Eighteen months after bike lanes were installed on King Street, a report prepared by the Alexandria department of transportation and environmental services says the lanes have reduced vehicle speeds and crashes and have increased the number of bicyclists along the busy stretch of road. The bike lanes were fought against and heavily criticized by a handful of residents on the street who surely now that the data is in will come around and see the value in them, joining WABA and becoming spokespeople for the value of bike infrastructure, right?
According to the data in a November 16 memo from transportation director Yon Lambert, vehicular crashes are down from 12 in the 17 months before bike lanes were installed to eight over that same period after, while average speeds have dropped in both directions. Eastbound speeds on average reduced from 35.4 miles per hour to 34.9 miles per hour, while westbound speeds dropped from 32.7 miles per hour to 30.4 miles per hour. The report says that 14 bicyclists were counted at peak hours after the bike lanes’ installation, compared to 11 before.
Data was collected on the speed and volume of vehicles and the number of bicyclists between September 14 and September 22, with crashes involving pedestrians, vehicles and bicyclists compared 17 months before and after the bike lanes’ installation.
Opponents of the bike lanes, however, remain unconvinced by their impact on vehicle speeds.
“Residents would like to see the chart and analyze it and have some assurance that the city has actually done a good measurement,” said Louise Welch, a nearby resident. “What were the measures of success and how did they meet these measures of success? The report itself does not prove that the bike lanes are successful.”
Slower speeds, more cyclists and fewer crashes I believe.
Neither Sanders nor the report specified where the eight vehicular crashes took place or what caused them. But she said that the downward trend shows that the area is becoming safer for use by bicyclists and pedestrians.
“At this stage, we’re more compiling data for numbers of projects to see the trends: crashes going down, crashes going up, that type of thing, and thankfully in this case and in other projects where we’ve done improvements in safety, we are seeing the reduction,” she said. “What we want to see is it go to zero. That would be the best outcome for everybody. There’s more work to be done to get us there, but I think we’re making progress.”
Welch instead believes that safety was undermined by the installation of the bike lanes, although she acknowledged that some changes have made the area much safer for pedestrians.
“They’ve narrowed the roadway and access to homes for residents and visitors and service people is now much less safe,” she said. “The city did, however, make some good pedestrian changes such as crosswalks and stoplights.”
By what metric is it "much less safe"?