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Thread: North Fort Myer / Lynn Street timing

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    Default North Fort Myer / Lynn Street timing

    Having commuted through the intersection of doom for the last 17 years, I know it's much improved, but has anyone else noticed the that the timing of the lights going eastbound is like, perfectly wrong for a bicycle?

    Coming down the Custis Trail from Courthouse, I usually have to stop at North Fort Myer Drive. When that light turns green, you have to get moving at a pretty good clip to make it to the IOD before the walk signal starts blinking red. Most cyclists don't make it, and enter the intersection well after the crossing signal starts blinking red and they no longer have teh right of way. This happens to me every day and I'm always the only one to stop. Initially because I got scolded by the cop who is sometimes there for blowing through, though he's not been there much lately. And one time I stopped and he told me to go. Uh, OK, dude, make up your mind. We're supposed to stop when the walk signal blinks red, right?

    It'd be nice if it were possible to get across Lynn St. without being a scofflaw.

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    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 EasyRider View Post
    Having commuted through the intersection of doom for the last 17 years, I know it's much improved, but has anyone else noticed the that the timing of the lights going eastbound is like, perfectly wrong for a bicycle?

    Coming down the Custis Trail from Courthouse, I usually have to stop at North Fort Myer Drive. When that light turns green, you have to get moving at a pretty good clip to make it to the IOD before the walk signal starts blinking red. Most cyclists don't make it, and enter the intersection well after the crossing signal starts blinking red and they no longer have the right of way. This happens to me every day and I'm always the only one to stop. Initially because I got scolded by the cop who is sometimes there for blowing through, though he's not been there much lately. And one time I stopped and he told me to go. Uh, OK, dude, make up your mind. We're supposed to stop when the walk signal blinks red, right?

    It'd be nice if it were possible to get across Lynn St. without being a scofflaw.
    In my own little world, I like to think that the blinking hand is timed for pedestrians, not for people on bikes (not just at the IOD; everywhere). As we see up the hill at the actual bicycle signals, they are timed to go yellow along with the traffic signal, not to coincide with the pedestrian signals. Similarly, if there were a separate bicycle signal at this intersection, it would not turn yellow, and certainly not red, at the same time as the hand starts to blink. If there are pedestrians crossing during that phase, then a bike rider is not contributing to any particular safety or "driver inconvenience" concern either, since the cars are waiting anyway.
    Q.E.D. - it is okay to proceed on the blinking hand, particularly in the presence of pedestrians, and not be considered a scofflaw by Steve O.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    Having commuted through the intersection of doom for the last 17 years, I know it's much improved, but has anyone else noticed the that the timing of the lights going eastbound is like, perfectly wrong for a bicycle?

    Coming down the Custis Trail from Courthouse, I usually have to stop at North Fort Myer Drive. When that light turns green, you have to get moving at a pretty good clip to make it to the IOD before the walk signal starts blinking red. Most cyclists don't make it, and enter the intersection well after the crossing signal starts blinking red and they no longer have teh right of way. This happens to me every day and I'm always the only one to stop. Initially because I got scolded by the cop who is sometimes there for blowing through, though he's not been there much lately. And one time I stopped and he told me to go. Uh, OK, dude, make up your mind. We're supposed to stop when the walk signal blinks red, right?

    It'd be nice if it were possible to get across Lynn St. without being a scofflaw.
    I won't cross the IOD without a white walk signal. If I get creamed, I at least want to die feeling smug.

    ...so therefore I usually stop completely at Ft Myer but then continue on red when there is a solid break in cars (it has to be pretty open) rather than wait for the green at Ft Myer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    In my own little world, I like to think that the blinking hand is timed for pedestrians, not for people on bikes (not just at the IOD; everywhere). As we see up the hill at the actual bicycle signals, they are timed to go yellow along with the traffic signal, not to coincide with the pedestrian signals. Similarly, if there were a separate bicycle signal at this intersection, it would not turn yellow, and certainly not red, at the same time as the hand starts to blink. If there are pedestrians crossing during that phase, then a bike rider is not contributing to any particular safety or "driver inconvenience" concern either, since the cars are waiting anyway.
    Q.E.D. - it is okay to proceed on the blinking hand, particularly in the presence of pedestrians, and not be considered a scofflaw by Steve O.
    We've had this discussion before. If a driver hits you in the crosswalk when the hand has started blinking, you will be considered at fault. Which is total BS, but that's what it is. Fine for you, but I wouldn't recommend it to others.

    I don't proceed when it's blinking (possible exception if there's a large crowd doing it and my stopping suddenly would cause more danger than simply going with the flow), but I do like Tania and jump the light at Ft. Meyer if there's a safe opening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    I won't cross the IOD without a white walk signal. If I get creamed, I at least want to die feeling smug.

    ...so therefore I usually stop completely at Ft Myer but then continue on red when there is a solid break in cars (it has to be pretty open) rather than wait for the green at Ft Myer.
    Around the count of 6, the light is red for folks coming off Key Bridge and the area between the parkway entrance and Lee in front of the Marriott is usually clear - only way for someone to enter is to come from the Marriott or decide to make the left rather than get on the parkway (is that even legal?). If I can go then and go quickly, I can make the IOD with the white signal. I just wish the other people rode that strip fast too since they have often forced me to wait at the IOD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    We've had this discussion before. If a driver hits you in the crosswalk when the hand has started blinking, you will be considered at fault. Which is total BS, but that's what it is. Fine for you, but I wouldn't recommend it to others.
    The blinking signal is not acknowledged in VA law, and based on my research (last done a while ago), had never been litigated. So you take your chances - it's not clearly legal, not clearly illegal to go on blinking red. I recently had the situation where I entered on blinking because it switched over right before I entered the intersection -- I couldn't have stopped. An officer was there, didn't say anything, but I was already thinking about how I would make the point that there's no other "yellow" to tell people about to enter an intersection not to, so strict enforcement doesn't make sense.

    It does seem like Fort Myer could turn red sooner with no degradation to car traffic...

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    It seems to me that the timing of the lights coincides with the goal of moving car traffic Westward on Lee Highway. Therefore one may cross Lynne and then cross Ft. Myer drive (if moving quickly enough).

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