In a couple of stories about the new Pennsylvania Ave NW bike lanes that are opening this week one thing is clear: AAA is kicking our asses. (Update: add the Post to the list) Seriously, how are they able to get in several unsubstantiated, anti-bike facility quotes while neither Fox nor News8 even interviews WABA? The Fox article is like an advocacy piece for them.
Two new bicycle lanes have opened up on Pennsylvania Avenue this weekend. However, AAA claims adding more lanes could make D.C. traffic worse than it already is. AAA is also concerned about a plan to add bike lanes to four other major streets.
I'd like AAA to produce at least one study showing a negative link between bike lanes and congestion. I don't think there is one. I've looked. There is a study out of New York that shows that "the only way to prevent crippling congestion, is for more people to walk, bike, and take public transportation." Other cities are turning to bike lanes to actually END congestion.
The auto agency believes those lanes will take away lanes used by cars
So AAA is OK with bike lanes as long as they don't take away lanes used by cars. Prepare to be disappointed AAA.
as well as increase gridlock.
Maybe this is the writer's fault - and not AAA's - but gridlock is absolutely not caused by bicyclists. It's caused by scofflaw drivers who move into the intersection even though they can't clear it; and left immobile, blocking cross-traffic when the light changes. I've never seen a cyclist doing this. If gridlock is the problem, cracking down on scofflaw drivers is the solution.
AAA is urging anyone concerned to take part in the public comment period which ends on May 15.
And then they presented another opinion...no wait, they didn't. They just added
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Yes, by all means, please do.
The News 8 story was longer, but no better.
While some drivers didn't mind, others were driven crazy by it.
"It's bad enough with the cabs running you over and you can't hardly cross the street!" said Sandra Powell.
Northeast's Sandra Powell works at the National Archives in downtown D.C. She says her commute typically takes just under an hour, but she's worried her commute time will double because of the bike lanes.
Powell stated, "The people of Washington D.C. should not have to go through this!"
The only explanation for Powell's nonsensical responses is that she was literally driven crazy by this. Double her commute time? That seems excessive. She also fails to note that even if there is a negative impact on traffic for some people of Washington, DC, there might be a positive impact on others.
AAA got in some more choice quotes
"As opposed to doing open heart surgery to open the clogged arteries and traffic arterials in the city, you clog them even more," said Townsend.
I'm not following this analogy. What is sticking to the sides of roads to "clog" them? It isn't bikes. When traffic is clogged, cyclists are filtering past cars (or waiting in line by choice).
Townsend emphasizes that only 2.5 percent of residents bike to work.
Which is why we need more bike lanes to encourage more people to bike.
Townsend stated, "They're taking so much from so many to give to so few."
Is he talking about how we subsidize driving? I agree, it's wrong to take from the majority who don't drive and give it to the minority that do. How often is the fourth lane actually needed? 10 hours a week? And how Many drivers are there during those hours? Maybe 4000? And how many cyclists might use over the course of that same week? At best, they are taking so little, from so few to give it to a different few.
Gabe Klein defended the policy
Klein said, "We're not gonna cram bike lanes or a cycle track onto a street that's already overpopulated with automobiles."
That might be exactly where we need bike lanes and cycle tracks.
The Examiner joined the pile-on with an anti-bike lane opinion piece in response to Ray LaHood's defense of bike lanes
I ride the bus to work in D.C. every day, and I’d just like to make an observation about our bicycle lanes. I usually ride down Georgia Avenue, which flows well at rush hour right up until you cross Florida Avenue. That’s where you lose a lane of traffic to — you guessed it — a bicycle lane.
Ummm, no. They did not take out a lane of traffic to add those bike lanes (on what is really 7th street). They used the door zone of the parking lane to make those.
Mind you, it’s entirely possible that people bike in that lane sometimes, but I’ve never seen it happen.
Ummm, he's not paying attention. I've ridden this road at rush hour and it is a packed with cyclists. I waited at the light once with six other cyclists (and we weren't riding together or anything).
What I have seen is the other rush-hour result of the bicycle lane: Dozens of vehicles idling in the bottle-neck behind too-short traffic lights and left-turners.
It sounds like the problem is the light cycle and left turns, not bike lanes.
The same can be said for the one-way section of 9th Street downtown from I to E Street, where a dedicated bus and bike lane (usually empty) contributes to massive, box-blocking backups among cars headed for the National Mall and the 9th Street Tunnel.