I didn't go to the K Street Transitway meeting on Wednesday night because I had to stay home and watch the season finale of The Bachelorette (Who would she choose?). Luckily David Alpert did.
At WABA's urging, many cyclists attended the meeting to evaluate the impact of the alternatives on cyclists. Reactions were mixed. On the one hand, a bike lane all along K Street gives cyclists a facility that's not present today and isn't present in the two-lane transitway option. However, would trucks and taxis simply park in the bike lane on a regular basis, forcing cyclists to leave and making it more harrowing? Some agreed with my suggestion yesterday to focus instead on high-quality separated, buffered bicycle lanes ("cycle tracks") on parallel one-way streets, while others felt that it was important to make K Street truly multimodal. They also pointed out that even with parallel bicycle facilities, some cyclists will be traveling to and from destinations on K Street.
There may be ways to better separate the bike lane. One person suggested raising it up to sidewalk level, placing the gutter and curb between the roadway and the bicycle lane and essentially making the bicycle lane a specially painted extension of the sidewalk. Many European towns do this with their bicycle lanes. The bicycle lane could also occupy a middle height, or have a mountable curb separating it from the roadway. However, other cyclists worried that such treatment would make it difficult for cyclists to pass slower cyclists, dog walkers, or others that might intrude on the lane, as they couldn't easily jump over to the car lane if necessary.
WABA prefers the design with bike lanes to the ones without. But ideally, they'd like to see cycletracks added in. WABA believes that this would be an ideal solution for K Street and should be considered in the Environmental Assessment no matter what transitway and travel lane configurations move forward. They're concerned, as David noted above, that the bike lanes would be clogged with parked delivery vehicles.
WABA's recommendation is that a cycle track with the following design characteristics be considered as the Environmental Assessment moves forward:
- The cycle tracks should be one way, but wide enough to allow cyclists to pass each other if necessary. In general, the recommended width of cycle tracks is six and a half feet, but can be narrowed to five feet where right of way is constrained.
- The cycle track should be at a slightly lower grade than the sidewalk to avoid pedal strikes and be constructed with a beveled curb to allow for mounting of the curb in case an emergency maneuver is necessary.
- To the left of the cycle track, loading zone areas can be created, but a minimum of a two- to three-foot buffer between the loading areas and the cycle track is required. The curb between the cycle track and loading zone areas should be mountable by emergency vehicles.
- Roadway crossings should be well marked and colored bike lanes should be striped through intersections. Bike lanes on segments of K Street where formal separation of the bikeway is not an option, should also be colored.
- A bike parking plan should also be developed to address the lack of bike parked created by the move to multi-space meters.
Sort of like in the photo (I like the space for bike parking there too) by sfbike
I wonder what they're doing with that odd drive-through space from Columbia to 18th Street between Julia's and the Metro police station. Some people walk through there, but you can leave plenty of space for that while adding a covered bike parking facility on the north side of Julia's.