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Thread: My Evening Commute

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    dasgeh's Avatar
    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    I don't find those crossings on 50 (or the ones on the trail that's along 27) to be all that bad. Yes, you have to (gasp!) slow down or even (bigger gasp!) stop (WHAT?) and make sure the way is clear but that's not such a big deal. To me.
    The problem is that you just don't know whether the cars zooming along are going to turn, and, if you're headed westbound, you have to look completely behind you to look. We're supposed to have the right of way, but it's more like we have to hope drivers think about slowing and stopping. They don't, so instead, we have to slow, stop, and read their body language. It's not safe and comfortable bike infrastructure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    The problem is that you just don't know whether the cars zooming along are going to turn, and, if you're headed westbound, you have to look completely behind you to look. We're supposed to have the right of way, but it's more like we have to hope drivers think about slowing and stopping. They don't, so instead, we have to slow, stop, and read their body language. It's not safe and comfortable bike infrastructure.
    You are supposed to have right of way but you don't. Just like when I'm walking down a sidewalk - a SIDEWALK - I shouldn't have to worry about cars coming out of parking garages and hitting me. But I do. Because you can't assume people are paying attention 100% of the time. If others want to bike (carelessly, IMO) through there without stopping or looking to prove some sort of point, they can. I'll continue to wait until there's no one in that far right lane who could possibly be making that turn onto the exit ramp before I cross. And then at the far crossing, I'll wait until someone waves me through, I'll wave back in thanks and continue along my way.

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  5. #1683
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    Steve O is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Kelley View Post
    The Four Mile Run detour is a temporary detour, and won't get a special update either.
    Henry agreed that including some of the trails and connecting roads at the edges of the county is a good idea, just like on the regular bike map. Although there are rumors of dragons at the edges of the county, the only real monster is the troll that lives near TR Island.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Kelley View Post
    Steve--thanks for your input! We've heard you every time you've recommended this change; we just don't agree with you. The trail near the National Foreign Affairs Training Center is subpar, but it is a necessary connection, and that is why it is shown on the regular map. We will not be adding multiple designations on the map to distinguish between that and something like the WOD or Custis.
    The very first time I ever rode along that section of Rte 50 I had seen that red line on the map. When I got there I searched in vain for some sort of off-street trail. I saw a road behind the fence and wondered if I had somehow missed an entrance or something. It took me several times riding past there to understand that there was no off-street trail as designated on the map. That made me believe that someone had made a mistake on the map, which I only later learned was a deliberate misrepresentation.

    Maps are most useful for people who have never been somewhere before. Mapmakers need to imagine what it's like to use a map for the very first time. And strive to make them as clear and useful as possible. I think you would agree that a person who had never been there before and was using the map expecting to find a trail is likely to be confused, just as I was. The question then is not, "Is a red line an appropriate mark we can put here?" but rather, "What's the clearest way to guide someone at this point who has never ever been here before?" Based on my own personal experience and discussions I have had with others, a red line is not the best answer to the second question.

    Perhaps just the words, "on sidewalk," would significantly clarify what is going on there, without having to create a new designation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    You are supposed to have right of way but you don't. Just like when I'm walking down a sidewalk - a SIDEWALK - I shouldn't have to worry about cars coming out of parking garages and hitting me. But I do. Because you can't assume people are paying attention 100% of the time. If others want to bike (carelessly, IMO) through there without stopping or looking to prove some sort of point, they can. I'll continue to wait until there's no one in that far right lane who could possibly be making that turn onto the exit ramp before I cross. And then at the far crossing, I'll wait until someone waves me through, I'll wave back in thanks and continue along my way.
    I don't consider a sidewalk with garages a good route, and try to avoid such routes.

    A trail with crossings where it makes sense for trail users to have the ROW (because turning and looking for cars is awkward) but where in fact the road users do not appropriately yield the ROW, is not a route I will seek out.

    Fortunately, living in NW Alexandria, I don't really need to go that way.

    I will continue to advocate for bike infra where that is not the case, and where that is all we can get, I will advocate for better enforcement. Not to make a point, but to improve safety outcomes and comfort given a realistic view of how people transport themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I don't consider a sidewalk with garages a good route, and try to avoid such routes.
    Where else should I walk, if not on the sidewalk?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    Where else should I walk, if not on the sidewalk?
    I'm sorry, I read too quickly, I thought you were referring to biking. When walking I am going slowly enough garages are less of an issue. I would note however that lots of busy garages do detract from walkability. I believe that is now accepted in the urban planning literature. Indeed in the City of Alexandria there was recently intense neighborhood opposition to a new drive through restaurant because of the impact on walkability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    When walking I am going slowly enough garages are less of an issue.
    You kinda just proved my point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    And I agree with this. Which is why I won't cross if there's a car in that far right lane which could take that exit ramp (turn signals are optional). I'm usually coming through there right around 5pm during the week so lots of traffic. And if I have to stop and wait, then I stop and wait. Those crossings could be improved for sure. Better signage for cyclists ("dangerous crossing!") would be a good start.

    But I find navigating the intersection at 27 and ...I don't even know how to describe it or the name of that trail so here's a pic. In both directions - coming south off the trail along Bedford or coming north along Washington and having to make a left onto the frontage street just after I pass under 50 is way more tricky and stressful for me. The trail that borders the frontage road is closed right now and has been for months so to go from one trail to the next you're in the street, which is busier than it should be.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Do you think a "warning, bikes run reds" sign would be a useful approach to help pedestrians in places like King and Union in Alexandria?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Do you think a "warning, bikes run reds" sign would be a useful approach to help pedestrians in places like King and Union in Alexandria?
    I rarely go into Alexandria and try not to comment on things about which I know little to nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    You kinda just proved my point.

    I am confused. When walking 3MPH is an appropriate speed, and 2MPH is not uncommon. At those speeds garages are seldom a danger, though drivers failing to yield is annoying and it makes it a less desirable route than without the garages - which means A. when suggesting comfortable routes, we should highlight ones with few such garages B. When designing cities for walkability we should try to have fewer such driveways. NOT tell peds to harden the f**k up.

    For bikes, at normal (not insane) bike speeds, such garages are a menace, and such sidewalks should be avoided.

    For a trail the more stops a bike has to make, the less useful and desirable the trail is. Even more so if it requires an awkward turn to see oncoming traffic. I don't think such an awkward turn is an appropriate way to enforce getting cyclists to stop more on trails. I think we need to design infra to be safer, not tell people to HTFU.

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