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Thread: Washington Blvd repaving thru Westover

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    ... In other words, Dismal can now go play in the street with now narrower lanes and with no opportunities for cars to pass him.
    Please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    ... 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.
    Well, you're not alone. This winter turning left off of Lee onto Veitch I saw that the PBL was full of snow and crap so decided to take the lane. I also decided to pull wide first and let the car behind me go, which I did and waved the driver through. She blasted the horn at me and pointed to the PBL I was "supposed" to be in. It's a price we pay, but it's our decision to ride, so we'll just have to HTFU. The PBLs help some people and should increase ridership so while I don't love them myself in many situations I am glad they're there.

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  4. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    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.

    I feel for you, really I do.

    The reality is that people who bike purely because its a handy means of transportation, who don't see it their sport, their hobby, or part of their identity, are mostly going to be people who ride (on human powered bikes at least) not much over 5 miles for a given trip. Those folks are not going to need to go fast, and mostly won't. They are mostly going to ride upright bikes. If they live further from their workplace, they will ride to a train station (with lots of secure bike parking) for a multimodal commute.

    Its fine that we have folks for whom biking is their sport, their hobby, part of their identity. I am one of them (even if I am not particularly fast) Most folks on this forum, in BAFS, at the coffee clubs, in our "community" are like that. But that is never going to be a big percentage of the total population. If we want biking to not only be a sport and a hobby for a few, but a really important part of our passenger transportation system, one that along with walking and transit helps to make us less reliant on the automobile, and, yes, helps "save the world" we absolutely do need to cater to the pure transportation riders who are not going to ride that far.

    Can we do that and also provide something for folks who want to ride fast in cities and inner suburbs? Maybe. In some places we can widen trails so that fast riders don't face conflict with peds, so that the MUTs become an option for them. In some places we can traffic calm sufficiently so that taking a (narrow) lane is comfortable (well for the faster cyclists anyway, which is whom we are talking about) There are going to be some streets I suppose where wide lanes will survive for reasons of local geography so the folks who don't like PBLs but also don't like taking the lane can still use them (but the problems that wide lanes make for pedestrians and slower DRIVERS, ie for traffic calming, mean that comes at cost to non-bikers) - hopefully in those places parallel routes can serve both slower riders and pedestrians. Alternatively where higher volume routes are traffic calmed with PBLs, there are parallel routes on lower volume streets where taking the lane is comfortable for higher speed riders. (Both these latter scenarios are going to be more common in cities with full street grids than in suburbs with broken grids, or where arterials are the only connected routes) On many arterials where we have PBLs, they are going to be beside multilane roads, so that a cyclist taking the right lane knows that motor vehicle traffic DOES have an easy place to pass (Maine Avenue in SW DC is a good example - fast riders naturally won't take the PBL there, but generally have no issues taking the right lane on Maine Avenue itself)

    And by having a higher percentage of people who ride generally, it means more drivers, more police, more judges and legislators, will be people who ride - which should, in many ways, be good for the faster folks taking the lanes.

    TLDR version - Bike advocates are right to focus on slower riders. There are still going to be lots of options for fast riders. Its going to depend a lot on local geography.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 03-05-2019 at 09:34 AM.

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  6. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    ... 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.
    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.
    Taken together, you sound like your saying we should prioritize the Dismals in designing bike infrastructure. Sorry, dude, but when we do that, we're left with a dismal (ha!) mode share. We have to increase mode share to (1) keep our cities livable; (2) keep municipal costs down; (3) create affordable housing; and (4) save the planet. Which means we have to design for the 60% interested but concerned. Isabelle is the ideal of that group.

    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    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.
    All kids are different, but I'm certain I've ridden bikes with more kids than you. IME, they are very good at paying attention to discrete things ("careful, an intersection is coming up") but not at sustained attention (which is why they slowly drift). That's why well-designed, protected infrastructure, which keeps conflict points to a minimum, is crucial.

    And kids ride on their own to school in large numbers the Netherlands and Denmark. It's not a pipe dream to say they can handle it, if you build it right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    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.
    No, we're saying that the priority is to build infrastructure that increases mode share, and if that means that there's no room left on the road for vehicular cyclists to be passed, then the cars can sit an wait behind you.

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    As I've said in multiple threads, my problem is when you insist that ALL major routes contain PBLs . You have stated that you would like a cycletrack carved out of Fairfax Drive and now Washington Blvd (outside of Westover I am talking about here). Well, there is Isabella pseudo-friendly bike infrastructure paralleling both of these options. On the other hand, these are the only speed friendly bike routes that go this way and that is where I bike.
    (I also note that I bike little for sport--it is almost all commuting.)

    Mind you, I am not particularly worried that a cyclotrack would ever be carved out of Washington Blvd; there is simply insufficient space and not sufficient cyclist demand. PBLs as such (you claim) best support slow riders and shorter rides. There are simply too few destinations on Washington Blvd outside of Westover to generate short distance bicycle traffic. Do you really think "Potemkin Village"-type infrastructure will help your cause?

    Look at the pushback the bicycle community has received about the Wilson Blvd bike lanes. Mind you, I support these lanes because they act as shoulders separating traffic from the sidewalks. However very few cyclists ride in them largely due to parallel better infrastructure. I think you should your battles wisely.

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    (I also note that I bike little for sport--it is almost all commuting.)


    Just to clarify in my post above, I was not distinguishing racers or weekend riders from commuters. Most of the people I hang out with who bike commute are people for whom biking is a big part of who they are. There are a couple of reasons for that - one is that due to the real and perceived safety issues with our current road system, too few "normal" are willing to bike commute and because of my age and living in Alexandria, I naturally don't know a lot of people with that kind of short and easy commute (I do know someone at work who lives in central DC and bike commutes via CaBi though and apparently has zero to do with the 'bike community')

    However very few cyclists ride in them largely due to parallel better infrastructure.


    Last time I rode on the Wilson PBL it ended abruptly and uncomfortably next to a construction site. Has that changed?

    I think you should your battles wisely.


    We are not always given that choice. If I had my druthers, as a bike advocate, I would not be fighting about Seminary Road until we had much higher biker mode share in the City, certainly not until CaBi had expanded to the West End, till dockless was bigger, and maybe not till the West End Transitway was built. But the repaving schedule is what it is, and there is a need for traffic calming there independent of the needs of people on bikes.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 03-05-2019 at 11:28 AM.

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  13. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    [I](I also note that I bike little for sport--it is almost all commuting.)

    Last time I rode on the Wilson PBL it ended abruptly and uncomfortably next to a construction site. Has that changed?
    I was referring to the conventional bike lanes on Wilson west of Ballston. (Speaking of Wilson in Rosslyn, I also have less problems with PBLs on uphill segments where escape routes are less of a priority.)



    Part of the issue is that the character of Arlington varies by location. PBLs seem to be more justifiable (although not necessarily to me) in denser settings. Outside of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, North Arlington seems too single family homish and spread out to justify PBLs supporting short trips and slow riders. Furthermore, there are many lightly trafficked side streets as alternatives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    Part of the issue is that the character of Arlington varies by location. PBLs seem to be more justifiable (although not necessarily to me) in denser settings. Outside of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, North Arlington seems too single family homish and spread out to justify PBLs supporting short trips and slow riders. Furthermore, there are many lightly trafficked side streets as alternatives.
    Where there is no on street parking, a simple buffered lane without protection (or with flexposts, which don't prevent escape) is an alternative. One would think that in genuinely low density areas on street parking on arterials might not be important, but nonetheless it often seems to be.

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    dasgeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I was referring to the conventional bike lanes on Wilson west of Ballston. (Speaking of Wilson in Rosslyn, I also have less problems with PBLs on uphill segments where escape routes are less of a priority.)

    Part of the issue is that the character of Arlington varies by location. PBLs seem to be more justifiable (although not necessarily to me) in denser settings. Outside of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, North Arlington seems too single family homish and spread out to justify PBLs supporting short trips and slow riders. Furthermore, there are many lightly trafficked side streets as alternatives.
    I didn't push for the bike lanes on Wilson west of Ballston and don't think they add much to the bike network. If they were protected, I would have a different opinion.

    It's rich that you are in the distinct minority, even among the minority of folks who ride today, in wanting to ride in travel lanes, and then deride us for pushing for PBLs because not enough people will use them, when studies and surveys show more people will use them than what you use. C'mon.

    As for the destinations near Westover: aside from the 2 schools & 2 churches, both with daycares, the Westover shops & restaurants, the dentist office and the library, in the immediate area, a sample of destinations within 3 miles (a short bike ride, when it's usually faster to bike than drive) include:
    - 13 schools
    - 3 university campuses
    - 4 community centers
    - 4 outdoor pools & 2 indoor pools
    - 20 playgrounds + another handful of parks without playgrounds
    - Lee Harrison shops
    - Ballston Quarter, which also has a movie theater and the ice rinks
    - Everything at Seven Corners (mmmm, dim sum)
    - 8 Safeways, 3 Giants, & 3 Harris Teeters
    - 6 CVS, 2 walgreens & Preston's Pharmacy
    - District Taco
    - EFC Metro (and everywhere that goes)

    Need I go on?

    North Arlington has plenty of destinations that people would bike to if it were safe. I have the conversation all the time.
    Last edited by dasgeh; 03-05-2019 at 01:56 PM.

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