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Thread: Missed connection

  1. #4041
    DismalScientist is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    In both cases, turning cars yield to bikes and pedestrians in the crosswalk since they are in the crosswalk. Furthermore, because the crosswalk is signaled, both pedestrians and bicyclists can enter the crosswalk without the "due regard for traffic."

    If the crosswalk were a road, a green light would indicate that lights facing the other direction were red and that no one could cross the road at all. But that is not the case here. Left and right turning cars from the parkway can legally turn into the complex if there is nothing in the crosswalk since turning cars face a green on the parkway. However, in doing so, a turning car is crossing the crosswalk legally, which contradicts the meaning of a green light facing the trail.

    Think of the situation at Four Mile Run and George Mason, but without the W&OD. Now consider the north service road as the trail. There are two independent sets of lights on George Mason, one at Four Mile Run and the other at the service road. If the lights are green on both Four Mile Run and the service road, a driver on Four Mile Run cannot turn on north George Mason and cross the service road because he is facing a red light at the service road. The green light on the service road implies a red light on George Mason at the service road.

    If you want a green light cycle on the trail here, you need to have it when turns off the Parkway are prohibited. If turns are allowed, then having the light be yellow seems reasonable. Unless no cross traffic is allowed on the green cycle of the bike light, the bike light is acting as a glorified walk signal.

  2. #4042
    Steve O's Avatar
    Steve O is offline 5000+ Posts? The first step to beating addiction is admitting you have one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    If turns are allowed, then having the light be yellow seems reasonable. Unless no cross traffic is allowed on the green cycle of the bike light, the bike light is acting as a glorified walk signal.
    What is the difference between the light being yellow and the light being green in terms of the behavior of the cars on the parkway?
    What does the yellow tell me that the green does not? That drivers are likely to violate my right of way? That seems like a typical car-centric view of universe.
    What would be better, and what I have seen in Europe, is that the right-turning cars off the Parkway get a flashing yellow while the crosswalk users have the walk/green. That doesn't really change anything in terms of right of way, but it helps remind the drivers of their obligation to yield.

    But back to this particular intersection. It seems the bigger problem, whether or not there is a bike signal, is that the right-on-red drivers do not notice the trail users--particularly those coming from their right. Prohibiting right on red out of the condos would be the #1 safety improvement, IMO.

  3. #4043
    DismalScientist is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    What is the difference between the light being yellow and the light being green in terms of the behavior of the cars on the parkway?
    What does the yellow tell me that the green does not? That drivers are likely to violate my right of way? That seems like a typical car-centric view of universe.
    What would be better, and what I have seen in Europe, is that the right-turning cars off the Parkway get a flashing yellow while the crosswalk users have the walk/green. That doesn't really change anything in terms of right of way, but it helps remind the drivers of their obligation to yield.

    But back to this particular intersection. It seems the bigger problem, whether or not there is a bike signal, is that the right-on-red drivers do not notice the trail users--particularly those coming from their right. Prohibiting right on red out of the condos would be the #1 safety improvement, IMO.
    Difference between yellow and green behavior by cars? Probably none. I doubt drivers even look at the signal. I assume when turning at a light that pedestrians have a walk signal.
    What does yellow vs. green mean? Yellow means caution. Green means my way is protected from cross traffic. Car-centric? Well, a traffic light by definition is car-centric. If you want something else, make the bike signal look like a pedestrian signal.
    Flashing yellow? Don't really see a difference. Normally when the Parkway has a green, the walk signal is on.

    No right on red? That's a tangential issue to the bike signal. It make sense when there is a busy sidewalk, particularly with higher speed cyclists.
    (Perhaps sidewalks should not be often designated as bike trails.)
    Last edited by DismalScientist; 03-09-2016 at 05:44 PM.

  4. #4044
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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    A green cycle implies that there is no conflicting cross traffic.
    I don't think that's completely accurate. A green cycle merely gives right-of-way to anyone proceeding in the direction indicated by the green (which would be straight, unless it is a green arrow), but does not ensure legal prohibition of conflicting traffic. For instance, there are lots of signalized intersections with permissive left turns, wherein left-turning traffic is allowed to go provided that they yield to any oncoming traffic. The walk signal and the bicycle green signal function the same way, bestowing right-of-way to peds and bikes but not banning vehicle turns across the crosswalk.

    This discussion does emphasize the widespread nature of the problem that right-on-red drivers pose for "salmoning" trail users when those trails are essentially glorified sidewalks (Custis through Rosslyn, MVT at Porto Vecchio, etc.). Although the majority of drivers are very aware and courteous to trail users, there are enough oblivious and/or inconsiderate drivers that these types of intersections are consistently dangerous.

    Getting right-on-red eliminated from all such locations affecting major trails would help make cycling safer in the region. Of course the existing non-signalized intersections suffer from the same issues. To fix that, I would propose requiring all such intersections and driveways across a primary trail route either become signalized with no-turn-on-red signs, or else simply be eliminated. For instance, the intersection at Quinn is unnecessary; those drivers could come out at Scott or Oak. And the extra Marriott driveway is redundant.

  5. #4045
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    For the MVT/Porto Vecchio Condominium (I'll just use "parking lot")/GWMP crossing, a few notes:
    • southbound GWMP (would turn left across MVT) has a "Left Turn Yield on Green" sign
    • northbound GWMP (would turn right across MVT) has a "No Turn on Red when Pedestrians Are Present" sign
    • drivers exiting the parking lot have a "No Turn on Red when Pedestrians Are Present" sign
    • drivers exiting the parking lot ALSO have a "Do Not Block Bike Path" sign


    My solutions for this issue:
    • Reset the bike light so that it will turn green
    • Add a sign for northbound GWMP drivers saying "Right Turn Yield on Green"
    • Have the condo management send a notice to all residents that "No Turn on Red when Pedestrians Are Present" includes when trail-users are present and that residents need to be more cautious when exiting the parking lot onto GWMP
    • Add signs on both sides of the crossing on MVT that say "Blind Driveway"
    • Enforce the law with police presence about a week after sending a notice to the condo residents to really hammer the message home


    If we're treating the trail as a glorified sidewalk, then remove the bike light and use a pedestrian signal only. If we're treating the trail as a major route for cyclists and other trail-users, then it needs to be treated like any other intersection with proper signage.

  6. #4046
    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    (Perhaps sidewalks should not be often designated as bike trails.)
    I believe all the land to the east of the MVT there is private property. Where would you route the trail there? Please note that the recently released long term budget for the City shows no funding for the proposed Backlick Trail, and reduced funding for Complete Streets. So any proposal cannot be too expensive.

  7. #4047
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    You: CaBi Speed Racer on the sidewalks at Mt Vernon Square (in DC, not on the Mt. Vernon Trail in Virginia).

    What the heck? Some guy was screaming down the sidewalks on a CaBi bike, telling people to get out of the way. This was during rush hour when there were pedestrians everywhere on the sidewalks. He weaved through a group of pedestrians at high speed (for a CaBi) and screaming for me to get out of the way. I was also on CaBi, but I was stationary as I was waiting for a green light. While we're allowed to ride on the sidewalks north of downtown, we should never be treating crowded sidewalks as if they were empty high-speed bike trails or rural straightaways. That guy was ridiculous. The fact is that one guy like that can create a dozen sworn enemies of cycling in just one trip. I almost became an enemy of cycling and Capital Bikeshare myself, until I remembered that I like CaBi and I was actually using one of the bikes at that moment.

    To the speed racers out there: If you're riding on a crowded sidewalk, slow the *&^# down!

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    Riding in today I had the pleasure of enjoying both the spring weather and a history podcast/conversation on the “Great
    Atlantic turkey shoot of WWII” Good stuff all about the men, machines and tactics employed by both sides of the US surface ship and German U-boat war. Being an old school wreck diver I find this stuff interesting. While zipping along on a quiet suburban street mentally immersed in battle a guy walks from driveway across the road...

    The USS “Clueless” did not post any sort of watch nor were they taking evasive / unpredictable maneuvering thus making an easy target. Using our dual optical range finders we quickly took readings and sent them to the chemical calculator stationed directly behind the optical sensors. The firing solution came back in short order and they were as expected. Based on the speed and track of the US “Clueless” and our present speed and track an direct hit amidships was imminent. A careful recalculation of velocities and tracking confirmed that the firing solutions were accurate and the results would be devastating. Time passed, distances closed, firing solutions were checked and rechecked, the prey still unaware of their pending fate. Seconds ticked off, tension mounted. Just prior to the point of no return and inevitable impact a braking maneuver was commanded and engaged. As expected and planed the battle worn carbon braking systems howled ominously as near lethal levels of energy were absorbed and dissipated. This alerted the USS Clueless to our menacing presence. We noted that they quickly mounted the long overdue visual watch. The optical sensors on the target were observed cycling full open and commenced tracking us as we passed slowly and harmlessly behind their stern. As we slipped now nearly silently past they signaled sharply “You should watch where you are going” We quickly formatted and forwarded the following message to the sonic signaling station to be sent without delay. “I was thinking the same thing” They hesitated and then signaled back “I was not expecting a bicycle”. At this point the call to increase the signal volume up was made as the distance had increased quite a bit and then the measured cadence reply was sent “Obviously”
    Last edited by Vicegrip; 03-10-2016 at 08:39 AM.

  9. 03-10-2016, 08:36 AM


  10. #4049
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    Does a walk signal imply the same thing? If not, why not? There is a walk signal at this same intersection.

    So to ask your question a different way: If the parkway has a green light when the walk sign is lighted, does this mean that turns into the Porto Vecchio complex are prohibited at the same time?

    What is the distinction? Can you cite a reference that distinguishes why cars turning right would treat people walking with a walk signal differently from people riding bikes with a green bike signal? In both cases they would be required to yield the right of way.
    I can cite the difference for you, but I'm not sure it's relevant to the discussion. There is a sign coming out of the condo complex that says to vehicles, "do not block bike path." It doesn't say do not block trail, path, but specifically cites it as a bike path. Like I said, I don't think that's relevant to the discussion though.

    The issue with this intersection is that the condo's walls and nearby hedges are tall. So in normal car, they can't see around until they creep out to block part of the MVT. And when they do this, they're looking left for vehicles rather than looking right for people coming down the trail. And this is definitely a downhill stretch from Wilson Bridge so cyclists are usually going at a decent clip. Meanwhile, as I noted above, they have a sign that don't block the bike path (at least it shows on Google Maps, I don't know if it's still there as I've only gone into that complex area once).

    The simply solution to this problem is the city switch this to a no turn on red or the condo complex gets rid of their tall wall. If it's no turn on red and they put the solid white wait line further back then it really does eliminate all of these problems. If they connected themselves to the other complex's parking lot, then they could depart through there to go right on red, where there is an actual sight-line.

    But, I should add, I've had a number of problems I could count on one hand at this intersection that I routinely go through. I've actually had more for people heading south and turning left into the other complex right north of it than I have here.

  11. #4050
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    For the MVT/Porto Vecchio Condominium (I'll just use "parking lot")/GWMP crossing, a few notes:
    • southbound GWMP (would turn left across MVT) has a "Left Turn Yield on Green" sign
    • northbound GWMP (would turn right across MVT) has a "No Turn on Red when Pedestrians Are Present" sign
    • drivers exiting the parking lot have a "No Turn on Red when Pedestrians Are Present" sign
    • drivers exiting the parking lot ALSO have a "Do Not Block Bike Path" sign


    My solutions for this issue:
    • Reset the bike light so that it will turn green
    • Add a sign for northbound GWMP drivers saying "Right Turn Yield on Green"
    • Have the condo management send a notice to all residents that "No Turn on Red when Pedestrians Are Present" includes when trail-users are present and that residents need to be more cautious when exiting the parking lot onto GWMP
    • Add signs on both sides of the crossing on MVT that say "Blind Driveway"
    • Enforce the law with police presence about a week after sending a notice to the condo residents to really hammer the message home


    If we're treating the trail as a glorified sidewalk, then remove the bike light and use a pedestrian signal only. If we're treating the trail as a major route for cyclists and other trail-users, then it needs to be treated like any other intersection with proper signage.
    All make sense to me. Only thing I would change is to make it a do not turn on red, period. The when pedestrians are present works if they can actually see the pedestrians, but imo the issue is that they have to creep forward precisely because those walls block their sight-lines.

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