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Thread: L St commuters--

  1. #1
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    Default L St commuters--

    I feel bad for you all. I've been driving this week as I've come down with my second cold in one month (I go all winter and am fine, then boom, hit twice in a month, boo) and I had to go downtown last night during rush hour. On L St, I counted a dozen vehicles driving down the cycletrack. One Silver Cab (#974) literally went at least three blocks down the lane and almost took down a cyclist. I couldn't catch up to say something and am trying to figure out the DC Cab Commissions website on how to complain. But, wow, I just feel for you all! Not to mention I saw a cop sitting in MPD squad suv across L St while at least half of these flagrant issues occurred and of course they did nothing. Once I knock down this cold, maybe I'll spend an evening chilling out at the edge of the L St cycletrack and then blocking cars anytime they try driving down it because I was floored seeing the cycletrack so flagrantly flaunted and by people who clearly knew better.

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again. I hate the L Street Cycletrack. I appreciate the attempt, but making it the way they did was a terrible mistake and it should be ripped out and redesigned. It is more dangerous than taking the lane used to be. But now you can't take the lane because then you'll really piss off the already pissed off drivers and I honestly don't want to speculate on what might happen.

  3. #3
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    I regularly see police, taxis, and other motorists in the L St cycletrack. It is pretty awful. The only way to make this safe and appealing to cyclists is to completely eliminate the mixing zones and to prevent cars from sitting in the lane by total grade separation.

    You can also see posts destroyed by inattentive motorists all throughout the lane.

  4. #4
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    FWIW, L St is part of my commute from the beginning to Conn. Ave. and while I do encounter the occasional parked car or truck (or yesterday convoy of tree maintenance vehicles), overall it works well and I appreciate using it. Perhaps this because of the contrast to M st going the other way in the afternoon which is a total zoo.

    Obviously, it would be nice if drivers didn't park in the lane but the times it happens don't really bother me all that much. It's not like you don't encounter these types of inconveniences using any mode of transportation.

    Perhaps if the new M st track design is much better I'll have a different point of comparison, but aside from the CCT the L st track is the most "comfortable" and "safe feeling" part of my entire route.

  5. #5
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    I've seen parked cars in the cycletracks before, just rarely had I seen so many people just using it as a lane. The one taxi clearly knew better and he just didn't care. I guess there isn't much that can be done as folks just keep knocking down the plastic bollard-like things (obviously not bollards because they're flexible).

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    We were talking about this at HDCC. I don't think it's so bad. Yes, there are the occasional obstacles, but as Sethpo points out, that problem is hardly unique to bike lanes. Also, now that they've been around a while, the usual daily commuters are used to them, know what to do and behave fairly predictably.

    I've made this analogy before, but here goes: Before Cycletrack, L Street was like a game of frogger. I tried to keep up with motorists -- not hard, given that it moves pretty slow -- but I had to constantly dodge cars stopping to discharge passengers, queuing up to enter parking garages, cutting across three lanes of traffic for no apparent reason, etc. After Cycletrack, it's like a lazy river ride. Not fast, but go with the flow and have a relatively peaceful ride.

    Liz

  7. #7
    DismalScientist is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scorchedearth View Post
    The only way to make this safe and appealing to cyclists is to completely eliminate the mixing zones and to prevent cars from sitting in the lane by total grade separation.
    I disagree. Compare the mixing zones to where cars cut directly across the cyclepath to access garages. I think the mixing zones are safer because there is less speed differential with merging cars than left turning cars. Looking behind when making a turn as a driver is difficult but necessary with segregated bicycle facilities paralleling a road. With respect to mixing zones, I would prefer a wider bike lane going straight since left turning cars don't hug the curb as they should, which leaves little room between the cars and bollards.

  8. #8
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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Yesterday, I watched a woman heading east in the PA Ave cycletrack almost get creamed by a left turning car, when the left turning car got the green arrow, and she absentmindedly was peddling along, about to run a clearly red light into the path of said left turning car. She noticed and stopped just in time... only to run the red a few seconds later when all the cars turned left. I mentioned (nicely) that the light was still red, and she said "but there aren't any cars turning now".

    It made me think of this thread, and how the cabbies who zip along in the L St cycletrack when no bikes are there could say "but there aren't any bikes here now"... and we would still call them on it, tell them that's BS and say they shouldn't ride in the track.

    Seriously, STOPPING RUNNING REDS.

    Oh, and she would have had the green if she had waited 15 whole seconds.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sethpo View Post
    FWIW, L St is part of my commute from the beginning to Conn. Ave. and while I do encounter the occasional parked car or truck (or yesterday convoy of tree maintenance vehicles), overall it works well and I appreciate using it.
    Take it past 16th street during the evening rush....I don't ride the full length of it, but of the portions I do ride, I find Connecticut (due to NASCAR like wide left turns that make the space for bikes go completely away) and 16th street (due to the left turning vehicles lining up starting back at 17th street) to be the two worst blocks by far.

  10. #10
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    Fair enough. I turn left on Connecticut and generally have no issues there in the morning. The only times I go further is during the day for trips downtown.

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