Do DC's cycletracks work well? DDOT has some conclusions
DDOT officials have said they are waiting to build the L Street cycletrack until they finished a study about the city's 2 existing cycletracks, on 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Yesterday, they posted an executive summary of the study, though right now the site isn't responding; perhaps too many people are trying to get a look?
David C. summarized some of the key findings. The 2 cycletracks increased cycling on their streets enormously, and took cycling off the sidewalk. Crashes increased, but not as much as volume, meaning that each individual cyclist became statistically safer.
Many riders aren't following red lights in many cases. Sometimes the red light timing works very poorly for cyclists riding through, which encourages more crossing against the light. At the corner of 16th and U, where they also studied the new bike boxes and signal, drivers aren't properly obeying the lights either.
16th Street/U Street New Hampshire
- Motor vehicle intersection [Level of Service (LOS)] remained the same before and after the bicycle facilities were installed.
- Fewer than 20% of cyclists are using the bike box and bike signal as intended to cross the intersection.
- 82% of cyclists are stopping in the crosswalk instead of the bike box as intended. Though the bike box may still be effective at giving separation as only 15% of cars are stopping in it.
- 13% of Cyclists using the bike signal encounter motor vehicles who are running the red, but are able to navigate through.
- There was 1 more bicycle crash (5 vs. 4) at the intersection in the year after the installation than before.
Pennsylvania Ave cycletrack
- Bicycle volume doubled after the cycletrack was installed.
- Arterial LOS was similar for motor vehicles on Pennsylvania Avenue before and after the bicycle facilities were installed.
- Danish Bicycle LOS and Bicycle Environmental Quality Index (BEQI) analyses all show significantly improved operations for cyclists with the median bike facilities.
- Signal timing for bicycles generally works well between 10th Street and 15th Street, but results in large delays to cyclists between 3rd Street and 9th Street.
- Bike crashes went up 80% after the bike lanes went in (so, not as much as bike traffic went up).
An average of 42 percent of cyclists arriving on a red signal violated the signal.
- Most cyclists stopping at red lights stop in the crosswalk or median area rather than behind the white stop bar.
15th Street cycletrack
- After the two-way cycle track was installed, there was a 205 percent increase in bicycle volumes (from before conditions) between P Street and Church Street during the p.m. peak hour, and there was a 272 percent increase in bicyclist volumes (from before conditions) between T Street and Swann Street during the p.m. peak hour
- Motor vehicle counts show that volumes are up a little bit on 15th Street before and after the bicycle facilities were installed.
- Motor vehicle LOS was basically the same after the cycletrack was installed.
- Bicyclists experience less delay on 15th Street between lower E Street and I Street than between I Street and U Street.
- The number or crashes again grew, but not as fast as the number of cyclists did (so crash per cyclist went down).
- There are potential issues with the existing design, which uses the pedestrian signal to control cyclist movements.
- Over 40 percent of cyclists were observed running red lights.
- There are now fewer cyclists on the sidewalk.
DDOT is hosting a public meeting on Thursday, May 3, to present more details of the study and discuss the proposed L Street cycletrack from 25th to 12th Streets, NW. The meeting is at the Reeves Center, at the corner of 14th and U, in the 2nd floor community room.
A version of this article was originally posted at TheWashCycle.
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