by David Alpert
Winter is getting closer and closer, which means sooner or later DC will likely see some snow. DDOT is pondering how to ensure they can plow the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes when snow does come.
DDOT uses large plows to clear Pennsylvania Avenue and other major roads quickly after a snowstorm. The large plow, however, can't fit in the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, at least not as long as the white pylons remain near intersections.
DDOT added those pylons to make sure drivers realize they're not supposed to drive in the lanes when making turns. Occasionally, some do anyway, and police cars periodically park in them, but most of the time the pylons effectively guide drivers and protect cyclists at the corners, where there are more conflicting turning movements.
A smaller plow could come back later to clear the snow from the lanes, but depending on the size of a snowstorm, this would likely not happen until 24 to 48 hours later, meaning the lanes could remain impassable for up to 2 days while the regular roadway is clear.
The other option DDOT is considering is to remove the pylons for the winter. This would allow the plows to clear the lanes. On the other hand, it could mean drivers again getting confused and driving in the lanes, and cyclists feeling less safe at corners.
It doesn't snow very often, so if they do remove the pylons, the lanes would be a little bit worse every day in the winter, but keeping them means they'd be a lot worse for a few days. What's better: keeping them always passable to cyclists, or keeping them in their optimal condition at the cost of losing them temporarily when it snows?
The bicycle team would like your input. What do you prefer?
Cross-posted from GreaterGreaterWashington