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I've lived right around the corner from this section of King St. for 12 years and am an avid cyclist although for fitness not commuting. The speeding on the uphill of this section of King St is rampant. Folks get so impatient waiting at the red light down at Russell they gun it like they're at a racetrack after that. And when there are no cars parked on sections of King, I've actually had folks try to pass me because I was "only" going 30 (already faster than the speed limit). There's plenty of room for two vehicles side-by-side and many drivers just assume it's okay to pass since they should be allowed to go 45 in a 25 (all the while with their cell phones in hand). Additionally, the DASH buses are some oft he worst offenders, always speeding. I support the bike lanes simply because it would hopefully get motorists to slow down. On Janneys lane it has worked somewhat.

Note that this is the same Frank Buckley from the WSJ story two postings ago. His "few activists" theory may well be correct, there could be as few as one on the anti-bike-lane side.

I am so confused. These "few activists" who don't live around there?

Anyone who will use the bike lane will live or work within a few miles of it. Unless he means "don't live along this streach of road". But...it's a road. You use it go get from one point to the next. Does he want to expand that logic to all the cars that use that streach of road?

I soooooo wish I owned a car right now. I really do. I live in the same residential parking zone that those spaces are in. And I just might feel the need to park a mile or so away from the metro and take a scenic walk one day. Or warehouse it up there.

Which space his his? Or, oops, I mean not HIS, obviously, it's there for the public. Public space, sure.

I don't belong to whatever the city resident group doing bike planning and advocacy is (I don't even know what it's called). Wasn't planning on going to any of those planning meetings, but...I will now and I've got about a dozen or so car-free friends who are City residents too.

And seriously, I really really want to know when and how these set-asides happened. Anyone know where to look? I asked my Councilmembers a month or so ago and the of two replies I got, neither of them addressed that exact issue.

Catherine, the group is called the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. They do advocacy, not planning. City staff does planning.

Also I'd be happy to try to answer your question about "set-asides" but I'm not sure I understand it.

I mean how these parking spaces were established in the first place--when this zone became a zone, and how this particular streach of road was included in it.

To me it seems fairly possible that the homeowners in question (some clearly influential) lobbied for it, got it, and now are the same ones fighting to keep it. It's not really that important but it would shed some light onto the situation.

Also, I'd how many spaces are in this particular zone and how many permits (resident, guest and visitor) for the zone have been purchased.

And yes, I do know that city staff does the actual planning, I thing I meant just more organizing, getting ideas etc. I mean, someone had to propose this, right? The city didn't come up with it on its own, I assume.

Oh I forgot, to chime in on what ACyclistInTheSuburbs said:

Making it about bikes vs cars seems to me to not be what Mr Krall has done, but something one of your neighbors has done, going so far as to publish a piece in the WSJ adding to a national bikes vs cars meme.

Exactly. I've been in favor of this since I heard about it. I sent in a quick note to the city in support but mostly figured that deomcracy would take its course. But using influence to blow a local issue up into the national "War on Cars" meme in the Wall Street Journal (and omiting critical pieces of information because undermine your point) IS turning it into Bikes vs Cars and the just the kind of thing that'll get me showing up at every meeting and getting my friends and neighbors involved.

Excellent questions! And thanks for the clarifications. I will share the info I have.

- I assume those spaces were set up during some past re-design of the street, at a time when biking wasn't important and when they thought on-street parking was a good idea there. But I do not know specifics.

- Alexandria has remarkably few residential parking zones. In most of the city, including not-uncrowded Del Ray, non-residents can park cars for days (I think there is a 48 or 72 hour limit). I don't know if they have residential parking stickers or other controls in that neighborhood. I suspect not, since it hasn't come up in discussions. Perhaps they dread needing such controls and the associated paperwork.

- The advocacy/planning has had many steps. There is a 2008 bike/ped mobility plan that identifies this route as a bike route and it is therefore so-marked on the bike map. That plan called for sharrows, but current cyclists generally want something better than that. BPAC lobbied for a Complete Streets Policy and for a procedure wherein all repaving projects need to involve re-striping to comply with the Complete Streets Policy unless circumstances dictate an exception. This is how this project came up now--they repaved that section of King St.

An update of the Bike/Ped Plan, which BPAC asked for, is in the works and the public process for that should begin next year.

For more info, I encourage you to ask questions here or to come to a monthly BPAC meeting. The next one is November 18, 7 pm, at the Durant Center (1605 Cameron St).

According to this https://www.alexandriava.gov/index_quicklinks.aspx?id=56802 RPP zones were established in the City of Alexandria in 1979, in response to the construction of Metro. As in many areas, free on street parking was taken for granted, and the city chose to allocate it to residents rather than to commuters using the on street spots to access transit. However rather than seeing the permits as simply giving them priority over commuters, they perceive them as virtually private property, as we see here. And its happened in only a little over 30 years.


Thanks--I have a pretty good handle on most of that (including the part where it that route was identified as a bike "route" which I always found a bit strange given the state of things)--I've lived in Alexandria for almost 10 years, car-free for only the past 4. I had an RPP for 3 or 4 yeras, and have friends who live in conjested areas (Del Ray, for one), with no RPP zones.

I figured that this plan would move forward especially because they were already repaving that portion of street--and now I'm concerned that the neighbors have successfully delayed it so that one of their arguments can be "but why spend the money to paint bike lanes". But that's another issue.

I'm specifically looking for numbers to deal with (how many spaces per zone and how many passes issued should be easy enough for the City to find, but whether or not they're going to share it is a different story). I'd also like a timeframe of when Zone 7 was established to take a peek at the City Council minutes and see what, if any, reasoning went into it--mostly out of blind curiousity. It's really not pertinent to the discussion.

Now that you mention the Mondays at Durant it sounds familiar, I believe I've been invited before. My work schedule is such that getting back to Old Town that early on Mondays can be tricky, but I'll give it a shot. I do ride my bike past there at least twice per day anyway :)

@ACyclist--I read that too, but I took that to mean that only a few RPP zones---the ones near the Metro--were created then. They can and do add them over time. Zone 12 was just established because of the BRAC thing, for example.

RPP zones, as a concept, were created in 1979, I'd like to know about this particular one (Zone 7 I believe), and these 37 spaces specifically.

That's true in many, many places. People have long seen the space out in front of their house as their property. Growing up in a nice part of NW DC, parking in front of a neighbor's house for more than an hour or so woudl invariably result in a knock on the door and a "request" to move.

Take away a lane, people complain. But take away parking and people go ballistic.


since that area is right next to King Street Metro, I had assumed that the zone there dated back to the beginning.

The bottom line is that we won't get these bike lanes unless we have a lot of Alexandria residents at the Traffic and Parking Board Meeting on November 25. Below is our latest "action alert" message.

King St Bike Lanes: Update and Action

Hi All,

We at BPAC have been engaged in the King Street Traffic Calming and Bike Lanes debate, including working with city staff. Despite our efforts, the original fully-connected bike-lane design will not be proposed by city staff. They are instead proposing a modified plan that replaces some bike lanes with "sharrows." We are concerned that, in the face of aggressive traffic, cyclists will choose to ride on the sidewalk.

BPAC supports the originally-proposed design with full bike lanes extending to Janneys Lane, with the compromise of a 5 foot bike lane on the north side of King St to assist residents with access to their driveways.

The north-side bike lane will replace the current 7 foot “parking lane.” Comments at public meetings have clearly indicated that this reliably-empty lane provides both space and clear sight lines for driveway access. The bike lane on the south side of King Street would be reduced to 4 feet in this compromise proposal.

1. Background on the project.
(scroll down to the "public meeting" links to see the original proposal, September 18, and the latest proposal, October 30).

2. Public Meeting of the Traffic and Parking Board

- Monday November 25, 7:30 pm, Council Chambers, City Hall (Market Square, King St at Royal St). This is the big meeting where we need a huge turnout by those that support making our streets useable and safe for all.

3. Action.

- Please attend the public meeting on November 25. Please arrive early and sign up to speak. Even a brief statement helps. If possible, bring your friends.

- Please send an RSVP to [email protected] to let us know you will be attending the meeting.

- If you have a personal story about walking or bicycling on that section of King Street, please either share it at a public meeting, send it to City Council[1] and the TPB via [email protected], or send it to us at [email protected]. We will gather these stories and forward them to the TPB.

This is an important "test case" for Alexandria. This project can and should demonstrate our City’s commitment to implement policies and plans developed through extensive public dialog and debate. We are asking the Traffic and Parking Board to support the aims of Transportation Master Plan, the Complete Streets Policy, and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan.

King St is the only through street between residents to the west and the King St Metro Station to the east. These improvements are needed for pedestrian and cyclist safety. They will address traffic congestion by adding bicycle capacity to King St and by increasing the utilization of high-capcity transit. This project improves access to T C Williams High School and is a step forward for our Safe Routes to School program.

We thank you for your time and effort.

Jerry King (Chair)
Jim Durham (Vice Chair)
Jonathan Krall (Secretary)

Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
New! BPAC Meetup group! http://www.meetup.com/Alexandria-Biking-and-Walking/

[1] http://request.alexandriava.gov/CCC/#tab=Departments&group=MayorandCityCouncil&service=CNC_GROUP

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