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I've seen that fencing and assumed it was the usual July 4th barricading that workers erect along the parkway and all around (and through) the mall. Let's see if it stays for the long term.

The fencing is, as Wonger said, probably just temporary to keep people from parking on the grass edges of the parkway for the 4th.

Okay, speed limits: if I don't have a bike computer, how do I know when I'm breaking the speed limit? Are we going to start requiring bikes to be equipped with computers now? Are we to expect police to monitor speeds on the trails?

These trails have existed for 30 years without speed restrictions; suddenly we need them?

Another inane idea (like mandatory helmet laws) rears its feeble head.

If you bike on the street you're expected to follow the speed limit. So if you regularly go faster than 25 mph (or 15 in some school zones) and would like to be able to monitor your speed so as to obey existing laws - then yes, you'll need a bike computer. That's why I think 25 mph is more reasonable. Few will exceed that regularly and those that do should be able to monitor their speed.

As it turns out, the fencing doesn't help much against headlights - just crowd control.

Compounding the speed limit issue is that the cyclists with computers are likely to be the ones whose cruising speeds are significantly over 15mph.

I agree that "bike arteries" like MVT, with lots of commuter and through traffic, need to be able to support sustained speeds of 15-25mph (except very high load times, like leaving the fireworks last night).

That means plenty of passing room, possibly removing some of the sharpest turns, no blind corners, and some sort of shielding from car headlights!

"...and would like to be able to monitor your speed so as to obey existing laws - then yes, you'll need a bike computer."

Puzzling choice of words. Would "like" to be able to monitor your speed...so it's a personal preference thing, then? If you don't "like" to monitor your speed or don't want to drop the $ on a computer, are you free to go as fast as you want? After all, there's no legal requirement to use a cycling computer.

I hope you're not seriously suggesting that some sort of speed limit enforcement take place on multi-use trails. Do we want to be policed in every aspect of our lives?

Sorry, that's my comment above.

I'm not saying that I'm for speed limit enforcement on multi-use trails. But I'm not fervently against it, IF (and that's a big if) the speed limit is reasonable and one can demonstrate a definitive safety benefit of the limit.

I chose the word "like" because I don't think computers should be required, but obeyind speed limits on city streets (for bikes as well as cars) already is. If you don't care about speeding, because you don't go fast enough or because you don't mind getting tickets or whatever, then you can go without a computer. Cars have speedometer's but you don't have to monitor your speed - they don't make you look at it. Not having a bike computer, or not looking at it if you do, is not a sufficient excuse for not obeying speed limits on the road, and it probably won't work on trails either.

Don't mean to get into a pissing contest here, but, really, if you're pulled over for speeding in a car, the officer presumes you use your speedometer to monitor your speed, since you have one before you and it's expected of you to do so--you know you're speeding and how far you were over the limit. If you get pulled over for speeding on a bike (???), there can't be the same presumption that you have a cycling computer, since they're not mandatory equipment on bikes.

Finally, I'd like to hear if anyone knows of any cyclist who has received a speeding ticket anywhere. I can't imagine police are speed-gunning cyclists in the unlikely event that one mighy substantially surpass the posted automobile speed limit.

I'm going to disagree with the approach folks are taking with this. I don't see the Mt. Vernon Trail as a "bikeway" as Washcycle put it, but rather a multi-use trail with various trail users. It may be semantics to some, but I think there is a distinct difference. While I'd prefer that MVT stay self-policed, 15 mph is more than adequate when sharing space with walkers, joggers and lost tourists. Any faster than that and you put yourself and other users at risk.

All of that is a red herring though. The real issue if National Park Service is sincerely concerned with trail safety, then they are taking the wrong approach. I'd bet the farm on the narrow trail width and poor sight lines being a much larger contributor to crashes than folks speeding. The speed traps are their version of blaming the victims of their own poor trail design.

Personally, I feel if you are traveling between 15-25mph along this trail, its much too fast and you belong in the road. The problem with that is there is no bike-friendly north/south corridor running through Alexandria or Arlington County (that I know of anyways) to serve as a replacement for MVT. Some of this frustration should be directed at traffic engineers and bike program managers in these jurisdictions for trying to let a multi user recreational area serve the needs of area bike commuters.

jeff is right.

this trail is not really a bike transportation creation: if it was it would be under the transportation department...not the parks department.

I interviewed Chris Pauley of the WOD trail. He's seems a nice person; and he seems to know what his role is supposed to be, re: in charge of the "park" that is the WOD.

Trouble is, he's clueless about why the WOD trail, or ANY such trail, is not under the Transportation authority, as opposed to a "Parks Dept." He's not educated as a social scientist or urban planner, is not AICP certified, and has no knowledge of what it means to measure the effectiveness of any changes, such as the recent , retarded rumble strips on the WOD. (when asked how they came to have the strips he told me that they consulted "experts"; when asked if there'll be a follow-up to measure their effectiveness, he seemed to not understand the question. That's because "safety" -- his candidate for why anything is done to the trails! -- is clearly self-supporting!!)

He doesnt bicycle commute; and no one in his office bicycles to work, either. The staff of the WOD mostly live in the suburbs! When I asked who their favorite scholars and researchers were of public space and land use development, they didnt have any!! They could not name ANY book that raises these issuesand that had informed their thinking on this issue!!

Of course, blaming these people, like Pauley, is another exercise in blaming the victims. They are clueless but, hey, transportation leadership is not what they were hired to supervise.

It makes me wonder about ANY of these trail initiatives; they ALL strike me as basically worthless.

We need bike lanes on the roads; and future roads designed for bicycles.

We dont need another 5 feet of "multi-use" trails...

Jeff and Mike I agree with your points. The trail, as designed and used, probably isn't good for going over 15 mph. We could redesign the trail or, better yet, the parkway; but let's assume that's not an option. Is a 15 mph speed limit a good solution to the safety issue? Probably not. It won't be enforced. But I like the idea of guidance. If the 15 mph limit (and it could change at different points of the trail) were a recommendation I think it would be better. It would still have legal baring in a collision investigation, but it would serve more as an education purpose.

A pace between 15 mph and 25 mph is very reasonable for a cyclist that knows what they are doing on the mvt. The trail has a number of design problems which are compounded by runners and walkers who run side by side, or by pedestrians who travel in the wrong lane. Inexperienced bicyclists are also a huge problem. I've seen to many cyclists traveling side by side and generally oblivious to all others. Chances are, the people going 15-25 on the trail are mostly more experienced road bikers and probably the most vigilant on the trail despite their quick pace.
The George Washington Parkway isn't a very attractive alternative either. Traffic is heavy and swift. One Sunday afternoon I even witnessed a group of 10 motorcycles speeding and taking turns doing wheelies. The parkway is really only an alternative if you have a nice group ride lined up. The park service needs to do more education, and do it at the entry points of the trail. And what were they thinking when they built all of those hairpin blind turns, and hairpin turns onto and off of the wooden bridges (especially the section between Old Town and Mount Vernon)? Unfortunately, this is one of those issues that's not going to be resolved, this month or this year. There are no easy solutions. So happy riding and let's all be as safe as we can and still get in a good ride!

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