Some merchants are upset about the new bike lanes along 15th Street NW - the Examiner calls it a protest.
"I don't know why they wouldn't just chop away two feet of sidewalk," said Haroon Mokel, campus director at Strayer University near 15th and M streets. "That's where bikers should be anyway, is the sidewalk."
Wow. It's like one of those games I did as a kid where you try to circle everything in a picture that's wrong. First of all, is Strayer University really a merchant? Then I have to ask why he thinks 2 feet is enough space to bike or why the space should come from pedestrian space and not driver space. Or why he thinks that sidewalk cycling is where cyclists belong since it's illegal in that part of DC.
Mostly, it seems, merchants are upset about the loss of parking,
the District finished painting over more than two dozen parking spaces along 15th Street southbound
DDOT said it was more like a dozen and some of them will be replaced on side streets.
Beauty salon owner Lisette Attias said she's an advocate for bike lanes, but not in front of her salon.
"Why don't they use the streets that aren't crowded?" said Attias, owner of Piaf Salon and Day Spa near 15th and L streets Northwest. "It's going to hurt my business. It's going to be hurting a lot of businesses."
Attias said most of her customers are motorists.
"We are still a city of drivers and business is dependent on that," she said.
Are we? I think most trips are done be something other than car. And bike lanes can be good for business. This is really Richard Layman's territory, but I think having people pass by your business may be more valuable than having people parking in front of it. And the bike lane will draw more people to use 15th.
Suddenly there is a lot of concern about parking meter revenue, because drivers love contributing their fair share of parking meter money.
The lanes also shuttered more than one dozen parking meters, many of which generated revenues for more than one parking space.
The D.C. Department of Transportation plans to erect new meters elsewhere to make up for the loss of revenue, according to DDOT spokeswoman Karyn LeBlanc.
The article is a bit one-sided, never interviewing anyone at DDOT or WABA, but it does have one alternative opinion.
VIDA Fitness manager Jeff Code said the new lanes have eased his daily commute to work at 15th and Church streets Northwest.
"The new lanes have been very helpful," he said, "especially now that cars turning right [onto 15th] have to stop and yield to bikers."
So really the headline should read "Merchant and Strayer University guy who said his 'opinions have no connection to the university' dislike new bike lanes, but another merchant likes them. No one seems to be actually protesting." But that's probably too long.
In fact, the protest is so non-existant that another article by the same writer makes the point that, unlike in NYC where some bike lanes were removed due to protests by businesses, there is no organized protest.
Some business owners in D.C. are beginning to grumble about new bike lanes downtown, but the District has far from an organized opposition to the project, said Gerry Widdicombe, director of economic development for the D.C. Business Improvement District.
"I know in New York they are having a bike lane revolt," he said. "I don't think we're there yet."
Widdicombe said the District's bike lanes could use some improvements, such as more signage for cyclists. He said he is working with the D.C. Department of Transportation to implement those improvements quickly as the city's commuters acclimate to sharing more roads with bikes.