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Um, are they going to enforce the safe driving aspect? Because they do not enforce vehicles making dangerous passes where there are existent sharrows.

Would the Dutch do this? Of course not.

One thing that concerns me as we continue on insisting that each application of bike infra requires a unique roll-your-own approach is how are drivers ever supposed to learn how to operate their vehicles safely and consistently?

The need to make progress on cycling without obviously taking away anything from the cars continues to drive innovation in Alexandria. Nevertheless this is a step forward.

By removing the center stripe, drivers will be more likely to drive near the center when there is no oncoming traffic and will be more likely to slow down when there is a conflict, I hope. I have a friend in MD who is a big fan of removing the center stripe. I hope it works.

In the event that people will be allowed to ride bikes from Potomac Yard to Potomac Greens via the new Metro station (all indications so far on that are negative, presumably because important people are expected to be walking in that area), this could become an important bicycling connection.

"Would the Dutch do this? Of course not."

The Dutch use advisory bike lanes extensively as a treatement on low-volume local roads (like Potomac Greens Dr), and it's described in their vaunted CROW design manual

http://sustainabletransportationholland.org/topics/bicycle-advisory-lanes/

I'm with jeffb. If you don't intuitively understand the purpose and function of the bike infrastructure, then there has to be uniformity in approach so people can learn.

Except for the Dutch part. Who give a rat's patootie what the Dutch would do. Let's find out own answers for our unique environment.

Motorists already drive over solid bike lane lines, and they often do so without checking to make sure it's safe, so making it dashed serves the purpose of, what, making it appear to them that they no longer need to check to see if they're going to run over anyone?

I guess it's no big deal and the difference is small, but I find it confusing, and I've read the post explaining what it's supposed to do. I don't have much confidence that a motorist coming upon this unusual configuration will understand it.

@darren
Point taken. Maybe this bike infra is possible AFTER motorists have thoroughly been conditioned to expect and respect cyclists on the road.

I do think it is an improvement being that this is just a little local road. I wouldn't try this on any road where vehicle speeding is common and excessive.

How does the 3 ft law work in this situation? It always struck me as perverse that you had to give a certain amount clearance to pass a cyclist (for safety) unless there was a magical stripe of paint between them.

@darren

On roads where cyclists are not physically separated from motor vehicles isn't the maximum speed set fairly low - like under 20 MPH?

The speed limit here is 25 MPH which may mean, in practice, 30 - 35 MPH is common.

EDIT
On roads IN THE NETHERLANDS where cyclists are not physically separated from motor vehicles

Bear in mind that this road will lead to a Metro station without parking. So expect to see an uptick in bike riding relative to car traffic on this street.

This is great news. Arguably the best treatment for many roads too narrow for bike lanes.

These work around the world and will continue only increase bike visibility and slow cars by visually narrowing the street just as street trees do.

Yes the Dutch do this and have for decades. We pay attention to what they do because they are solving the same problems we are but have had greater success. What's the argument for not paying attention? Xenophobia? Closed-mindedness? I just don't understand the impulse. If you're trying to solve a problem, why not look at all the solutions that have been tried and choose th ones that work best?

@JoeyDC

Because Dutch solutions often involve vehicles, both cars and bikes, moving slower in order to amount to greater safety.

While I've come to expect a "speed at all costs" mindset among American motorists, I'm saddened to see so many American cyclists with the same mindset (beginning with vehicular cycling).

I'll bike slower when they pry the carbon fiber handlebar from my cold, dead hands.

FYI, here's a photo of an advisory bike lane in action (it is a two-way street, btw).

Note the age, gender and helmet status of the woman in the front of the photo. Somebody tell her that advisory bike lanes aren't safe.

That said the speed limit is about 18 MPH...

forgot the link!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/Fietsstrook_Herenweg_Oudorp.jpg

"By removing the center stripe, drivers will be more likely to drive near the center when there is no oncoming traffic and will be more likely to slow down when there is a conflict, I hope." See, my thought was they'll simply slide right if there is a conflict regardless of whether there is someone in that lane.

I mean, take 33rd or 34th St lanes now over in Georgetown. They're solid white lines. Does that stop drivers from crossing them because they feel the road is narrow there? Of course not. They do it all the time. So if told them it was advisory, I forsee them simply blocking it all-together.

Interesting photo Alex.

The road pictured is narrowing than Potomac Greens Drive. So much so that the center lane almost is a passing only lane.

I now see that is the case as well in linked reference Darren provided.

So it seems the Dutch provide advisory bike lanes where the treatment of the road forces the motorist to share the road with the cyclist.

Will the American "speed at all costs" driver give that level of consideration to a cyclist on a wider road?

One problem that no one has commented on is that the bike lanes are still in the door zone!

If the people driving don't need a full two car lanes, why not move the bike lanes further in?

"Will the American "speed at all costs" driver give that level of consideration to a cyclist on a wider road?"

No, but you don't put advisory bike lanes (ABL) on a road where that would be an issue.

The whole point of an ABL is you put it on a lower volume/speed road. Potomac Green is a residential road that dead ends (so even less intense than the one in the provided photo).

Even when Metro comes in, there will be no parking and so I do not expect that traffic will increase much. Hence almost all traffic will be residential.

@Alex
I agree. I think, because of the points you mentioned, an ABL will work here. Though it appears to be the wrong treatment.

I like xmal's suggestion. Make the bike lanes wider to keep cyclists from shying into the door zone and emphasize to passing cars they need to give a wide berth.

Experimentation in design is fine. Experimentation in terminology, signage and appearance run the risk that no one knows how they are supposed to behave. We have road signage, sharrows, striped bike lanes, physically separated bike lanes and bike lanes separated by hardscape. As pointed out, this new graphic device appears to overlap significantly with the stated purpose of the sharrow graphic design (not that that works all that well); unless the design itself suggests how it's supposed to work, using a graphic device in a handful of locations is a bad idea, even if in theory it's a better design for this particular application. There may be reasons unique to Holland why it works better there, like widespread use.

Putting in the striped lane gets the angry driver "Get in the bike lane/onto the sidewalk" rhetorical devices out of the way.

I can't believe this...we have bike lanes which put drivers at a disadvantage, and it still is an issue for some.

The average driver just isn't going to differentiate between the dashed line and a solid line. Perhaps the advantage to it is that the above-average driver will differentiate, but I'm not sure how much of an advantage that is. Perhaps if it became widespread.

"… the above-average driver will differentiate"

Entirely mythical like the children of Lake Woebegone. ;)

As Jon mentioned, the key improvement is removal of the center line. That alone was worth the cost of the paint. But it would be even better to remove the advisory door-zone bike lane. It's main function is to get cyclists out of the way of drivers but you don't need to do what because there is no double yellow line. Sharrows outside of the door zone would be a further improvement.

@jeffb: Does VA's 3-foot passing law have an exception when passing a bike in a bike lane? The MD and DC laws don't.

I agree that this is a great treatment, except for being in the door zone. They should have shifted the bike lane left another foot or so and added a door buffer

This is stupid - cyclists have only lost here. The road never had a center line before. It is in the middle of an isolated subdivision that only has egress on the south. Where before cyclists could simply take the line (which is more than reasonable on such a quiet road), now they are stuck in the door zone. I thought this concept has been discredited.

This is a typical Alexandria vanity project. We get more pretty blue lines on the bike map but other than that bikers are only worse off.

@Slarjy

I'll take Alexandria's bike lanes over almost everywhere else's non-bike lanes.

Many riders want a bike lane and aren't comfortable riding in the general-purpose lane(s).

You're still free to ride in the road. There's nothing in VA which forces you into the bike lane. Enjoy riding!

Anyone biking in an unfamiliar area is going to choose bike lanes if they are there. I biked through there this morning just to be sure I understood the layout of that neighborhood. I don't recall getting passed by another car but there I was in the bike lane anyway. In what way was I better off?

Compare this to Dewitt Ave. in Del Ray. It is a very narrow road with parking on both sides and no center line. It is a great cycling route even though it has no special markings. It just works. I hope they don't touch it. The same goes for Stewart Ave. when they open up the crossing through Mount Jefferson Park.

Your anecdote is contradictory.

You admit that an unfamiliar cyclist is going to choose the bike lane.

"In what way was I better off?"

Because if your'e an unfamiliar cyclist, you're now riding on the bike lane instead of not riding at all.

Please remember that bike infrastructure is not for the lycra-clad and vehicular cyclists. They're always going to take the road, and no ill-will torwards them.

These facilities are for everyone else. Remember than many people aren't thinking "road or bike lane", but "bike lane or don't ride in the first place."

You build a system for all preferences and skills, not just that of experienced skilled males.

I don't think we're on the same page. If I'm in an unfamiliar area, I'm going to ride in the bike lane if it is there. I already decided to ride there. The presence or absence of bike lanes had nothing to do with it. If there were no bike lanes I would have ridden normally (taking the lane).

Sure if I know the area I take the lane. I do that on the Potomac Yard Expressway (AKA Potomac Ave.) all the time. But never mind that.

Bike infrastructure is useful when it makes biking more safe. An isolated neighborhood like PG is completely safe to ride in regardless of whether there are bike lanes there. That's why young families choose to live in places like that in the first place! By painting these lines, we're reinforcing the wrong things.

"Bike infrastructure is useful when it makes biking more safe."

If striped lines get more bikers onto to the road without adding to safety, then it's a good investment. Sharrows don't do a thing for safety, but it helps people perceive a road as safe, which is often just as good.

"An isolated neighborhood like PG is completely safe to ride in regardless of whether there are bike lanes there."

Maybe to you, but I'm not talking about skilled or experienced cyclists.

I'm talking about cyclists who will only ride on a trail, sidewalk, or bike lane, but never the 'regular lane'. They see a bike lane and they feel more comfortable.

"An isolated neighborhood like PG is completely safe to ride in regardless of whether there are bike lanes there."

Maybe to you, but I'm not talking about skilled or experienced cyclists.

No caveats. Full stop. Perhaps you aren't familiar with the neighborhood. It is as safe to ride in as a cul de sac somewhere in Fairfax. The only barriers to biking are lack of interest and lack of places to go, neither of which have anything to do with the presence or absence of these bike lanes.

I'm plenty familiar with the neighborhood.

http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/bikelanes.html

"They make cycling feel safer. The surveys always show that #1 reason why people say they don't bike is because they feel it's too dangerous, and the #1 thing that would make them feel safer is more bike lanes."

The more miles of bike lanes in the City, the better. Don't care about the manner or order, frankly.

Get enough of the neighborhood roads with bike lanes, and then people will start clamoring for bike lanes on the higher-echelon feeder routes (Braddock Road, King Street, etc).

It's about building a network, and sure, the low-hanging fruit will get plucked first. As it should be.

Drivers in Alexandria should expect to see bike lanes wherever they go.

Let me put it another way to the bike lane opponents. Would you support the removal of these lanes? How about King Street.

Get the bike lanes, and frankly they're likely to stay. Then you can improve upon things.

Hold out for gold-plated solutions and you're never gonna get them.

LOL.

Useless bike lanes don't improve anything. That's yesterday's thinking - that you can just slap some paint on the road and declare victory. What needs to happen is a serious reallocation of road space so that you can fully separate cars/bikes/pedestrians. The city has culled all of the low-hanging fruit already. The city transportation wonks laughed at me when I told them that they needed to look at converting existing car lanes. So we'll continue to get these pointless vanity projects with no real improvement.

The city's bike map is absurd. There is no relationship between what it calls bike infrastructure and where it is actually safe to bike. None.

My bike map would reflect reality. Most quiet residential streets and busier streets with separated bike lanes would be labeled safe while most busy roads and the MVT would be labeled "use extra caution".

To get to your specifics...


  • You really want to bring up King St.? Those lanes are a joke and they haven't made a dent in cycling on that stretch. I would remove the downhill lane and just have a single climbing lane that would have a reasonable width (preferably separated). That is all the road will support.
  • Where were you when Braddock Rd. was repainted without adding bike lanes? It must not have been that important. I was one of the few who even noticed.
  • Potomac Greens was better off without the lanes. I would remove them immediately.

Remove the bike lanes from King and we won't get any other bike lanes in this city for 10 years.

Haven't you guys agreed to meet for a race-off yet? Winner takes all.

> Remove the bike lanes

Sorry, was this statement unclear?
"I would remove the downhill lane and just have a single climbing lane that would have a reasonable width (preferably separated)."

"Haven't you guys agreed to meet for a race-off yet? Winner takes all."

Wouldn't win; I'm not a vehicular cyclist!

From one of the comments above:

"That's yesterday's thinking - that you can just slap some paint on the road and declare victory."

Nobody has declared victory. We have simply noted and applauded the incremental progress. Pushing an opposing point of view to a logical extreme and then debating against that extreme is a transparently underhanded debate tactic.

"You really want to bring up King St.? Those lanes are a joke and they haven't made a dent in cycling on that stretch."

Other opponents of this project continue to make this unfounded assertion. I've heard it repeated many times with no data to back it up. Repeating the same thing over and over does not make it true.

Those lanes have certainly changed my routes in that area. Coming from where I live in Del Ray, I no longer access that neighborhood via very steep Walnut St. I now instead use Rosemont and the bike lanes.

Putting in the striped lane gets the angry driver "Get in the bike lane/onto the sidewalk" rhetorical devices out of the way.

Strongly disagree. Since any rider competent enough to avoid door zones will have to steer left of these lanes anyway, the new paint may throw fuel on the fire for those angry drivers.

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