« Virginia Avenue Tunnel Video shows new Virginia Ave SE with sidepath | Main | Bikes on NewsTalk »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

USPS is also immune from particularly parking laws. The Feds don't want to be getting parking tkts for delivering mail. At the same time, the USPS does not have to park in the bike lanes.

I would love it if DC started towing all commercial vehicles (I recognize USPS is never going to be towed) parked in bike lanes, particularly during rush hour. The ticketing is useless. Those big companies simply negotiate in bulk and don't care. But if their shipments start disappearing and they miss deadlines, then they will change their habits.

Those big companies simply negotiate in bulk and don't care.

They probably don't care, but they don't negotiate in bulk either.

Wash, I seem to recall reading that part of the "billing arrangement" is the city knocks a percentage off of the total -- in exchange for the companies agreeing not to contest any tickets. So they get a bulk rate in effect.

Also, what exactly are the "safety issues related to parking in the bike facilities?" It's inconvenient to have to leave the bike lane and go around a parked vehicle, but it's a stretch to say it's unsafe.

Most people don't realize this, but in DC it is generally legal to double-park and block a lane of traffic for the purpose of making deliveries (We go on and on about people who call cyclists scofflaws for doing things that are actually legal, we should extend the same courtesy to delivery drivers). There is also a law prohibiting parking in bike lanes but taken together these laws create an incoherent policy -- delivery drivers are expected to park in the next lane over when a bike lane is present. I would argue this is more dangerous than parking in the bike lane because it encourages cyclists to go between the parked delivery vehicle and a parked car, where they have no chance of making evasive movements if someone opens a door or steps into the bike lane.

I agree that the real solution is creating appropriate infrastructure through loading zones -- just as often "scofflaw cyclist" issues are really reflections of inadequate and inappropriate infrastructure.

I asked DDOT about it, and they said there was no deal. they pay the full amount. Just a direct billing setup.

In the cases involving unseparated facilities, I think the safest choice is to block the bike lane. The alternative is what, to block the right-most full-width lane and leave the bike lane unimpeded? Do you really want to pass through a 5-foot gap between a standing delivery vehicle and a curb? That sounds much more dangerous to me; you have no idea what's going to emerge from inside or in front of that truck. As a general safety rule, I try to always go around stopped/standing vehicles on the left.

As for blocking separated cycletracks, I agree this is unacceptable, since it is difficult and dangerous for a cyclist to cross the barrier (especially so for two-way or contraflow cycletracks where the nearest lane of cars may be headed in the opposite direction!).

Ah maybe I should have read the earlier comments more closely. Contrarian nailed it.

On the other hand tolerating deliveries using the bike lanes informs other drivers that they too can do so as well.

At some point the bike lane becomes the unofficial double parking/standing lane.

As a general safety rule, I try to always go around stopped/standing vehicles on the left.

My approach is to write off the entire bike lane on a block if a vehicle is parked anywhere along it. Instead I move into the center of the adjacent travel lane.

I do this because when I commute across town using G St NW it is not uncommon to find vehicles occupying the bike lane on every single block.

Weaving in & out around parked cars is not something I want to do - I even have had aggressive drivers try to run me into the back of parked cars rather that let me come around.

But Washcycle, it's DPW that writes the tickets and DMV that collects. I'm not saying DC agencies are especially bad at interagency collaboration, but hey, they are. I would never expect DDOT to know if there's a deal in place or not.

In addition to fleet payments to DMV, large sums and long overdue payment plans are negotiated by the Office of Finance's Central Collection Unit. DDOT's only ongoing responsibility is to post the signs - and as noted this week at Council, that has its own problems.

I've previously asked my regular route UPS driver downtown about this. He said he thinks there's an agreement in place because he's been instructed to keep any tickets on display all day and he never gets more than one.

I think it's great that DDOT is looking into this, but I'm skeptical that if it doesn't include DPW, DMV, Council, and the public we're not going to see anything meaningful come from it.

If anyone has proof that DC does this then I'm interested.

New York does, but it sounds pretty recent. Maybe that's where the story comes from.


@contrair: "Also, what exactly are the "safety issues related to parking in the bike facilities?" It's inconvenient to have to leave the bike lane and go around a parked vehicle, but it's a stretch to say it's unsafe."

It is, in my opinion, not a stretch to say that this is unsafe; it is simply unsafe. Parking in the bike lane means there will be cyclists weaving in and out of traffic. Sure, some will just take the lane for the whole block, and this is probably better, although it will certainly piss some motorists off and might therefore have mild safety issues itself, but most will weave into traffic and back out again. And some will be more skilled and careful about this than others. I tend to be a bit aggressive, and I've noticed I've jumped out once or twice in iffy situations myself. I'd like to say I won't again, but I probably will. It's just easier to gun it than to have to unclip or do a track stand while cars go by.

If I sound cranky, apologies, but I've commented too much lately on the Post. I am leaving for vacation and will be all better soon.

DC used to cut big companies a 50% reduction for tickets, but this apparently stopped in '09:


Yep, evidently they stopped this in 2009, but were doing it: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/1957/replace-bulk-parking-ticket-discount-with-sensible-curb-management-policy/

Of course they also did amnesty for those whom didn't pay: http://www.wtop.com/41/2471519/DC-gives-6-month-amnesty-for-older-parking-tickets

Of course they're also given slightly more time to pay than the rest of us through the "Multi Owner Fleet Program." They get one monthly update with all of the tickets received in the last month and then have 30 days to pay. For companies like UPS that rack up 60k tickets a year in DC (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/in-dc-parking-tickets-are-a-cost-of-doing-business/2013/06/01/6c693a56-b357-11e2-9a98-4be1688d7d84_story.html), that would mean roughly 5k a month. If you 1/5 of those tickets come in week one of four before your monthly e-mail, then you effectively have 2 months to pay them. So $50k can sit for almost 60 days accruing interest rather than 30 like the rest of us pay. Sounds like small pennies until you factor it out for the year. I doubt the fee they pay to participate in the program remotely comes close to the money saved by keeping it in their coffers for extra weeks on end.

"Also, what exactly are the "safety issues related to parking in the bike facilities?" It's inconvenient to have to leave the bike lane and go around a parked vehicle, but it's a stretch to say it's unsafe."

It's not a stretch at all, in that it increases by multiples the variables you must be aware of when going around a truck. A delivery vehicle takes up a lot of space and limits visibility. Not only do you have to merge with moving car traffic, you also have to be aware of traffic exiting alleys and parking garages that often lie just beyond where the trucks park. It, frankly, feels safer to ride in traffic when delivery trucks are parked illegally in the bike lanes or cycle tracks.

While we're at it, could we ask FedEx drivers to stop using streets marked "No Trucks" in the area around their facility in Eckington? It's bad for cyclists, motorists and residents, and makes the company look like band of rogues. Thanks.

I suppose we could continue to hope for a DDOT deep throat to lead us to the smoking guns.

I think it's not quite as crazy to perhaps suggest that a meeting between DDOT and two of DC's many delivery services is whitewash, if not hogwash. Where is DHL? Where are the food and beverage distributors? Why not bring DMV and DPW and Council to the table - and perhaps BAC's legislative and judicial reps too?

Somehow, for some reason, DC's efforts to create safe designated spaces for cycling have not convinced the commercial delivery interests to play along. That has to be the focus.

I certainly wish the big FedEx trucks wouldn't poach the bike lane on R street. The smaller vans aren't so bad, but the large ones block the bike lane. I realize that east west routes are scarce for both drivers and cyclists, but I wish the Fed Ex guys would use the larger streets rather than the residential ones when they're not actually making deliveries.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader