Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Who's blocking L Street today, and what can we do?

Who's blocking the L Street bike lane today? A delivery driver, most likely. That's the conclusion I've reached after 4 months of chronicling obstructions in the city's newest bike lane.


Photos by the author.

I started the blog, "Who's Blocking the L St. Bike Lane Today?" on a whim after the lane (technically a cycle track) opened. Since then, readers have submitted a steady stream of pictures showing vehicles blocking the lane, on top of the pictures I've taken myself.

While I do use the lane frequently (and thus have a personal stake in it being unobstructed), I don't view this as an exercise in vigilantism. My goal is to highlight larger trends, not to shame or mock individual drivers.

While swerving around a parked car into moving traffic on a bike can be dangerous, I realize there are many greater evils in the world and on the road, and am weary of perpetuating the perception of, broadly, the hysterically entitled cyclist by fixating on what is a ultimately a minor inconvenience in most instances. That said, the L Street bike lane is supposed to facilitate bicycling, not parking, and blocking the lane is, at least nominally, illegal. When the lane is blocked, it doesn't serve its purpose.

Who IS blocking the L Street bike lane today?

Overall, very few people actually "park" in the L St. bike lane. The majority of vehicles blocking the lane are delivery trucks supplying the many offices and stores that line the stretch. Looking just at the 156 photos on the site to date, 60% have been of delivery vehicles, while 30% are personal vehicles, and 10% belong to police.

Based on my observations, the median length of time for vehicles blocking the lane is 1-3 minutes. That's long enough to run in to a building, drop something off, and return. However, it's not uncommon for a delivery driver to treat the lane as a loading dock for loading and unloading large shipments, a process which generally takes 10-20 minutes.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive sample. Because I took many of the pictures, they tend to over-represent weekday, daytime activity, and concentrate on the 1700 block of L. Still, they should provide some insight into the patterns of usage that have developed so far along the lane, as well as a starting point for potential solutions.

What can we do?

Deliveries, and delivery vehicles, are an increasing necessity in today's economy, and accommodating their activity will be an ongoing challenge as cities continue to densify and pursue more multi-modal streetscapes. This is especially true in central business districts like the Golden Triangle, where businesses and office workers (myself included) rely on quick and affordable deliveries engendered by the online economy.

While it may be tempting to vilify the individual delivery drivers, many of whom work long hours under tight deadlines, as you veer around them on your bike, doing so ignores the larger enforcement, policy and design pressures that shape the situation on L Street.

Enforcement: Willfully running a solid red light is universally taboo in America, and a pressure that is strong enough to dissuade drivers from doing it. Today the societal taboo is clearly not as strong against blocking bike lanes, but targeted enforcement can help change perceptions.

In all of my observation I have only seen one ticket issued to someone blocking a bike lane. Indeed, police cars are often guilty of the offense themselves, and not while on official business. Most of the photos I've taken myself of police cars blocking the bike lanes have occurred while the driver was visiting Robeks, a fruit smoothie store on the block.

Just as the MPD has engaged in enforcement campaigns targeted at drivers who fail to yield and pedestrian inattention, we need an enforcement campaign aimed at bike lane blocking on L Street.

Even though the actual penalties may not serve as a deterrent (many delivery companies simply write them off as a cost of doing business), an enforcement campaign can start to change attitudes about the practice and encourage delivery drivers to use dedicated loading zones or the service alleys that connect many larger buildings on L Street.

Design: The blocking problem is not nearly so great on the 15th Street cycle track. This may partly result from there being fewer blocks where the lane runs past commercial streets. Also on 15th, parking serves as a buffer between the 15th Street lane and the active roadway. Not only does that offer an alternative for delivery drivers and others, it creates a physical barrier of parked vehicles, impeding easy access in a way that the plastic pylons cannot.

Before the L Street Lane was installed, Mike Goodno, Bicycle Program Specialist at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) said that a similar arrangement would not be possible on L, as it would limit the street to one through lane outside rush hour.

One option could be to relocate the current parking from the south side to the north side, between the bike lane and the active roadway. Currently, parking and loading is permitted in the southernmost lane outside of rush hour; during rush our, the lane becomes a third through lane, though obstructions in this lane often remain throughout rush hour, leaving two effective through lanes in most cases.

Goodno says that is a possibility, and in fact DDOT is planning to have (full-time) parking next to the forthcoming lane on many blocks of M Street. However, Goodno noted, there could not be parking next to the left turn lanes, or for some distance before the start of the "mixing zones," where drivers merge into the bike lane to turn left. That would substantially reduce the amount of parking on L Street.

Alternatively, DDOT has floated the idea of installing a curb along the L St. lane to prevent vehicle incursions, though so far there has been no activity. Likewise, Goodno said they are considering adding more posts, which today appear every 20 feet.

Policy: Most blocks of L Street now combine some dedicated loading zones and short-term metered parking along the south side of the street. In my observation, the loading zones are nearly always occupied with delivery vehicles, suggesting that drivers are willing to use them provided they can find a space. Likewise, the metered parking on the street is consistently occupied as well, typically by passenger vehicles.

The difference, of course, is that those drivers have the option of parking off-street in one of the numerous commercial garages in the area, while delivery vehicles cannot. Though it would almost certainly draw criticism from some quarters, the city could convert existing metered parking along L Street to loading-only lanes, giving delivery drivers more legal options to park. If and when performance parking comes to the Golden Triangle, it could also ensure that spaces are more likely open for delivery drivers.

My experience watching the L Street bike lane has not revealed an existential struggle amongst warring factions for turf on one of downtowns busiest arteries. Rather, I've seen drivers, bikers, delivery guys, cops, and pedestrians (who, lest we forget, are often one in the same) working to coexist in a new multi-modal reality that they all generally accept, even if they're all still getting used to it.

Jay Corbalis lives and bikes in DC, where he is the Manager of Planning and Communications for the Capitol Riverfront BID. Before joining the BID Jay worked to promote smart growth at LOCUS and NJ Future. He has a bachelor's degree in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and is pursuing a Masters in Real Estate Development at Georgetown. 

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You are being far too kind to these delivery (and other) drivers. Many buildings downtown have their loading facilities accessed from alleys, including *all* of the buildings in the 1700 block of L. These drivers need to use the alleys or - if they *really* want to block a lane - park on the other side of the bike lane in one of the multiple general travel lanes.

Driving a car or truck in a bike lane is dangerous and illegal, and DDOT needs to install more bollards or curbs ASAP before someone is hurt. If they can't easily find funds, there's an easy source right in front of them... ticket these drivers!

by Tony Goodman on May 2, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

Full disclosure: I've sent a number of photos to "whosblocking..".

DDOT should install a lot more flex-posts right away to reinforce the idea that cars don't belong. It's been months since DDOT removed posts at the beginning of each block and still not every block has them back. Also, many of the posts, especially those at the entrances to the left turn lane have been hit and damaged or destroyed by drivers. That, and it's still far too easy to weave between them to get past a line of stopped cars (something that happens w/ regularity) It's a simple, quick and inexpensive fix.

I think there is a problem on the 1700 block b/c of the number of curb cuts on the south side that prevent loading/unloading vehicles from standing.

Another issue I'm coming across is drivers pulling halfway in to the mixing zone w/o being able to clear it. That's especially true at the turn for 16th St. Normally not such a big problem b/c they are blocking the cars behind them from using the lane they're vacating and cyclists can temporarily go into that lane w/o much trouble.

I understand why delivery drivers are using the lane, but I don't understand when private vehicles get a pass. 100% of the time I've confronted the driver of a private vehicle they are in the lane due to pure laziness (they want to park directly in front of their spouse or friends business).

The lane definitely needs to be policed better! Wasn't the cycling community promised robust enforcement early on? I don't think it ever materialized (though I see the same cop on foot every day....not writing tickets to these drivers).

by thump on May 2, 2013 2:18 pm • linkreport

I suspect DDOT severely underetimated the amount of delivery trucks on L.

Yes, they can park on the alleys. I suspect the suggestion to park in the travel lane NEXT to the bike lane is also a good one.

by charlie on May 2, 2013 2:21 pm • linkreport

Hmmm.

Parking lane adjacent to the bike lane seems okay, but wouldn't that mean driver's side doors would open into the bike lane? Seems like a rise in door-ing is likely.

I think having a curb between the bike lane and traffic (except in mixing areas) would cure the problem.

by washingtonian on May 2, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

Seattle has an interesting pilot program underway to variably price and allow reservations at a loading zone. Jay has quite ably shown they are the prime offenders in the cycletrack. Perhaps better demand spreading and predictability of loading zone would help address the problem

by darren on May 2, 2013 2:31 pm • linkreport

Tony, even if a business has an alley and receives deliveries through their back door, delivery trucks can't always park back there. Some businesses receive multiple deliveries at once, and there may not be room in the alley for them to park. Also, loading docks don't accommodate every size delivery vehicle, so to simply say, "there's a back alley for deliveries, park there," isn't the answer.

You might be surprised by the problems that wholesalers and delivery vehicles face, and the DC parking regulations weren't considered with them in mind. You like walking or biking to your local grocery store and not going to the suburbs, right? Without these delivery vehicles, that wouldn't be possible.

by Abbey on May 2, 2013 2:32 pm • linkreport

@Abbey

Businesses that receive multiple deliveries throughout the day are responsible for coordinating these activities. The solution is NOT for drivers to dangerously - and illegally - block a bike lane.

My local grocery store - like all others in DC - has a loading dock, with a dock manager. The only supermarket along L Street NW (although just past the end of the bike lane) is a Safeway... which also has a loading dock. There are no other major retailers along this route, just inconsiderate drivers.

by Tony Goodman on May 2, 2013 2:42 pm • linkreport

Tony, I understand the frustration and where you're coming from, but it isn't always possible to coordinate the drop-offs. Accounting for traffic and multiple delivery locations means that delivery drivers can't really say they'll be at a certain store at a certain time. I'm sure both the wholesalers and retailers would love for this to work, but it's just not realistic.

In terms of loading docks, only certain trucks are actually the correct size for loading docks. Plus, a grocery store isn't getting all of its deliveries from one vendor, and certainly not from one size of vehicle. Some are bread trucks (much smaller), some are Pepsi/Coke trucks, etc. One size doesn't fit all, unfortunately.

A few weeks ago, I would have absolutely agreed with you. Recently, I attended a meeting with wholesalers and the transportation managers for major retailers (like Safeway and CVS), and I was very surprised at all of the issues they face. They're often ignored by DDOT. I'm not saying that every delivery driver is a stand-up person, but the majority don't have another choice...

by Abbey on May 2, 2013 2:49 pm • linkreport

Abbey, there are no major retailers along the L Street bike lane which lack loading docks, and *no grocery stores*. Coordinating deliveries is not easy, but it is necessary AND standard for large retailers (of which, again, there are none along here!).

While it's true that not all vehicles can unload directly onto a dock (like vans), they can still pull up to the docks. In fact, the zoning regulations require space for multiple sizes of vehicles for this reason, not all of which are expected to unload directly onto a dock.

I have direct experience with this, managing a portion of a major construction site downtown for 18 months recently. Daily deliveries were all scheduled for before 7 AM or after 6:30 PM, with coordination between the 100+ subcontractors and multiple suppliers. On the occasions when we needed to block a lane, we got a permit.

by Tony Goodman on May 2, 2013 3:09 pm • linkreport

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

by Abbey on May 2, 2013 3:12 pm • linkreport

This article was very level-headed and constructive, noting that businesses need deliveries and police need to, um, well, leave their cars all over the place to do their business.

But, hey, the war on cars won't fight itself, so here's a suggestion:

Flexposts should be designed in such a way that they scratch the paint of vehicles that squeeze past them. OR maybe a self-inking stamp that says "I drive in bikelanes" and stamps itself into cars that brush past them.

by Ward 1 Guy on May 2, 2013 3:24 pm • linkreport

What really kills me are the private vehicle drivers that turn their hazard lights on while they're parked in the cycle track..

First of all, it means they *know* that they're somewhere they're not supposed to be parking. Secondly, they aren't using the lights for visibility--it's not like I can't see the car...I've been hating on it for the last two blocks.

I guess that some drivers think of their hazard lights as some kind of hall pass that magically grants them the right to park anywhere they want. "No no, it's cool officer: I've got my hazards on!"

by Steven Harrell on May 2, 2013 3:56 pm • linkreport

I feel it's pretty obvious what needs to be done. Three prong aproach: erect a curb, reserve more on-street parking for deliveries only during a specified time frame, and ENFORCEMENT. MPD should have an outreach officer on a bicycle talking to drivers of illegally parked vehicles (and ticketing repeat offenders). They could also pull over the salmon I see regularly on L St and make sure they know what they're doing is wrong.

@Ward 1 Guy, I suspect there is a contingent of drivers that would wear that stamp with pride. Right next to their "I talk on my cell phone while I drive" stamp.

by dcmike on May 2, 2013 4:09 pm • linkreport

Maybe we can convince these companies to start delivering by bicycle.

by Ron on May 2, 2013 4:23 pm • linkreport

I have actually witnessed DCPD pulling drivers over for making illegal turns across the lanes, and for that I am thankful. I also like that there is only one post now at the end of most lanes instead of two. Still, one of the biggest offenders of lane mis-use is Bar Code in the evenings. They like to use the bike lane as a valet lane. Most delivery drivers are pretty good compared to some other parts of the city.

by aaa on May 2, 2013 4:47 pm • linkreport

"there's a back alley for deliveries, park there," isn't the "

Exactly,

Had DDOT done a minimal level of research into what the effects would be when they removed an entire lane from a street that used that lane to capacity during the daylight hours, they would have realized this. The fact that 60% of the time this poorly deisgned bike lane is blocked by delivery vehicles is a suprise only to those who get indignant about it.

Tom,

I work on L street. Walk the sidewalks down there all the time. I suggest you pull up google earth and look at the oh so useful alley access and dock facilities behind buildings. Most of the buildings actually have no dock, and the alley's are wide enough to get a cargo van into, but not thru as the corners at the end are too tight for the turning radius.

This is the way these buildings were platted and built back in the day, and you can't change that reality now without demo'ing multiple buildings per block. Isn't anyones fault really, but it is a daily reality for the owners and tenants of that building.

Those alleys are shared by multiple buildings, each building with multiple tenants and get daily deliveries from PA, MD, VA, Delaware. You aren't going to "schedule" those any more than you schedule your exact arrival time commuting home.

Had DDOT walked into any of them just once to ask, or hung out down there during the day, they would have seen that the curb lane was heavily used (as it is in most places in this town) for deliveries. But no, they simply rolled out a poorly designed bike lane on a street that didn't have any capacity to give.

by Loading Dock on May 2, 2013 4:59 pm • linkreport

This is the way these buildings were platted and built back in the day, and you can't change that reality now without demo'ing multiple buildings per block. Isn't anyones fault really, but it is a daily reality for the owners and tenants of that building.

The future's going to see smaller delivery vehicles. Just as you see in Europe.

by oboe on May 2, 2013 5:13 pm • linkreport

Had DDOT done a minimal level of research...

DDOT did a lot of research, but design is an iterative process. They got this 99% right (and really, this is an enforcement failure more than a design failure), which is pretty good.

by David C on May 2, 2013 5:23 pm • linkreport

A small group I work with received deliveries from four different delivery companies today (two companies came by at least twice). There were a few maintenance calls too that had workers going to the loading dock. That was for a small office and there were a couple occasions when multiple vehicles were there at the same time. It wasn't a manufacturing or service group. I can easily imagine the problems a larger office may have with even less operational/adequate space for deliveries.

by selxic on May 2, 2013 7:38 pm • linkreport

@oboe,

You can choose to believe that if you wish, but all the buildings on L street have been there for a minimum of 30 years and yet DC hasn't been overrun by companies delivering pallets of toilet paper in a mini. If you think a company that dispatches a delivery truck with a 30 ft box on it from York PA every day to deliver a pallet of toilet paper to 8 buildings a day, is going to send a special seperate minivan to make the one delivery they have on L street, you are hilariously mistaken.

And David C, design is certainly not an "iterative" process. The only people who say such a ridiculous thing clearly have no idea what they are talking about, kinda like when they try to excuse a whopping 60 % of the time as 99% correct.

There was clearly a real daily need and use for delivery vehicles on L street. DDOT dropped the ball, like they do so often.

by Loading Dock on May 2, 2013 9:35 pm • linkreport

Jay, I love the Portlandia clip. Additionally, it is completely reasonable to point out that delivery trucks need to park somewhere. I also like that you point out how motorists don't run red lights because it's not socially acceptable.

With that said, you don't need to be so worry about perpetuating a stereotype about entitled cyclists. You should feel indignant about any vehicle parking in a bike lane.

I honestly don't know if biking in the city is a net healthy activity for me because of the stress it causes from a litany of things that make me feel unsafe. This is just one of those items. My suggestion; be polite, don't cultivate the 'tribal look,' be emphatic and indignant and you'll make a persuasive argument without spreading any stereotypes.

by Owen on May 2, 2013 9:40 pm • linkreport

So was it a failure when the lane was a Parkin lane and trucks still double parked?

Drivers know they'll likely get a ticket if they block a car lane and like wont if they block a bike lane. That's not design problem, it's an enforcement problem.

by drumz on May 2, 2013 9:57 pm • linkreport

design is certainly not an "iterative" process.

Touche. That is a great counter-argument. Except that anyone who has ever built something knows this is correct. That's why we get software releases, and book rewrites, and why people tweak recipes... Or why the phrase "Design is an iterative process" gets 593,000 hits on Google.

kinda like when they try to excuse a whopping 60 % of the time as 99% correct.

I don't think you understand the pie chart above. 60 is the percentage of observed vehicles that are delivery vehicles, not the percentage of the bike lane that is unusable at any time. I suspect an overwhelming majority of cyclists would give this lane an "A".

by David C on May 2, 2013 11:16 pm • linkreport

Maybe one day, after sufficient adult supervision and review, reality will finally prevail and we cam openly admit that L Street downtown was the wrong location for a bike lane.

by ceefer66 on May 3, 2013 7:20 am • linkreport

Delivery trucks blocking lanes on L Street has been a problem as long as I can rememember. Double and even triple parking. The only thing new is now they're blocking a lane belonging to a more vocal and connected group of people. Better enforcement has always been the answer.

by Mr, Day's Patron on May 3, 2013 7:20 am • linkreport

@
DavidC

Thanks for the laugh. Who knew civil infrastructure and road design was akin to baking a pie or writing software.

I am a cyclist, and the design is a disaster. Delivery Parkin aside, constantly intermingling the bike lane and the left turn vehicle is the height of dangerous and sloppy design.

by Loading Dock on May 3, 2013 8:09 am • linkreport

I bike in the city every day, and I'm coming to dislike bike lanes. I often actually feel safer on some roads without them. If I'm out in a lane all the time, I'm there in a consistent manner and cars will be more likely to see me and be able to anticipate where I'm headed, but if I have to swing wide around parked trucks and taxis or ride just outside the bike lane so as not to get doored, then I'm not really riding in a manner that motorists can anticipate without thinking about it too much. Most of my close calls seem to have come in bike lanes.

by DE on May 3, 2013 8:30 am • linkreport

Delivery trucks can just park in the f-ing auto travel lane like they do on 15th already.

Delivery Parkin aside, constantly intermingling the bike lane and the left turn vehicle is the height of dangerous and sloppy design.

Have there been any accidents due to the "poor design" of this lane?

I see people using the L St cycletrack all the time and it doesn't seem to be confusing or a problem for 99% of users. The only issue is the pausing in the cycletrack instead of a multi-purpose lane and that can be solved with more physical barriers.

You are a cyclist - have you used the cycletrack?

by MLD on May 3, 2013 8:39 am • linkreport

DE

come out to FFX and bike without bike lanes to your heart's content

I can tell you that there are loads of problems in places where its not an option.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 3, 2013 8:39 am • linkreport

Maybe one day, after sufficient adult supervision and review, reality will finally prevail and we cam openly admit that L Street downtown was the wrong location for a bike lane.

Really? Other than some people illegally parking (which happens everywhere downtown- so no change) and a trivial reduction in auto travel speeds on L, what evidence do you have to support this conclusion. In fact, don't you think having a conclusion BEFORE "sufficient adult supervision and review" means you're no longer objective?

One sure way to be wrong a lot is to make judgments before the data comes in.

by David C on May 3, 2013 8:40 am • linkreport

Who knew civil infrastructure and road design was akin to baking a pie or writing software.

Anyone who went to engineering school or who has built infrastructure. That's why they do follow up studies of changes, and almost always budget money to fix problems that crop up after a facility is finished.

The design is a disaster.. constantly intermingling the bike lane and the left turn vehicle is the height of dangerous and sloppy design.

A disaster? That's a little melodramatic. Where are the crashes that prove this? If it's dangerous how come no one has been injured yet? How is something that has led to zero deaths, zero injuries, zero crashes, zero traffic jams and a facility that most cyclists like so much that they keep hounding DDOT to put one in on M Street similar to let's say the Union Carbide tragedy?

As to bike lanes - the main advantage is convenience, not safety, but convenience is a good thing.

by David C on May 3, 2013 8:48 am • linkreport

Maybe it is reasonable to tolerate the lane blocking for the first few years of the cycle-tracks, just to help mitigate the political blowback.

While I hate to echo the AAA theory of traffic enforcement, I wonder whether the revenue imperative for parking tickets will need to be addressed.

DDOT needs to re-deploy maybe half of one ticket writer's time and redirect her to policing the cycletracks, even though doing so will bring in less revenue than whatever she would otherwise be doing. Doing so probably would require a decision by someone at a relatively high level given the loss of revenues. Once the M-street lane is open, this will be pretty easy as she could just go around in a continuous loop.

And DDOT should resist the temptation to authorize her to ticket illegally parked cars in the travel lane next to the cycle track, even though doing so would increase her productivity.

Many drivers would continue to take the chance, but regular ticketing would mitigate the problem.

by JimT on May 3, 2013 8:56 am • linkreport

Maybe one day, after sufficient adult supervision and review, reality will finally prevail and we can openly admit that the downtowns of cities built when the majority of people walked everywhere were the wrong locations to encourage driving single-occupancy vehicles everywhere.

by MLD on May 3, 2013 8:58 am • linkreport

Many drivers would continue to take the chance, but regular ticketing would mitigate the problem.

The "we need better enforcement!" meme is fully undermined by what trucking companies do: they get tickets, they pay them, they write them off. That UPS driver dropping off 15 packages, with an average shipping fee of $15 ($225 total) is not going to pay attention to an occasional $50 ticket.

More enforcement is not going to change anything.

downtowns of cities built when the majority of people walked everywhere were the wrong locations to encourage driving single-occupancy vehicles everywhere.

Also not helpful: back in the day, cities also had very bad sewage and overcrowding and people died of cholera from such conditions. We need to accommodate the good parts of the city to realities of modern life -- unless you want to go back to the olden days...

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 9:15 am • linkreport

I don't know, I'd certainly like my downtowns (and uptowns and midtowns) to have more people walking and cycling. Seems like that combined with modern sewage and other standards is a win win.

by drumz on May 3, 2013 9:19 am • linkreport

@drumz: Seems like that combined with modern sewage and other standards is a win win.

Yes. But as we have worked out how to get the stuff out, we now need to figure out how to get the stuff in.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

Yeah, I don't think accepting the realities of physical space - that one person in a motor vehicle takes up 10X as much space as someone walking, or on a bike, or on a bus - precludes the development of sanitary living conditions.

Anywho, back to non-strawman topics:
More enforcement is not going to change anything.
Correct - the lane needs better physical barriers to keep vehicles out. We should tart with placing the bollards separating the lane closer together.

by MLD on May 3, 2013 9:25 am • linkreport

We have! Buildings are built with loading docks. Or you can park along the curb along most city streets. And if you're pressed for time and willing to take the risk you can block a travel lane though you might get a ticket.

by drumz on May 3, 2013 9:25 am • linkreport

not going to pay attention to an occasional $50 ticket.

What about regular $200 tickets? If the problem is that the risk of bad behavior is too low, then we just need to raise the risk. We could even do like they do for HOV violations - double the fine with each additional ticket in a calendar year.

by David C on May 3, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

I don't think enforcement is going to solve the issue because people will do what is most convenient for them. Stripes with bollards apaced too far apart are not going to stop drivers from blocking the cycletrack. This is similar to the problems on the Penn Ave with people making U-turns across the cycletrack.

I think they need to put in a curb that is about 2-3 feet wide (the same width as the area now striped and having bollards). They could designate the leftmost lane as the parking lane as the curb would serve as a buffer against any dooring or other collision with drivers exiting their cars that could occur.

by bobco85 on May 3, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

does anyone seriously think that the inconvenience of delivery vehicles not being able to park in the bike lane leads to such great costs, that firms will no longer locate on L street downtown? Isnt that one of the highest office rent areas in the metro region? Arent some people, in discussions of say, the height limit, always saying there is no need to make office space cheaper downtown? They accept the tradeoff involved in a net cost to operating a firm downtown, vs what adds to QOL in DC.

Well to many of us here, bike lanes crossing downtown to far more for QOL than keeping the existing building height restrictions. And almost certainly at a lower cost to firms downtown.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 3, 2013 9:39 am • linkreport

What about regular $200 tickets?

That will bring on a lot of complaining, but I'll bet UPS will continue to do what they have always done. Consider what they do: a truck full of packages that MUST be delivered. The biggest expense is labor, not tickets.

And since that will be a city-wide policy change, there will be unintended consequences that will cause huge push-back. Most loading zones are in front of apartment buildings in residential areas, and a $200 fine for such a violation is excessive. City council members will hear from business owners, and like the speed camera fines, will scale it back.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

More enforcement, yes.

But it also seems that we could use some more loading zones!

by Alex B. on May 3, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

That will bring on a lot of complaining

From people who break the law? Cry me a river.

but I'll bet UPS will continue to do what they have always done.OK, so make it $1,000,000. My point is there is some price where they will stop. Do you agree? All we need to do is raise the fine to that point.

And since that will be a city-wide policy change, there will be unintended consequences

The intended consequence is that people will stop illegally parking. What unintended consequence do you foresee?

by David C on May 3, 2013 11:08 am • linkreport

@David C: No, I do not think $1,000,000 is enough. Violators should be hanged, drawn and quartered. That will get results!

You raise the fine to unrealistic values, the whole premise comes into question -- why do we need such penalties to enforce trivial violations of the law?

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

downtowns of cities built when the majority of people walked everywhere were the wrong locations to encourage driving single-occupancy vehicles everywhere.
Also not helpful: back in the day, cities also had very bad sewage and overcrowding and people died of cholera from such conditions. We need to accommodate the good parts of the city to realities of modern life -- unless you want to go back to the olden days...

In twenty years, we're likely to hear, "Back in the day, cities had very bad sewage and overcrowding and the majority of public space was set aside for private automobiles. We need to accommodate the good parts of the city to realities of modern life -- unless you want to go back to the olden days..."

by oboe on May 3, 2013 11:25 am • linkreport

goldfish, I'm not actually suggesting $1,000,000. I'm suggesting a fine of $X where X will make UPS change their business model.

why do we need such penalties to enforce trivial violations of the law?

Because some businesses have breaking the law as part of their business plan. Should that just be accepted?

by David C on May 3, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

@goldfish, since you're bringing up changes in infrastructure that improved public health -yes, at the turn of the 20th c. communicable diseases were the major causes of death. That they are rare now is a great success of medicine, public health and city planning working together, led by the early Army Corps of Engineers.

Currently the major public health concern (major cause of preventable morbidity and mortality) is lifestyle induced chronic disease; 95% of which is preventable with modest lifestyle changes (diet and physical activity). The types of changes needed can only be sustained on a population scale by creating an environment that supports the lifestyle, i.e. an infrastructure of active transportation networks that make walking and biking safe and convenient.

by Tina on May 3, 2013 11:46 am • linkreport

Because some businesses have breaking the law as part of their business plan. Should that just be accepted?

For people that are in the business of driving -- taxis, buses, delivery trucks, etc. -- there are so many ways to violate the law, and sooner or later you are going to get caught, regardless of intent. Traffic fines are a cost of doing business.

I am sure the UPS drivers do their best to avoid the fines, as it cuts into their bottom line. But in some places it is just impossible to make a delivery without double parking, or blocking a fire plug. The alternative is endlessly circling, and their time is more important that the fine.

So yes, paying fines is a part of their model, and there is no way to avoid it.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

The picture shown on this post is of local delivery vehicles: but how many (percentage) were UPS, DHL or FexEx? The latter three (and more I'm sure) used to have blanket payments to the city in lieu of illegal parking tickets so accruing the latter is irrelevant.

by ken on May 3, 2013 11:58 am • linkreport

So yes, paying fines is a part of their model, and there is no way to avoid it.

Great, I have our solution then; curbs to separate the bike lane, higher fines for parking in a bike lane, nominal tickets sometimes for parking in a general-purpose travel lane. More revenue for the city, bikes out of traffic so they're safer and not slowing drivers down.

by MLD on May 3, 2013 12:06 pm • linkreport

@ AWalkerInTheCity - Understood. I live in Arlington and used to bike to Fairfax City to work. Never could figure out how to get across the 66 cloverleafs safely.

by DE on May 3, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

Would it be possible to simply have the vehicles towed?

Perhaps, they are not there longer or the two truck would balk at this?

by Owen on May 3, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

MLD,

No I'm pretty sure the solution is to rip out the bike lane. And then never build any cyclist infrastructure again because its a simple fact that people will park wherever there is pavement otherwise the city will devolve into chaos.

by drumz on May 3, 2013 12:15 pm • linkreport

@ken: That's a good question. I haven't broken it down that way, but my impression is that the big guys (UPS, etc) aren't as frequent of offenders as their numbers might suggest. My guess is that, since they deliver so often, they have a good sense of the lay of the land with regard to loading zones, service alleys and other places to stop quickly. Likewise, since they often service a few adjoining buildings are once, it may be easier for them to adjust their delivery sequence to accomodate legal parking. On the other hand, a small supplier who is unfamiliar with downtown, or the city/bike lanes in general, and has to deliver to a specific address is probably more likely to use the lane. Just educated speculation though.

by Jay C on May 3, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

@Jay C: first of all - thanks for whose parking: a wonderful service to the community

I may merely be uninformed and cynical but years ago when we (neighborhood) complained about all the UPS, FedEx, DHL delivery trucks horribly illegally parked the city told us among other things that these companies paid an annual flat fee for parking violation.

I do think that probably these very same delivery services probably spend less time illegally parked in any given bike lane than say the Coke machine guy so even if you DID break down the data that way it wouldn't be that much more informative because the odds of you getting a photo surely are correlated with the time any vehicle stays parked in the bike lane.

Again though - thanks for the service!

by ken on May 3, 2013 12:28 pm • linkreport

an infrastructure of active transportation networks that make walking and biking safe and convenient.

I agree wholeheartedly. But one thing I have noticed is that some have confused parking for private automobiles with the problems pointed out in the article, namely that delivery trucks are the most likely vehicles that block the bike lane. But delivery trucks supply downtown businesses, that support the high density of development, that enable people to walk and bike more.

If we want to bike, we need to enable the deliveries.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 12:41 pm • linkreport

For people that are in the business of driving there are so many ways to violate the law, and sooner or later you are going to get caught, regardless of intent.

Well, the intent here is to block traffic. This is not an accident.

But in some places it is just impossible to make a delivery without double parking, or blocking a fire plug.

You undermine this point in the next sentence.

The alternative is endlessly circling, and their time is more important that the fine.

So, there is a way to avoid it. And there are others. They could park farther away and walk. Or pay for parking. Or deliver to an area outside of downtown and have bike couriers carry it the last mile. Or probably dozens of other options. But they don't choose them. They choose to illegally block traffic. Is that OK? It is totally possible to follow the law.

by David C on May 3, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

If we want to bike, we need to enable the deliveries.

Maybe we need a delivery lane next to the bike lane. problem solved!

by Tina on May 3, 2013 12:57 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish: Perhaps you can articulate a bit more why you think enforcement makes no difference:

1. Why wouldn't the high likelihood of getting a ticket deter the various people who are not driving delivery trucks, for whom a $50-200 fine is serious?

2. If as suggested, DDOT regularly tickets people in the bike lane but continues to rarely ticket those who block the general travel lane, why wouldn't delivery trucks return to parking in left-most general travel lane? That is, after all, where they used to park when the right most lane was used for parking? Why do you suppose they changed where they park if not the perception that they are less likely to be ticketed in the bike lane?

by JimT on May 3, 2013 1:00 pm • linkreport

Above, I meant "That is, after all, where they used to park when the LEFT-most lane was used for parking?"

by JimT on May 3, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

@David C: you are quite rigid in your expectations of "following the law" and do not seem to appreciate how much we all rely on deliveries. An overzealous enforcement of the former will increase the costs of the latter, which we all will bear, and make living in the suburbs -- with far fewer such hassles -- that much more attractive.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 1:13 pm • linkreport

Goldfish, how much law breaking should we allow to keep vending machine Pepsi at $1.50 a bottle?

by David C on May 3, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

@JimT: the pie chart above points out that 60% of the blockage is from deliveries, and 10% from police vehicles. These are the violations that are immune to enforcement, the former because they really do not have a choice, and the latter because they are immune from it. So greater enforcement may help lower the 30% that are sensitive to it, but only somewhat, because I pretty sure most drivers that willfully cross the bike lane are doing it for a pretty good reason and understand the risk they are taking.

So (say) doubling the enforcement will reduce violations by at most 15-20%. Not a good return on investment.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport

Assuming the tickets cover the cost of enforcement, whats the investment?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 3, 2013 1:22 pm • linkreport

@David C: I like Pepsi, and I only pay $1.25.

I am sure you could dig up mounds of similar trivial examples, of every simple thing bought and consumed. My point stands, however.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 1:22 pm • linkreport

what percentage of the cost of doing business for firms on l street is supplies? (versus labor, rent, etc)

What percentage of the cost of supplies is delivery cost?

What percentage would the delivery cost of supplies increase were it to become impossible to use the bike lanes to park delivery trucks?

Is it reasonable to expect a decline in the market rent for office space on L street sufficient to reduce density of use on L street?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 3, 2013 1:24 pm • linkreport

My point stands, however.

You didn't answer the question. How much law breaking should be allowed to keep prices lower?

by David C on May 3, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

@AWitC: we could restrict deliveries to before 6 AM, or after 9 PM, as is true in many crowded areas.

I am sure you realize that this will impact staffing and business costs.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

@David C: How much law breaking should be allowed to keep prices lower?

I dunno. Let me reverse the question: how much higher prices and taxes are you will to pay to get perfect law-abidance? I hear Singapore is lovely, but I do not want to live there.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 1:34 pm • linkreport

goldfish

1. We could restrict parking in the bike lane to 9PM to 6AM and allow the suppliers, delivery services, and recipients to work out whether the optimal response is using those hours, circling, finding a way to utilize the alley, etc.

2. I do not deny the cost would be non-zero. I am skeptical that the result would be change in the equilibrium height/density in those locations.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 3, 2013 1:37 pm • linkreport

Singapore is freaking awesome. I love it there.

Let me reverse the question: how much higher prices and taxes are you will to pay to get perfect law-abidance?

Where the law is a good policy, certainly enough to make it economical for UPS to pay to park in a garage.

by David C on May 3, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

@David C: perhaps then the violation for parking in the bike lane should be caning.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

Nah, caning is inefficient. Fining people is a much better method.

You still haven't answered the question.

by David C on May 3, 2013 1:50 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish: I think you answered the first half of my query, but perhaps the second half was not clear, so I'll rephrase.

From left to right, the configuration was previously.
Lane 1: Parking
Lane 2: General travel lane and delivery trucks
Lane 3: Through lane
Lane 4: Parking.

Now, the configuration is:
Lane 1: Cycle track and delivery trucks
Lane 2: General travel lane
Lane 3: Through lane
Lane 4: Parking.

The delivery trucks have thus moved from lane 2 to lane 1, since the cycle track opened.

So why would not rigid parking enforcement in the bike lane not simply move the trucks back to lane 2?

by JimT on May 3, 2013 1:52 pm • linkreport

@David C: I answered it here, which as a courtesy I will repeat: I do not know.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 1:59 pm • linkreport

@Jim T: they will get tickets there, too.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 2:00 pm • linkreport

they will get tickets there, too.

So? As you said, it's a cost of business. But at least they won't be endangering people as much.

by MLD on May 3, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

So, blocking the travel lane existed before the cycle track. But now that people are blocking the cycle track (which has only one lane compared to three lanes that cars still get on this street) discussing that maybe more stringent enforcement on those who block is verboten because of obvious financial disaster that will happen if someone has to make a more calculated decision about the risks of their illegal parking.

Yes, its totally the bike lane's fault.

by drumz on May 3, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish: Delivery trucks did not usually get tickets there for a quick stop, before the project.

What is to keep DDOT from rigorously enforcing parking in the bike lane, while retaining the relatively lax enforcement in lane 2?

by JimT on May 3, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

Oh right, you did. So if you don't know then that means "some" right? Not "none". If it were none, you'd know the answer. You think we should allow some lawbreaking if it keeps prices lower. Is that correct?

Are there other laws should people be able to break if it keeps prices lower? Polluting? Unsafe work conditions? Child labor laws? Slavery? Those all lower prices.

by David C on May 3, 2013 2:17 pm • linkreport

@JimT, you have reached the end of what little I know. Things you may consider: maybe a driver wants to be that much closer to the destination; the taboo of blocking a travel lane when a less traveled and closer lane is available; and your assertion that a double-parked delivery truck will get ticketed less often. I do not have the answers.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 2:24 pm • linkreport

I do not have the answers.

Well then, let's aggressively ticket those who block the L Street Bike Lane (and thus destroy the whole purpose of having the bike lane there) and see what happens!

by drumz on May 3, 2013 2:25 pm • linkreport

@David C: yes there are cost with complying with them. Regarding pollution laws, this was an essential part of the debate, which went on for years before anything was passed. The costs were carefully considered and balanced.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

@David C: Slavery?

I hereby invoke Godwin's Law, civil war corollary.

by goldfish on May 3, 2013 2:34 pm • linkreport

If the delivery trucks park in the first travel lane instead of the bike lane, isn't that exactly where they parked when there was no bike lane. Vehicles were parked in what is now the bike lane.

Bike lanes assuredly did not get built to make the lives of delivery men easier.

by Crickey7 on May 3, 2013 2:35 pm • linkreport

I hereby invoke Godwin's Law, civil war corollary.

No such thing, besides I'm talking about slavery in general as in since the dawn of man up until still going on right now in parts of the world. But again, that's isn't an answer to any of my questions. Most notably "Do you think we should allow some lawbreaking if it keeps prices lower?"

by David C on May 3, 2013 2:39 pm • linkreport

@Drumz and @Goldfish: It would take a higher manager to do this, but DDOT could instruct enforcement staff to focus on violations in the bike lane with a certain frequency, while ticketing vehicles in the parking and general travel lanes with a lower frequency.

I think Goldfish hit the nail on the head: There is a taboo against blocking an automobile lane when a bike lane is available. Reversing that taboo is necessary for cycletracks, and it may take enforcement to do so.

by JimT on May 3, 2013 2:40 pm • linkreport

Ticketing vehicles for violating traffic laws isn't some as yet untested way of dealing with things. We can make reasonable inferences as to what will probably happen.

by drumz on May 3, 2013 2:41 pm • linkreport

I find David C I rely rigid observation of laws that apply to vehicles to be quite hilarious in view of the fact that he constantly tries to justify a overly lax enforcement of laws that apply to cyclists. Running redlights and stop signs being the most obvious.

If you are going to take such a struck view of observing the law, you have to do it all the time.

by Loading Dock on May 3, 2013 3:05 pm • linkreport

I haven't read all the comments, so I'm not sure if this has already been pointed out. To be fair, several of the pictures are not of cars blocking the bike lane, but rather cars blocking the turning lane, just after the automotive turning lane entry point. I am constantly frustrated with cars actually blocking the bike lane. From my personal experience, it's about 33% cops, and they're always assholes when confronted.

by Brian on May 3, 2013 3:15 pm • linkreport

If you are going to take such a struck view of observing the law, you have to do it all the time.

There's a difference. I think we should keep the law against blocking traffic. I don't think we should keep the law against cyclists running red lights and stop signs.

There is no hypocrisy in believing that we shouldn't strictly enforce laws that I don't believe we should even have. If goldfish would like to argue that laws against illegal parking and stopping should be removed then that is fine, but he hasn't done that yet.

by David C on May 3, 2013 3:40 pm • linkreport

@Brian,

I am constantly frustrated with cars actually blocking the bike lane. From my personal experience, it's about 33% cops, and they're always assholes when confronted.

I think MPD officers in general do a difficult job and god love 'em, but at the end of the day (and the beginning of the day for that matter) they're "Maryland commuters". And if there's one thing Maryland commuters have in common, it's contempt for traffic laws and particularly those that protect pedestrians and cyclists.

by oboe on May 3, 2013 3:54 pm • linkreport

First off - I love the L Street bike lane. I've tried all modes (except segway) and getting around the city in a bike is a great way to get around the city - often better than other modes.

My quick take:
--enforcement with fining and towing if needed - enforcement should be just as strong for this as it is for regular parking infractions,
--evaluate if delivery trucks do only pay a flat fee for parking infractions and if so - have the city evaluate and consider other systems,
--create more loading areas on blocks or ensure there is 20% of block parking areas for loading,
--restrict loading to certain times of the day like they do in cities all over the US.

That being said, I agree that loading should be kept to outside hours. Other deliveries are conveniences that should abide by the rules that everyone else faces. If they need to make deliveries - find another spot to park, use a loading dock/alley, park further away, use bike couriers, etc. That being said - I agree with others that there probably needs to be some more curbside areas reserved for deliveries. (Although I have a hard time wondering why on all four sides of a block there isn't some room there for deliveries if they are quick trips.)

Tickets were mentioned several times in this thread and I agree. Another (although, somewhat more stiff) enforcement is towing. They will do it to cars when you are parked on thoroughfare roads in rush hour, maybe two $150 tickets (one for parking illegally, the other for the tow) would make people think twice.

by citygal26 on May 3, 2013 9:13 pm • linkreport

I really laugh when someone of you get all indignant and simply brush off deliveries and loading with "well, just make them use bikes to deliver".

The building I work in has street level retail. A clothing store and two restaurants.

I've spent years in Europe and I don't remember once seeing a restaurant get half a dozen pallets of foodstuffs delivered to them a couple times a week by bike. Nor do I remember seeing ~500 pairs of slacks, shirts socks delivered by bike as well.

Then there is the actual building deliveries. The pallets of cleaning supplies, spares and replacement parts for the HVAC system, so on and so forth.

Of anything that gets delivered in relative bulk to your average commercial office building on a daily basis, USPS mail may be the one thing that could be delivered by anything other than van or truck, but it would cost considerably more to do so.

I just find it incredibly hilarious that single people barely make do with shopping by bike or walking once or twice a week while living in their 700 sq/ft apartments, yet expect the 1500 people who work in a 400,000 sq/ft office building with a restaurant that services ~500 meals a day on the first floor to do the same thing.

People need to simply admit, that deliveries and loading are a necessary requirement of daily life in a busy commercial district, and that putting in a barely used bike lane without acknowledging that fact, or going to a few of the stakeholders was a bad idea.

by bikecouriers on May 4, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

Good thig no one ha argued that we need to get rid of deliveries.

Deliver how much stuf you want but blocking the bike lane is dangerous and illegal.

by drumz on May 4, 2013 4:27 pm • linkreport

bikecouriers,

The first sign of a strawman argument is that the quote isn't actually a quote.

Of course we need truck deliveries, but some deliveries could be diverted to bike. If its crazy to think that then tell it to this guy. As to large items, yeah those can be moved by bikes too.

You can move a lot by bicycle, like this or this or this.

by David C on May 4, 2013 7:51 pm • linkreport

@David C: those pics are very amusing, but all but the first one are tremendously overloaded and unsafe. No chance anything that could be adopted in DC: one spill would shut down the entire road. I would call the police if I saw that.

by goldfish on May 4, 2013 8:10 pm • linkreport

goldfish wins by sheer tenacity.

Clearly the only solution is D-lock Justice, or Ninja Rocks. UPS might pay a flat rate for parking violations, but replacing windows is still done on a per-window basis.

by KillMoto on May 5, 2013 10:36 pm • linkreport

goldfish, but we wouldn't needed anything like that. We'd need something like the photo attached to "can be moved" above, and that's perfectly safe.

by David C on May 6, 2013 12:48 am • linkreport

@bikecourier wrote:

USPS mail may be the one thing that could be delivered by anything other than van or truck, but it would cost considerably more to do so.

...then immediately contradicted him/herself by writing:

People need to simply admit, that deliveries and loading are a necessary requirement of daily life in a busy commercial district

So which is it? Can we make deliveries using smaller vehicles that can access smaller alleys and not take up precious public space (possibly requiring a few businesses to pay for their negative externalities that we now push onto District residents)? Or do we all need to admit that it's an inevitable fact of urban existence?

by oboe on May 6, 2013 8:37 am • linkreport

Why not convert sufficient portions of the car parking lanes to loading zones? Then make sure no other lanes are needlessly blocked. These loading zones could even have times set aside for sole use as loading zones, then allow regular metered parking at other times. It's clear that sufficient provisions for loading zones have not been made on L St. This is something that needs to be planned for with future bike lanes, especially in a downtown area or anywhere else loading is called for.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 9:12 am • linkreport

One other point: In a DC of the near future, where we have a growing streetcar network, double-parking is going to be increasingly targeted for enforcement. You look at H Street: once that line begins running, double-parking is going to have to be met with strictest enforcement. Heck, *poor* parking is going to have to be combatted with near-immediate towing.

The culture of the city is going to have to change.

by oboe on May 6, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

@oboe Yes, but probably most so in the busiest areas including streetcar lines, not necessarily in the more residential areas. Perhaps the bike lanes in busier areas (Downtown, H St NE, etc.) should all be protected by a parking lane? (if they are not on the "outside" of the parking lane). Then the loading zones could all be on the side of the street opposite from the bike lane. In fact, why isn't the L St bike lane on the right hand side of this one-way street? That makes no sense at all.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 9:32 am • linkreport

Dave, the bike lane is on the left because fewer cars turn left off L than turn right, and I think it happens at fewer places, furthermore there are fewer driveways on the left hand side. Cyclists can ride on the left hand side of a one-way street, so while it is a bit of a diversion from the usual ride right idea for cycling, DDOT had good reason.

Also, being on the north means the cycletrack is in the sun more, which helps with snow removal since for cyclists, Mother Nature is often our snow plow.

BTW, despite my stringent call for enforcement, I also think that creating more loading zone space on the south side makes sense, coupled with Performance parking. If UPS is willing to pay a $75 ticket, they should be even willing to pay $5 for 30 minutes of parking.

by David C on May 6, 2013 9:59 am • linkreport

@David C: You bring up an interesting point: toll the bike lane -- why not see who is willing to pay more, the delivery trucks or the bicyclists?

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

why not see who is willing to pay more, the delivery trucks or the bicyclists?

Because that doesn't help the city to achieve it's goal of 25% of all trips by bike or foot by 2020. If we want to do that, we need to remove barriers from biking and walking, not add them in.

by David C on May 6, 2013 10:16 am • linkreport

@David C: forget about the 25% nonsense. We need the revenue.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

No we don't. We're running a surplus. And even if we did need the revenue, we can get that without undermining our other goals. Congestion pricing, for example, is a nice way to raise revenue AND reduce traffic congestion. That would be one better way.

by David C on May 6, 2013 10:22 am • linkreport

Indeed the 25% is nonsense if your goal is to reduce biking, and make the city a better place for drivers.

How as a practical matter do you toll a bike lane? Make riders carry an ez pass? You do know that will mean tolling the adjacent travel lanes for all vehicles - the scanners aren't that precise.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 6, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

Besides, its not a bike or loading lane. It's a bike lane. There are good reasons to have a bike lane there and to park in it defeats the purpose and ruins the city's investment. It's also dangerous which is why its a good idea to ticket those who misuse the city's infrastructure and make cycling more dangerous than it needs to be.

We're nowhere near a point where there are so many cyclists that we need a way to manage their demand. But we are definitely there with cars. That (including the environmental havoc most cars wreak on cities) is why we toll cars but not cyclists.

by drumz on May 6, 2013 10:26 am • linkreport

@David C: trucking companies pay huge taxes, both for licensing and in fuel, to support the roads they drive on. Bicyclists pay nothing, but now that they are getting their own lanes, it is only fair to make pay for it.

And yes we do need the money. To cite only one example, there have been a number if articles here on GGE describing how DCPS is going under, falling to the charters because there isn't enough money. The current surplus is unexpected, a windfall due to the recovery, but it won't take long before it gets spent.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

Bicyclists pay nothing, but now that they are getting their own lanes, it is only fair to make pay for it.

This is false for several reasons.

A: gas taxes don't cover all the roads and generally by the time you get to city streets that maintenance is coming from general funds.
B: Bikes weigh next to nothing and the more people on bikes means the less wear and tear on our roads which lowers maintenance costs.
C: Cycling is better for the environment and the body along with making the streetscape safer so that is incentive enough to get people on bikes. That's why CABI is subsidized but zipcar or car2go is not (to a lesser degree, the parking spaces are a subsidy but they still pay for their exlusive use).

by drumz on May 6, 2013 10:33 am • linkreport

Goldfish, please read this.

by David C on May 6, 2013 10:36 am • linkreport

@Drumz: all of that is irrelevant. The city has a resource -- a lane on a busy downtown street -- and the best way to allocate that resource is to sell it to the highest bidder. Like parking.

So lets see which raises more revenue, tolling bicyclists or delivery trucks.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 10:37 am • linkreport

@David C: the "bicyclist shouldn't pay for road maintenance" becomes less defensible the more lanes are devoted to exclusive bike use, that crowd out other uses.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

Again, tolling isn't purely about raising revenue. It can also be used to manage demand. It's also absurd to think that it's reasonable to "sell off" the right of way or that people who think that charging more to manage demand is making that argument.

In any case. Delivery vehicles already have several legal options to make their deliveries. That they choose to do what's illegal isn't an argument to make what they do legal.

by drumz on May 6, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

Add: and on roads where rolling is used to pay off construction bikes aren't allowed

by drumz on May 6, 2013 10:47 am • linkreport

Why should bicyclists be singled out to pay a toll when other road users do not? Bicycling has positive externalities that benefit people who aren't bicycling, why should bicyclists have to pay for benefits that accrue to other people?

Auto drivers don't pay enough to cover the cost of roads they use and if you're talking trucks the math is even worse (since they are heavier and cause way more road damage).

by MLD on May 6, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

goldfish, bicyclist DO pay for road maintenance. Read the link. It's all there.

The city has a resource -- a lane on a busy downtown street -- and the best way to allocate that resource is to sell it to the highest bidder.

Not always.

by David C on May 6, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

tolling isn't feasible with current technology.

thats a red herring. some folks don't LIKE bike lanes, and dont like the folk who use them.

"The city has a resource -- a lane on a busy downtown street -- and the best way to allocate that resource is to sell it to the highest bidder. Like parking. "

ah, I see the problem. The city could, of course, toll ALL vehicle lanes, toll sidewalks, and charge for use of the public schools (or maybe put the slots in the most oversubscribed ones to bid) There are policy reasons for weighing when pricing makes sense, and when it doesnt. That it (arguably) makes sense for parking, does not mean it makes sense in every other context.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 6, 2013 10:52 am • linkreport

@David C: bicyclist DO pay for road maintenance.

Ahh, the subsidy from general taxes. But that is a wash, because the delivery truck drivers also pay that.

It is still irrelevant: sell the lane to the highest bidder for exclusive use.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 10:56 am • linkreport

tolling isn't feasible with current technology.

Of course it is: charge for bike parking. And if bike thieves can defeat the locks, so too can towing companies.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

@David C - OK I see the city's reasoning why the bike lane is on the left in this case, and the sun's position. I'm not convinced those are good enough reasons to violate the normal "single-direction-bike-LANE-goes-on-the-right" rule, though bikes can still ride where they want, bike lane or no. Sticking to the right side rule would allow the loading zone on left situation to continue, as it was before the bike lane, and is continued informally (and illegally) now. Why not formalize it, and put the bike lane on the right where it really should be? This seems to be the best overall solution. Remember that loading needs to be accommodated along with all other road uses, and would eliminate most if not all of the blocking of the bike lane.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

If you want to encourage biking, tolling of bike traffic is not the way to do that.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 11:02 am • linkreport

I thought you mean tolling the lane. Charging for publicly provided bike parking in that part of downtown would charge cyclists who do not use the bike lane (both those who don't use L street, and those who bike in the regular lanes), would fail to charge those who bike through but don't park in the area, and would fail to charge those who park in privately provided spaces (including in their building garages).

You seem to think that parking charges are a way to indirectly toll roads, rather than a means to, you know, allocate parking.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 6, 2013 11:03 am • linkreport

goldfish,

Are you making a reductio ad absurdum argument to mess with us now?

Because I will gladly welcome a point where we have so many cyclists on city streets that we have to come up with solutions for parking them all. But since that isn't a problem today I'm not going to worry about it.

by drumz on May 6, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

"If you want to encourage biking, trolling of bike traffic is not the way to do that. "

oh wait, you said tolling. Sorry.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 6, 2013 11:05 am • linkreport

Are you making a reductio ad absurdum argument to mess with us now?

While I agree that what I have been arguing has its absurdities, I think the point remains, and unfortunately, is one way to solve the problem -- delivery trucks blocking the bike lane.

Delivery trucks need lanes to make deliveries, and they probably are willing to pay for the privilege. Bicyclists do not pay for the exclusive use of the lane, so it is reasonable to request a payment from them.

So sell it to the highest bidder.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

And that's unworkable, because again, the city has an interest to increase the number of people cycling. The way to do that is bike lanes. Nice ones.

Meanwhile delivery trucks already have legal options and many choose to ignore them. While I'm definitely open to discussing how to make loading easier/create more loading zones to eliminate the problem I won't do it if it comes at the expense of making cycling less safe. Nor does it makes sense to just allow it happen as is.

by drumz on May 6, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

the city has an interest to increase the number of people cycling. The way to do that is bike lanes.

A minor interest, to be sure. The city has a far stronger interest in increasing its tax revenue, which is done by charging user fees for its resources; for the same reason it has a far stronger interest in encouraging commerce, so that people can work and pay taxes. Delivery trucks outscore bicycles on both.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

No they don't. So far no one has refused to locate in DC because they feel as if delivery drivers are being treated unfairly (they aren't, and if they are then you must consider how cyclists are treated as well). Nor has any delivery company refused to deliver to a business in DC because of those reasons. Apparently commerce is doing fine. So we can let that carry on while promoting cycling which will help lower the cities bills by improving traffic, safety, and air quality.

by drumz on May 6, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

The city is not in the business of increasing revenue for the sake of increasing revenue (or at least I hope it's not). It is in the business of balancing whatever uses are in demand (such as bicycling, pedestrians, loading, parking, motor vehicles, etc).

by Dave on May 6, 2013 11:29 am • linkreport

And yes we do need the money. To cite only one example, there have been a number if articles here on GGE describing how DCPS is going under, falling to the charters because there isn't enough money.

In that case, why not auction off school buildings? Developers who want to build luxury condos can bid on the facilities, and parents who want to send their kids to school can raise money via PTA bake sales, and such. At the end of the day, whomever raises more will "win" the school buildings.

Makes about as much sense as "[seeing] who is willing to pay more, the delivery trucks or the bicyclists".

by oboe on May 6, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

But that is a wash, because the delivery truck drivers also pay that.

Well, I'm not sure the "drivers" do, but nonetheless - yes, all users pay for road use, so your statement that "Bicyclists pay nothing" is wrong. I'm glad to see you admit that you were wrong.

by David C on May 6, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

I'm not convinced those are good enough reasons to violate the normal "single-direction-bike-LANE-goes-on-the-right" rule

Is that a RULE. According to who. Because DDOT violates that rule on the other two cycletracks in the city (15th, Penn) and on some bike lanes.

Sticking to the right side rule would allow the loading zone on left situation to continue, as it was before the bike lane, and is continued informally (and illegally) now...Remember that loading needs to be accommodated along with all other road uses, and would eliminate most if not all of the blocking of the bike lane.

OK, but what about the loading zones on the right? Wouldn't we just be moving the problem to there?

put the bike lane on the right where it really should be?

Why SHOULD it be there? You've given me no reason.

by David C on May 6, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

The city has a far stronger interest in increasing its tax revenue, which is done by charging user fees for its resources...

Nonsense. The city can increase its tax revenue far more by providing the services that upper middle-class residents desire (including bike lanes) than it can by offering minor subsidies to UPS and FedEx. We can choose another 100k of residents paying income tax on $80k+ income every year or we can keep UPS happy.

by oboe on May 6, 2013 11:44 am • linkreport

Bicyclists do not pay for the exclusive use of the lane, so it is reasonable to request a payment from them.

No it really isn't. It's, in fact, completely unreasonable and I think you know it. There is no way to do it - for starters. And it runs counter to other very serious concerns.

There is a workable way to solve it.

1. Use performance parking on the south side to make sure that parking is always available for deliver vehicles.

2. Ticket the bejezus out of those who park illegally in the cycle track.

3. Hot tub with swimsuit models. I'm actually not sure how this helps, but it always seems like a good idea to me.

Delivery trucks now have a legal option that is at a price they're willing to pay (and lower than paying the tickets) so that's a win. The cycle track will remain free of obstructions, so that's a win. And with the added revenue we could even drop the tax on off-street parking so that drivers don't lose on net. So it's a draw.

The only losers in my plan are the swimsuit models.

by David C on May 6, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

"Because DDOT violates that rule on the other two cycletracks in the city (15th, Penn) and on some bike lanes."

Bidirectional cycle tracks can go anywhere since they are bidirectional.

"OK, but what about the loading zones on the right? Wouldn't we just be moving the problem to there?"

I'm suggesting having a formal loading zone on one side only...the left side of L. It's not necessary to have formal loading zones on each side, as delivery people can and do cross the street with their loads.

"Why SHOULD the bike lane be on the right where it really should be?"

Mainly because in the absence of formal bike lanes, most people tend to bike on the right side, with traffic, except when turning left...which is the safest way to bike, anyway, as bikes are slower than motor vehicles. As above, I make exceptions for protected bike lanes and the cycle track down the middle of Pennsylvania Ave.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

Oops I meant single, one-directional bike lanes should be on the right as much as possible. I call that "Dave's Rule" LOL

by Dave on May 6, 2013 12:02 pm • linkreport

Bidirectional cycle tracks can go anywhere since they are bidirectional.

Nonetheless, it contradicts your point about where cycle tracks should go. And what about Penn?

I'm suggesting having a formal loading zone on one side only.

This is the current situation, except the loading zones are on the right and the bike lane on the left.

Mainly because in the absence of formal bike lanes, most people tend to bike on the right side, with traffic, except
when turning left.

So, it's cultural?

which is the safest way to bike, anyway, as bikes are slower than motor vehicles.

Is it the safest way to bike? Even on an urban street where bikes can and often do move as fast or faster than cars?

Besides, what of the fact that there are more driveways on the south side and more drivers turn right? Your whole argument seems to be "The cycle track should be on the right because that's where I think bikes belong." And that is some particularly weak sauce. Especially compared to the very real technical reasons DDOT had for putting it where it is and the evidence that contradicts your belief that this is where bike lanes should go.

by David C on May 6, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

So I think in this case, the single-directional bike lane (protected or not) and car parking should both be on the right side of L, while the left side of L should be a loading zone. Clearly there is too much demand for loading here to do otherwise, and this seems to be the best overall traffic solution.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

Dave, I'm going to go with Mike Goodno and the professionals at DDOT and their technical reasons for putting it where it is rather than your gut.

by David C on May 6, 2013 12:10 pm • linkreport

Forgetting about our several distracting side-tangents off the post topic LOL I don't see how to otherwise resolve the conflict between bikes and the de facto condition of loading room on the left but not on the right. Which leads to the continued blocking of the left-hand bike lane. When all this could be solved by putting the single-directional bike lane on the right.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 12:16 pm • linkreport

Seems like DDOT has made things worse by putting the bike lane on the left, not the right. Their call, I suppose :-)

by Dave on May 6, 2013 12:18 pm • linkreport

Dave, I'm not being clear.

Right now, there are loading zones on the right. Delivery trucks are using them. They're also parking illegally on the left. From the original post

"Most blocks of L Street now combine some dedicated loading zones and short-term metered parking along the south side of the street. In my observation, the loading zones are nearly always occupied with delivery vehicles, suggesting that drivers are willing to use them provided they can find a space. Likewise, the metered parking on the street is consistently occupied as well, typically by passenger vehicles."

So flipping the two would result in the EXACT SAME situation just reversed. Why do you think reversing it would fix the problem?

by David C on May 6, 2013 12:21 pm • linkreport

If the lane were on the right, trucks making deliveries on the that side of the street would park in the bike lane.

The lane needs better separation so trucks can't get into it in the first place.

by MLD on May 6, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

Separation of lanes (or usages) ... now we are talking. How best to accomplish this?

It sounds like, in addition to my suggestion, loading should then be limited to the left side, coupled with the proper level of enforcement. Perhaps my right-side bike lane should be protected by a parking lane and sufficient bollards to prevent any blocking of the bike lane. OR more bollards could be added to the current left-side bike lane, while permitting (and encouraging) loading immediately outside this bike lane, which would prevent delivery vehicles from blocking the bike lane, as they can then walk their dolly carts across the bike lane, while yielding to bikes, of course :-)

by Dave on May 6, 2013 1:03 pm • linkreport

Dave,

There isn't room for a parking lane between the cycletrack and traffic. DDOT considered it and then rejected it for this reason. You can learn all about the design process in some older posts on this blog. Click on the L and M Street bike lanes link below the article.

by David C on May 6, 2013 1:10 pm • linkreport

It looks like the left-side bike lane is inconsistent ... against the curb in some places and a parking lane is to it's left in other places. In the curbside areas, it appears to be of vehicle width, which doesn't exactly help to discourage trucks from parking there for loading purposes.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

Also, doesn't "cycle track" refer only to bidirectional bike lanes, such as on 15th and Pennsylvania? If so, to call a one-way bike lane a cycle track only adds to the confusion.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 2:16 pm • linkreport

OK the reason why right-side bike lanes are preferred is because bikes are the slowest wheeled traffic in the street (faster than any pedestrians in a street). On roads, the slowest traffic must stay right except to pass, legally speaking. There are provisions in the laws of various states requiring cyclists to stay as far right as practicable, except to turn left, or wording to that effect.

by Dave on May 6, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

Dave, no. From wikipedia...

"Cycle tracks may be one-way or two-way, and may be at road level, at sidewalk level, or at an intermediate level. They all share in common some separation from motor traffic with bollards, car parking, barriers or boulevards."

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by David C on May 6, 2013 3:04 pm • linkreport

There are provisions in the laws of various states requiring cyclists to stay as far right as practicable, except to turn left, or wording to that effect.

Not on one way streets. In DC the law is to stay as far left or as far right as practicable on one-way street.

by David C on May 6, 2013 3:05 pm • linkreport

upper middle-class residents desire (including bike lanes)

Gotta say, @oboe, that of the many, many upper middle class DC residents I know, I never heard a single one express a desire for bike lanes on L street downtown. They want better schools, better government, fewer guns, lower crime, better transit, nicer parks. But not downtown bike lanes.

More tax revenue will enable the city to fulfill these desires, and as many of them work downtown, I will bet they are rather sympathetic to helping the delivery drivers make their rounds -- so they can get the stuff they need so they can continue to make gobs of money.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 9:54 pm • linkreport

@oboe: why not auction off school buildings?

They do. Hine was more or less an auction.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 10:00 pm • linkreport

More tax revenue will enable the city to fulfill these desires...

Well, the point is moot, since your plan would never raise any revenue. You can't toll cyclists, and delivery companies are not going to pay to park when they park basically for free right now. So if the goal is to raise revenue, then your suggestion is a massive failure.

by David C on May 6, 2013 10:03 pm • linkreport

@Davd C: how do you think bicyclist should pay for the privilege of making an "Idaho stop" ?

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 10:27 pm • linkreport

They have an should pay with time. Time spent educating the public and lobbying elected officials.

by drumz on May 6, 2013 10:39 pm • linkreport

how do you think bicyclist should pay for the privilege of making an "Idaho stop" ?

I don't think they should have to pay for it at all, no more than you pay for the privilege of walking on the sidewalk.

by David C on May 6, 2013 10:42 pm • linkreport

@David C: walking on public sidewalk is a legally granted right of passage, not a privilege. Idaho stops, otoh, are currently illegal.

So then you think bicyclist should break the law as a part of their normal operations. This is similar to bisinesses breaking the law as part of their business plan.

Should the Idaho stop just be accepted, despite its safety problems? But this is a choice a bicyclist makes; it is totally possible for them to follow the law.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 11:00 pm • linkreport

Well if we wanted delivery driers to follow the law out of a sense of law abiding justice that would be hypocritical. But since its been pointed out that's not the case and the issue is that drivers who block te bike lane make it more dangerous for the cyclists then its perfectly consistent to want to see that law enforced even while advocating for an Idaho stop.

Meanwhile if I'm ever stopped on my bike for rolling through an intersection I'll pay the ticket rather, I'll even consider it a cost of doing business.

by drumz on May 6, 2013 11:12 pm • linkreport

Idaho stops, otoh, are currently illegal.

A distinction without relevance.

So then you think bicyclist should break the law as a part of their normal operations.

I think we should change the law.

Should the Idaho stop just be accepted, despite its safety problems?

What safety problems?

But this is a choice a bicyclist makes; it is totally possible for them to follow the law.

Yep. And if they get caught, the'll have to pay a fine. What's your point?

by David C on May 6, 2013 11:13 pm • linkreport

@Drumz: bicyclists blowing through stop signs and stop lights endanger others besides themselves. They cause panic stops, which are disruptive and dangerous, and do not contribute to the regular, predictable flow of traffic that is necessary for safety. Probably the Idaho stop is far worse the a delivery truck blocking the bike lane.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 11:19 pm • linkreport

"Blowing through a stop"

!=the Idaho stop

by drumz on May 6, 2013 11:24 pm • linkreport

!=the Idaho stop

right, but it contributes to lax attitudes about following traffic laws, and thus, "blowing through a stop."

I gotta wonder about Idaho. It ranks 44th of state population density (DC is above the #1 state, NJ). So I imagine there a lots of stop signs passed by a bicyclist, in which at the time there are no other vehicles within a mile. Nothing like DC.

by goldfish on May 6, 2013 11:33 pm • linkreport

What does population density of the state have to do with it? Boise is a city. No Idaho and DC are not identical, but the ways they're different don't matter to the ways that intersections work.

But if there's just too much space for you, Paris has the same law. And so do many other cities in Europe.

"Several smaller cities in France have already implemented these rules and in a set of surprisingly similarly timed moves, other cities across Europe have also taken steps recently to let bikes blow through reds this month."

by David C on May 6, 2013 11:45 pm • linkreport

So the Idaho stop is either ineffective e because DC is too dense or it will work too well and cause people to just blow through stops. (Which will still be illegal even with an Idaho stop law).

This proves that we should rip up the L street bike lane and force WABA to personally compensate all those harmed by being forced to park somewhere they weren't supposed to.

by drumz on May 6, 2013 11:58 pm • linkreport

but the ways they're different don't matter to the ways that intersections work.

The way an intersection work depends on the attitude and assumptions of the drivers and bicyclists approaching it. There is a world of difference between the hyper law-abiding westerners in low-stress, low population towns and cities compared to the anything-goes, gtfoomw attitude taken by the high-stress, busy and entitled easterners that routinely flout the law.

Paris does not have law-abiding and safe traffic. This is not a model to emulate.

by goldfish on May 7, 2013 12:07 am • linkreport

That's brilliant goal post moving. Now it's just that places are too law abiding or too disrespectful of the law can implement a tweak to intersection laws that recognize the intrinsic differences between motor vehicles and bicycles. Apparently DC is in a no mans land where traffic is imperfect balance and any changes will implode the city.

Anyway, don't block the bike lane because that makes it dangerous for cyclists. It's the person driving the multi ton vehicle who should be aware of the killing potential they have and they should drive and act accordingly. If you see a cyclist run a stop light be thankful that thy don't have to learn the lesson the hard way. Meanwhile the best way to make cycling safer is to get more people on bikes (including myself now that I have to get a new one) so we will need the infrastructure of bike lanes and such all over the city.

by drumz on May 7, 2013 12:24 am • linkreport

There is a world of difference between the hyper law-abiding westerners in low-stress, low population towns and cities compared to the anything-goes, gtfoomw attitude taken by the high-stress, busy and entitled easterners that routinely flout the law.

OK, let's try this a different way. Can you name a traffic law that works in Idaho but has been a complete failure in DC or vice-versa? If they're truly so different, then we should expect to see that manifest itself in some visible way, right?

by David C on May 7, 2013 8:51 am • linkreport

C'mon David, are you really so unwilling to accept any level of lawful recognition by cyclists that you are truthfully saying that biking in some podunk city with 1/5th the population density and 1/3rd the population is the same as biking in DC?

Can you name another city even half the size of DC in the US where Idaho stops are legal? Can you name any cities the same size or larger?

You are apprently allowed to ride your bike on any sidewalk, city or not in Idaho. Why is cycling in the downtown business district illegal for cyclist here? Could it possibly have something to do with the number of pedestrians on the sidewalk?

by Argile on May 7, 2013 9:36 am • linkreport

Read this,

http://bikeportland.org/2009/01/14/idaho-stop-law-faq-13387

Clearly, advocating for a new law means that you want to have it on the books just so you can have another broken law to cross off on your list.

by drumz on May 7, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

are you really so unwilling to accept any level of lawful recognition by cyclists that you are truthfully saying that biking in some podunk city with 1/5th the population density and 1/3rd the population is the same as biking in DC?

This is a wildly unfair Yes/No question as both answers are wrong. Please ask it again so that it's fair.

Can you name another city even half the size of DC in the US where Idaho stops are legal? Can you name any cities the same size or larger?

No. Why does the size of the city matter? Right now, I've given you some data that supports the idea that the Idaho stop is safer than the status quo in DC. You've given no data to contradict it. So no matter how much you discount the data I've given it will always outweigh the nothing you've given.

. Why is cycling in the downtown business district illegal for cyclist here?

It's not. People ride in the CBD all the time. It's totally legal. There are even cycle-tracks there for you to ride in.

by David C on May 7, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

The sentence above should have read

"You are apprently allowed to ride your bike on any sidewalk, city or not in Idaho. Why is cycling "on sidewalks" in the downtown business district illegal for cyclist here?"

by Argile on May 7, 2013 10:06 am • linkreport

Why does it matter? What point does it prove? It has nothing to do with how a cyclist should behave at a stop-light/sign.

by drumz on May 7, 2013 10:10 am • linkreport

There are LOADS of times I've come to an intersection in FFX county and there are no cars or other cyclists around. You can wait five minutes or more for one to show up.

I'm not sure what that has to do with the L Street bike lane though.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 7, 2013 10:32 am • linkreport

Why is cycling "on sidewalks" in the downtown business district illegal for cyclist here?"

Because the DC Council passed a law making it so.

by David C on May 7, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

I think we should change the law.

Well this shows that you do not agree with all laws, particularly those which you find to be inconvenient. So likewise, I expect that delivery truck drivers feel the same way about blocking the bike lane on L Street.

See? It is easy to demonstrate how people oppose laws when it is in their interest. And they usually can back up their arguments. Problem is to figure out when such arguments are legitimate or not.

The nice thing about economics is all these arcane discussions of "right" vs. "wrong" become irrelevant; you just sell to the highest bidder. We constantly read here how the DCC RPP sticker is underpriced compared to the "market rate". So if economics is good enough to decide how parking is allocated, it is good enough to decide on how to use this lane.

by goldfish on May 7, 2013 8:46 pm • linkreport

Problem is to figure out when such arguments are legitimate or not.

No that isn't the problem. The problem here is that drivers are parking in the bike lane. Everyone agrees that that is the problem. One solution to the problem is to enforce existing law. You don't think that will do it because it's just the cost of doing business, so I noted that - while I disagree - if you're right then raising the penalty to some value X will change the calculation so that they stop.

None of this has anything to do with cyclists running red lights. That was mentioned upthread in an attempt to show that I'm a hypocrite, because I believe that this law should be enforced but that the other law should not. I explained that I don't think that makes me a hypocrite because I support one law but think the other should be changed. If delivery men do not think that parking in the bike lane should be illegal and that therefore it should not be enforced then they are also not hypocrites. Hooray, no one is a hypocrite.

But for the time being, we still have what everyone agrees is a problem - and strong enforcement is still a solution. And none of that has anything to do with cyclist behavior at stop signs.

So if economics is good enough to decide how parking is allocated, it is good enough to decide on how to use this lane.

Fine, how do you propose we use economics to decide how to use this lane? How exactly would that work?

by David C on May 7, 2013 9:16 pm • linkreport

Lol. Brilliant.

You can go back and read again how it's ok to want to change one law but enforce the other one and the specific reasons why. Besides, the city already decided how they feel by building the bike lane and planning many others.

And you'll have to tell me the important public safety interest in discussing the best way to allocate street parking. Because otherwise I'm gonna have to write that one off as a great example of a false equivalency.

by drumz on May 7, 2013 9:21 pm • linkreport

David C: Fine, how do you propose we use economics to decide how to use this lane? How exactly would that work?

You just made me realize I was arguing with the wrong person; sorry.

by goldfish on May 8, 2013 11:28 pm • linkreport

Apology accepted.

by David C on May 8, 2013 11:55 pm • linkreport

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