 20mph than in a car at 40. Less people in cars is great. I want e-bikes on trails. But there are going to be more incidents because of them. More traffic, heavy/larger, higher speeds (even if only for a minority of e-bike riders, thats still more people at unsafe speeds). It's why i'm open to the idea that the rate of incidents will decrease. Perhaps so many new users will be out that that the rate actually decreases? I dunno. But saying you cannot be any more dangerous on an e-bike vs an analog bike just isn't true. Given the opportunity to do dumb things, people will do them.
    Last edited by dplasters; 02-13-2019 at 02:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dplasters View Post
    *Edit to be clear here - I think the e-bike argument is that you do a hell of a lot less damage to people on an e-bike at 20mph than in a car at 40. Less people in cars is great..

    The 'small' version of this argument is that a given ebike rider would have been a car rider, and having them on the W&OD at 20 is less dangerous than having them on Lee Highway, Wilson Blvd etc at 40.

    To clarify that is not what gets me emotional about this issue. Its the larger argument on critical mass and esp critical mass in the political space. I won't go into detail on the particular current controversy in Alexandria that has me hot under the collar (the antis could be watching this space, and are not above using what they find to characterize individuals) but it would be nice to have more allies, and in particular more people on bikes. People on bikes who vote, who speak up at community meetings, who are elected officials and cops and judges and journalists - and whose spouses and children and parents and friends do all those things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    I agree that 20mph is not fast in certain sections, but the policy discussion is about making a uniform speed limit on the trail. If NOVA Parks isn't going to sectionalize the speed limits, then the overall speed limit should be 15mph.

    The speed limit is not going to be enforced, however the speed limits and vehicle regulations do matter in cases where an accident occurs and someone is injured. The regulations helps in determining liability, particularly against those who are violating various regulations.
    I don't think there's any accident reconstruction science to tell that someone was doing 12MPH on a bike vs 22MPH on a bike.

    I still oppose a 15MPH speed limit because it's stupid.

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    Just sent in my comments saying I support the new regulations allowing e-bikes but encourage the regulation writers to find a way to ban the ELF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    Just sent in my comments saying I support the new regulations allowing e-bikes but encourage the regulation writers to find a way to ban the ELF.
    Isn't it obvious that the main, easily regulated, problem with the ELF is its size, especially its width (50% wider than a double child trailer and twice as wide as some box bikes)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I don't think there's any accident reconstruction science to tell that someone was doing 12MPH on a bike vs 22MPH on a bike.

    I still oppose a 15MPH speed limit because it's stupid.
    The incident where a cyclist clothes-lined another oncoming rider was reconstructed using Strava data. A lot of fast riders have computer data that could be pulled into an accident investigation if needed. Witnesses can also see the difference between a rider going 12 and 22mph.

    15mph is the speed limit on the CCT and MVT. It's not unreasonable for the W&OD which is full of people walking, kids learning to ride bikes, and people's pets around.

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