Greater Greater Washington

Who's blocking the L Street bike lane today?

Ever since the L Street bike lane opened (and while DDOT was building it), for-hire sedans, delivery trucks, and other vehicles have consistently parked in the lane, despite signs, bollards, and new loading zones across the street or around the corner to serve buildings' loading needs.


Photos from "Who's Blocking the L St. Bike Lane Today?" on Tumblr.

Jay Corbalis created a Tumblr, Who's Blocking the L St. Bike Lane Today? to collect photographs of these scofflaws. This is a great way to raise consciousness of how often it's happening.

If you ride down the lane and encounter a blocker, take a picture of your own! You can submit them directly to be included on the site.

David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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The same photographs could be made in downtown, Bethesda, where the bike lane is the valet parking lane. The County is pro-active when it comes to ticketing parking violators, but not bike lane violators.

by Tracey Johnstone on Jan 10, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

I see this all the time. However, I did see three bike cops in the lane last night. Hopefully they were writing tickets for this. The other troubling thing I am starting to notice is cyclists using the lane as a two-way path.

by aaa on Jan 10, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

There was a site called mybikelane that was an amazing resource, documenting with photos, maps, and a registry of offenders' license plates all the instances of vehicles blocking bike lanes in hundreds of cities around the world. DC had thousands of entries.

Sadly, the site has been shut down by its owner.
http://www.mybikelane.com/

by Ward 1 Guy on Jan 10, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

The delivery trucks is tough because where else would the go?

by Matt R on Jan 10, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

Pre-emptive responses to critics:

Yes people need delivery vehicles to park and such to make deliveries. Why does it have to be the bike lane rather than one of the other 3 lanes that cars get? Also with this lane in particular you could end up block people who want to make a left turn.

The bollards are there for a reason. Why are trucks either weaving in and out of them or backing up on a thorough fare like so?

by drumz on Jan 10, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

I was wondering how long it would take for people to start "salmoning" in the cycletrack (or is it a protected bike lane?). Each time I've used the street, I've seen someone going the wrong way -- behavior that ultimately contributed to 15th St. being designated as two-way, and persists in NYC even after matching cycletracks were built on parallel avenues.

The difference between someone blocking a regular bike lane and this lane is that this lane is protected: it takes that much more effort on a driver's part to block it, and it takes much more effort on a cyclist's part to evade parked cars.

by Payton on Jan 10, 2013 10:49 am • linkreport

Is this a surprise?

The L st lane has not been designed/planned well at all. The midblock opening in the bollards are invitations for double parking.

Easy answer on L st -- allow parking NEXT to the bike lane outside of rush hour. The street is wide enough.

M st, however, will be a bigger problem.

(the new signs -- turn here for left turn -- aren't helpign at all, either. I've been almost sideswiped now about 5 times. * This is by far the worst of the bike lanes I've ridden on.)

* twice in a car as well.

by charlie on Jan 10, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

@drumz

The problem is not that delivery trucks don't have anywhere else to park but that they have zero incentive to abide by restrictions. It's not just bike lanes but rush-hour lanes, bus zones, basically anywhere there's curb space. In most cases, the companies pay the fines and write them off as a cost of doing business.

by Adam L on Jan 10, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

This is what is needed to line bike lanes: from Seville, Spain. Try attmpting to drive over these.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/loraxe/4874833353/

by CB on Jan 10, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

Adam L,
Fair enough. I just get sick of people saying that cyclists are whining about bike lanes and such when the problem is actually systemic.

Charlie,
Only once or twice in my experience (watching as a pedestrian waiting to cross the street every weekday since they opened) have people not gotten the whole left turn thing.

by drumz on Jan 10, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

For the left turn problem, green striping through the intersection (much like R Street at Connecticut) would provide some comfort for cyclists, as well as reminding any drivers that somehow missed the turning lane.

by Jacques on Jan 10, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

Fair question still exists: Where should the delivery trucks park? When had a round of discussions about this some time ago.

by HogWash on Jan 10, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

The definitely need more bollards!

In addition to the bollards that run parallel to traffic there are also bollars at each intersection to prevent cars from simply pulling forward into the bike lane, but they also need those bollards at intersections from driveways and alleys to prevent trucks from backing into or pulling into the lane there.

I never see the police enforce bike lanes, it is even worse on 14th street near U street and further north in Columbia Heights where it is a constant flow of illegally double parked cars, delivery vehicles, people standing in the middle of the road... this includes police cars. Seriously does this city ever enforce this or "standing" violations where people are still in their car.

by Ryan S. on Jan 10, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

I would distinguish off-peak from afternoon rush hour.

Off peak, I have tried to persuade drivers to stop in the left-most travel lanes. So far to no avail, but maybe you will have more luck. I explain each time that when they stop in the cycle track, they are breaking 2 laws (illegal standing and illegal invasion of a bike lane) but if they stop in the general travel lane, they are only breaking one law (illegal standing). So far, all but one driver just ignored me which is to be expected with someone yelling through a closed window. The one driver who responded was leving his car and he said "That might be true, but I'm still more likely to get towed from the middle lane." Maybe if everybody tries hard enough, we could eventually establish the etiquette that short stops should involve the left most general travel, rather than the bike lane.

During afternoon rush hour, I just let it go. These cabs and trucks always illegally blocked the left-most lane, and they continue to do so now that it is a bike lane. Blocking any lane during the afternoon rush hour is anti-social, but there is little one can do to instill a social conscious.

I hope that the L street webmeister prominently posts the DDOT phone number for sending a tow truck, so that he can add a second page entitled "Who was towed from the L St. cycle track today?"

by JimT on Jan 10, 2013 11:08 am • linkreport

Hogwash,
Legally they're either supposed to park at a metered/legal spot or one of those curb spaces reserved for delivery vehicles.

Personally I'm fine with double parking for quick deliveries outside of rush hour but again, the bike lane is one lane while there are three lanes for cars. Pick one of those. A person who has to put their signal on and change lanes faces less risk than the person on a bike who may need to swerve in and out of the bike lane.

by drumz on Jan 10, 2013 11:08 am • linkreport

Re: Where can the delivery trucks park?

There are several options here:
- across the street in the parking lane
- on a side street as the blocks downtown are not very long. Many drivers do this and did this before the cycle track opened
- use the service alleys that exist all along L street on both sides

The problem seems to be that all of these require drivers to be proactive and think about where to park while the cycle track is this big open space where they can jam themselves in without much thought.

by Nick D on Jan 10, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

L Street was a poor choice for a bike lane in its current design because it was counter to the existing use of the street. L Street was a sometimes narrow one way street that allowed one to bypass the circles from West End to the convention center and had parking on both sides of the street. It was popular and congested for that reason. That convenience should accrue to bikes, except by taking away the parking, it became easy to trample the bike lane. It would be very unpopular, but a solution would be to eliminate parking entirely but allow "stopping" where people can park now, and aggressively ticket initially so as to form new habits. This would not appeal to people who want traffic to slow to a crawl within the city, but a wide variety of uses need to be accomodated and one way streets often are better for pedestrians, as well as drivers (you look one way when crossing and the intersections don't have complex signal patterns).

by Rich on Jan 10, 2013 11:21 am • linkreport

Flimsy plastic bollards or none (as the Pa. Avenue lane) are like a big neon sign to drivers that says "temporary". One must conclude planners are winking at the service delivery trucks that it's OK to violate the lanes, until hard barriers go in, Sevilla type or many other alternatives.

by Read Scott Martin on Jan 10, 2013 11:23 am • linkreport

This might be the next actionable item for "The Assembly" to take on. I'm glad Jay did this and I'll be sending a bunch of pictures. My office overlooks L and I watch it happen all day, every day.

by thump on Jan 10, 2013 11:24 am • linkreport

Too many self-entitled people on the road.

This morning, I was about to turn left, and was moving towards the left end of the lane, and was passed by a car ending up in the left lane, and accelerating through a STOP sign at the intersection, only to get to the next intersection where a utility truck was parked over the STOP line and blocking pedestrian crossing. As I carefully moved around the vehicles, I was nearly ran over by another utility truck that clearly had ignored its STOP sign and proceeded to make a U turn in the middle of the intersection. Sigh.

Also, DC needs to find a solution for deliveries. They need to come up with a policy that is better than: You can't stop anywhere.

by Jasper on Jan 10, 2013 11:25 am • linkreport

"The definitely need more bollards!"

Thereby preventing street sweeper trucks from getting in...

by Bob See on Jan 10, 2013 11:32 am • linkreport

Why dont we just have more commercial loading zones for delivery vehicles? When I was in Philly recently it seemed like there were a ton of them in downtown during business hours.

Of course this would mean that DC would actually enforce their parking and standing laws so that others didn't just stop in them or make it so commercial delivery drivers actually use them instead of stopping wherever they feel like it.

Honestly the standing violations really bother me, I have seen so many times the parking enforcement officers drive/walk right by those violations.

by Ryan S. on Jan 10, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

@Bob See

What about those bollards that have a small padlock on the bottom and can be pulled right up from the street when the padlock is taken off. Street sweepers could just temporarily remove the bollard.

Seems like it would work.

by Ryan S. on Jan 10, 2013 11:38 am • linkreport

Or use the sidewalk sweepers that are about 4 feet wide.

by ah on Jan 10, 2013 11:53 am • linkreport

As to vehicles, it's annoying, and I hope DDOT will write tickets liberally. We've worked out most of the kinks with the 15th street track, so I'm hoping this will solve itself in time. So far, at least, I've been able to maneuver around vehicles safely enough. I'm usually rushing for the MARC train, though, so it's a bit hard to take photos.

Cyclists using the L street lane as a two way track need to be advised that they're putting their fellow cyclists in danger. If you turn right onto L street from one of the north-south streets, you could give an oncoming cyclist very little time to avoid a collision (happened once to me already, no collision). Or if you're going the wrong way and we both have to swing around one of the idiots who's parked in the lane, you both will have very time to avoid a collision and even worse, you'll be in traffic. More than once I've told someone going the wrong way in a bike lane that they're going the wrong way only to have them shout at me, so I guess it has to be tickets.

by Weiwen on Jan 10, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

Ryan S. - sure but that introduces issues. First is increase cost (equipment and time) and second, who has the keys? DDOT and DPW are obvious but this is in the right of way, which includes utilities. So WASA, Washington Gas and Pepco also should have unrestricted access. And not to mention emergency vehicles (DCFD, police, ambulances). I think locked bollards will turn into a problem very quickly.

by Bob See on Jan 10, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

"Yes people need delivery vehicles to park and such to make deliveries. Why does it have to be the bike lane rather than one of the other 3 lanes that cars get?:

1. There used to be another lane for vehicles to park in, and they did every day. It was removed for the bike lane.
The curb lane on the north side of L was parked full every day. Only in the delusional mind of DDOT does removing fully used parking make the vehicles magically vanish, as if there isn't a need for that parking.

2. That section of L street sees 14,100 vehicles per day, now with 25% few lanes. How many cyclists use that lane in a day? 100-200? It makes sense because it inconveniences the fewest number of people, thats why.

And yes, this was probably the worst planned bike lane in the entire city. The confusion with then letting the traffic lane cut across the bike lane to turn left is going to ket people killed. I am suprised it hasn't happened yet.

by LStreet on Jan 10, 2013 12:27 pm • linkreport

@L Street: Off peak, in the good old days to which you refer, the trucks and cabs doubleparked what was then-and is still--the left most general travel lane. Instead of continuing to stop in that lane, they have moved one lane leftward toward the curb into the bike lane.

During rush hour, there were four lanes but only three went through the pinch points and that is how it remains today. Drivers who want to turn have always had to mix with cyclists proceeding straight. The only difference here is that they are doing so on the left rather than the right side of the street. Otherwise, how is it any different?

by JimT on Jan 10, 2013 12:43 pm • linkreport

Legally they're either supposed to park at a metered/legal spot or one of those curb spaces reserved for delivery vehicles.

Sure but we know they don't do that..for many reasons I'm sure. I don't know what the answer is but even using your "double park but not in the bike lane" option, wouldn't that then leave only one traffic open lane in some instances? If the options were bike lane vs. traffic lane...I would opt for the bike lane..since moving car traffic along this stretch makes for less gridlock.

by HogWash on Jan 10, 2013 12:53 pm • linkreport

There's really no excuse for the delivery vehicles. MPD should be able to impound delivery vehicles on the spot for these kinds of violations.

by Distantantennas on Jan 10, 2013 1:10 pm • linkreport

Every bike lane suffers from illegal use by cars to some extent. The Penn Ave lane has cars making illegal U turns and 15th ST has drivers parking. However, the fact that the L ST lane suffers from this problem far more than those other two cycletracks shows that the L ST lane is not designed well. For example, making it legal for cars to drive in portions of the lane is just inviting trouble. Hopefully, designers have learned from this mistake and future lanes like on M ST will be better designed.

by Falls Church on Jan 10, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

The simple solution is to install raised pavement to separate the bike lane from the road. The entrance to the cycle lane at junctions should further be blocked [to other vehicles] by placing a metal pole in the middle.

If there wasn't a raised curb at the edge of a sidewalk, vehicles would park on the sidewalk too. It doesn't make sense to rely on enforcement, especially when a low-tech solution exists.

by renegade09 on Jan 10, 2013 2:22 pm • linkreport

In addition to submitting photos to this Tumblr, these sorts of things should be reported to 311 (there's an app where you can submit a photo along with the report and everything). Data and documentation are key to proving that there's a problem with this sort of thing and having these complaints in an official database is an important step.

by Rob P on Jan 10, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

Standing violations really do seem to have become more common and egregious over the past year. Is there something specific to the DC "culture" where people feel that it's okay to park in the middle of an active roadway to have a conversation or make a delivery?

It's really about time for MPD to start enforcing its traffic laws. Non-automated enforcement appears to be almost completely nonexistent today. On my commute, I bike through an intersection that has a USCP officer permanently stationed on the corner; I've never seen them ticket the myriad of people who block the intersection or make illegal turns.

by andrew on Jan 10, 2013 2:45 pm • linkreport

@ andrew:Is there something specific to the DC "culture" where people feel that it's okay to park in the middle of an active roadway to have a conversation or make a delivery?

It starts at the top. Council members can't be ticketed for illegal parking.

by Jasper on Jan 10, 2013 4:45 pm • linkreport

Delivery trucks should be using loading docks, which is why those facilities exist in the first place. I'm surprised this many buildings allow deliveries through the front door.

by John Marzabadi on Jan 10, 2013 4:50 pm • linkreport

As part of the design of this road, new loading zones were created on the crossstreets. That's where this should happen.

Bob See, DDOT has streetsweeepers that can go between the curb and the bollards, whether the bollards are temporary or permanent.

L Street, there are not 25% fewer lannes on L Street. There is less parking. And there is an abundance of available parking in nearby garages.

And yes, this was probably the worst planned bike lane in the entire city. The confusion with then letting the traffic lane cut across the bike lane to turn left is going to ket people killed. I am suprised it hasn't happened yet.

People said the exact same thing about 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. But so far they've been wrong.

Hagwash, If the options were bike lane vs. traffic lane But those aren't the options. The options are to park safely and courteously or to be selfish and endanger others. So let's focus on the actual options.

by David C on Jan 10, 2013 10:36 pm • linkreport

Delivery trucks should use the rear alley access that most buildings along the north side of the street still have. This is not NYC, thank goodness.

@LStreet: make up your mind. There's either less space for parked cars, or less space for moving cars, but there can't be both.

@andrew: yes, I've noticed that drivers here seem to be much likelier to just inexplicably stand in the middle of traffic lanes. (I grew up in a small Southern city, and never noticed it there.) I've counted 10 double-parked cars on a single block, I've missed several entire light cycles by someone who just decided to block the entire street to have a chat. It's like the obverse of the "get outta my way" mentality in most big cities.

by Payton on Jan 11, 2013 1:34 am • linkreport

Taking away commercial access to businesses through badly designed bike thoroughfares is just another sign that decision makers at DDOT do not care about commerce. When you create these lanes you have eliminate drive lanes or parking or both but you can’t eliminate delivery access. This city is wholly dependent on the delivery access. If you have a pinch then get rid of unused sidewalk. Please get REAL already!!

by AndrewA on Jan 11, 2013 7:05 am • linkreport

they should stop ticketing delivery trucks (they don't care) and start booting then towing them. that, they will care about.

by Mike on Jan 11, 2013 7:28 am • linkreport

We need serious consideration of the needs of delivery trucks. Perhaps some cut ins, or more special parking spots for trucks: e.g. no regular parking on any of these busy streets except well after rush hour.

by SJE on Jan 11, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

Hmm, don't see any bikes in these pictures

by polo on Jan 11, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

You don't see cars (besides the parked ones in question) in many of them either.

by drumz on Jan 11, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

@David C,

Yes, there is one entire vehicle lane that was removed for the bike lane. A lane that was open to traffic during rush, and open for the much needed street parking during other times. Now it is gone, reducing the number of vehicle lanes by 25%. And since when do garbage trucks, mail or delivery trucks fit in a downtown parking garage?

And I don’t know about an “abundance” of parking. That BMW looks like it is parked in front of 21 and L, a Vornado building which has an underground lot, which charges a minimum parking fee of 13 dollars for up to 2 hours (you pay 13 whether you stay for 10 minutes or 2 hours) and $25 for the day. No one except die hard car haters think that forcing someone to pay $13 bucks to park for 15 minutes is a realistic alternative to the $2 bucks an hr they were putting in the meter before. Of course they are going to park in the bike lane with options like that.

@Payton,

Yes there can be less space for both. Parking was forbidden in the curb lane during rush, leaving 4 full lanes. Outside of rush, you could park there, hence the removal of both a travel and parking lane. What don’t you understand?

by LStreet on Jan 11, 2013 2:04 pm • linkreport

The 2$ street parking is out of line what the actual demand is. That creates traffic as people are trying to compete over the cheap spots. Obviously street parking needs to be raised to actually do something about the demand since there aren't going to be new curbs that are created.

Also if you have business downtown that's only supposed to take 15 minutes I have great news. You don't have to drive! You can bike, bus, or metro. If you still need to drive then that is an option but its silly to think that you're entitled to cheap or free parking while the city has prioritize all transportation modes.

by drumz on Jan 11, 2013 2:17 pm • linkreport

@Drumz,

Yes, because everyone who needs to drop something off, or attend a short meeting at (insert downtown office building here) downtown building lives within walking distance, or has the hour to take metro, switch buses etc all the while carrying a box of their meeting materials, or a job where they can take an hour to bike from Old Town Alexandria to the West End and show up at a clients office for a short meeting sweaty and smelling like socks from a bike ride. "Rolls eyes".

If you think 2 bucks an hour is insufficient then I suggest you lobby DDOT for an increase. They just did it city wide a couple years ago. Have at it. But even if they double the parking meter fees (which would be in excess, even the most expensive NYC parking meter rates is 3.50/hr), then it would still be a heck of a lot more reasonable than paying a flat fee of $13 bucks to park for the 15 minutes you needed.

Of course people are going to park in the hardly used bike lane in a spot they used to be able to pay a meter, when they are confronted with the choice of paying $13 bucks.

Again, DDOT pulls some real doozies sometimes, and this is one of them.

by LStreet on Jan 11, 2013 2:31 pm • linkreport

I never said you couldn't drive but you're coming up with all of the impossible scenarios that somehow prove that cars and trucks should be allowed to park where they please. Even if there were no bike lanes that wouldn't be the case.

Don't blame the bike lane for you not allowing yourself enough time (or money) to drive downtown and park.

by drumz on Jan 11, 2013 2:44 pm • linkreport

Add: I mean impossible in the sense of situations that make public transportation and such impractical not impossible as if they never happen.

by drumz on Jan 11, 2013 2:48 pm • linkreport

Of course people are going to park in the hardly used bike lane in a spot they used to be able to pay a meter, when they are confronted with the choice of paying $13 bucks.

OK. Fine. But there are words to describe those people. Criminal is one. Selfish is another. Reckless also. So yes, bad people will do bad things, but I hold it as self-evident that good people will not do bad things.

. Now it is gone, reducing the number of vehicle lanes by 25%

Only if you look at this road in isolation. But, if you look at all of downtown, there are probably 30 lanes or more going west to east, and bikes have been given one of them. Which is far less than 25%

Yes, there is one entire vehicle lane that was removed for the bike lane. A lane that was open to traffic during rush, and open for the much needed street parking during other times.

Then it's not really an entire lane. It's a partial lane.

o one except die hard car haters think that forcing someone to pay $13 bucks to park for 15 minutes is a realistic alternative to the $2 bucks an hr they were putting in the meter before.

But there is parking around the corner, is there not? Let's say there were parking there, but the only space available was for handicapped people, would you be saying "Of course people are going to park in the hardly used handicapped space in a spot where others are able to pay a meter, when they are confronted with the choice of paying $13 bucks." If not, how is this different.

Look either you care about courtesy and the safety of others or you don't. And if you park in the bike lane, you don't. Are you really blaming that on DDOT?

by David C on Jan 11, 2013 2:54 pm • linkreport

@LStreet:

If you think 2 bucks an hour is insufficient then I suggest you lobby DDOT for an increase.

Similarly, if you think the current situation where there are few $2 parking spaces, and you feel "$13 for 15 minutes" is intolerable, I suggest you take it up with DDOT.

:)

by oboe on Jan 11, 2013 2:56 pm • linkreport

Impossible Scenarios?

I don't know what you do for a living or who you work for but the examples above are reality for thousands of people a day in downtown DC.

There is a daycare in this building at 12/L. I guess parents stopping in at all hours of the day to drop off or pick up little johnny, and needs to park for 5 or 10 minutes is an "impossible" scenario?

And no, I never said or tried to "prove" why cars should break the law. They shouldn't. I simply pointed out that:

1. Relativly affordable and utilized parking spaces were taken away.

I, along with most people tend to live in the real world where I understand why the people who need to park their car for 15 minutes (for whatever reason) don't want to pay 13 bucks to do it (and neither would you), and will see a empty lane and make the choice to park there. I don't condone it, but I understand it.

I get that you live a blessed life where you can life within walking/or easy metro access to a job where you sit in a cube all day and have no responsibilities which would require you to leave said office to meet with coworkers/clients etc anywhere else for any reason. Nor are you the recipient of any deliveries, mail, packages etc.

There are many who do.

by LStreet on Jan 11, 2013 2:57 pm • linkreport

Comedic gold. There are places for delivery trucks on the opposite side of the street and behind the buildings and on the cross streets. There is ample parking in many many garages along L St. Arguments seem to boil down to one of the following:

1) "The amount of money it costs to park is higher than the amount I am willing to pay! I am so important that I am going to break the law instead."
2) "Taking two minutes to park somewhere else is just incredibly inconvenient! I am so important that I am going to break the law instead."

I will bet anyone here a massive sum of money that the same people parking in the bike lanes - breaking the law at their convenience - are the same people who rail against "scofflaw cyclists" running lights and stop signs and... wait for it... breaking the law at their convenience. News flash: Humans are self-interested.

by CapHill on Jan 11, 2013 2:58 pm • linkreport

@LStreet

Again you are ignoring the fact that there are places to park right around the corner. That are metered and are not $13.

Unfortunately not every place can have an available parking spot directly outside the door.

by MLD on Jan 11, 2013 3:02 pm • linkreport

@Oboe,

Similarly,

Since DC trash trucks (see above pic) can no longer pick up trash from street side trash cans, and people start throwing trash on the sidewalk instead, I suggest you take up the fact that your streets are filthy with DPW.

See, others can make inane pointless comments just like yours.

by LStreet on Jan 11, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

I sometimes have to go downtown on an errand, and I find the cost of getting lunch way to high.

Therefore I will steal it.

You people who lead charmed lives and can either afford to pay for lunch, have time to make it at home, or dont have to go downtown, will not understand.

by EatStreet on Jan 11, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

"Relativly affordable and utilized parking spaces were taken away."

yes, for a bike lane that provides safer and more comfortable bike access across downtown, and will play a big role in making DC a more bike friendly place. I dont know if its heavily utilized yet, but the other cycle tracks seem to be.

There are always tradeoffs.

by EatStreet on Jan 11, 2013 3:12 pm • linkreport

Well besides the fact you ignored my clarification there is this,

1. Relativly affordable and utilized parking spaces were taken away.

And it was replaced with a bike lane used by many cyclists trying to also deal with downtown traffic (incidentally these cyclists mean that there is one less person to compete for parking with).

There are tradeoffs and for a long time the city did whatever it could to make driving more and more convenient at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists. Now the city realized that policy had negative effects and this bike lane is one step. But its not as if the city is deliberately screwing over cars. It's realizing that there is only so much street space and how that space is best utilized.

by drumz on Jan 11, 2013 3:13 pm • linkreport

Besides if you have a kid in daycare downtown that likely means you also have a monthly parking permit.

If I'm someone whose best option is to drive downtown for something that I can only get downtown (say, a visa to visit a country) then I may have to realize that I need enough money to guarantee a spot in a garage. But clearly it's the cyclists fault for me not realizing the opportunity costs of driving in DC.

by drumz on Jan 11, 2013 3:17 pm • linkreport

@MLD,

Around the corner, on a one way street going the wrong way?

Again, I don't condone people "breaking the law" but who is going to spend another 5-10 minutes going two blocks out of the way, to circle back around on the one way street in the hopes that there is parking available, when they see an empty lane (that they used to park in) right there when they just need to go inside for 10-15 minutes?

I find it very strange that folks here will make every excuse in the world for a cyclists that goes the wrong way down a one way street, ignores redlights etc all in the name of their own convenience (I don't like stopping at red lights because its harder to get my momentum back after I've slowed - GGW Biker), and yet don't see why people who drive vehicles will do things like this for their own convenience.

@Drumz,

"And it was replaced with a bike lane used by many cyclists" Really? All those photos and not one where there is a cyclist. And lets not forget (as we are all frequently reminded), cyclists can take any traffic lane if they choose.

Lastly, I am not against bike lanes. I think they have their place, and that the 15th street lane was well done and serves a purpose. But I am also a realist and can identify when DDOT does some really bone headed things, where it is clear they put zero thought into it. This is one of those things. Removing a travel lane during rush on a street that sees 14K vehicles per day for a couple hundred cyclists is pretty bone headed. Removing a parking lane in a downtown core area where there is a legitimate need for short term parking without providing an alternative (other than paying a $1 per minute to use someones garage) is another.

by LStreet on Jan 11, 2013 3:21 pm • linkreport

I'll point it out again, the traffic lanes are also quite empty in those photos. Traffic moves, which means that a still photo is a poor representation of whats actually going on.

Further, you seem to think that the city is obligated to provide parking first and foremost. I think the city is obligated to provide facilities that help increase safety for all users first and foremost. In addition the construction of separate bike facilities grows the number of cyclists, this has been demonstrated the world over and here in DC. This means less competition for parking spots even if the total number of parking spots is reduced. Besides DDOT planned this for a year plus. The plans were on here long before construction.

by drumz on Jan 11, 2013 3:29 pm • linkreport

@David C

"OK. Fine. But there are words to describe those people. Criminal is one. Selfish is another. Reckless also"

Now we've jumped the shark. So you'll defend cyclists going the wrong way up a one way street, or ignoring every red light they come to because those are just minor issues, but DPW parking their garbage truck in a bike lane for a couple minutes to empty the street trash cans is criminal?

Yeah, ok then

And weren't you the one who claimed that street parking spaces weren't really worth anything anyway? That there is no way companies like Zip would pay the 3,600 bucks a year for prime onstreet parking because the spots simply weren't worth it?

by LStreet on Jan 11, 2013 3:37 pm • linkreport

Remember, every cyclist is responsible for the actions of every other cyclist on the road at any given moment.

by drumz on Jan 11, 2013 3:43 pm • linkreport

Lstreet

I dont make excuses for cyclists going the wrong way up a one way street, or ignoring every red light they come to (treating red lights as stop signs is something I am still conflicted about, but I realize its illegal, and if someone showed photos of it being done in a way that harmed others, I would not say that because of that there should be no red lights)

it may be natural that folks will vioate the law - especially for the next few months, while they adjust. But at some point people will NOT remember parking there legally, and they WILL remember getting tickets.

You are conflating two issues - A. is it natural that some people violate the law B. Was creating a cycle track there a bad idea. A does not imply B.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 11, 2013 3:44 pm • linkreport

Around the corner, on a one way street going the wrong way?

That sounds mildly inconvenient, and we can't have that. Obviously the best solution is to break the law and endanger people on bikes.

by oboe on Jan 11, 2013 4:48 pm • linkreport

I think the city is obligated to provide facilities that help increase safety for all users first and foremost.

No, no. Once every DC resident and non-resident has a convenient place to store their car as long as they want for free, *then* we can talk about transportation infrastructure for non-drivers. Otherwise...WAR ON DRIVERS!

@LStreet is certainly right about one thing: this thread has jumped the shark.

by oboe on Jan 11, 2013 4:52 pm • linkreport

but who is going to spend another 5-10 minutes going two blocks out of the way, to circle back around on the one way street in the hopes that there is parking available, when they see an empty lane (that they used to park in) right there when they just need to go inside for 10-15 minutes?

A good citizen.

by David C on Jan 11, 2013 5:17 pm • linkreport

So you'll defend cyclists going the wrong way up a one way street, or ignoring every red light they come to because those are just minor issues, but DPW parking their garbage truck in a bike lane for a couple minutes to empty the street trash cans is criminal?

This is a very bad defense. I have no idea what illegal behavior by cyclists has to do with this.

I don't care if people follow the law. I care that people are polite and safe. And I always oppose behavior, by every user, that is contrary to that. If you feel that I haven't, then show it to me. But that this behavior - parking in the bike lane - is rude and/or dangerous hasn't really been refuted by you.

by David C on Jan 11, 2013 5:22 pm • linkreport

And weren't you the one who claimed that street parking spaces weren't really worth anything anyway? That there is no way companies like Zip would pay the 3,600 bucks a year for prime onstreet parking because the spots simply weren't worth it?

I don't know, was I? And I fail to see the relevancy.

by David C on Jan 11, 2013 5:23 pm • linkreport

Andrew A, they did not take away delivery access. they moved it. There was a public comment process. I was involved in that. I don't remember any comments from FedEx,UPS et cetera. So if you think ddot doesn't care about commerce it might be because commerce doesn't care to get involved.

by David C on Jan 11, 2013 6:44 pm • linkreport

Coincidentally, I took a picture of an official DC government vehicle blocking the L Street cycle track today at 19th Street a bit before noon. I will try to upload on the tumblr site ... I'm new to tumblr.

by Graham S on Jan 11, 2013 8:47 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by polo peep on Jan 11, 2013 9:54 pm • linkreport

I spoke with the driver of the Corona truck, who was parked there again yesterday at 3:55. Maybe they make a stop there every week. He seemed to buy my explanation that it made more sense to park where he used to park (i.e., the left-most general travel lane) and promissed that he would do that next time.

But I won't be riding that lane on Thursday afternoon for three weeks, so if someone else sees that truck in the cycle track, could you please remind the driver that he promissed to park in the left most travel lane next time? If it is a different driver, just say "well the other driver said he would, so you should to."

I really think that if we just got the largest trucks to part in that general travel lane, there would probably be a bandwagon effect and they all would end up doing so, at least off peak. The delivery drivers know that they have no business stopping after 4pm.

by JimT on Jan 11, 2013 11:51 pm • linkreport

@Polopeep,

Yes of course, because there can't possibly be two people out there in the entire world who isn't hooked on the bike lane koolaide.

@DavidC

"I don't remember any comments from FedEx,UPS et cetera."

Yes, because I am sure DDOT mails a meeting notice to FedEx headquarters in Memphis every time they want to remove street parking.

by LStreet on Jan 13, 2013 12:44 am • linkreport

L St. first of all maybe should turn down your sarcasm a notch. That isn't really helping. Second of all, I'm confident FedEx has a local office and management team.

by David C on Jan 13, 2013 10:31 am • linkreport

It's a foregone conclusion that DDOT doesn't give a damn about drivers, least of all commuters from MD and VA, so I won't talk much about the loss of traffic lanes and parking on L Street from a motorist's perspective.

But I wonder whether DDOT considered the interests of the business owners and office buildings on L Street, seriously sought their input, listened to their concerns, and cared very much about what effect the loss of curbside parking and delivery zones would have on their business.

It's hard to believe that all or even a small majority of the tax-paying business owners and office buildings on L Street that depend on curbside deliveries just shrugged and said "OK, no problem, fine with me" or "that's cool" when confronted with the choice of trading delivery and parking spaces for a bike lane - if they were even given a choice.

How much planning and thought went into the L Street bike lane? Did traffic engineers (if they were seriously consulted) really conclude that taking away traffic lanes and delivery space on one of the busiest crosstown streets - a feeder to eastbound NY Avenue - made sense? Were other routes considered?

One can honestly question whether the L Street bike lane the result of serious professionally-executed planning or simply a political decision. As it is, the L Street bike lane is in a bad location and badly executed. The left turns are a nightmare. And on-street parking is even bigger hassle than it was before. The obvious need for curbside delivery space has obviously been ignored.

Regarding the left turns, I'm inclined to agree with LStreet. It's only a matter of time before somebody gets killed.

by ceefer66 on Jan 13, 2013 11:33 am • linkreport

Really, now we are going with the theory that DDOT didn't study anything and simply plopped down the bike lane because of just a good feeling?

by Drumz on Jan 13, 2013 11:44 am • linkreport

^Streetcars anyone?

by Bob See on Jan 13, 2013 12:26 pm • linkreport

It's a foregone conclusion that DDOT doesn't give a damn about drivers, least of all commuters from MD and VA, so I won't talk much about the loss of traffic lanes and parking on L Street from a motorist's perspective.

I think a certain amount of ambivalence is in order while we make minor tweaks to the city's transportation infrastructure (which is overwhelmingly focused on the private automobile--further, the out-of-state private automobile). But I think this kind of self-pity is a bit over the top.

Whenever some privileged class which has held a monopoly on some limited resource (white people with the vote, men with college, drivers with our public spaces, etc, etc...) you hear them cry "Armageddon" with every incremental step that loosens that monopoly. It's never pretty, but in the end it's always much ado about nothing.

by oboe on Jan 13, 2013 2:40 pm • linkreport

It's a foregone conclusion that DDOT doesn't give a damn about drivers, least of all commuters from MD and VA, so I won't talk much about the loss of traffic lanes and parking on L Street from a motorist's perspective.

Which is why DDOT pitched in on the Wilson Bridge to the tune of $16M (despite the fact that it only nicks DC) and dumped another $365M on the new 11th Street Bridges that primarily serves drivers and creates a complete highway connection between the 14th Street Bridges and Baltimore or why they're planning to work on a wider Douglass Bridge that primarily serves drivers from Maryland and Virginia. I mean DDOT only spends about 90-95% of their budget on automobile related projects, despite the fact that many residents don't own cars.

by David C on Jan 13, 2013 10:42 pm • linkreport

But I wonder whether DDOT considered the interests of the business owners and office buildings on L Street, seriously sought their input, listened to their concerns, and cared very much about what effect the loss of curbside parking and delivery zones would have on their business.

Well, considering that one of the speakers at the L Street bike lane opening was from the Downtown DC BID, and that she talked about how excited all the businesses there are about this project and about providing bike parking, I'm going to go with yes. But you could always contact the downtown BID to ask them.

by David C on Jan 13, 2013 10:45 pm • linkreport

How much planning and thought went into the L Street bike lane? Did traffic engineers (if they were seriously consulted) really conclude that taking away traffic lanes and delivery space on one of the busiest crosstown streets - a feeder to eastbound NY Avenue - made sense? Were other routes considered?

One can honestly question whether the L Street bike lane the result of serious professionally-executed planning or simply a political decision.

Well, first DDOT hired consultants to put together the DC Bicycle Master Plan. That was in 2004. They worked with DDOT engineers and DOP planners and others to put together draft plans that were then scrutinized by the public, vetted, rewritten and in 2005 voted on and approved by the DC Council. That plan included the L Street cycletracks.

Then in 2009, IIRC, they hired consultants to help them plan the L & M Street cycletracks. These were presented to the public in 2010. Again there were several rounds of comment and public input, followed by tweaking, meetings, more consultant review, outside review etc...I think they even needed FHWA review. I would not be surprised if 100 traffic, highway, road and planning professionals, engineers and experts reviewed and approved the plans before any paint was actually laid down.

So, the answers to your questions are: thousands of man hours and 8 years of planning, yes and yes.

by David C on Jan 13, 2013 10:53 pm • linkreport

Why don't we protest by standing in front of their loading doors? The drivers shouldn't be the only ones getting in other peoples ways. Go ahead, bang out a few rounds of Angry Birds right there in front of their back lift gates.

by Bryan on Jan 17, 2013 3:18 pm • linkreport

Why would anyone waste time in a loading dock (that's likely even private property)? Also, why penalize the drivers that are doing the right thing? A lot of the trucks have trackers on them and some delivery services even track how many turns the driver takes and how many times they back up to make the most efficient routes.

by selxic on Jan 18, 2013 7:54 am • linkreport

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