Michael R. Strain (the R is for Writer) with the National Review, following the lead of the Weekly Standard, has also taken time to complain about how the downtown protected bike lanes have made driving in downtown DC during rush hour, previously a stress-free bucolic drive akin to what one might see in a car commercial, into a hellish nightmare of stop-and-go traffic so bad that often your car inexplicably goes backward.
"Downtown Washington is littered with bike lanes" he starts off similar to Dorothy Rabinowitz's criticism of City Bike. But like litter, the bike lanes were placed randomly, illegally and in such a way as to destroy the natural beauty of our city's streets the way God created them.
In my experience, they are nearly always devoid of people actually riding bicycles. I can only assume that the city put them in place to encourage bike riding over traveling by car. Build the bike lanes, and the people will bike.
If only there were some data that would let us know if people used the bike lanes and if the lanes actually increased biking, something better than Strain's observations. Y'know a chart like this would really be useful:
Or something like this:
Then he begins to list the "unintended consequences" of the bike lanes.
When it snows the plows can’t remove the snow from the streets because the plows can’t fit in the bike lanes.
I assume what he meant was that the plows can't remove snow from the bike lanes. Clearly the street can be cleared because he points out that "the plows dump all the snow into the bike lanes themselves." This of course is only a problem if people are using the bike lanes, which would seem to contradict his previous statement, but that was then, and NOW we're complaining about how the bike lanes can't possibly be cleared of snow. You would never see something like this in DC:
What else have we got?
It also causes problems for motorists because the city, employing its micromanagerial genius, often uses the portion of the bike lanes near intersections as left-turn lanes for cars. Safety first.
Well this is wrong three times. The left turn lane is separate from the protected bike lane, though it does cross over it. There is no evidence that the left turn lanes were not cleared of snow. And there is no indication that the configuration is unsafe.
Another consequence — unintended? — is that already congested streets lose an entire lane. I remember once it took me nearly thirty minutes to travel five blocks down L Street, NW. The road was down to one lane, effectively.
Here again, it would be really nice if DDOT had measured how the protected bike lanes had impacted travel time for drivers.
preliminary data from the ongoing L Street study [showed] that over the [first six months after] the cycle-track was installed, biking on L Street was up 41% (560 cyclists during the 8 hours of rush hour, up from 396)... Meanwhile travel time by car had increased by only 1 minute across the length of [L with the cycletrack] in the morning and by no measurable amount in the afternoon commute.
But now we get to the straw that broke Strain so that he was compelled to write this insightful piece
And today’s observation: Delivery trucks can’t fit in the bike lanes.
I'm just going to stop right there. I'm pretty sure I've seen a photo somewhere of one parking in the bike lane. Maybe that driver had a narrow truck? But point taken, it is nearly impossible for a truck to park in the protected bike lane - unheard of really.
So they load and unload not at the curb, but in the street. Safety first. Bottlenecks form. Commuters lose productive time at work or time home with their children. Welfare decreases because rage, or at least irritation, increases.
So true. And the real problem here is the bike lane, not the drivers who load and unload - legally I'm sure - their trucks in the middle of the road. These bike lanes are wrecking America's (the world's?) economy, decreasing welfare and leaving billions of children parent-less. Irritation! How can people be expected to live if they have to suffer occasional increased irritation. People, I tell you, there's no ointment for this kind of irritation.
Build the bike lanes, and the people will bike? Maybe. But even if so, other stuff will happen, too.
I for one am dutifully shamed. Other stuff has happened to this poor man. How long must Michael R. Strain (The R is for Rage) be made to suffer? If this goes on there might be chafing or possible even the horror of crotch-rot. Is that what you want? Is it?
Anyway, you can email your photos of trucks parking in the L Street bike lane, If you can even find such a thing, to Michael R. Strain (the R is for 'Rritation) at firstname.lastname@example.org. But he may never get them as he's likely trapped in the gridlock of L Street.