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Granted the grate is not a good idea but what about the tracks. Not fun either.

street cars are not bike friendly

Did I remember this right?I recall there was an easy fix when the issue was addressed months ago on another blog (Frozen Tropics blog, maybe?). DDOT can invert the grates - the underside is slatted perpendicular to traffic.

To cross rails in the road on any sort of tire, even a CaBi, requires a fairly acute angle. Riding between the rails would by definition I think be counter indicated. Perhaps we should view these particular grates as bikes prohibited signs.

I got the hang of crossing the track slots while riding along H Street with a few seconds of experimentation, and now it's no more of a problem than any other minor street irregularity (and a lot less of a problem than most potholes, heaved pavement, etc.). To be sure, I'm doing this on my hybrid; I haven't tried my skinny-tire road bike on H yet.

Who or what the Hell is "Firth Sterling"? Is that in the suburbs somewhere?

Firth Sterling is a road in SE. It's named for a steel company (I think) that used to have a mill down there. The company is still in business, but the mill is gone. It's the only street in DC I know of that's named for a company - but in Hanover, MD there's a Coca-Cola Drive where I assume the bottling plant is.

The gravel right by the curb looks awesome, too.

Firth Stirling was a British company that specialized metal plating and knives. They had a U.S. subsidiary company in McKeesport, PA. They made the first commercial stainless steel in America.

Right before WWI they broadened their metal-work expertise into making armor-piercing shells for the U.S. Navy. They built a plant near where Bolling AFB is now. As a result the Congress Heights neighborhood boomed for a short time.


If you want to totally geek out, this law suit between Firth Stirling and Bethlehem steel has diagrams of the armor piercing shells: http://tinyurl.com/6h59g6n

Here's the post from Frozen Tropics on this topic.


The construction company came through changed the existing problem grates on H street around that time. (not sure if they flipped them over or welded in a cross-bar but whatever they did suits me)

I don't know whether subsequent grates that are being added on H have this problem or not. The fact that the bad grates are being installed in SE makes me suspicious.

I usually ride on I or G streets which are much more bike friendly, but I have noticed a big increase in bike traffic on H - especially since the CaBi stations opened.

Grr, I wrote about this almost a year ago: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/5863/ddoht-streetcar-grates-pose-unnecessary-danger/

Sad to see the issue remains. It's an easy fix.

For those who are interested in the topic:


Webinar: Integrating Bicycles with Streetcars

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern

Re streets named after companies: Oronoco street in Alexandria is named Oronoco and not Duchess because Oronoco was a business that used a dock at the end of that street.

Being from Philadelphia, which has current and legacy streetcar tracks, riding on them is a challenge initially. As Riley and Davidj said, if you can learn, it's not a big deal.

Agree that the grates are bad. But overall, streetcars and bicyclists can coexist easily. Amsterdam and Zurich have extensive streetcar networks and tens of thousands of bicyclists.

The inverted grates are rough too. I lost a tire on one last night : (

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