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"Unsafe" is such a tricky word.

I assume your meaning is more like "are they less safe than having no bike lanes at all," or words to that effect. With that meaning, I would agree with you.

But, strictly speaking, are the lanes really, truly "unsafe." To that question, I'd say "yes," only because riding a bicycle in an inherently unsafe activity. One runs risks, just as one does (in this city, anyhow) when one crosses the street.

I know I make a big deal about this - too much perhaps - but I really think its important to never, ever assume one is safe in a bike lane and to always ride defensively and with caution whether in the regular lane of traffic or in the specifically-designated bike lane.

Gabe is a smart guy and he's right on this one. AAA Mid Atlantic still sucks--no matter how their PR people spin it. I humbly suggest we hold a public burning of AAA membership cards, somewhere on PA Avenue in the median, after a cooling off period. Just sayin'

Q: What's even scarier than an angry AAA motorist driving down the median of Pennsylvania Avenue?

A: The thought of this ever, ever becoming reality: in time for the Palin inauguration.

That being said, I don't envy the position that Gabe Klein is in... constantly. Having to work through all the jurisdictional red tape in downtown DC and navigate a minefield of political pitfalls. I think he's done a good job promoting and expanding bicycling infrastructure all things considered, and the PA Ave. lanes are no exception.

Like washcycle, I think it's too bad that the lane configuration is changing, but in the grand scheme of things, it's probably still a big net gain for cyclists as long as the new design seems practicable and safe.

Too bad this also involved destroying what was a recently paved blacktop - making it much less friendly for bicycles.

Don't the traffic signals in the middle have bollards already to protect them from wayward cars? Why not move the bollards to the outside of the bike lanes (i.e., between bike/car lanes) instead of being close to the signal posts themselves? Keep one (or two) in line with the signal post to protect it. In other words, a diamond instead of a square.

As I'm DYING to get back on my bike soon I haven't seen the "new" lanes. Do you have to go into the "car" lane to get around the traffic-light stantions now? In other words, does the bike lane run into a bunch of poles?

Send me a couple pics Mr.Washcycle.

The game was great form the sofa last night.

The bollards don't run in the center of the bike lane, I would guess that they still give at least three feet of lane space. Just guessing though.

@ah, your idea is a good one. doing something similar under the original configuration probably would have been a great countermeasure to cars straying into the lanes.

I just don't agree with Mr. Klein that these lanes are satisfactory. There are pedestrian refuges, there are bike lanes. Those two facilities, with two contradictory uses, shouldn't share the same space. I don't care that they measured how many people got stranded at those islands. All it takes is one person, partially obscured by the traffic pole, to get levelled by a cyclist with the green light. Who is at fault? The pedestrian, with confidence that they're in a refuge, wanders into the path of the cyclist, who has a green arrow telling him to go and lane markers telling him where to position?

Forcing peds and bikes to share space without any measures to prevent conflicts, is second class treatment for both groups. No one would direct pedestrians to gather in a general purpose lane and rely on drivers with 'long sightlines' to see and avoid them, because people are stupid and dangerous, and relying on them to act optimally is also stupid and dangerous.

I'm kind of neutral about the bike lane specifics although I do think there was a lot of wasted space in the median in the first incarnation.

As for the politics, I think it's probably better for bike advocacy in general not to get overly partisan. I don't see how aligning exclusively with one party helps cycling and bike infrastructure issues. And demonizing political figures in particular is really a bad idea, no matter who it is.

Wasted space in the median could have been given over to for aesthetic enhancements, like grass or cobblestones or in-ground neon stars-n-stripes regalia.

Here's the problem with pedestrians: They may have plenty of time to cross the street, but they are STILL going to use the median. I know, because I am also a pedestrian, and I routinely walk across the service lane on K Street to stand in the median, even though the light gives you plenty of time to get across. Why? Because it gives me a head start, and I'll get to the other side FASTER. And we all -- bicyclists, pedestrians, and cars -- want to get to where we are going as fast as possible. I realize I am jaywalking when I do this, and that it is against the law. It's human nature, and it's not going to be stopped. I am also a new cyclist, and a long-term driver and car owner.

I took the opportunity to ride PA Ave this afternoon in rush hour while it is still in a hybrid state between the old and new.

First off - I didn't see any car congestion on PA Ave itself anywhere at anytime. This is just one day and a Friday afternoon to boot. But I bet if any congestion occurs it's a brief 1/2 hour thing in the mornings.

Along the route I encountered both the old configuration - wide bike lanes, median space, buffering from cars and the new - narrow bike lanes adjacent to each other, no buffer space with car traffic, and conflict with median traffic lights.

On the old portions I felt much more comfortable.

On the new I felt the potential was there for a conflict at any time. Such as another cyclist trying to squeeze by me in the narrow lane, an oncoming cyclist veering into my lane, a distracted driver veering into my lane, and at the intersections I encountered pedestrians standing blocking the narrow bike lanes in both directions as they waited for the light to change to continue crossing.

As planned I think the Pa Ave lanes could have been worthy of being called transportation infrastructure. As they are being repainted I would put them on the par with recreational bike paths.

Not to beat this to death but I rode PA Ave gain tonight. This time there was more automobile traffic, more cyclists, and more pedestrians.

At this point I don't really care what Klein and DDOT says re: why they made the last minute configuration change. IMHO it was not done in hopes of enhancing cyclist safety.

The intersections where you have to deal with high speed traffic on your right with no buffer, oncoming cyclists on your left with no buffer, and pedestrians standing on the median directly in front of you are a panoply of disasters waiting to occur.

FWIW, DDOT has three traffic cameras on that section of PA Ave. You can view them here:


I see an awful lot of empty pavement.

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