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Thread: The beauty of a closed street...

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    dasgeh's Avatar
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    Default The beauty of a closed street...

    From today's Post:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...y.html?hpid=z5

    It seems Mexico City closes thoroughfares to cars on Sunday mornings and people love it. Bogota does this too, and it's awesome.

    Any hope for such fun in this area (Beach drive doesn't count)? DC may be a long shot, but what about shutting down Wilson/Clarendon or Columbia Pike? Glebe? Sounds like the kind of thing a LAB Gold community would do...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    but what about shutting down Wilson/Clarendon or Columbia Pike? Glebe? Sounds like the kind of thing a LAB Gold community would do...
    Shutting down Columbia Pike or Glebe road would be an excellent idea! Especially since they both are not bike friendly. Would love to see that happen...

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    I think there is a lot of support from the County for something like this, as it has been discussed as a potential project in the past. Cost of police shutting down the roads is a hurdle, but one thing that would definitely help make it a reality would be the general public rallying in support and asking that it happen!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Kelley View Post
    I think there is a lot of support from the County for something like this, as it has been discussed as a potential project in the past. Cost of police shutting down the roads is a hurdle, but one thing that would definitely help make it a reality would be the general public rallying in support and asking that it happen!
    Tim, when you say "general public," do you mean residents of Arlington, or anybody? I am not a resident, but I do a fair amount of shopping and personal business in Arlington due to its bike friendliness, and conceivably would do more if something like this were to happen.

    Thanks.

    Liz

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    Liz--I think that as a cyclist in Arlington, your input is definitely appreciated. Especially if you are bringing your shopping dollars in from other areas!

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    The biggest obstacle with such an idea are residential areas being denied access to the street via their vehicles. In places with four lanes it may work to allocate two lanes to cars and two to cyclists.

    Beach Drive works well because it requires very little police manpower and the blockades are "in-built."

    In Boston Memorial Drive is shut down on Sundays during the summertime. A similar idea would be to close traffic on Hain's Pt, Ohio Drive along West Potomac Park, part of Independence Ave around the Tidal Basin, then Ohio Drive for the last leg. That would make a nice loop and given the lack of residences, businesses (except on Hain's Pt) and feeder roads it wouldn't cost too much or impose hardship on too many people. Pedicabs can provide service to the Jefferson Memorial for folks that don't (or can't) walk there. And there's CaBi!

    On the Arlington side, closing the GW Parkway is the most obvious choice and would tie nicely with the idea of it being a *park*. Good luck dealing with NPS on that one though.

    When the improvements are made to the Pentagon City/Washington Blvd bridge areas one could shut down Washington and Arlington Blvds and Army Navy Drive to create a loop using the MVT.

    Wilson and Clarendon Blvds suffer from the Big Hill problem but may still be doable, esp if they are joined to form a loop.

    Ideally the closed street would be easily accessible from one of the major trails.

    Columbia Pike would be cool esp since I could see the small independently owned shops getting into the action by setting up tents to serve food and the like. It could also be turned into a loop via FMR, South Joyce Street, 15th Street, South Hayes, 18th Street to MVT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Kelley View Post
    I think there is a lot of support from the County for something like this, as it has been discussed as a potential project in the past. Cost of police shutting down the roads is a hurdle, but one thing that would definitely help make it a reality would be the general public rallying in support and asking that it happen!
    The big problem would not be people who want to simply drive on the street to get from A to B, since they could easily take a detour, but people who live on it and want to use their cars and/or businesses that want access or car traffic. So you'd want to pick a street that's got little of either, or you'll face massive complaints.

    P.S. I see KLizotte just posted the same idea at exactly the same time I did.

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    Internationally, there seem to be two approaches that work -- one is to pick a road that doesn't have a lot of businesses/residences, as people have suggested here. People set up tents to "serve" those out on bikes. Bogota kinda takes this tack.

    The other is to pick a road that has lots of businesses, and just accept that, on a Sunday morning, those businesses won't lose a lot from banning cars, but could gain a lot from the bikes along the route -- bikes, I might add, that are a lot easier to stop and shop, and that are proven to contribute a lot more $$ to local business than stinky cars.

    For residents, you just accept that they can drive for the half block or so that would be necessary for them to get to an open road. Not that complicated, especially if you time the closure right.

    I like the latter, which is why I think Columbia Pike or Wilson/Clarendon (I was thinking at the top of the Hill - e.g. between Ballston and Courthouse -- because I hate hills) would work best. Looking at the map, it seems you could close Fairfax between Ballston and Clarendon, then W/C between Clarendon and Courthouse. There are pretty obvious routes for cars north (Washington-13th-Highland-Key) and south (Wilson-10th-Barton). From Ballston you basically connect to the Custis and Bluemont Trails. From Courthouse Veitch takes you up to the Custis...

    It may be too late this year, but wouldn't this be wonderful to have on the Sunday after the Clarendon Cup (June 10)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Kelley View Post
    I think there is a lot of support from the County for something like this, as it has been discussed as a potential project in the past. Cost of police shutting down the roads is a hurdle, but one thing that would definitely help make it a reality would be the general public rallying in support and asking that it happen!
    Who should we start haunting about this idea?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KLizotte View Post
    Who should we start haunting about this idea?
    County Board Member Jay Fissette is a big fan of this idea and I'm sure that he and other County Board members would be thrilled to hear about your enthusiasm and encouragement. Even for those cyclists who are outside of Arlington, I'd bet the Board would be happy to hear that an event like this would bring in people from across the region!

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