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I will really miss that median between the lanes. Providing separation between bikes in opposing directions was an unexpected luxury, served great as a passing lane, and even as a place to pull off and dawdle for the pedicabs and Segway tours. The safety impact was probably negligable, but doesn't it feel nice and novel to travel in a bike facility where there is actual space between yourself and cyclists travelling the other way? That guy riding no-hands checking his iPhone, the lady down in her aerobars weaving like a Sidewinder with a missing tailfin, neither is much of a concern when there's a big median between you.

"And it adds concern of pedestrians standing in the bike lanes" With Penn being so wide, those pedestrian refuges are frequently occupied, this is a very real issue. Those granite surfaces probably aren't ideal for traction, either, and those bollards are poised to catch a pannier.

"It does reduce the validity of the "U.S. Marshals needed a place to park" rumor, as they will clearly have none." No no, the bike lanes will still be there, that will be sufficient.

I'd actually say that without that central buffer, the Segway tours will become a real safety issue, especially with the 4' lanes. I passed a group of them out there last night and they were sort of drifting all over the place. The buffer meant I could go by without incident, but if it hadn't been there, I'd have been forced to dodge into traffic to avoid them.

Also, as DDOT produced any evidence that the extra lanes have exacerbated congestion along that route? I mean, their caginess about the reasoning makes it seem like there doing this because AAA complained, which is obviously a stupid reason to do anything.

Colin, I often tell drivers when they complain that cyclists "force them" to move into oncoming traffic, that they are not forced. They don't have to pass. So it isn't unsafe, it's inconvenient. When you choose to take risk to avoid that inconvenience, you make it unsafe. I think the same thing is true for us and segways.

On the 2nd point. DDOT isn't officially saying the issue is "congestion" but rather safety. Because the bike lanes are so wide, goes the argument, they invite car traffic. Personally, I don't think this decision came from DDOT but from the Mayor, so who knows why it was made (this is just speculation on my part though).

Agreed. It's not so much passing the Segways going the same direction I'm worried about. I'm willing to be patient in that situation. It's when they're going the opposite direction and drifting into the oncoming lane that's a problem. The same thing happens down by the Jefferson Memorial on that stretch of sidewalk you have to ride on you're coming east after crossing the 395 bridge (where Ohio Drive is one way). The westbound tours will take up the whole sidewalk and force you to either hop the curb into oncoming traffic or pull off into the grass. It's not intentional rudeness, I'm sure, rather just a combination of distraction (sightseeing) and piloting an unfamiliar vehicle. And to their credit, some of the tour guides are good about keeping their groups in single file, but some aren't, and it's kind of dangerous.

Great! Why are Segways in bike lanes anyway?

In any event, this certainly looks like a great idea has been castrated and will introduce exactly the kind of dangers and unfortunate incidents between riders and walkers that the initial design seemed to handle quite well.

I think the both the new and old designs lack the one point that seems to me the most important: keeping cars out of the bike lane. From what I can tell, both plans don't have any barrier between the car lanes and the bike lane. I can't recall the reasoning why there isn't any, but to me I can handle the other bikers and segways, but I prefer not to be run over by cars, or have cars turning in the bike lane.

DDOT wanted barriers, but the Commission for Fine Arts said no.

Perhaps if the barriers were a commissioned art installation ;)

I we could just get some Giocometti walking men...

Ha! I love the Giocometti walking men idea (and I didn't even have to look it up)!

If I were on the Fine Arts Commission, I would be concerned about barriers too. PA Avenue is a ceremonial street, not just every four years, but for ocassional events like state funerals and such - barriers would be a problem in that context - although perhaps they'd have a way of taking them out temporarily for such events.

I'm not expecting anybody to think that kind of concern out-weighs the better idea of the barriers, but I offer that up as one thought to demonstrate that it isn't necessarily totally crazy to say no to them either....

They could have experimented with other measures besides barriers, if "safety" and preventing cars in the bikelanes was the true motivation.

Here's a few ideas, they probably violate a bunch of design guidance, but since this was an experiment, perhaps they might have been worth trying.

Rumble strips are dirty words for most of us. But with full lanes, buffers, the median, and turns at the crosswalks, cyclists would not be routinely crossing them, and rumble strips at the outside lines would have given a good hint to cars not to bumble into the lanes.

Colored lanes -- though CFA shot those down too, i think. These might have helped the 'left hook' some folks experienced.

Additional bikelane pavement markings.

Signposts at the bikelane buffer edges, just 1-2 per block. CFA might nix those too, but put a bikelane sign every mid-block to define the edge of the motorway.

They haven't started work yet, right? I think I'll take one more ride on the full version before they neuter it.

If they're going to do them without barriers, then I'm confused as why they don't just do the lanes on the right-hand side of the road. There are, after all, a few places where the cyclist can continue traveling without stopping on the Mall side of the road, since not all the roads on the other side cross PA AVe.

There are a lot of uncharitable things I could say right now about Gabe Klein but I'll let that pass. But what really dumbfounds me is how an agency can plan for months, producing voluminous plans and engineering diagrams, only to discover once the paint is down that it isn't quite "right". Seems more like a last minute change of heart. Prompted by what we can only guess.

The idea that wide bike lanes are too novel for drivers to comprehend is ridiculous. They are used in many other cities. Are the drivers here particularly stupid?

DDOT was willing to put the time and effort into educating drivers over the new Barnes traffic flow at 7th & H. That was novel. The last few days that I've ridden through there I found it working as designed.

And it is not as if cyclists don't already find cars in the bike lanes as it is. Every gutter lane in this city that I've ridden I've been forced to share it with either double parked cars, delivery vans, cars pulling out of garages, or cars just plain wanting to proceed straight through an intersection and using the bike lane to skip by a left turning vehicle. Where is Gabe's concern here?

I wouldn't blame DDOT so much about this fall-back positioning - in any government bureaucracy, once a political decision is made higher up (as in, the mayor decided that the controversy the lanes were generating wasn't worth it), an agency has to try and justify that decision in non-political terms.

Can someone explain to me how the CFA has such control over roadway safety? Washcycle, can you point me to a previous post where you may have talked about this?

I haven't, but this kind of sums it up.


"...control over roadway safety?" Isn't that kind of over-the-top rhetoric? I mean, I know that there's a perception out there that bike lanes increase safety and confidence, but are we now suggesting that PA Avenue without any bike lanes unsafe?

Geez Chris - No, I didn't say PA Ave without ANY bike lanes are unsafe. If I felt that way, I would have said that. We are discussing what IS going to be there - bike lanes. I had no idea what the CFA role was, so I asked the question - because their decision affects what some perceive as a safety issue. Sorry to get you so hot about asking a question to be better informed about a topic.

I'm not really "hot," so no worries! I guess I did read too much into your comments, though, since your question implied that CFA was controling roadway safety - I would say I can be forgiven a little for doing that, however, as this issue has been a particularly heated debate (as I'm sure you've noticed).

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