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Thread: Washington Blvd repaving thru Westover

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    This is where thinking about Isabella may lead to a different outcome. I agree most adults can get comfortable biking through what are essentially parking lots -- slow moving cars, even with lots of turning movements (into and out of parking spaces).

    But introduce kids in the mix, and there's a different calculus. It would be a stretch to get elementary age kids to evaluate all the possible sources of danger with parking cars. Then there's the height issue -- at the BAC/Phoenix meeting, we heard from one teenager who rides a lot that she fears drivers just can't see her around parked cars because she's not tall.

    So, yes, too many speeding cars is an issue. But too many parking cars is also an issue for design that truly works for all.
    Very true. Yet it should be noted that most PBLs also endanger Isabella for the same reasons. Any separated bicycle facility that permits vehicles to turn across it requires its users to be very street-savvy and hyper-attentive. Even more so if the riders are under four feet tall and thus less likely to be noticed by drivers. Daylighting will certainly help more drivers see Isabella. What 8yo has the kind of situational awareness needed to protect herself from the variety of traffic risks she faces in this environment?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I disagree. People feel more comfortable in protected infrastructure, and many won't ride without protection. Thus, it's our (read: the County's) responsibility to make the protected infrastructure we build as safe as possible. To do that, we need solid barriers and no parking near conflict points.
    I think we agree more than we disagree. I agree with both of these points. Where separated infrastructure is installed, it needs maximal visibility. Daylighting can help; ideally there would be no parking in between at all.

    I simply challenge the notion that proliferation of PBLs is the best approach (presuming that our long-term goals are to simultaneously maximize vulnerable road users' mobility and safety while minimizing our collective transportation carbon footprint). Yes they increase ridership a bit today. But we cannot make a truly substantial impact unless we focus our attention on the elephant in the room: the car culture of speed, distraction, and negligence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.
    – Michelangelo

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    Very true. Yet it should be noted that most PBLs also endanger Isabella for the same reasons. Any separated bicycle facility that permits vehicles to turn across it requires its users to be very street-savvy and hyper-attentive. Even more so if the riders are under four feet tall and thus less likely to be noticed by drivers. Daylighting will certainly help more drivers see Isabella. What 8yo has the kind of situational awareness needed to protect herself from the variety of traffic risks she faces in this environment?
    I don't know how often you ride with 8 year olds. My daughter is 8 and I ride with her often, and I lead rides with kids around that age. They get the concept of intersections and even driveways. I find they are very aware of those discrete dangers. They can drift off their lines, which is why the protected part is important. And they aren't great at reading the signs of parked-car danger (look for someone in the car, lights on, etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    I think we agree more than we disagree. I agree with both of these points. Where separated infrastructure is installed, it needs maximal visibility. Daylighting can help; ideally there would be no parking in between at all.

    I simply challenge the notion that proliferation of PBLs is the best approach (presuming that our long-term goals are to simultaneously maximize vulnerable road users' mobility and safety while minimizing our collective transportation carbon footprint). Yes they increase ridership a bit today. But we cannot make a truly substantial impact unless we focus our attention on the elephant in the room: the car culture of speed, distraction, and negligence.
    I think the best way to address car culture is to give people other ways to get around, so they stop seeing a driving as a God-given right, necessary to 21st century life. I know walking and biking around is what changed my mindset. I think the way to give people other ways to travel means large investments in transit and development of a complete safe and comfortable bike network. Building OK bike infra is just not going to move the needle for most people.

    Building an incomplete bike network is also not going to move the needle for most people, but building the network one segment at a time will get us to a complete network eventually. If we only build the OK infra, we'll never get there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    That is fair kinda. But it depends on context. Its inside the beltway, and as noted before, two metro stations are just over a mile away. It has something of a connected street grid (which provides the parallel bike routes some mentioned). Perhaps ped improvements without lane narrowing will work for Westover - but I hope elsewhere in inside the beltway NoVa (and similar places elsewhere in the region) we aim for something more walkable and less autocentric than this in places that have as much potential. I think we will need to if we are really going to make major progress on reducing per capita VMT.
    Yeah, but the context is also that the current neighborhood was established in 1940, and most of the street layout even earlier (the house I used to own there was built in 1939). You might make it less dangerous for peds/cyclists on the margins, but for what it is (essentially a streetcar suburb), it's pretty damn walkable, and it frankly serves as a model of how walkable a low-ish density suburb can be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    Very true. Yet it should be noted that most PBLs also endanger Isabella for the same reasons. Any separated bicycle facility that permits vehicles to turn across it requires its users to be very street-savvy and hyper-attentive. Even more so if the riders are under four feet tall and thus less likely to be noticed by drivers. Daylighting will certainly help more drivers see Isabella. What 8yo has the kind of situational awareness needed to protect herself from the variety of traffic risks she faces in this environment?
    If she can walk across the street by herself, she can know to look both ways at intersections, etc. She MAY need to stop at each intersection like a ped, but I will defer to folks with actual 8 year olds now (or more recently than I had one) . Of course the real way to protect such riders on PBLs is to have bike specific signal phases at intersections - but its hard to get those without first getting a critical mass of cyclists.

    (note driveways present different issues, and places where those can't be avoided the PBLs may be less useful to children, but again I defer to others)

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    But we cannot make a truly substantial impact unless we focus our attention on the elephant in the room: the car culture of speed, distraction, and negligence.
    The King Street bike lanes from Janneys to Callahan are not the best infra in the region. They did lead to a modest decrease in driver speeds. And a significant decrease in collisions. The decrease in collisions was too high to be explained by the barely significant speed decrease - I believe that the narrower general travel lanes led to much higher driver attention (anecdotally I know drivers who hate the bike lanes because driving there feels so anxiety provoking - of course that is precisely why they work, IMO)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    If you still want to take the road, you can. But we need numbers, which means building infrastructure for the greater number of people who would ride on PBLs than the people who do ride like Dismal.
    ... In other words, Dismal can now go play in the street with now narrower lanes and with no opportunities for cars to pass him.

    Sorry, the bicyclist community is not monolithic in interests or riding styles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I don't know how often you ride with 8 year olds. My daughter is 8 and I ride with her often, and I lead rides with kids around that age. They get the concept of intersections and even driveways. I find they are very aware of those discrete dangers. They can drift off their lines, which is why the protected part is important. And they aren't great at reading the signs of parked-car danger (look for someone in the car, lights on, etc).
    When my kids were 8 (or at least when they couldn't hold their lines), I would only let them ride on little trafficked streets. Traffic awareness comes at an older age than holding ones line. The next step up would be trails and then unprotected bike lanes on not too busy arterials (certainly after they hold their lines). I would not let my kids ride in PBLs or on sidewalks on busy streets until they are fully situationally aware of traffic on the main road and of potential dangers from turning vehicles. Since they are not on the main road, this is a more difficult task than if they were in an unprotected bike path. My kids are in high school now and I don't think I would ever suggest them using a PBL.

    I think it was last year that a W-L sophomore or junior riding on the sidewalk was hit by a car at Washington Blvd and George Mason. At that age, the kid could very well have had drivers ed and should generally have experienced traffic through observation over the years. While I am not blaming the victim, people do a lot of stupid things, both in cars and outside.

    I think it is utterly foolish to think we can design PBLs so that Isabella can actually be safe in a PBL. A safe, fully segregated system would require separate bike paths (with separate signals at all intersections) paralleling all streets with traffic. PBLs are a poor half measure. We do not have the land nor the money for such a fully segregated system. Remember that distances are longer in this country than Europe. If such a system were fully utilized, we will have conflicts between faster and slower cyclists (and other users--what do we do with these damned electric scooters). If the bicycle infrastructure only allows low speeds, my commute by bicycle becomes untenable. A congested system of one type simply cannot accommodate all styes of cycling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post

    I think it is utterly foolish to think we can design PBLs so that Isabella can actually be safe in a PBL. A safe, fully segregated system would require separate bike paths (with separate signals at all intersections) paralleling all streets with traffic. PBLs are a poor half measure. We do not have the land nor the money for such a fully segregated system. Remember that distances are longer in this country than Europe. If such a system were fully utilized, we will have conflicts between faster and slower cyclists (and other users--what do we do with these damned electric scooters). If the bicycle infrastructure only allows low speeds, my commute by bicycle becomes untenable. A congested system of one type simply cannot accommodate all styes of cycling.
    Most the PBLs that are in Europe donít look much different than what is in DC on Water St or 1st St NE. The big difference is building out the network of them, instead of the bits and pieces we have.

    Conflicts between fast and slow cyclists exists everywhere, but weíre not going to build a lane for every bike and vehicle type. PBLs fill the gap between low speed sidewalks and higher speed roads. If you want to ride at high speeds, Iíd suggest riding on the road like others. PBLs, and really even unprotected bike lanes, arenít that safe for high speeds when thereís a lot of traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post

    Conflicts between fast and slow cyclists exists everywhere, but we’re not going to build a lane for every bike and vehicle type. PBLs fill the gap between low speed sidewalks and higher speed roads. If you want to ride at high speeds, I’d suggest riding on the road like others. PBLs, and really even unprotected bike lanes, aren’t that safe for high speeds when there’s a lot of traffic.
    And that is the whole problem. When you carve PBLs out of the existing infrastructure you make it more dangerous for higher speed cyclists who prefer "mixed" situations but only have left narrow traffic lanes where cars "can't" pass cyclists. "Bicycling advocates" seem to be saying that higher speed, experienced cyclists to go to hell.

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