Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Bike lanes could let cyclists avoid H Street streetcar tracks

Between heavy car traffic and the upcoming streetcar, H Street can be an intimidating place for some bicyclists. DDOT wants to give them an alternative with new bike lanes on parallel streets.


Photo by Richard Drdul on Flickr.

Mike Goodno, bike planner for the District Department of Transportation, has prepared several options for G and I streets NE. Among the proposals are contraflow bike lanes, which would allow two-way bicycle travel on what are now one-way streets. This gives bicyclists an alternative to riding on H Street.

DDOT's 2005 Bicycle Master Plan already includes bike lanes for G and I streets. Parts of the plan are already in place, like bike lanes on 2nd, 4th, and 6th Streets NE. A larger DDOT reconstruction and safety project is also looking at bike lanes on Maryland Avenue.


Photo by DDOTDC on Flickr.

Streetcar tracks can be hazardous for bicyclists because bicycle tires can slip on the rails or get stuck in them, causing riders to fall. That doesn't mean bikes and streetcars can't coexist, and many world cities have extensive bike and streetcar networks. Small design features can help cyclists better cross streetcar tracks at an angle that minimizes danger, for instance.

But especially for cyclists less experienced riding around streetcar lines, the tracks pose a hazard. M. Loren Copsey has seen many crashes as owner of The Daily Rider, a bike shop on H Street. He says that they have had "numerous customers come into the shop directly after a fall with injuries and damaged bikes."

Last week, Copsey says he "saw a cyclist in the streetcar lane get caught and thrown over the handlebars. The first thing he said was that he was glad there wasn't a vehicle behind him when he fell. Thankfully he wasn't injured."

DDOT has a two-pronged approach to keeping bicyclists safe in this corridor. One is to educate riders on the dangers streetcar tracks can pose. Warning signs could go at Capital Bikeshare stations or be painted on to the roadway itself. There are currently some text-only signs on lightposts, but some could be replaced by more graphic warnings like this one in Portland.

The other way is to offer bicyclists the choice of another nearby route. That's what Arlington County is doing along the future Columbia Pike streetcar line. They're turning two parallel streets, one on either side of Columbia Pike, into "bike boulevards," low-speed streets designed to give bicyclists an alternative to a busier street where there isn't room for bike lanes.

Today, G and I streets are about 30 feet wide and contain 2 7-foot parking lanes and one 16-foot travel lane, which is wider than a normal 9-foot travel lane. DDOT is looking at 4 ways to use that extra space for bicyclists:

Option 1 paints sharrows in the primary direction of travel, with no provision for bicyclists to travel in the opposite direction. This is only a small step above a "no build" option. Riders could need up to a 4-block detour to legally reach a destination if they don't want to ride at all on H Street.

Option 2 also paints sharrows in the primary direction and adds a contraflow bike lane on the left side of the roadway, between parked cars and the primary travel lane. Any drivers trying to park would need to cross the bike lane. However, drivers will not be backing into the lane, improving visibility. The hazard of doors opening into the bike lane would be less because they would be passenger doors, which open less often.


Drawings from DDOT.

Option 3 converts parking to be diagonal along only one side of the street, with a contraflow bike lane on the opposite side. Cars would not need to cross into this area, so bollards or a curb could protect it from the rest of traffic. This option may be the safest configuration for bicyclists, but would take away some parking spaces.

Option 4 converts both streets to 2-way traffic, with painted sharrows in each direction. In addition to allowing biking in both directions, this change could alleviate congestion in the area by reducing the number of turns and increasing the number of alternative routes to H Street. However, this option may increase the chances drivers would hit parked cars.

These options could also help residents find parking spaces. Each block has between 24 and 30 spaces today. Under options 1, 2 and 4, no on-street parking spaces would disappear, while option 3 would mean 4-6 fewer spaces on each block.

Streetcars and bikes happily coexist in cities from Philadelphia to Amsterdam, and they can in DC as well. On some future streetcar corridors, there may be room for bicyclists to get their own lanes. Meanwhile, in areas like H Street where there isn't room for bike lanes, it's good to provide an alternative route for those bicyclists who may not feel safe riding on a busy street.

Tony Goodman is an ANC Commissioner for 6C06 in Near Northeast/NoMA and member of the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he is a Construction Project Manager with a Masters degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan and has lived in Washington, DC since 2002. 

Comments

Add a comment »

Unfortunately, both of these streets run into a dead-end wall at the railroad tracks. We need a safe routes for cyclists that will allow those of us east of the tracks to get to the west side of town, and vice versa.

There was talk of lanes on K Street, which is the only option that would make it far enough across town without obstacles to work well. What happened to them?

by Geoffrey Hatchard on May 8, 2013 12:45 pm • linkreport

If there is going to be diagonal parking, it should be "back in, head out" parking(there are different names for it). It's far safer for cyclists, drivers (and their cars), and vehicle passengers.

by thump on May 8, 2013 12:45 pm • linkreport

No No No - diagonal parking - please don't do that. It looks bad, it reduces parking when other options exist, and people will park nose first and back into bikes and cars. I think that is a lose-lose-lose option.

by dirteng on May 8, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

I personally went over my handle bars after my tires were caught in street car tracks just a couple months ago.

It was really frightening but I wasn't injured and learned a hard lesson that will likely prevent me from ever having it happen again. I can just imagine how frequent something like this would be with new riders using the bikeshare...

by Owen on May 8, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

Geoff: I agree, hopefully K & Florida can be improved next. Maryland Ave will also be a helpful route to portions of downtown.

Thump: I should have clarified that DDOT intends the diagonal parking to be back-in, pull-out. You're right that this is safer for all.

by Tony Goodman on May 8, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

Another reason to wear a helmet.

by 202_cyclist on May 8, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

I ride G Street everyday to work. It's in need of repaving on some blocks, but it's great for biking now. Low traffic volume, four-way stops at every intersection, when you get to 2nd Street you can go right to get to K St or left to get to Mass Ave. Short of painting a bike lane, I don't think there's a need for anything more extensive. Option 2, 3 and 4 seem like solutions in search of a problem that doesn't exist.

by MD Ave on May 8, 2013 1:43 pm • linkreport

Option 4 is a pain. A poorly parked car, a double parked vehicle, or a delivery vehicle, and traffic is blocked. I hope they avoid that.

Option 3 removes parking. This seems unnecessary considering G and I are wide, single travel lane, residential 25 mph zones with stop signs at every block. We ought to be able to fit bikes safely into this without removing parking.

Option 2….“The hazard of doors opening into the bike lane would be less because they would be passenger doors, which open less often”. If we can avoid conflicts, shouldn’t we try to avoid it altogether? Without a 14-15’ bike lane + parking lane curb clearance, the bike lane will end up in the door zone. I’d prefer a sharrow here. It looks to be a fairly slow moving stretch. Sharrows ought to suffice.

Option 1. The cheapest, easiest, and what I see as the best option. May also be the safest for cyclists, as I would assume you’re more likely to get hit by a diagonally parked vehicle pulling in/out than a vehicle directly behind you. The whole "Riders could need up to a 4-block detour to legally reach a destination" is a minor point. You’re on a bike. You’re not running up mountains here. Salmoning cyclists are annoying and will always exist no matter what gets done. Even roads with bike lanes in both directions have salmoning cyclists using the wrong side of the road. We shouldn’t cater to their ways when safe, simple, legal options are readily available and they have just chosen to ignore them.

by UrbanEngineer on May 8, 2013 1:43 pm • linkreport

While riding on rails is tricky, the issue that isn't really discussed with H Street NE is that it acts as a suburban commuter artery. Cars then to go at speeds higher than the posted limit, which contributes to jitters for bicyclists.

by Randall M. on May 8, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

Thanks Tony, I didn't look closely enough at first but noticed that was the case after I posted.

@dirteng-I won't comment on the aesthetics of it, but angled parking actually increases parking spaces. As for the "pulling out" problem of running into things, that's why back in, head out parking is far superior

by thump on May 8, 2013 1:48 pm • linkreport

@MD Ave - As a fellow regular biker of G and I streets, I agree. I wish they would repave that section of G Street in front of the elementary school between 7th and 6th. It's awful, particularly on the bikeshare bikes.

It would be nice to have lanes going each way on both streets though. It's a pain to have to have to cross H Street twice and bike four extra blocks to get where I'm going legally, but in the grand scheme of things it's a relatively minor inconvenience.

by MetMet on May 8, 2013 1:53 pm • linkreport

I think Contraflow bike lanes would be great. I live on this stretch of G Street north of H. It is a nice ride going east, but to go west one must ride H or go another long block out of your way to ride F. Unfortunately, I see lots of bikers everyday dangerously riding the wrong way on G Street, but I can understand why. H Street is pretty scary with all the speeding commuters and streetcar tracks. I avoid riding on H if at all possible.

by H Man on May 8, 2013 1:54 pm • linkreport

UrbanEngineer, what you see as annoying behavior a good traffic engineer will see as a desire line. Are you saying that on a street like this, cyclists will choose to ride against traffic outside of the bike lane made for that purpose? That seems incredible to me.

by David C on May 8, 2013 2:00 pm • linkreport

New Hampshire Ave between T and V streets has back-in parking and a contraflow lane and I haven't experienced any problems. I would say options 2 and 3 look the best. But could option 2 place the contraflow lane on the other side of the parking and have a buffer zone? An 18' travel lane (even with sharrows) seems like it would invite pretty high speeds. You could do a smaller travel lane and a wider cycletrack sheltered by the parking.

by MLD on May 8, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

I agree fully with MD Ave. and UrbanEngineer - anything but Option 1 is, frankly, a solution for a non-issue.

Assuming a cyclist would have to make the four block-detour AND two left turns, the absolute worst case scenario possible under option 1, that cyclist would spend a grand total of 2 minutes extra on his or her ride. And most likely, the total time would be less than two minutes.

But even if two minutes and four blocks is just too much to ask, there is still another solution for legally reaching your destination that doesn't require more paint (or worse yet, concrete) - dismounting and walking your bicycle on the sidewalk the one or two blocks between where you can no longer continue legally riding without having to detour and your final destination.

by Ryan on May 8, 2013 2:25 pm • linkreport

@MLD: An 18' travel lane (even with sharrows) seems like it would invite pretty high speeds.

There are stop signs every block, so high speeds aren't that much of a problem in my experience.

by MetMet on May 8, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

David C,

I've had cyclists salmon towards me on streets with infrastructure designed for their direction of travel available to them on the other side of the street. It happens.

I have no idea what % of cyclists go out of their way on G, H, or I to go with the flow of traffic versus those that elect to salmon. Is it a huge desire line we’re talking about or just a sliver? I would like to see that data prior to seeing designs that cater to it.

by UrbanEngineer on May 8, 2013 2:31 pm • linkreport

I've had cyclists salmon towards me on streets with infrastructure designed for their direction of travel available to them on the other side of the street. It happens.

The point isn't whether it happens or not, it's the frequency with which it happens.

Which scenario will invite more salmoning?
1. Street where you can only go one direction legally, the option for going the other way is 2 blocks away.
2. Streets where you can go both directions legally.

Seems like the obvious answer is 2. The reality is that I rarely (but sometimes) see people salmon on two-way streets. On the one way street I live on I see it daily.

Option 1 is essentially the status quo, I can't see that you've provided a convincing argument for this over #2.

by MLD on May 8, 2013 2:41 pm • linkreport

anything but Option 1 is, frankly, a solution for a non-issue...the absolute worst case scenario possible under option 1, that cyclist would spend a grand total of 2 minutes extra on his or her ride.

Well, that 2 minutes is the issue. So, I think you've undermined your own argument. A 2 minute detour is a real issue, and these other designs address it. Disagree with the solution or not, we can no longer call this a solution in search of a problem. You've clearly stated the exact problem.

by David C on May 8, 2013 2:43 pm • linkreport

I've had cyclists salmon towards me on streets with infrastructure designed for their direction of travel available to them on the other side of the street. It happens.

But it sounds like those streets are very different from this. It sounds like you're talking about a two-way street. Do you think cyclists will salmon on THIS street if there is a contraflow bike lane on it? For a design like this, I don't think it happens.

Is it a huge desire line we’re talking about or just a sliver?

Let's say it is 1% of cyclists, what is the downside of Option 2? What percentage would it have to be to justify Option 3?

by David C on May 8, 2013 2:47 pm • linkreport

Option 2 is my pick.

For what it's worth, I've seen *way* more people salmoning (our own verb!) on I Street than G Street.

As a cyclist who also drives, I can't support the diagonal parking option, that would get rid of way too many spaces in neighborhoods (especially near the parks) where parking is already scarce in the evenings.

by washingtonian on May 8, 2013 3:04 pm • linkreport

Doesn't it look like the bike in the sign doesn't have a front wheel? Maybe that's a bigger issue than the streetcar tracks.

by drumz on May 8, 2013 3:38 pm • linkreport

Speaking of FL Ave and K St NE, is there any timeframe for when DDOT will be modifying/evaluating them?

FL Ave can be frankly scary to ride and K St is a great east/west corridor when not avoiding buses and cars flying past to cut you off and slam on their brakes at the next red light (inevitably in a block or two).

Now that H St. is done and a good suburban arterial, it would seem to be a good time to clean up both K and FL.

by chuck on May 8, 2013 3:40 pm • linkreport

@washingtonian-If you allocate the same amount of space along a curb for diagonal vs. parallel parking, you get more parking in a diagonal scheme. http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/9747/diagonal-parking-does-this-quick-fix-get-us-what-we-want/

by thump on May 8, 2013 4:00 pm • linkreport

What if, along with Option 1, we had a cycle track on F Street, as another option for people heading east? F is surprisingly wide through the neighborhood here, and seems like it would be easy to add even a two-way track without sacrificing any parking. F also ends right at the Union Station CaBi dock.

by Fran on May 8, 2013 4:02 pm • linkreport

Simply reversing the one-way pair, so that G flows east and I flows west, would reduce the distance a cyclist would have to go, by removing the requirement that you cross H St. twice to reach something on "your" side of the street.

Although I typically favor a Dutch approach with fewer road regulations, 30' is at the low end for a successful yield street, and the volumes here are pretty high. As such, approach #2 gets my hesitant vote.

And yes, a four-block detour requiring four additional stops *is* quite an imposition, especially if (a) it's entirely unnecessary and (b) there's an easy fix at hand.

by Payton on May 8, 2013 4:05 pm • linkreport

"I've had cyclists salmon towards me on streets with infrastructure designed for their direction of travel available to them on the other side of the street. It happens."

Many cyclists on G St currently go against traffic flow. It's a problem and an accident waiting to happen. Bikers, and I bike, ignore everyone else and cruise thru intersections without looking or stopping.

G Street is not as wide as people think. Adding any bike lane is not going to help...

Adding a bike lane to G Street will mostly cause all bikers to go down either the high-traffic 2nd Street (or very narrow 3rd Street), particularly those not familiar with the area. Are we going to add a bike lane to 2nd street too? G Street is not a big street suitable for the added traffic that comes with having a painted bike lane.

A better option is F Street. It's a direct route to and from Union Station; it's wider; and can deal with the increased traffic flow from both cars and bikes. That's going to help prevent accidents as bike traffic increases with the new lanes and in general.

And the diagonal parking option? Who are you kidding?

by Frank on May 8, 2013 4:06 pm • linkreport

Why don't people here like Option 4? It seems like a great idea.

Why do they need to be 1-way? It causes needless circling for both cyclists and motorists.

Two-way streets with no middle striping are quintessentially residential and require that everyone be aware because of the unclear centerline. It's actually a really safe approach.

by Joey on May 8, 2013 4:18 pm • linkreport

Bikers, and I bike, ignore everyone else and cruise thru intersections without looking or stopping.

If that were true, we'd have some dead cyclists there. But we don't, so it isn't.

by David C on May 8, 2013 4:18 pm • linkreport

Joey, I like option 4, but doesn't it remove all the parking on one side (30 feet wide, less two 11' lanes only leave 8 feet)?

by David C on May 8, 2013 4:22 pm • linkreport

If option 4 has parking on both sides for multiple blocks, drivers are going to have a conniption when they have to slow down to 10MPH when they come upon another car.

by MLD on May 8, 2013 4:27 pm • linkreport

@ David C

If it were true we would have some bike accidents. People don't have to die to be in a bike accident.

Why the attitude?

by Frank on May 8, 2013 4:36 pm • linkreport

frank, I bike, and both when I bike and drive, I see lots of cyclists who stop, and most who don't at least look. We have bike accidents, sure, but really not nearly as many as we would have if cyclists were shooting through lights without looking - and DaveC is right, we'd surely have fatals too.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 8, 2013 4:46 pm • linkreport

Why the attitude?

Because you painted with a broad and incorrect brush so your comment deserves the ridicule it got.

The truth is that very few bicyclists cruise through intersections without looking or stopping. Because if we did we'd be in pieces on the road. I would think someone who bikes would know that.

by MLD on May 8, 2013 4:57 pm • linkreport

We are over thinking this. In this case, it's not about adding bike lanes or cycletracks on each street, it's about making streets safer by reducing automobile speeds - making everyone pay more attention to what they are doing.

AS MLD mentioned, option 4 does that by coercion, requiring motorists to pay attention to bicyclists, parked cars and on coming traffic. If you visit similarly sized two-way streets in Georgetown for example, motorists appear less willing to speed, allowing bicycles to share the road.

by Randall M. on May 8, 2013 5:09 pm • linkreport

@Randall M.

I agree that option 4 would slow things down, but based on my experience I don't think it's a good fit for a multi-block bicycle connection. The 1700 block of Euclid is like this, and in my experience it is actually sometimes frustrating to use as a cyclist, for several reasons.

One is that cyclists are forced to slow down as well when two cars meet and need to pass. With a contraflow lane and sharrows, this won't happen.

The second is that drivers tend to get frustrated and aggressive when confronted with a cyclist they can't get around due to oncoming traffic. There have been several times when a driver comes up behind me on this short stretch and gets too close and flips out that they can't just zoom by. That makes me as a cyclist feel less safe.

by MLD on May 8, 2013 5:21 pm • linkreport

"Why the attitude"

Because its a distraction tactic and besides not being true i generally off topic.

by drumz on May 8, 2013 5:26 pm • linkreport

The truth is that very few bicyclists cruise through intersections without looking or stopping.

Untrue. Also, I drove in to work today and almost killed a half dozen cyclists.

(And by "almost killed" of course I mean "came within 10 feet of") :)

by oboe on May 8, 2013 5:32 pm • linkreport

@ Joey

Why one way only? Because G Street is in a fairly unique position as a residential street pinched street between two main arteries - Maryland and H. It's the only one (along with I Street) that goes the full length from almost the starburst at 15th to 2nd Street but it isn't as wide both those streets or F Street.

G has become a feeder street for inbound commuter traffic from Maryland Ave down to 2nd street for those seeking to avoid the traffic lights on Maryland and H. I think there is talk of making Maryland one lane on each side with turn lanes at each intersection - that would only push more people onto G Street. Just wait until the trolleys start rolling on H Street and I bet more people will want to avoid H Street too. And then add bike lanes and more bicyclists into the mix.

Making G Street two-way would make it less of a residential street by further increasing the traffic from both H Street and Maryland as drivers seek to avoid that traffic and the backups. We have yet to see how drivers respond to the trolley and how that impacts the driving in the surrounding community and the traffic is still growing.

by Frank on May 8, 2013 5:34 pm • linkreport

@MLD @Drumz

Wow. ridicule. Dang. Distraction tactic? I don't write here often at all but I wondered if I just got trolled.

I see bicyclists blow thru intersections nearly every day. I see bicyclists rounding corners without stopping from 2nd Street onto G Street nearly every day. I see at least one bicyclist going the wrong way on G Street every day. I've nearly hit several because I didn't expect to see them driving toward me. I see at least one bicyclist a week zoom thru intersections and they don't appear to look. No head turning, no nothing. That's not exaggerating.

Adding the additional bike traffic & car traffic that comes with bike lanes going against the flow of traffic on a narrow residential street that already has commuter traffic on it could cause problems. These concerns seem pretty reasonable. I don't know what residential streets in Gtown have bike lanes... are there streets parallel and next to Wisconsin or M Street or K Street that have bike lanes? Is adding a lane to a street like G pretty standard?

by Frank on May 8, 2013 5:39 pm • linkreport

@MLD

I get what you're saying, but bike infrastructure seems to work best on streets that have higher automobile volumes. For example, it makes more sense to add a cycletrack on H street, because there are multiple transportation modes traveling at speeds faster than bikes.

On narrow residential streets, the one or two cars that pass or wait to pass seems less of a danger because they were not moving that fast in the first place (because it's narrow). On these side streets, everyone going a little more slowly, even bicycles, may make the streets safer.

If we build roads in a way that makes drivers "less frustrated", the District would be vast parking lots connected to 20 lane freeways. At some point, drivers will have to exercise 5 or 10 seconds of patience. Making it easier for cars to pass may provide the false impression that even on residential streets, cars can tap on the gas for immediate satisfaction.

by Randall M. on May 8, 2013 5:47 pm • linkreport

Frank,

Because you're argument boils down to that cyclists break laws therefore they don't deserve bike lanes.

A: that is a distraction tactic, it's changing the subject.
B: so? Can you ever imagine a scenario where DDOT refuses to resurface a road because motorists keep speeding?
C: why should cyclists respect the law when most local govt's and PDs refuse to even do the bare minimum to protect cyclists? Maybe DC is better than most places but its hardly a place where a cyclist can ride as if everyone isn't trying to kill him/ her.

by drumz on May 8, 2013 6:26 pm • linkreport

What I don't get is why we aren't looking at actual bike boulevards? I'm glad Tony brought up the Columbia Pike project, because that is really what we should be doing here. Get through traffic off of residential streets and make them safe and comfortable places for people of all abilities to ride a bike. The options presented pale in comparison to the approach in Arlington. There seems to be a hesitancy to actually try this, and I'm not sure why, other than it's new and slightly more challenging.

Regarding the options presented: Option 2 is in use all over Montreal on very similar streets (residential, one-way, parking on both sides) and it works just fine. Option 1 is a complete joke, the "do nothing" option. Option 3 could work, and people do adapt to back-in angled parking with education and enforcement. In NYC, they changed the standard of all angled parking to back-in, and people in all different neighborhoods, income groups, ethnicities, colors and creeds have figured it out, so it can certainly work here. I like Options 2 the best, followed by Option 4, but I prefer a real bike boulevard over all of them.

by Bike Planner on May 8, 2013 6:33 pm • linkreport

I see a lot of drivers completely ignoring bike lanes, treating them as an extension of the driving lane, so I worry about the safety of contraflow bike lanes that aren't physically separated. But if they've been shown to work elsewhere I'm happy to give them a try here. I usually take I Street eastbound and K Street westbound without much trouble, but rush hour is no fun on K so another option would be welcome.

by jimble on May 8, 2013 7:07 pm • linkreport

David C,

“Let's say it is 1% of cyclists, what is the downside of Option 2? What percentage would it have to be to justify Option 3?”

Option 2 They have addressed it by placing a bike lane in the door zone.

I’m not a fan of having bike lanes in door zones, and think it ought to be avoided if at all possible. Although this bike lane is on the passenger side which will result in the doors opening less, cyclists being able to see into the vehicles better, passengers being able to see the cyclists better, and the door will swing shut if you hit it as opposed to swinging open until the hinge is fully extended, I’d still avoid it. Hence I stay away from option 2.

Although I see Option 2 as being the option DDOT goes with because a large number of cyclists in this city are inexperienced and tend to love bike lanes regardless of their location relative to the door zone and they seem to dislike sharrows, while the driving populous, regardless of what the media plays up, loves bike lanes when they don’t remove parking as it aids in getting cyclists out of their way.

Option 3 avoids the bike lane in the door zone, and may even offer a buffered lane, but it does so at the expense of motor vehicle parking.

“4-6 fewer spaces on each block” x 11 blocks (2nd street – 13th street) x 2 streets = 88 – 132 parking spots.

Why prioritize contralflow cycling above of motor vehicle parking? How are you going to get those who use those parking spots to see the benefit of this? This option requires convincing the ANC that removing 88-132 parking spots is beneficial because…why? Because it provides a legal pathway for salmoning cyclists who elect to not take a 2 minute detour? I don’t care if it’s 1% or 50% of cyclists that elects to salmon as opposed to taking the legal 2 minute detour, I’m not seeing the neighborhood biting on this.

by UrbanEngineer on May 8, 2013 7:23 pm • linkreport

If it were true we would have some bike accidents.

We don't have those either. Not in the numbers we would if cyclists were riding as though there were no red lights. Try this, next time you're biking or driving around town and stopped at a light, ask yourself what would have happened if you didn't stop or didn't look. I think you'll see that after a few lights the result of not stopping would be a pretty serious crash. And since most cyclists - even those who run lights - are able to log thousands of miles with a crash, then clearly they are not doing that.

It just appears that they are. But on a bike, you can hear an intersection long before you get to it. You have a lot time approaching the intersection to figure out what's going on. And you slow down, most people don't peddle into a red light. So by the time you get to the intersection, you already know that it's safe to jaybike. And thus it appears to an outside observer that you blew through without looking. But, as noted above, if you did that with any regularity, you'd be dead.

Why the attitude?

What attitude? Explain what you mean.

by David C on May 8, 2013 9:17 pm • linkreport

UrbanEngineer,

So your issue is you just don't like bike lanes next to parking - i.e. almost every bike lane in DC. I think we've seen that they're pretty safe in DC, and there's really no evidence that cyclists are any more likely to get doored in a bike lane than anywhere else but whatever, maybe every bike facility expert in the country is wrong.

Why prioritize contralflow cycling above of motor vehicle parking?

Because helping people move around in a way that is clean, safe, healthy and that reduces congestion is a better use of space than providing ridiculously cheap car storage.

How are you going to get those who use those parking spots to see the benefit of this?

Math. Economics. Science. Etc...

This option requires convincing the ANC that removing 88-132 parking spots is beneficial because…why?

Because it improves transportation in the city.

Because it provides a legal pathway for salmoning cyclists who elect to not take a 2 minute detour?

Mostly yes. Except they aren't salmoning if they are going in the correct direction, which they would be doing.

I don’t care if it’s 1% or 50% of cyclists that elects to salmon as opposed to taking the legal 2 minute detour

Riding in a contraflow bike lane is also legal and no longer salmoning, so we should rewrite this as "I don’t care if it’s 1% or 50% of cyclists that elects to use this bike lane as opposed to taking the legal 2 minute detour." To which I would ask why don't you care about efficient transportation?

by David C on May 8, 2013 9:36 pm • linkreport

@drumz

Ok, re-reading my comment above I see how some could read it as ALL bicyclists break the law. That's not what I'm saying nor what I meant.

What I am saying is that a large percentage of bike travel on G Street, perhaps 25% or more, is already contra flow. That's not good. It's dangerous on a street that is clearly marked as one way. Adding a bike lane, any bike lane, will increase the number of bicyclists going contra flow on G. I don't know how many streets or which streets in Montreal ( as mentioned in a post somewhere here ) have two-way bike lanes on one way streets, but I do not imagine it being safe on G Street.

After I wrote my initial posts I went down G Street once and in this single trip two people were biking side by side in the middle of the road, another was going in the correct direction, and a fourth took a quick corner at 2nd and G without stopping. Forget about the last one as despite this I could see they were paying attention but I would say that generally this is typical on G Street. The two riding in the middle of the street turned onto a numbered street without slowing down or clearly looking if anyone was coming.

Can I tell you how unnerving it is as a car driver to not look for traffic down a one-way road and suddenly see someone biking straight toward you right in the middle of your turn? You think that you're going to hit them. It's not funny. This doesn't happen to me in DC anywhere except G Street. Do bicyclists riding on G Street think it's a safe street to go contra on because it's not as busy? because it's not Maryland or H or Mass, etc. ? I dont know but a significant percentage of biking behavior on G Street is like this.

At intersections when turning I look in crosswalks, I look for cars & bikes going with the flow of traffic, I don't look for cars & bikes going upstream against traffic. I haven't hit anyone yet and I don't want to hit anyone but I think someone will get hit.

Back to the options... Contra-flow sucks and people/bicyclists already do it a lot on G Street. The way people use bike lanes in DC for going both directions no matter the direction of the lane, any lane on G Steet will likely be used as a Contra lane. G Street has less car traffic than one-way roads like 4th and 6th and I have never seen such careless biking on those streets. More bicyclists use G Street than these north/south routes in my opinion because G heads in the direction of Union Station & downtown and because it parallels H.

My bet is more bicyclists will feel safer on G with a bike lane and the current situation will be worse with additional cars also using the street. G Street is a residential street and not a street wide enough or suitable for a bike lane that draws additional traffic. A wider street would be more suitable. I used to live on F Street and at least until it reaches 8th Street it is much wider and more able to safely support a bike lane and the traffic it adds.

A - not trying to distract. These are legitimate residential concerns. I've had a pickup truck turn into me while biking as it turned right and I was going straight. I've almost been flipped over a Miata as it also turned in front of me. It's not fun. It's not a joke.

People I have spoken with don't want a bike lane on G Street due to the street not being wide enough to support the increased traffic ( bike or car ) it will bring. Please don't dismiss the concerns of people despite your disagreement with them.

B - I totally have seen DOT not repave to slow down traffic. Ever see the 600 block of G Street? It's next to a school. It's a miserable block for cars & bikes alike.

C. I hear you are angry and want bike lanes. I don't think that is an excuse or reason for breaking the law. I think it requires obeying the law and engaging others to bring change. I don't think G Street is a street you are going to have a problem on if you are riding with the flow of traffic. The problem is riding down H or Mass or Maryland or K. Can we see a petition and action for those streets where the car drivers are causing a problem?

by Frank on May 8, 2013 10:43 pm • linkreport

Option 1: does nothing. It could however be powerful if all intersections were converted to small islands, removing the stops signs.

Option 2 is simple, but doesn't provide the best facilities. My gut tells me this will be selected.

Option 3: Down side is parking loss. To get support a block by block study of current and proposed parking would need to be conducted. If minimal parking is loss, support from the larger community could happen. I think it is a strong option. Converting the angle parking to residential zone 6 might be a good carrot as well.

Option 4: G is not wide enough for 2 way traffic.

What about school drop off zones?

by Tim on May 8, 2013 10:52 pm • linkreport

Why is it that every time a commenter on this blog, like Frank, for instance, brings up the fact that -- gasp -- cyclists sometimes break the law, they are shouted down?

I live as a pedestrian (not a cyclist, not an automobile driver) in this exact neighborhood. 7th and G, to be exact. And from my 10 years of living in this neighborhood, I've found that cyclists feel that the stop signs and traffic signals are mere suggestions. The problem has gotten about 500 times worse since Bikeshare was started.

The best times are when two cyclists are approaching an controlled-stop intersection from perpendicular directions. Neither, of course, bothers to stop, or even slow down. So they almost hit each other, and then yell at each other for being such awful cyclists.

This happens at least once a week in my neighborhood.

by GStreet on May 8, 2013 11:03 pm • linkreport

perhaps 25% or more, is already contra flow. That's not good. It's dangerous on a street that is clearly marked as one way.... Contra-flow sucks and people/bicyclists already do it a lot on G Street.

But if option 2 or 3 were in place, it would no longer be marked as one-way. In fact, it wouldn't even really be "contra-flow". Bikes would be go with the flow of other bikes - legally. So problem solved.

My bet is more bicyclists will feel safer on G with a bike lane

I hope so.

G Street is a residential street and not a street wide enough or suitable for a bike lane that draws additional traffic.

Wait, bikes don't belong on a residential street? Where do they belong?

People I have spoken with don't want a bike lane on G Street due to the street not being wide enough to support the increased traffic

What does that even mean "Can't support it"? How so? Do you mean there will be traffic congestion?

by David C on May 8, 2013 11:03 pm • linkreport

Why is it that every time a commenter on this blog, like Frank, for instance, brings up the fact that -- gasp -- cyclists sometimes break the law, they are shouted down?

That isn't what happens, so you're question doesn't make any sense.

by David C on May 8, 2013 11:05 pm • linkreport

@ David C

Re Attitude. It smelled like snark to me at the time. Didn't think a post with legitimate concerns mentioned deserved it.

I get what you are saying. I've been there and done it. The problem is that car drivers don't know what you know. They aren't sitting up high on the road the same as you are. They don't know what you know biking. They can't always see bicyclists and until... zoom... in the middle of the intersection or whoa, turning quickly around the corner. It's disrespectful and rude when cars go into the bike lane. It's disrespectful and rude when bicyclists don't follow the rules of the road too and blow thru stop signs and lights. It's bad communication by anyone not following the rules and ig builds resentment against bicyclists and drivers alike.

by Frank on May 8, 2013 11:07 pm • linkreport

Well. We already have a two way lane on 15th street where bikes can ride south while cars only travel north. So far there haven't been any huge problems.

Anyway, DDOT may be slow to resurface some roads but the reason isn't because motorists are scofflaws and thus don't deserve good roads.

I'm not angry but I find it frustrating that we can't ever seem to begin to talk about cycling improvements until we get 100% law obedience. In what other situation is that the case? Why am I responsible for all the people who bike that I don't even know?

I think, barring any technical limitations that G street NE isn't so unique that solutions that work all over the world won't work here.

by drumz on May 8, 2013 11:11 pm • linkreport

The problem is that car drivers don't know what you know.

I agree that many car drivers are ignorant, and that they really shouldn't talk about these things until they educate themselves.

It's disrespectful and rude when cars go into the bike lane.

No, it's dangerous.

It's disrespectful and rude when bicyclists don't follow the rules of the road too and blow thru stop signs and lights.

OK, right there, you can't "get what I'm saying" and talk about cyclists blowing thru stop signs and lights. My whole point is that cyclists don't blow thru stop signs and lights, so clearly you don't get what I'm saying. If cyclists did that it would be unsafe, but they don't.

by David C on May 8, 2013 11:13 pm • linkreport

True but the more people you get cyclig the more they know how to act when they are behind the wheel.

Meanwhile on my bike I usually spend more time at at intersection coasting through than someone who rolls up, stops and then rolls through in their car.

by drumz on May 8, 2013 11:15 pm • linkreport

@ David C

Yeah, snark, whatever, that was it.

Bicyclists *DO* belong on residential streets. Bicyclists *DO* belong on G Street. Bicyclists that don't follow the flow of traffic DON'T belong on G Street. I DO see bicyclists going thru intersections without stopping or even coming close to stopping. Maybe they are aware but it doesn't look like this to others. It's plainly rude.

As I said, the feeling is that G street isn't that wide nor is it designed to be a major road. Adding a bike lane will increase both bike and car traffic which is not desired. Adding a bike lane, any lane, will also encourage contra flow which in my opinion is dangerous. Feel free to disagree but leave the unneeded or uncalled for or trolling, whatever, at home.

@drumz

I'm saying why G street? To anyone who doesn't live here and wants it. Do bicyclists feel unsafe on G Street? If they do and are generally following the law I want to know. Is it really bad biking on G Street?

I'll check out 15th street. Wasn't aware of that. I wasn't aware of DOT really not fixing things for bikes. It took them almost a year to remove a stump near my home. I don't know how things are prioritized.

I'm not personally talking 100% law obedience. Not sure about anyone else. I'm talking this street. I'm talking thinking adding a bike lane here is a bad idea.

I'm asking you now, and anyone who bikes on G Street, to bike with the flow of traffic. Cars can't do it either.

by Frank on May 8, 2013 11:38 pm • linkreport

A: I'm not saying DDOT isn't building bike lanes for that reason but that is an attitude that many people have. That cyclists don't deserve anythig until they stop X.

B. cyclists shouldn't ride the wrong way up the street but that doesn't preclude a situation where there is a means for them to do so (like 15th street, where you couldn't bike south on it. Until you could).

But why G street? Because its already a street that people like to bike on and it's been shown that more people bike the more and better bike lanes you build. So G street is a natural fit in that sense.
Meanwhile, you've it 4 options above and DDOT is still studying it so there is plenty of time to figure it out.

by drumz on May 8, 2013 11:45 pm • linkreport

Thank you @Drumz

I appreciate what you are saying. Where I currently disagree is that bike lanes are best suited when traffic is dangerous or when trying to direct a specific bike route. I don't see traffic as inherently dangerous on G Street at the moment. I'll check out 15th.

Seacrest out...

by Frank on May 9, 2013 12:09 am • linkreport

No problem, my disposition is that whenever you look at a road and ask if a bike lane should be there the burden of proof should rest on why not.

by drumz on May 9, 2013 12:24 am • linkreport

IMO there's a 5th option: from my eyeballing, I believe there's enough width on Eye St to put in a full cycletrack. Tie it into the K St underpass under the railroad. Haven't figured out yet what to do east of 13th St.

by Froggie on May 9, 2013 2:24 am • linkreport

Another vote for focusing on K st.

While G&I are useful on this side of the tracks and have light enough traffic that sharrows might be enough, they don't connect to the west.

Any long term plan needs to turn one lane of the K st underpass into bi-directional bike lanes with the 2/1 lanes of car traffic starting @ 1st NE (or MV square), rather than 2nd. It would be nice to continue this down K to florida, but you could get much of the benefit by going as far as 6th to meet up with the existing north south bike lanes.

by Mike on May 9, 2013 6:24 am • linkreport

Gee, bikes and streetcars do not mix – we knew that in the 19th century. What young brash planning geniuses forgot that fact? How many people each year are going to get slammed face first in to the pavement at 30 mph when their front wheel locks in to one of these tracks? I can see a lot more paralyzing injuries in our “green” future. Just one more unsustainable factoid in the new Car-Free-DC. Good hybrid buses are better hands down.

by AndrewJ on May 9, 2013 7:20 am • linkreport

@Frank
I hear you are angry and want bike lanes. I don't think that is an excuse or reason for breaking the law. I think it requires obeying the law and engaging others to bring change. I don't think G Street is a street you are going to have a problem on if you are riding with the flow of traffic. The problem is riding down H or Mass or Maryland or K. Can we see a petition and action for those streets where the car drivers are causing a problem?
People don't want bike lanes because they are angry - they want bike lanes to make it easier and safer to get around. Bike lanes keep cyclists in predictable places and make interactions between bikes and cars predictable.

The reason that you see lots of people riding against the flow of traffic (salmoning) on G is because of the characteristics of the street - light traffic - and the lack of delineated bike routes elsewhere.

There really is little solution for the problem of people riding against traffic other than to provide people with safe delineated spaces. When you do that, cyclists are predictable to drivers and vice versa. That is what this plan seeks to provide.

You don't have to tell me that cyclists shouldn't bike against traffic - I don't do it because I feel unsafe when doing so. I imagine many of the seasoned cyclists posting here feel the same way.

Where I currently disagree is that bike lanes are best suited when traffic is dangerous or when trying to direct a specific bike route. I don't see traffic as inherently dangerous on G Street at the moment. I'll check out 15th.

They are trying to direct a specific bike route, away from but adjacent to high-traffic streets. I think by saying "bike lanes are best suited when traffic is dangerous" you are saying that bike lanes are for separating bikes from other traffic. This is the correct sentiment but take it out of the box - what better way to separate bikes from heavy traffic then to put them on another street with less traffic?

I don't really understand your objection. You ask "But why G street?" and we have several answers:
1. Lots of bicyclists would like to visit the H Street corridor, currently there is no bike infrastructure along here
2. H St is ill-suited to bikes because of the traffic volume and the streetcar tracks
3. G and I Sts are parallel to H and so could provide access to the corridor
4. G and I Sts have low auto traffic and lower speeds so they are safer and well-suited to bike traffic

The other part is "why this contraflow design," and the answer is because:
1. Cyclists are already using these low-traffic streets in this way, but illegally
2. The streets are wide enough that we can incorporate a contraflow lane without disrupting parking or auto traffic flow
3. Contraflow lanes allow for more bike connectivity in legal ways and provide predictable places for bikes to be.

It doesn't seem to me that you've answered "why NOT G street" other than to say "bikes should be on high-traffic streets" which is counter-intuitive to me. Why should we be putting more bikes on streets with lots of auto traffic?

by MLD on May 9, 2013 8:38 am • linkreport

Bicyclists that don't follow the flow of traffic DON'T belong on G Street.

True, but this project will allow cyclist to go in both directions AND follow the flow of traffic on G Street. It's a solution to that problem. Drivers shouldn't drive against traffic, but if you change a one-way street to a two-way street then drivers going the previously prohibited direction are no longer driving against traffic. Same thing here.

I DO see bicyclists going thru intersections without stopping or even coming close to stopping.Without stopping, yes. Without looking, no.

It's plainly rude.

What if no one else is around? Is it rude then? In my opinion an action has to negatively effect someone else to be rude. It's illegal. If done badly, by going out of order for example, it is rude. If done very badly, it is dangerous. But it is neither inherently rude nor dangerous.

Adding a bike lane will increase both bike and car traffic which is not desired.

How will adding a bike lane increase car traffic? As for adding bike traffic, well, that's the point.

Adding a bike lane, any lane, will also encourage contra flow which in my opinion is dangerous.

See above. The road will be turned into two-way for bicycling, so there is no contra-flow. Both directions are with flow. We should probably quit using the term contra-flow for things like this.

Feel free to disagree but leave the unneeded or uncalled for or trolling, whatever, at home.

I have no idea what you're taling about. Please explain.

by David C on May 9, 2013 8:55 am • linkreport

I'm saying why G street? Is it really bad biking on G Street?

It's right there in the article. They want to move cyclists off of H where the streetcar tracks are causing some crashes. And they want to use the carrot of a better G Street and a better I street to entice them off it. G street was chosen for this BECAUSE it is a good biking street.

by David C on May 9, 2013 8:57 am • linkreport

Another vote for focusing on K st.

So here's the thing. H Street is a commercial corridor and a major destination, but it also has problems for cyclists. The point of this is not to get people across town, it's to give people access to H Street without putting them on H Street. So moving the bike lane to K or N or W or Kennedy doesn't do that as well. But K street should have a cycletrack too.

by David C on May 9, 2013 9:03 am • linkreport

Toronto has a lot of streetcar tracks in its streets, yet they're not a problem for cyclists. I've ridden my bike there, daily, for more than four years from various locations.

by Capt. Hilts on May 9, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

This is somewhat off-topic, but I would love, love, love to see a contraflow bike lane installed on the 2 blocks of C St NE between 2nd and 4th.

There's room for it, and it provides a nice connection to the bike lane on 4th.

by andrew on May 9, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

Also,

My vote goes *for* contraflow lanes, but with the specific provision that the project should *not* be engineered to divert auto traffic onto H.

We should use our street grid, rather than constrict it. Traffic sewers are bad, and H really doesn't need any more traffic. This sort of planning is what created some of the city's worst roads.

by andrew on May 9, 2013 9:25 am • linkreport

David,

"So your issue is you just don't like bike lanes next to parking"

I'm not a fan of door zone bike lanes that extend only 12' from the curb and are adjacent to oncoming traffic. In a 25 mph zone with stop signs at every block, I'd prefer a sharrow and some signage over that. That's all.

As for Option 3, I still don't see the community biting on it. The science, math, economics, bettering transportation, etc...won't persuade people who look at this and only see a reduction in parking.

by UrbanEngineer on May 9, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

In a 25 mph zone with stop signs at every block, I'd prefer a sharrow and some signage over that.

Where would you put contra-flow sharrows? Without a bike lane this is a one-way street for cyclists.

on't persuade people who look at this and only see a reduction in parking.

No it probably won't. Luckily those people often don't get their way, so I really don't care if they're persuaded or not.

by David C on May 9, 2013 10:05 am • linkreport

@Froggie

Looking at I Street this morning I can see that some blocks might be suitable for a bike lane but not others. That first block is not as wide as the other blocks and it also is two-way. Adding a two-way bike lane there and separating it out from all traffic would be difficult to have it all fit.

by Frank on May 9, 2013 10:07 am • linkreport

David,

Luckily those people often don't get their way, so I really don't care if they're persuaded or not.

Ha. funny. Have I already missed the chance to see these designs get presented to that community in person, or is that meeting still to come? Sounds like it might be fun to go to.

by UrbanEngineer on May 9, 2013 10:22 am • linkreport

@Tim

"Option 2 is simple, but doesn't provide the best facilities. My gut tells me this will be selected."

This is exactly why I am speaking out & saying #2 is not suitable - #2 is the real goal of DOT because the other options are not real options. Diagonal parking? Two-way on G Street? G Street residents will never agree to these. They are false options and non-starters. A broader proposal by DOT must be put forward and fully discussed by residents.

The problem is #2 adds more traffic - not just bike traffic - to G Street. Bike traffic in itself is not a problem. When cars drivers see bike lanes they interpret that as the street being a street suitable for speeding and that attracts additional traffic flow. Option #1 is Option 2 in disguise that will encourage illegal contraflow biking behavior.

Add the more cars and bikes to G Street that bike lanes will bring and we will have less of a safe residential street. Residential streets are not meant to be used to divert traffic from main artery roads.

For others here, to be clear why illegal contraflow is a problem, bikes and cars share the road with pedestrians (pedestrians seem rarely discussed in this thread). People walking and people getting out of cars don't expect bikes or cars to be coming the other way on a one way road and aren't required to look. Should they look? - yeah, given the number of people going the wrong way on the hill in cars and bikes. It's no fun to have a bike wiz by your ears or stop short of walking into a car going the wrong way on a one-way street.

by Frank on May 9, 2013 10:36 am • linkreport

When cars drivers see bike lanes they interpret that as the street being a street suitable for speeding and that attracts additional traffic flow.

I don't follow. Are there any examples of streets where adding bike lanes has increased traffic or speeds?

If anything, adding bike lanes makes the general travel lanes look smaller which makes traffic slow down.

by MLD on May 9, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

No problem, my disposition is that whenever you look at a road and ask if a bike lane should be there the burden of proof should rest on why not.

@Drumz

Yeah, I totally disagree there. We need bike lanes on almost every road as much as we need sidewalks alongside highways. The public will ever agree to the investment to have bike lanes nearly everywhere.

by Frank on May 9, 2013 10:47 am • linkreport

When cars drivers see bike lanes they interpret that as the street being a street suitable for speeding and that attracts additional traffic flow.

I don't follow this either. This is still a one-way, single-lane street with stop signs every block, so unless the drivers are blazing through stop signs (which, admittedly, does happen) I don't see how G Street will be more attractive than H Street for drivers.

by MetMet on May 9, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

Frank,
You may be misunderstanding me. Or the opposite. Bike lanes should be on every street as well unless you can really prove a particular street is an exception.

by drumz on May 9, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

When cars drivers see bike lanes they interpret that as the street being a street suitable for speeding and that attracts additional traffic flow.

The evidence shows that the opposite is true. Bike lanes slow traffic down. Two way streets slow traffic down.

Option #1 is Option 2 in disguise that will encourage illegal contraflow biking behavior.

If we go with 2, contraflow travel will be legal.

People walking and people getting out of cars don't expect bikes or cars to be coming the other way on a one way road

It won't be a one-way road anymore

by David C on May 9, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

Enough with these contraflow bike lanes! Given the large amount of inexperienced, lazy cyclists who've recently taken to DC streets, it just adds another variable that's unnecessary. The more bike lanes we make "two-way" or contraflow seems to make these people think that anywhere there is a bike lane, people are free to go any direction they want, even if it's a clearly marked one-way street. And more than malice, it comes down to laziness. I use R and Q Sts regularly to get across town and I constantly have people playing chicken with me by riding east on R or west on Q. Why? I guess they're lazy or stupid, but it is a major hazard. It makes more sense to have bike lanes go with traffic, AND..to enforce this! Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians are used to this. Why we have to reinvent the wheel because someone can't make a 90 second detour is disgraceful. The bottom line is that lazy, dumb people shouldn't ride bikes for transportation because they create too many hazards. If your first priority is convenience and/or comfort, take a damn bus. The space on streets is too precious for pretenders.

by Mario on May 9, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

@Mario
I use R and Q Sts regularly to get across town and I constantly have people playing chicken with me by riding east on R or west on Q.

If anything your entire post is evidence in favor of the contraflow lanes. If people "constantly" bicycle the wrong way on one-way streets, isn't it better then to give every street the ability for people to travel both directions safely and legally?

by MLD on May 9, 2013 11:50 am • linkreport

@MLD; I think the point is you've got two bike lanes, both going in the opposite direction, within a block of each other and you've got a problem with salmon.

And it true. Far more on Q than R, for whatever reason.

by charlie on May 9, 2013 12:08 pm • linkreport

MLD, a large amount of residential streets in DC aren't wide enough for two-way traffic, which is why they're one-way. If R Street NW were made two-way it would be instant gridlock with people trying to park and making even more illegal maneuvers. I like R St NE, myself. Not a wide street but WITHOUT bike lanes I don't feel hemmed in, nor do I have to look out for counterintuitive new bike infrastructure, except that stupid lane near the MTB where, again, some lazy cyclists must have complained about having to go 3 measly blocks out of their way. Now the poor neighbors on that stretch of R St NE have to deal with quite an unnecessary bike lane. Oh well, I guess these are all growing pains. Hopefully in 5 years or so all the kinks will be worked out. In the meantime, I'll keep hurling insults and refusing to cede ground to salmoners.

by Mario on May 9, 2013 12:16 pm • linkreport

I think the point is you've got two bike lanes, both going in the opposite direction, within a block of each other and you've got a problem with salmon.
Yep, I agree that this is a problem.

I don't see how it's an argument against putting two-way bike traffic on a one-way street. If anything it seems like an argument FOR doing just that, since then it would be next to impossible to salmon. I hardly ever see people riding the wrong way in a bike lane when there is a bike lane in their direction on the same street.

by MLD on May 9, 2013 12:16 pm • linkreport

except that stupid lane near the MTB where, again, some lazy cyclists must have complained about having to go 3 measly blocks out of their way. Now the poor neighbors on that stretch of R St NE have to deal with quite an unnecessary bike lane.

What exactly did the poor trodden-upon neighbors give up in this situation? I have used that contraflow lane and it's quite convenient. That example on R is actually a great case - the reason people would salmon or ride on the sidewalk is because while the distance may be "three measly blocks" it's 3 blocks up and then down an annoying hill. Cycling on the sidewalk is perfectly legal there, and that's what I used to do before the contraflow lane. So would the neighbors rather I bicycle on their sidewalk, or stay in a lane on the street that they gave up nothing more than a couple feet of a very wide lane to get?

by MLD on May 9, 2013 12:32 pm • linkreport

@MetMet

G Street is already more attractive for many drivers than H or Maryland than you realize. Drivers peel off of Maryland and drive down G at a good clip. It's already a hmm... do we want speed bumps or do we really want speed bumps question for people living on the street.

Bike lanes will signal as a sign to more drivers that G is a major street for cars to cross the hill just as 4th and 6th Streets are now. We don't want the more commuter traffic the lanes will bring.

by Frank on May 9, 2013 12:41 pm • linkreport

I'll add that it shouldn't really come as a surprise that bicyclists choose to do something "counter-intuitive" or otherwise unorthodox or against the rules when faced with a system that has been designed with zero thought as to how they will use it. So the solutions are you can either "keep hurling insults" or redesign some of the system so that it better caters to their needs. Redesigning the system seems like a no-brainer to me in cases like this one where the redesign will have minimal impacts on other users.

by MLD on May 9, 2013 12:47 pm • linkreport

refusing to cede ground to salmoners.

It's not salmoning if there is a lane there that indicates that bikes can go either way.

by drumz on May 9, 2013 1:05 pm • linkreport

If your first priority is convenience and/or comfort, take a damn bus

What's funny is that cycling is often painted as unrealistic for most people because they lack climate control/radios like a car does.

by drumz on May 9, 2013 1:07 pm • linkreport

Drivers peel off of Maryland and drive down G at a good clip.

Sounds like G needs some traffic calming. Y'know what calms traffic? bike lanes.

by David C on May 9, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport

@MLD

Great post... a real discussion.

"It doesn't seem to me that you've answered "why NOT G street" other than to say "bikes should be on high-traffic streets" which is counter-intuitive to me. Why should we be putting more bikes on streets with lots of auto traffic?"

We should be putting more bike lanes on streets that are better able than G Street to handle the added car traffic that can come with bike lanes. Yes, in my opinion, bike lanes draw car traffic on those roads. Increased car traffic flow makes a residential street less safe for pedestrians and neighborhood residents. Personally I don't want something like speedbumps on G Street to slow down commuter traffic. It's safe to ride bikes on G Street as long as it's not in the wrong direction.

Having two bike lanes on G Street in different directions would be much worse. G Street is not the same width across all the way from 2nd street to Maryland. It's would be a very tight sqeeze adding 12 feet of bike lanes on the narrower blocks.

Why add a bike lane to a street that is already safe for bicyclists to avoid H Streetcar tracks? Why cause this frustration and make a street less safe for residents and pedestrians when a street is already safe for bikes? Why use the resources?

We should put bike lanes on streets where we can make those streets safer for bicyclists with bike lanes not on streets that are already safe. We certainly shouldn't put bike lanes on streets if it will make an area less safe by drawing more vehicle traffic and more bicycle traffic.

Do any of these four options include putting a bike lane on 2nd Street to connect people to/from G Street? Who knows. We need a broader discussion than just about putting bike lanes on one street. Bike lanes should connect - or is this something people don't want? How would G Street bike lanes with bike lanes on other streets? How is 2nd Street made safer for bikes? By making it one way? Bike lanes should go somewhere and not deadend.

What I want is a discussion with DOT with local residents of why not use F Street as a street with bike lanes? Why not K Street? What other streets are part of the broader network we need to create. F street is a direct route to and from Union Station and in the direction many bicyclists are already headed. Why not add contra flow to 4th and 6th Streets if it's such a good idea to have bikes riding against traffic on a one-way road?

by Frank on May 9, 2013 1:24 pm • linkreport

@drumz

How wide are the two lanes? 5 feet, 10 feet or 12 feet? I think I misread it. Is it only 5 or is it 10?

by Frank on May 9, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

Frank: There is no evidence and plenty of counter-evidence to the assertion that bike lanes add car traffic. If you have any basis for your assertion I'd love to see it, but having seen a lot of examples and articles and studies the evidence points the other way.

The wider people perceive a lane to be, the faster they drive. So lanes will slow traffic at least somewhat.

The Hill has a lot of 2-way narrow streets and people drive slowly. That is the best option to slow traffic and make it not a through street. The argument that drivers might hit other cars is not at all persuasive; if the road looks narrow, people will drive slower and any collisions will be minor. On a wide road a collision is more damaging.

The reason to have a contraflow lane is simple. We converted many roads to one-way to speed traffic around the needs of cars, where a couple block detour is not much of a burden. Bikes need less space and go slower, and a city designed entirely around bikes would have no one-way streets.

If you want to keep cars using a car-oriented traffic pattern, you can at least also overlay a bike-oriented pattern, which is what contraflow bike lanes would do. Or, just make the roads 2-way.

by David Alpert on May 9, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

Yes, in my opinion, bike lanes draw car traffic on those roads.

That's great. Are there any facts that support the claim.

Anyway. In a situation where G is one way for cars but bikes get a contraflow lane then the contraflow lane will be 5' which is generally considered the minimum amount of space you need for a bike lane. Bikes traveling east with the car traffic get sharrows in the new 10' lane.

by drumz on May 9, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

I can't see residents of the corridor going for anything that reduces on-street parking, especially since parking in these areas has already become much more difficult with those from outside the corridor driving to it and parking on the street. That shouldn't be expected to change.

Re-zoning all of those spaces to Zone 6 only (7 days a week, from 7-midnight or 24 hours) would require constant enforcement to make an actual difference - including on Sundays (which DC doesn't really do).

It's one thing to build fewer new parking spaces for new developments or to remove them in 100% rental communities. It's another to remove them when the change affects primarily homeowners who have invested in the neighborhood and expect to continue to be able to park.

by Woo on May 9, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

Thanks @David Alpert. I'll take a look.

@drumz
Re the eastward sharrows on the westbound one way street: So in the afternoon sun when bikes are riding toward me driving down the street with the sun over their shoulders... the car driver has the responsibility to not hit them? My concern here is that I can't see them and other drivers can't either. Not that this happens often but it happened to me about three weeks ago and the bicyclist didn't seem to appreciate that I didn't see them until the last moment.

How is this handled elsewhere? Is the presumption that the bicyclist will realize that the car driver can't see them?

by Frank on May 9, 2013 2:19 pm • linkreport

Frank: You're legally not supposed to be driving in a way where you can't see what's on the road in front of you. A child could run out into the street. If you're too blinded by the sun, get a better visor, sunglasses, whatever, and if you can't see, drive slower.

by David Alpert on May 9, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

So in the afternoon sun when bikes are riding toward me driving down the street with the sun over their shoulders... the car driver has the responsibility to not hit them?

Yes.

by drumz on May 9, 2013 2:38 pm • linkreport

David, I wasn't expecting a bicyclist to be riding right toward me, am careful and that's why I didn't hit him. He was one of my neighbors too. I was going slowly, looking at sidewalks, cars, the intersection, everywhere else. I don't remember what the other factors were but it was hard to see him at the time.

Looking more closely to the link to the Maryland Ave proposal, I do like one thing: The narrowing of the G Street entrance from Maryland. This alone will help reduce commuter traffic and make it safer for bikes and pedestrians alike.

by Frank on May 9, 2013 2:54 pm • linkreport

From Woo:
It's another to remove them when the change affects primarily homeowners who have invested in the neighborhood and expect to continue to be able to park.

Growing up in Minneapolis, we didn't park in the street. We parked in our driveway access to the alley. As I recall, most of the neighborhood blocks near H St NE have alleys and plot access from those alleys.

by Froggie on May 10, 2013 12:42 am • linkreport

I agree that the two streets in question (G & I Streets SE) should both be one-way, with G eastbound and I westbound. So that both streets together serve as a bike route paralleling H St, so that bikes can avoid H. This would also benefit motor vehicle traffic for the same reason...as an alternative and complimentary route with H. And of course angled, back-in parking for cars on both streets. Since both streets end at 2nd St NE at the railroad tracks, but the MBT is also here going along 2nd, so it's easy enough to dogleg left or right past the RR tracks, say to Union Station or K, L or M Streets.

by Dave on May 10, 2013 9:03 am • linkreport

While we're on the topic of 2nd St NE/MBT, why does the MBT currently end at a staircase at L? One has to continue up Delaware NE to M to access the MBT (by bike) across from the Metro station. Anyway, the MBT obviates the need for any bike lane(s) along 2nd.

Also, why do we still have Delaware Ave NE there? It would make more sense to rename it 2nd St. Although I do understand the reason why it's still named DE due to the historical L'Enfant plan...it's what's left of DE in that area - but it still can be confusing to casual visitors especially those coming out of the Metro station.

by Dave on May 10, 2013 9:18 am • linkreport

Dave,

The property at the corner of 1st and L NE is going to be redeveloped soon. When it is, DDOT has negotiated a deal wherein the developers will build a ramp down to the corner of L and 1st. The staircase it s temporary fix until that time.

by David C on May 10, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

There are two vacant parcels at the corner of 1st & L NE. The SE corner (former Greyhound station) is scheduled for development next year. The NE corner, where the staircase is, is not going to be developed anytime soon. DDOT is working on a plan for a ramp within their MBT easement, but it will not have anything to do with that developer.

by Tony Goodman on May 10, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

Tony, if that's true then it's a change from what DDOT has been saying in the past.

by David C on May 10, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

The property at the NE corner will probably be the last one in NoMa to develop. No changes there.

However, in the past year DC & NoMa BID have been planning for a potential park here at L Street. The ramp would likely be incorporated into that project, and there is money in the FY14 budget to make it happen.

by Tony Goodman on May 10, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

There had been talk at some point about finding a way to get the developers involved with the parcel along the tracks to extend the trail with a bridge over L Street, then bring it down to street level at K Street to join in with the cross-town bike lanes there (and the short jog over to the 1st St. cycletrack that would entail).

I suppose any holistic planning at that level either fizzled out or was never going to happen in the first place. Would be a shame if that's the case. We'll never get the chance again to extend this in our lifetimes.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on May 10, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

For the further connection to K Street,a WMATA power substation was in the way. It would have either cost a lot to move it, or a big chunk would need to be taken out of the small apartment building coming to that site. The ANC pushed hard for that (along with many others including Tommy Wells' office) but it's not going to happen.

The Union Station expansion plans include a bridge over L Street from the MBT rising *up* on top of the Metro tracks, continuinjg into the expanded station and onto the new plazas and streets at the H Street overpass level. Certainly not a short term project, but it would be awesome if it ever happens!

by Tony Goodman on May 10, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

You can see a portion of the potential "greenway" here on the right side of the conceptual Burnham Place site plan: http://www.burnhamplace.com/projectoverview.html

by Tony Goodman on May 10, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

Those who grumble bitterly about wrong-way or contraflow cyclists may need to prepare themselves: even in tightly regimented Germany, a great many narrow, one-way residential streets are marked as "one way, bicycles excepted." Of course you'd expect that in comparatively anarchic Canada, too. (Did I mention that Germany has a bike fatality rate less than 1/3 that of the U.S., and that British Columbia's is less than 1/2 that here?)

A true bicycle boulevard approach -- combining the yield street in Option 4 with frequent diverters that keep through traffic from traversing the street -- would eliminate high-speed cut-through traffic, legalize the bidirectional cycling that's already happening, AND not reduce parking. However, bike boulevards typically aren't implemented on roads with ADTs above 2500, and I don't know how busy G & I streets are. (DDOT doesn't have them on its public ADT map. Other side streets on the Hill, like 4th NE, have about 4,000 ADT.)

Also, @Capt. Hilts: one-third of Toronto bike crash injuries involve streetcar tracks, per a 2012 study.

by Payton on May 10, 2013 12:53 pm • linkreport

DC has a few streets that are one-way except for cyclists too.

by David C on May 10, 2013 1:00 pm • linkreport

Yes, Gallatin St NW is like that in some places:
http://goo.gl/maps/kLN9D

It works just fine, traffic is moving pretty slowly. The only issue I have ever had is when a car decides to follow me the wrong way down the street. But a clearly delineated bike lane would probably make it more obvious that it's a one-way, one-lane street.

by MLD on May 10, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or

Support Us