Richard Baier, the city's director of Transportation and Environmental Services, is directing the agency to paint the bike lanes and remove 27 parking spaces along a three-quarter mile stretch of King Street west of the Metro and Amtrak stations.
The car lanes will be narrowed slightly, and a new sign will alert drivers to their speed.
Baier says it will make the road safer for everyone, including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians headed to the Metro or to T.C. Williams High School.
The Traffic and Parking Board had recently recommended waiting for a compromise between those who support the bike lanes and others who were concerned about having fewer on-street parking spaces near their homes.
Baier says there is no reason to wait for the changes on King Street between Russell Road and Janneys Lane.
The recently repaved stretch will get a five-foot bike lane on the westbound side, and a four-foot wide bike lane on the eastbound side. Part of the stretch will have shared lane markings, or sharrows, in order to leave some of the parking spots in place that otherwise would have been removed.
The bike lanes should also offer a buffer for pedestrians on the sidewalk from cars speeding by; drivers will still be allowed to stop briefly to drop someone off or pick them up.
In the four page letter to residents Director Rich Brier writes, “As a professional engineer tasked with ensuring the safety for all users of our street system and after reviewing the data and researching alternative proposals, I believe that the modified plan is the best plan to achieve the common goals of improving safety and balancing the needs of multiple users of King Street.” Read the letter in its entirely on the City of Alexandria’s website.
The Patch has a lot of comments if you want to get angry.
Baier wrote that he walked, drove and road his bicycle up and down the stretch of King Street to experience the roadway from all perspectives.
“It was this experience that affirmed by belief that it is imperative to implement a plan that improves the safety concerns highlighted as part of this project,” Baier wrote.
After hearing concerns from residents in the fall, an initial plan that called for the removal of all 37 on-street parking spaces along the stretch of roadway was amended to keep 10 spaces and install bicycle sharrows next to the parking.
Parking counts from city staff determined the vast majority of the on-street spaces go unused.
And a letter in opposition to the plan. A letter which includes this entirely unsubstantiated claim
The proposal would be encouraging all cyclists, including Capital Bikeshare users/riders who are generally inexperienced riders, usually not wearing helmets and not always familiar with bike safety regulations, to use a bike lane
Can we decide that road expansions are bad because they would encourage inexperienced Zipcar drivers to use them?