« A DC SmartBike in Alexandria | Main | Ticketed for not riding far enough to the right »


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

i'm not sure what the fascination with buses is. buses already have plenty of lanes to travel in, and they often do travel in them. on the other hand, almost noobdy rides a bike because it doesn't feel safe to do so. if we provide even the most basic amount of bike infrastructure -- a bike lane for bikes only -- then we'll have a lot more people riding.

people don't want to be chased by buses.

here's to hoping people eventually see the light. not holding my breath.

Hey CSG, have you ever travelled on the bus/bike lane on 7th Street NW during rush hour? Without something to permanently separate the lane, it will remain a lane used by everyone. Especially b/c MPD is loathe to enforce any laws. Good luck, but I ain't holding my breath

In the past decade, Paris has introduced dedicated, separated bus/bike lanes (the two center lanes of a boulevard, often) and they work pretty well: they speed up bus travel and they keep cyclists out of the worst of the traffic. They also have their own lights/signals (for both bikes and buses).

The 7th street bike lane was designed to fail, but as guez points out, bike/bus/taxi lanes can work well and do in Paris.

The fascination with buses is that they move a lot of people more efficiently (both space and fuel) than cars do and by giving them preferential treatment we incentivize more people to take buses thus reducing pollution, congestion, the need for parking, etc...

Regarding the bus lanes...with some reconfiguration, and assuming that those segments of 16th that have parking already prohibit it during peak hours, it should be fairly easy to do 2 bus lanes between H and Dupont, and 1 bus lane between Florida/W and Arkansas.

Outside of that, I'm not so sure. 16th St is a major artery, and even factoring in that some trips may change from car to bus with better bus service, you're likely going to see traffic shift to Rock Creek Pkwy, 14th, and Georgia, with more congested conditions on all three plus 16th.

As for a shared bus/bike lane, I offer this comment from an Alexandria meeting last month from a carless person:

"If it's not a dedicated bike lane, I'm afraid of traffic."

How far up 16th St would this dedicated lane go? There is a large section that is only 2 lanes, and taking out one lane would only cause cars to use Rock Creek.

How about being more vigorous enforcing the existing laws on 16th St? On those days that I drive on 16th (not many), a single car/truck can back up traffic for miles. Sometimes that car is a police car, checking the speed camera.

It's not my idea originally (it was proposed by Patrick Hare in a Post op-ed in something like 1991), but since the Brookland small area plan, I have suggested that HOV-2 restrictions be put in on certain roads during rush hours. (WRT Brookland it was Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street.)

I agree that mixed bus and bicycle traffic is somewhat scary.

I do understand the point made by the Alexandrian. Maybe we have to accept at this time that bicycle commuters mostly use the street though, and that not all potential bicyclists will be willing to ride, given the current condition, or the condition that is proposed (pending the creation of more separated bicycle infrastructure).

In short, I could see a bus/HOV-2 restriction being a good combination. Of course, bicyclists could still use the lane.

Enforcement is another issue. If DC wants to have traffic laws enforced, it needs to reformulate the unit of the police dept. responsible for enhanced traffic enforcement.

There will be some riders, for sure, who won't like riding in the bus lanes. That's fine. They can still ride in the all-traffic lanes or on another route. For them this is neither an improvement nor a loss. Some cyclists will prefer the bus lanes and for them this is an improvement.

Even if this results in more car congestion, as Froggie postulates, if it moves buses (and cyclists) faster, it may result in a net gain of LOS. One bus moving twice as fast helps more people than 10 cars going half as fast harms.

@SJE, not sure on the limits of the project, but I'd be surprised if it included the two lane portion.

I too would be surprised, but it is not stated on the petition (at least not that I could see).

I used the bike/bus lanes in Paris all the time when I lived there (and I lived there two years before Velib was introduced; it was practically a bicycle wasteland, and friends thought I was insane).

But there is no way I would ride in a bike/bus lane here in DC. I find bus drivers to be, without exception, the most dangerous drivers in DC with respect to cyclists. Give them something that they perceive to be "theirs" (i.e., a "shared" lane with bikes), and I predict fatalities. Right now, cars are the only thing that keep busses down to something approaching safe speeds.

And, I don't think there is any way one could ride in an all-traffic lanes if there is an adjacent bike/bus lane. It may be legal, but it wouldn't be "acceptable". One would have to resort to the sidewalks.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader