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if only we could get bike lanes for the rest of the city.However, despite his coziness w/ Mayor Bloomburg, Fenty , like Williams and Barry, never takes subways and would never be caught dead on a bicycle.Ive seen him being driven around in a honking SUV.Typical liberal hypocrite.He should also mandate that all office buildings or large buildings have bike racks.These measures would be a good start- it'll never happen.I love the SUV people who recycle and love green roofs but would nEVER dream of living close to their jobs nor would they ever take public transport- and they have Sierra Club or Save the Bay stickers on their bumpers.

I'm not really sold on the painted lanes, but have yet to ride in any. The bike lanes around Thomas Circle seem sketchy to me, so I usually take a regular travel lane. I'm curious what other jurisdictions do to discourage cars from entering bike lanes? I know Chicago is looking into raised lanes. Does anyone do any sort of rumble strip or reflector so cars can feel that they are too far over? I think that would be more of a reminder than paint....those things are annoying to drive over.

Fenty's record towards supporting bikes on the council was lousy, so it will be interesting to see what he does as mayor of our fine city. He does however ride, and is a competitive triathelete. He also appointed Dan Tangherlini as City Administrator, and Dan has been a longtime advocate for bicycling while at DDOT and WMATA.

ps- Does "W" equal Mike? If so, if and when I get my wheel back we're overdue for another ride to annapolis.

No, but I sure hope you get your bike back. I've heard that there is large DC police warehouse just s. of the freeway where stolen bikes are kept and that one can look for and claim them if you have proof of ownership. One of my friends found his bike there. Give it a try and let us know what you find out.

Do you know the exact location? I might check it for my stolen bike.

I think its 4th street SW by the police station- where the old Wax Museum site was.

In response to w's first comment, DC already has a law requiring bicycle parking in all new commercial buildings. And I don't see why you say "despite his coziness w/ Mayor Bloomburg" -- Bloomburg is probably the most anti-cyclist politician of note in the country. For the past 2 1/2 years he has directed a jihad against his city's cyclists by the NYPD.

Back to the subject at hand -- Jim Sebastian has it half right. The part that he has right is onec you put traffic lights into a circle it becomes equivalent to a series of intersections.

The part that he doesn't have right is to say that Thomas Circle is striped in a way consistent with other intersections. Actually, the way that other streets are painted is that the bike lane ends before the intersection, and the intersection itself has no markings at all. This painting encourages "directional positioning" -- operators of vehicles of all kinds position themselves in the intersection based on their destination. If you're turning right, get over to the right. If your turning left, get to the left, and if you're going straight, stay in the middle.

The way that the circle should be striped is that entering the circle, the bike lanes should end shortly before the circle. Within the circle, there should be no bike lanes, but instead a sharrow in the right lane at each entry point. At every exit point the bike lane should resume immediately.

The bike lanes exist only for people going through on 14th street, and Massachusetts Avenue is still problematic. Removing the illegal no-bikes signs on the underpass would help there; the sharrows would help for those uncomfortable with using the tunnel.

I would have much preferred sharrows to the bike lane. I think when counting miles Jim should be allowed to count sharrows toward the bike plan goal of 10 miles a year.

Sharrows in lanes just before an intersection don't make much sense (any more sense than a bike lane leading up to an interesection.) Bikes need to take the correct position for their direction of travel, just like cars. To go left, get in the left lane. To go straight, get to the left of right-turning traffic. Encouraging bikes to stay to the right of right-turning traffic, whether with lanes or sharrows, is terrible traffic policy.

This is why I generally find bike lanes in dense urban areas to be useless at best, dangerous at worst. (As opposed to, say, wide shoulders on suburban/rural roads with relatively few intersections, which allow for both cars and bikes to travel at their preferred speed without needlessly interfering with one another.)

Contrarian, I didn't read your post very closely before my last post.

I guess I just don't understand your argument... you clearly note the need for correct lane positioning. So what, then, is the point of the sharrow?

For the sharrow to make any sense, you'd need one for each possible direction a bike could take, which is exactly the same set of options faced by a driver. So let bikes follow the same arrows that cars use and be done with it.

If all the sharrow is meant to do is somehow warn drivers that bikes are present, then just put up a "share the road" sign.

The point of the sharrow is to instruct cyclists where to ride, and to let the motorists know that's where they're supposed to be so they don't get their knickers in a knot. The second reason is why bad bike lanes are worse than none at all, as in the current example.

I prefer sharrows to "share the road" because STR is so ambiguous. I swear many drivers think it is a sign directed at cyclists, telling them to stay out of the way of motor vehicles. Even if you know what STR is for, it offers no clues about exactly what behavior is expected.

I will offer an observation that even well-meaning and knowledgeable transportation officials are extremely reluctant -- extremely, extremely, reluctant -- to do anything which might be seen as promoting the use of travel lanes by cyclists. I believe that is why STR signs are so popular -- because they are ambiguous.

I tend to agree with Contrarian regarding his solution to the problem - stop the bike lanes before the circle and put in sharrows. Truly, however, it makes no difference to me at this point, as I simply take the middle of the right lane of (mostly motorized) traffic. It's the attitude I take going through Thomas Circle on the way to work, and the attitude I take going through Logan Circle on the way home (actually, in Logan, I take the middle lane, as the right lane I enter is a right turn only lane - what an interesting mess THAT particular circle would be for bike lane design!)

Far it it from me to say nice things about motorists, but I must say, for the most part the cars around me seem to get what I'm doing and can deal with it -- or at least they're tolerant.

I do, however, totally dig the sign, though I haven't noticed them up yet.

(I am, by the way, the Racing Union member who posted that entry on the Racing Union website. You have to scroll down to get to the posting, which includes some lovely pictures of Thomas Circle, but enjoy our propaganda on the way there!)

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