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While your suggestion is interesting, I question whether it has any real merit.

I take Metrobus to and from work everyday. During the evening rush there are consistently illegally parked vehicles blocking the right lane of 19th street, especially between Penn. Ave and E. St. Frequently, there are so many, that the right lane is effectively removed (no one is merging in or out). This significantly slows traffic, and the buses in particular - since they have little room to maneuver around vehicles that are stopped for pedestrian traffic while waiting to turn right. Although my bus is only on 19th for about 5 or 6 blocks, this often adds a solid 5 minutes to the commute.

Furthermore, due to the narrow lane widths (even though the roadway in 3 lanes) the bus is often unable to proceed forward when the right lane is clear, due to another bus (tour or commuter) in the center lane - the vehicles would scrape sides if my bus attempted to proceed forward, even though the lane is clear ahead. Restricting the roadway further won't solve this problem. Just the other day my bus struck a bicycle locked to a street sign as it passed, due to the narrow lane width (the bus, which was fully within the lane but angled outward due to the crown of the roadway, scraped the handlebars of the bicycle - which was parked parallel to the roadway, on the side-walk side of the sign post - for the full length of the bus).

On this street, at least, there is little retail that is open outside of traditional office hours, and therefor would not be served by the additional parking. Most of the illegally parked vehicles are individuals waiting to pick someone up from one of the nearby office buildings.

I agree that this might improve pedestrian safety, but the congestion could also lead to more vehicles that block cross-walks and actually lead to more dangerous conditions.

Lastly, your first point and your last point seem to be contradictory. We want to preserve parking for private vehicles, but then we expect people not to drive? Doesn't quite add up.

On the rare occasion that there are no vehicles blocking the right lane in the evenings, the roadway flows quite effectively, and drives don't take as many risks out of frustration, such as blocking cross-walks, making dangerous merges that often result in the injury of cyclists, or coming dangerously close to pedestrians.

I think a better solution may be better signage for the numerous nearby parking garages and increased enforcement. While these may favor 'commuters', I believe that they create the safest and most efficient conditions for commuters of all types, be they cyclists, bus riders, pedestrians, or private vehicles.

Admittedly your idea may be more viable on other streets, but from my experience, certainly not 19th.

by irate_reader on Jun 11, 2010 12:53 pm • linkreport

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