The Washingtonian had a piece yesterday entitled "Make Way for Automobiles," a title which somehow implies that way has not already been made for automobiles to the tune of trillions of dollars and billions of acres. But alas, the errors don't end there.
Even as many Washingtonians turn to bikes, and as our city faces worse and worse congestion, let us not forget our beloved automobiles.
Congestion in the DC area is worse and worse (according to a widely publicized but controversial study), but I'm not sure of any study showing that as true for DC proper. It feels about the same now as it did when I moved here in 1997. But I'm confident there is no risk of DDOT, or anyone else for that matter, forgetting about automobiles.
I, too, like to bike to work on occasion. Yet since the closure of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in the late 1990s and the "temporary" closing of E Street in 2001, our city has been choked by east-west traffic. Ever try to go from Georgetown to Penn Quarter in rush hour? Good luck. And have you tried it lately?
Yes driving in crowded places at busy times is slow, and there have been some unfortunate (and unnecessary) closures of roads but what any of this has to do with biking, I don't know.
I've sat on the corner of 19th and L and watched each evening as the backup has gotten worse and worse with the addition of the new bike lanes
Really? Worse and worse over the course of a month. I'm skeptical of the data. Did Ms. Williams perhaps collect any? DDOT's analysis before the installation showed that LOS would mostly stay the same but occasionally improve. I'll bet Ms. Williams a subscription to Washingtonian vs. one for Momentum that the analysis after installation shows little to no change.
and I watch as the smog from stopped cars pollutes while nary a bike goes by on cold winter evenings.
That's right, accommodating cyclists causes smog. Of course, before the cycletrack, that lane was parking, so I'm not sure why traffic has gotten worse. And looking at the road on cold winter evenings may skew the data she isn't collecting.
Only 3% of commuters bike. More than 70% still drive or take the bus.
That's citywide, In downtown, about 6% of vehicles are bikes. So asking for one east-west lane in all of downtown is pretty reasonable.
One has to wonder if there is any strategy to our bike-obsessed city.
There is. It's called the Bicycle Master Plan.
Did it occur to anyone to perhaps put the east-west bike lanes on H, N, or I Streets?
Yes. Those were all considered and dismissed during the Bicycle Master Plan process (or later for I street), which included considerably more thought than Ms. Williams put into this since 2 of the 3 streets she suggested are one-way in the opposite direction of L and thus not suitable substitutes.
Is anyone measuring how many bikes use the lanes in rush hour to determine whether they warrant the increased traffic backup?
Yes. DDOT is doing that (and again, what traffic backup. I love how she transitions from what she personally has deduced from limited observation to incontrovertible fact. That's good writing there). A simple call to John Lisle would clear that up. He's a very nice man.
In order to get a speed bump in my neighborhood, I must get a petition from 75% of the households and then have the speed and quantity of traffic measured. Are we doing that for bike lanes?
Not that, but we had a Bicycle Master Planning process that lasted two years and the plan then had to be approved by the District Council and each project has to go through its own review and there is a period of presentation and public input. From idea to implementation it took the L Street cycletrack about 8 years. Is that enough hoops?
I assumed it meant to watch for bikers when turning
Yes I can see how a green light on a pole shaped like a traffic light would mean "watch for bikers" since ther green lights on traffic poles mean "watch for cars".
which I explained to MPD officer who pulled me over--yet I was still fined $100 for "Disobeying A Traffic Control Device."
"Even though I broke the law, I tried to explain to the officer that it was because I was ignorant, but he gave me a ticket anyway."
No warning, no matter that this is not in the DC Driver Study Guide, which lists eleven other signal types.
I agree there should be more information about biking in the DC Driver Study Guide.
I love that our city has embraced bikes. But let's add some common sense to the equation and find ways to also better accommodate the automobiles we love so much.
Yes if only we could find a way to accommodate automobiles in this city. Why the infrastructure we have is only adequate to be the first choice for a mere 70% of commuters. Perhaps we could find a way to free up parking and remove vehicles from the road - with some using excess space on the sides and others using new facilities built in parks or on old rail lines - so that driving can be easier. But we can't even start to do that until we stop encouraging bicycling.