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That's great and all, but until they actually force a contractor to comply, I'm not all that excited. We already have a new law that says there have to be safe accommodations when a lane or sidewalk is blocked, and no one ever does that.

Yeah, seriously. At this point, I just want to know: How will any of this make me safer, in real terms?

Not only that, but those "channelizing devices" are barrels that start out a foot inside the lane, go a couple of feet, and leave a couple of feet before whatever fence the contractor installed that spills into the bike lane detour. And, since the sidewalk is closed, there are pedestrians in the lane and contractor employees reading blueprints while standing there, not to mention the daily blockage by construction vehicles.

Apart from the construction guidelines, this is pretty pitiful. The guidelines still don't call for bike lanes to be striped through intersections, a feature included in NYC's guidelines from Oct 2009. and a standard feature for best-practice Dutch design, going back decades. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nycdot_highwaydesign_typicalmarkings.pdf

The designs still rely on crappy, outdated, uncomfortable, and unsafe merging at intersections, as opposed to best-practice protected intersections.

DDOT's intersection designs basically codify existing outdated practices. This shows that DDOT is either not informed about best practices in bicycle facility design or chooses to ignore them. I'm not sure which one is worse.

Will DDOT bring existing bike infra up to these standards?

Minimum bike lane width is 5 ft. I wonder what, say, R St NW is? I wouldn't be surprised if it was 4 ft and next to a narrow parking lane you are totally in the door zone.

Secondly - squeezing bike lanes between a travel lane and a turn only lane with a cross over is insane.

Um. We'd love to get standards as awful as the new DDOT specs in Prince George's county.

Speak of the devil, how about the guys tearing up 11th NW NB at M or so? They've diverted the car traffic right into the bike lane with no signage except a giant arrow.

Makes me think of the definition of "cycle lane" at the Bike Reader site.

"Separate but unequal facility constructed more out of guilt than a sincere desire to be helpful. By law such lanes must end wherever they become the slightest bit inconvenient to other road users. Often confused by motorists as emergency parking for a quick nip into the shop."


@Uptowner is right. It would be really easy for DDOT to do protected intersections because most intersections have an unused window zone between the parking lane end and the crosswalk. But it looks as though we'll be stuck with merging for a while longer :(

@ Jon: DDOT's design standards were 8-12 years out of date. Every law and regulation that affected those, including the big changes to alternative accommodations from 2013, was essentially on hold without updates to the design standards.

I'm pretty sure a whole lot of public space inspection had to start with "I know your permit says this is okay, and I really can't force you to change anything, but would it be at all possible if you could please..."

(At least, that's what I've seen and heard when I've registered objections and complaints over the last few years.)

With these updates, Public Space and the permit process can at last point to something official when approving or denying permits, and inspectors can follow through if the approved TCPs aren't followed.

(Oops, I thought this had a lot more than it actually does. There's a whole lot of engineering still to do to update and produce all the typicals required to fully carry out the "Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013". But this is a start, and given this is the second update they've published this month I'd bet there's more to come.)

What does it mean when departments like DDOT endorse NACTO design guides, but use designs from the US circa 2000?



It means that the DDOT endorsement is a superficial, feel-good statement, and not an actual policy commitment.

That said, even the NACTO guides, while quite a bit more cutting edge than what DDOT just released, are still not great with regard to intersection design. While they show bike lanes striped through the intersection, they fail to show anything resembling protected intersections.



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