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Thread: Washington Blvd repaving thru Westover

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    Yes this street is a poor fit for a cycletrack, for all the reasons mentioned previously on this thread. But that doesn't mean it should be sacrificed on the altar of vehicular throughput. Just as W&OD is a superior alternative for thru-cyclists in the area, so too is I-66 available for drivers. Narrower lanes, raised pedestrian crossings, and/or lower speed limits could make a big difference. There is no reason that cyclists, even slow ones, couldn't or shouldn't be made to feel welcome sharing the road in this space.
    If you go by NACTO standards, you'd need to drop traffic volumes under 1,500 and drop the speed limit to 25mph to justify a shared road experience for cyclists. I believe Washington Blvd is upwards of 10-15k vehicles daily, so any shared solution is unlikely, barring making the road local only.

    The need for a cycletrack, PBLs, or a separated bike path (this would be ideal) is due to the traffic volume, not just the speeds on the road. Even if you could slow average traffic speeds to 20mph, it would still make most average cyclists uncomfortable with cars constantly passing them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    If you go by NACTO standards, you'd need to drop traffic volumes under 1,500 and drop the speed limit to 25mph to justify a shared road experience for cyclists. I believe Washington Blvd is upwards of 10-15k vehicles daily, so any shared solution is unlikely, barring making the road local only.

    The need for a cycletrack, PBLs, or a separated bike path (this would be ideal) is due to the traffic volume, not just the speeds on the road. Even if you could slow average traffic speeds to 20mph, it would still make most average cyclists uncomfortable with cars constantly passing them.
    Does the NACTO standard apply to one block sections though? In Alexandria on middle King, we have a short section in between the phase 1 bike lanes (south of Janneys) and the phase 2 buffered lanes, where we use sharrows - while I would love for that gap to be filled, I am not sure it violates NACTO standards (the speed limit there is 25MPH, but the volumes are considerable, I think)

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickBull View Post
    Not because of any lack of bike paths, but because no one commutes on Washington Blvd. If you want to commute, you commute on the W&OD or Custis, where you're less likely to get killed. If Westover is your destination, then it's easy enough to get there on back roads coming from the bike paths or through the neighborhoods.
    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    Why is it necessary or even desirable to make comprehensive, safe and comfortable bike infrastructure everywhere for folks like Isabella and simultaneously eliminate what I consider appropriate and desirable riding conditions for my type of riding?
    They are building a school IN WESTOVER. And yes, most people don't bike on Washington because it sucks to bike there. But it's the flattest and most direct route through that area. Many people don't bike because of the hills, and because the current routes are complicated and hard to follow. This is about expanding the number of people who bike. We won't do that by relegating bikes to hilly, indirect, hard to follow routes. That's why we need safe comfortable bike infrastructure everywhere.

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Does the NACTO standard apply to one block sections though? In Alexandria on middle King, we have a short section in between the phase 1 bike lanes (south of Janneys) and the phase 2 buffered lanes, where we use sharrows - while I would love for that gap to be filled, I am not sure it violates NACTO standards (the speed limit there is 25MPH, but the volumes are considerable, I think)
    None of King St meets NACTO standards. With King St's traffic volume, they should have PBLs, not buffered lanes, unprotected lanes, or sharrows. King St feels like such a missed opportunity to build an end to end safe bike facility across Alexandria, all the way to the water and the MVT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    None of King St meets NACTO standards. With King St's traffic volume, they should have PBLs, not buffered lanes, unprotected lanes, or sharrows. King St feels like such a missed opportunity to build an end to end safe bike facility across Alexandria, all the way to the water and the MVT.
    If bike advocates, or T&ES had insisted on that we would likely have gotten nothing. It ended up going to the Council as you will recall, I am sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    I am sorry, I did not mean to suggest that you (or anyone else here) opposed traffic calming. My intent was to push back on the defeatism I read in the bolded phrase. I believe it is possible to transform any busy street into a place that is pleasant for cycling. And it doesn't require any bicycle-specific infrastructure to do so in places like Westover, just a willingness to acknowledge and fix the real issue: too many speeding cars.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    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.
    But WHY is ridership higher in cycletracks?

    Two reasons:
    1) a culture which prioritizes vehicle speeds over safety almost everywhere
    2) a poor understanding of the relative collision risks between different types of lanes

    Due to #1, many people are afraid to take the risk of riding a bicycle in shared space at all. Due to #2, they think PBLs are safer than conventional bike lanes or sharrows, when in fact the opposite is often true (e.g. where they reduce one's likelihood of being seen by turning drivers).

    The fact that cycletracks presently boost ridership does not mean that more cycletracks are the optimal way to improve safety or to increase ridership in the long-term.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    But WHY is ridership higher in cycletracks?

    Two reasons:
    1) a culture which prioritizes vehicle speeds over safety almost everywhere
    2) a poor understanding of the relative collision risks between different types of lanes

    Due to #1, many people are afraid to take the risk of riding a bicycle in shared space at all. Due to #2, they think PBLs are safer than conventional bike lanes or sharrows, when in fact the opposite is often true (e.g. where they reduce one's likelihood of being seen by turning drivers).

    The fact that cycletracks presently boost ridership does not mean that more cycletracks are the optimal way to improve safety or to increase ridership in the long-term.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    But WHY is ridership higher in cycletracks?

    Two reasons:
    1) a culture which prioritizes vehicle speeds over safety almost everywhere
    2) a poor understanding of the relative collision risks between different types of lanes

    Due to #1, many people are afraid to take the risk of riding a bicycle in shared space at all. Due to #2, they think PBLs are safer than conventional bike lanes or sharrows, when in fact the opposite is often true (e.g. where they reduce one's likelihood of being seen by turning drivers).

    The fact that cycletracks presently boost ridership does not mean that more cycletracks are the optimal way to improve safety or to increase ridership in the long-term.
    Just want to point out the importance of daylighting intersections when parking protected PBL's are installed, so that a parked car does not block visibility. Of course daylighting intersections will help pedestrians, in places where there is no bike lane - if we are active transportation advocates, not just bike advocates, we should keep that in mind. This points again to the problems caused by the prioritization of (free) on street parking.

    As an aside, some folks above mentioned issues with cars parking into the buffer of PBLs. I made a point of checking that on the SB Eads street PBL the last time I rode there. Something like 90% or more cars there were completely outside the buffer - and the ones that were parked on the buffer were parked only a few inches onto it - none were parked against the flexposts. Not sure why behavior is better in that regard on Eads Street (note in many other ways driver behavior on Eads is terrible)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    As an aside, some folks above mentioned issues with cars parking into the buffer of PBLs. I made a point of checking that on the SB Eads street PBL the last time I rode there. Something like 90% or more cars there were completely outside the buffer - and the ones that were parked on the buffer were parked only a few inches onto it - none were parked against the flexposts. Not sure why behavior is better in that regard on Eads Street (note in many other ways driver behavior on Eads is terrible)
    Maybe because Eads St has been around a while? Wilson, Veitch and Quincy are new, so maybe it's just growing pains?

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