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Good point.

The goals were to calm traffic, provide more options for cyclists and increase bicycle trips. In addition there is the implied goal of maintaining or increasing safety.

That's what I was looking for(http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/9451/is-there-really-a-problem-with-the-15th-street-bike-lane/#comment-89950) - goals that can be measured in some objective sense. It seems hard to believe that it has not accomplished these goals. I've gone from zero bike trips per year on 15th to 4-6 a week, and I don't think I've ever been on the cycle tracks alone.

The big question that remains for me is how it's affected car traffic elsewhere. I try to never, ever drive, and mostly succeed, so I can't really measure it, but certainly someone can.

First, I think Evans deserves credit for saying that the 15th St bike lanes are "critical." I hope that he means they are here to stay, in one form or another. From what I can tell, they are getting plenty of use.

Secondly, I have a question. Why were they set up this way? Was it to preserve parking on the other side of 15th? I don't understand why there can't be 2 bike lanes so that you don't have northbound cyclists riding on the left side of the road. That creates all kinds of safety and engineering problems.

I'm not at all sympathetic to Evans, except to the extent that I can totally believe that the signage and lights might be confusing to drivers. This is a different issue from drivers being slowed down. Signage and lights in DC are usually pretty terrible, and I'm often confused by them as a pedestrian and biker. There's probably room for improvement.

@freewheel - I'm just guessing here, but I suspect that once they made the decision to separate the bike lane from the moving traffic by putting it between the curb and the parked cars, they pretty much had to put the two lanes together. I've talked to people at DDOT, and one issue they have to take into account is clearing snow and whatnot. I doubt they have budget to purchase special snow removal tools just for the bike lane, and then transport those tools to 15th Street every time it snows.

@M - the lights should be pretty straightforward for drivers - they have a new left turn arrow. That's it. They don't have to worry about bikes at all if everyone obeys the signals. It is a little confusing for bikes and pedestrians, but I think most reasonable people will figure it out pretty quickly.

The points people make here should be considered in the context of the fact that in the U.S., and especially in DC and the DC region, cycletracks-two way cycletracks are very new and people are unfamiliar with them, not unlike how in most other places people are unfamiliar with roundabouts and traffic circles, while they aren't here. Even newcomers get accustomed to traffic circles after awhile.

WRT freewheel's comment, like you I thought that cycletracks should be unidirectional, but the Dutch argue pretty forcefully that cyclists will ride in both directions regardless, so therefore design bi-directionality in from the outset.

My experience observing rider behavior in the previously unidirectional contraflow 15th st. cycletrack confirmed the Dutch thinking.

I guess I agree with them, but the unintended consequence is that it makes it more expensive to install because of the special treatments and signals required at intersections, plus the additional level of confusion for drivers is unfortunate as well.

@Jon - unfortunately it's also a place for DDOT to dump snow

@Richard - I think ultimately success will be judged based on how much bike traffic there is on cycletracks. As long as there are no major incidents, the benefits would outweigh costs.

Are there any bikers out there who find the contra-flow portion of this bike lane relatively useless? The traffic lights are not timed for contra-flow and so south bound bikers end up hitting nearly every single light...Also, the signs allowing street parking between L and M streets have not been removed. Cars park legally (albeit skillfully) by maneuvering through the bike barriers between these streets.

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