Greater Greater Washington

Four tweaks to further improve the First Street NE cycletrack

Cycletracks are such new additions to the repertoire of American street infrastructure that the most progressive DOTs around the country are still experimenting with how to best design them. DC's latest experiment, on First Street NE, is a still-evolving laboratory of design options. Here are four ideas to make this excellent bike facility work even better.


The cycletrack north of K Street. All photos by the author.

The District Department of Transportation recently finished work on DC's first curb-separated cycletrack, on First Street NE in NoMa. Bike planners also have announced plans to close some gaps, including the one-block section between the cycletrack's current southern end, at G Street, and Columbus Circle.

Curb separation, parking stops, and full-length green paint are great additions to cycletrack design. First Street looks fantastic, and is a joy to bike down. Besides the gaps DDOT will close, here are a few more experiments worth trying to make the cycletrack safer and function better:

Help cyclists enter the cycletrack from the north

At the northern end, cyclists riding north can easily exit by merging into northbound traffic. But southbound cyclists coming down First Street hoping to enter the cycletrack have to awkwardly cross the street.


Looking south on First at M. How are cyclists supposed to enter the bike lane, barely visible across the intersection on the far left side of the street.

Seattle's Broadway cycletrack solves a similar problem using a bike box, which gives cyclists a designated place to cross the street to enter the cycletrack.


A bike box at the north end of Seattle's Broadway cycletrack.

Could the bike box idea work in DC? There are bike boxes on DC's L and M Street cycletracks, after all. I spoke with Mike Goodno at DDOT, and he said they would consider painting a bike box.

Ban right turns on red

At intersections, the cycletrack is marked with a line of sharrows. Signals prevent drivers from turning across the cycletrack while cyclists are continuing straight.


Left turns are prohibited across the cycletrack when cyclists have a through green.

But westbound drivers on cross streets are still allowed to turn right across the cycletrack. If they are turning right on a red light, they will cross the cycletrack while cyclists have a green light. At K and L Streets, it may be wise to prohibit right turns on red.

Goodno said they currently have no plans to ban right on red at these intersections, but are monitoring operations and safety, and may make changes if they decide its necessary.

Help cyclists turn the corner

For cyclists who want to turn onto or off of the cycletrack, signs instruct them to use the crosswalk. This two-stage turn is similar the Pennsylvania Avenue lane.

Alternatively, bike boxes can also help cyclists make two-stage turns like that. For example, Seattle's Broadway cycletrack has bike boxes at intersections to help guide cyclists and inform drivers, and Arlington is planning a similar turning bike box in Clarendon.


A turning bike box on Broadway in Seattle.

Putting bike boxes between the cycletrack and the crosswalk allows cyclists to position themselves on cross street in front of traffic. It helps make them more visible to drivers, and makes it possible for them to proceed as soon as the light changes.

Add bike signals

First Street does not have any bike signals. Like on Pennsylvania Avenue, signs instruct cyclists to follow existing signals. But unlike on Pennsylvania Avenue, the signs on First Street are small and are farther from the signal heads, which makes it harder to determine which signal cyclists are supposed to follow.


Sign at First and L.

Dedicated bicycle signals, which DDOT placed on some spots on the new M Street cycletrack, would give cyclists clear information about when to go and when to stop.

All in all, the First Street cycletrack is a great addition to DC's bicycle network. It's interesting to follow the changes DDOT makes to each new protected bike lane. So far, every one in DC has been different.

As DC's cycletrack network grows, DDOT will continue to learn from its growing implementation history. Future cycletracks will no doubt be even better.

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Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master's in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Greenbelt. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He is a contract employee of the Montgomery County Planning Department. His views are his own and do not represent the opinion of his employer. 

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I look forward to all new bicycle infrastructure in our area. I haven't tried out the new spots illustrated here yet, so now I have a fun short trip to make this weekend.

Thank you for bringing these changes, and ideas for improvement, to my attention.

I find myself "hanging out" at GGW more and more...

by The Truth™ on Jun 12, 2014 11:10 am • linkreport

I'm becoming more and more in favor of a generic ban of Right on Red. It just seems so dangerous no matter the scenario.

by RDHD on Jun 12, 2014 11:22 am • linkreport

Great post! One more suggestion: there need to be more breaks in the bike curb. Right now, bikes can only get in or out at crosswalks (unless they want to jump the curb). But almost every building on First Street has a bike-friendly employee garage. These commuting cyclists have to get out of the bike lane "too soon", which confuses drivers and pedestrians who aren't expecting to see bikes intermixed with automobile traffic on First Street anymore.

by Tom Veil on Jun 12, 2014 11:30 am • linkreport

@RDHD

I cannot say I strongly disagree, but I am okay with the turns as long as the particular intersection "supports" it safely.

As you likely know, the turns were first allowed to save on wasted fuel for cars waiting just to wait (i.e. no cross traffic, but the light is red), which seems practical. However, if we reach the proverbial tipping point of electric and/or alternative mode travel, the fuel saving goal will be mostly moot.

So, as I write this, I realize I'm more conflicted on the topic than I had been aware.

by The Truth™ on Jun 12, 2014 11:30 am • linkreport

the most progressive DOTs around the country are still experimenting with how to best design them.

This is wasteful reinventing of the wheel. All experimentation has been done elsewhere in the world. Find experts there and hire them to solve problems. Do not waste time experimenting with highly complex solutions to simple problems.

by Jasper on Jun 12, 2014 11:42 am • linkreport

Can someone help me understand why DDOT uses sharrows in the bike lanes across intersections? I first noticed this on the new contraflow lanes on G St NE, and now they've done the same here on 1st St. We tell motorist that sharrows indicate right of away that should be shared equally among vehicle and bicycle traffic. Placing sharrows on protected bike lanes serves only to confuse motorists because it seems to indicate that piece of roadway is open to anyone.

Motor vehicles should never be operated in the direction of the sharrows over protected bike lanes. So there should be any arrows at all - the cycle logo by itself is more than sufficient (as if the green paint wasn't). If they really need to do something else, wouldn't the diamond be more appropriate?

by dcmike on Jun 12, 2014 11:43 am • linkreport

*should not be any arrows

by dcmike on Jun 12, 2014 11:44 am • linkreport

@The Truth, right turns on red are never safe when there are pedestrians. Drivers are constantly looking left, and when they see a gap they let go of the brake - directly into the path of a pedestrian that is crossing with the light.

by JJJJ on Jun 12, 2014 11:45 am • linkreport

Right on red is the idaho stop for drivers.

The new bike lights on M are a good touch. In general I feel that DDOT learned a lot from the L st bike lane mistakes. (Too wide, inproper signaling)

by charlie on Jun 12, 2014 11:50 am • linkreport

@dcmike Since most drivers have no clue what a sharrow is, I'm not sure this is a huge problem.

@Jasper Because here in the US we rarely have the luxury of doing it the right way, mostly because we refuse to take away car driving lanes. If we had the largess to blow up every street and create Amsterdam size separated bike lanes, then we could take our counsel from those experts. I'm afraid that in the US we need to be creative because of lack of will.

BTW: when are we getting the lane dividers on Pennsylvania Avenue?

by fongfong on Jun 12, 2014 11:51 am • linkreport

"Right on red is the idaho stop for drivers. "

I think that when Idaho is made the default law, its still appropriate to ban it in select locations, or even whole districts (like sidewalk riding) Similarly it seems like it makes sense to either ban right on red at more select intersections, or, perhaps, to ban it in all of downtown DC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 12:07 pm • linkreport

@dcmike: Sharrows in general are used to inform drivers of where cyclists are likely to be, so I think that using them in the intersection is helpful. A driver on 1st St NE making a turn across the cycletrack will be more likely to understand that they are crossing a cycletrack with cyclists coming from both directions instead of a 1-way bike lane.

by bobco85 on Jun 12, 2014 12:15 pm • linkreport

I agree 100% that right turns on red should be banned, generaly. it's extremely dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, and I think it slows traffic more than it speeds it up. Right on red is banned in NYC.

by rindupont on Jun 12, 2014 1:37 pm • linkreport

@The Truth: I get what you're saying that not all intersections are the same. But I'm more swayed by the idea that it's (RoR) yet another way that driver present serious risk to others--in this case because far too few actually make an attempt to stop at the stop line (if they stop at all) and it requires the driver to focus left on on-coming cars, rather than right in front of them where the pedestrians could be.

Just stop and take a breath. It's okay to not rush everywhere.

by RDHD on Jun 12, 2014 1:41 pm • linkreport

@fongfong--What Jasper is saying makes complete sense. Many Amsterdam bike tracks are no wider than on 1st street, they've just had decades of practice to work out what works and what doesn't.

While we in North America may be a bit closed-minded to realize this has all been done before, reinforcing that mindset by making excuses for it is not what we need. We need to look at the results of those designs and studies. It's a complete waste of money to duplicate all this effort.

by JoeyDC on Jun 12, 2014 1:52 pm • linkreport

GGW-- Thank you very much for this article!

by JoeyDC on Jun 12, 2014 1:52 pm • linkreport

Im pretty sure folks at NACTO, and designers in many cities, are quite aware of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. IIUC even Cope and Amsterdam don't do exactly the same things, as adjustments must be made for each city's modal mix, traffic laws, driving culture, bike culture, etc, etc.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 2:06 pm • linkreport

I must say that I like the green paint. However, if it will not age well, becoming an eyesore, I would happily do without it.

Bicycle riders are painting the town, baby.

by The Truth™ on Jun 12, 2014 2:20 pm • linkreport

@ fongfong:Because here in the US we rarely have the luxury of doing it the right way, mostly because we refuse to take away car driving lanes.

You think the Dutch, Danes and most notably the Germans were happy about that? You think that went easy? What makes you think Americans love their cars more than Germans?

Why is the argument always: 'We're special, we have to start from scratch, because whatever some stinky foreigners made up, can't be right'?

If we had the largess to blow up every street and create Amsterdam size separated bike lanes, then we could take our counsel from those experts.

You realize that Amsterdammers didn't have that luxury either, right? They were stuck with a bunch of canals designed for boats. Now, in Rotterdam, the Germans helped with the blowing up, and trust me, that was not appreciated.

[side-note]Amsterdam just got a new city-council without the labor party and greens (for the first time in decades). This *center-right* new city council will *increase* parking fees with 25%(!).[/side-note]

by Jasper on Jun 12, 2014 2:26 pm • linkreport

Right on red is an absurdity in cities. NYC, Montreal, and pretty much the rest of the world ban it outright, except in specific situations where it is deemed safe. In DC and most of the US, we have it backwards. We default to allowing RTOR unless it's proved unsafe. Guess which approach leads to safer streets for pedestrians.

by TransitSnob on Jun 12, 2014 3:25 pm • linkreport

Why is the argument always: 'We're special, we have to start from scratch, because whatever some stinky foreigners made up, can't be right'?

I don't believe that is the argument. But the suggestion to "find experts there and hire them to solve problems" is not as easy as all that. Which experts will we hire? Will they want to move to DC? For a price we can afford? How much of a hassle will it be to deal with immigration? Will they be able to navigate the very different federal funding process? Are they familiar with American design standards and regulations? Will their foreign status make it easy for them to meet with the AOC, White House, DOD or other sensitive groups (I worked with a Canadian once and she had to be escorted everywhere)? Etc...

So, we might solve some problems, but we might cause some other ones. And we aren't even clear that these foreign experts would come up with a different design or disapprove of the one put in place here.

So, it's likely not arrogance that keeps Dutch engineers from designing our cycletracks, it is likely prudence and efficiency.

by David C on Jun 12, 2014 4:05 pm • linkreport

If we try to do things the Dutch way, it won't work. There, I said it.

Our cities are different. Our system of government is different (more power to local governments, little regional coordination). Our politics are different. Our transportation modal mix is different. Our density is different. We have terrain and hot weather. Our bikes are better, or at least mine is (hand-made in America, bay-bee!)

I'm going to throw up the next time someone says if only we were more like the Dutch. We're not, thank G_d.

by Crickey7 on Jun 12, 2014 4:18 pm • linkreport

My fellow countrymen, if we were to assume that the bike lanes were for the Dutch to do with as they please, we would be as guilty as those who caused their extinction.

by The Truth™ on Jun 12, 2014 4:26 pm • linkreport

David C

IIUC Copenhagenize (Danish, not Dutch, but close enough for govt work as they say) does run an international consultancy on bike infra design and policy. Not sure if they have US clients, I think they do. Though I think Alta (yes the firm that runs the bike share systems) also has an infra and policy consultancy, and has many more US clients than Copenhagenize. And then theres another firm, I forget the name, but FFX county has been working with them. I am sure all the US consultancies are familiar with Amsterdam and Copenhagen and use their lessons were applicable. But they aren't always. They are of course hired by cities, who operate under constraints including FHWA and state DOTs. even in DC, which does not have to deal with a state DOT, there are local political constraints as we have seen. Jasper and others are going off on the throwaway "lets try things out" line, but I think thats silly. Conditions of all kinds are ALWAYS different. As I said above, my impression is that even Copenhagen is not identical to Amsterdam in all things bike related.

I note that Paris is learning from Idaho. But not doing it exactly the same way. Localization is an eternal issue in almost everything.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 4:43 pm • linkreport

http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2013/01/29/seattle-neighborhood-greenways-to-host-wonky-discussion-about-dutch-bike-facilities-video/

its very odd how myths hold in the internet age. My generation at least had an excuse for ignorance.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 4:46 pm • linkreport

pardon all of Copenhagenizes N American clients appear to be Canadian, except for BikeTexas. Perhaps Jasper should look to the lone star state.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 4:47 pm • linkreport

http://www.altaplanning.com/wp-content/uploads/Bicycle_Streetcar_Memo_ALTA.pdf

apparently alta has spent some time studying international best practices.

I seriously doubt that US locality choices to do something other than whats done in Amsterdam is based on lack of knowledge of whats done.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 4:50 pm • linkreport

The Dutch must be atheists, because their cycletracks don't have gaps for houses of worship.

by Crickey7 on Jun 12, 2014 4:57 pm • linkreport

But westbound drivers on cross streets are still allowed to turn right across the cycletrack. If they are turning right on a red light, they will cross the cycletrack while cyclists have a green light....Goodno said they currently have no plans to ban right on red at these intersections

I suspect he has no plans to ban an eastbound bicyclist from turning right onto the cycle track across the motor lane either. Until I read this post I would have called that an illegal Idaho stop. But I took a look at the code, and at least in Maryland, the right-on red law is broad enough that it seems to allow drivers and cyclists to each cross the others' lane on red, as long as they make a right turn.

I would prohibit right on red for westbound drivers and eastbound cyclist, unless it is a conscious effort to test the Idaho stop.

by JimT on Jun 12, 2014 11:03 pm • linkreport

These bike lanes - cycle tracks - are great! Bravo.
And near my house in Eckington! Very Green Party. Very cool.

by Carey C Campbell on Jun 12, 2014 11:52 pm • linkreport

FWIW, in Copenhagen (in the 1960s, but starting with pedestrianism) and Amsterdam (in the 1970s), they made the commitment to cycling when they realized that car usage was very high and their cities weren't built to accommodate automobility. Their situations weren't much different than in the US today. And DC is more like those cities, at least in the core, in terms of having an urban design more comparable to European cities--except that being built later our streets are more linear and wider.

The key differences between European cities and American cities on the support of biking (and walking) and rebalancing the relationship between modes have little to do with overarching differences or American exceptionalism, but commitment.

In the US, the car is privileged. And so all policies pretty much maintain that privilege. In Denmark and the Netherlands, they changed their mobility policies in favor of sustainable transportation and they work to make sure a full range of related and complementary policies and practices are congruent with that policy choice.

In the US, we don't do that. I mean, look at the impasse on increasing the federal gas tax. But that's just one example. I was frustrated at a presentation at the Bike Summit about local transportation funding in Pennsylvania, where "biking got a seat at the table" as part of the agreement to find $2.5 Billion over five years. Biking gets a minimum of $2.5 million and that was celebrated (!) although to my way of thinking that's mostly a rounding error and immaterial.

by Richard Layman on Jun 13, 2014 6:03 am • linkreport

Yes, and if my aunt had a mustache, she'd be my uncle.

We are where we are. Deal with it. Make alliances, not wish lists. Take your victories where you can. Recognize that there is a huge swing bloc of people who say they'd like to bike more if it were safe, and find ways to convince them we can do that without taking away what they think they want in the way of being able to drive.

by Crickey7 on Jun 13, 2014 9:05 am • linkreport

It's unfortunate that "right turn on red after stopping and making sure the coast is absolutely clear" has become abbreviated to "right on red." Many (most?) drivers don't even stop. Some don't slow down.

by Mr. Carlin on Jun 13, 2014 9:17 am • linkreport

But RL

The differences on automobolity wasn't because NL and DK advocates just decided to be more militant, and be less happy when attending summits.

Those were countries with no domestic auto industry, and no important domestic petroleum industry. IIUC simply because they had been less affluent than the US, auto penetation was naturally less. They tended to tax gas and cars not just to pay for roads but to pay for the welfare state. That, in addition to the flat terrain, led to a virtous cycle - more cyclists, more infra, more cyclist, better policy.

The US still has and will have a domestic auto industry. A domestic oil industry. A much larger percentage of the national population in places that are not dense old central citeis. A higher average income than those countries in the in the 1960s/1970s (even if they have caught up since - that is when they made their big transitions).

I don't know the political situation in Pa. It may well be that in the Pa context getting $2.5 million was a big win. Getting 3 foot passing while losing on the two other bills was a win in Va, even if it would have been a loss in DC. A cycle track with a block missing for a church is a disappointment in DC - if that happened in FFX I would ask why didnt someone tell me the messiah had arrived? The balance between asking for too little and asking too much, between celebrating being dissed, and acting like perpetual complainers, is a nuanced one, and not always easy to achieve.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 13, 2014 9:22 am • linkreport

@ David C:Which experts will we hire?

Start by calling some embassies. They are conveniently located in DC. You may be able to get some direct government to government help. If only a bunch of literature.

Will they want to move to DC?

Why would they have too? Ever heard of the internet? Airplane travel?

For a price we can afford?

How about the money saved from failed experiments?

How much of a hassle will it be to deal with immigration?
(I worked with a Canadian once and she had to be escorted everywhere)?

None if you just hire consultants. Plus, this city is rather full of foreigners. It can be handled. Bike lanes do not require security clearances.

Will they be able to navigate the very different federal funding process?
Are they familiar with American design standards and regulations?

That's what you have DDOT for. Foreign folks will help with design. DDOT will provide local knowledge. Have you ever collaborated with someone? These are non issues.

And we aren't even clear that these foreign experts would come up with a different design or disapprove of the one put in place here.

We aren't sure that DDOT will come up with successful designs either. Change of getting success is higher when you hire knowledgeable people.

All your arguments are distrustful of 'outsider' knowledge.

So, it's likely not arrogance that keeps Dutch engineers from designing our cycletracks, it is likely prudence and efficiency.

Not based on any of your arguments.

@ Crickey7:If we try to do things the Dutch way, it won't work. There, I said it.

Well done. It's an empty argument though. I never suggested hiring Dutch knowledge. Just argued to get some people with knowledge about the subject. Hell, the EU might have some people who have a pan-European view. Or get someone from China or Japan. Anything is better than re-inventing the wheel when you *know* there is knowledge out there.

What you're advocating is epistemic closure.

Our cities are different.

Really? Are they? Why? And do you think the Dutch national government is identical to the French City council of Lyon?

I'm going to throw up the next time someone says if only we were more like the Dutch. We're not, thank G_d.

You'd have good bike lanes, less corruption in your government, lower abortion rates, lower divorce rates, lower drug use rates, a lower budget deficit, more gay marriage and semi-legal pot. Oh, and a soccer team with a chance of achieving something at the World Cup. Not too shabby.

AWalkerInTheCity +1 (twice)

The Dutch must be atheists, because their cycletracks don't have gaps for houses of worship.

We are largely, but we can't vote on Sundays. And we have a party in parliament that was recently forced by the courts to allow women in the party. And an Animal Party.
http://www.partyfortheanimals.nl/

The US still has and will have a domestic auto industry.

Elon Musk is making Tesla S in Tilburg :-D

A domestic oil industry.

Ever heard of Royal Shell? We export half of our (non-fracked) natural gas.

by Jasper on Jun 13, 2014 9:43 am • linkreport

I noticed a bunch of cuts in the cycletrack about 10 days ago, when I was last riding through. Does anyone know what they're for?

It seems like classic DC to invest in nice street repaving / sidewalk laying / cycletrack building and then let a utility company dig it up weeks later. Usually the repairs aren't half as good as the original.

by TM on Jun 13, 2014 9:48 am • linkreport

Jasper

Tesla wasnt in Tilburg when NL made its changes which have built up sufficient momentum in the last 40 years that doesnt matter. As for RD/Shell, they don't produce much oil in the NL. And I imagine RD/S doesnt really care much about gas taxes in the NL, since thats a small piece of their total market. And natural gas has not been used as an automotive fuel till quite recently.

ANd I never made the comment about atheists.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 13, 2014 9:53 am • linkreport

Oh, and a soccer team with a chance of achieving something at the World Cup.

Shots fired.

by MLD on Jun 13, 2014 9:59 am • linkreport

These are non issues.

Not for HR they aren't. These are surmountable issues. DDOT hires consultants, right here in DC. Toole Design often works with them. Call them. Grill them about any type of facility in the world and I guarantee they know about it. These lanes aren't designed this way because our designers are ignorant of European ways or worse, because they have the audacity to be American, it's because they made choices that fit best into our system.

I think someone's pro-European bias is showing. Europe is not some magical place where all knowledge is held and European's should not dismiss American solutions just "because whatever some stinky foreigners made up, can't be right'?"

But I suspect the World Cup will quickly put an end to this Europe-is-best blather. (Thank God for Brazil).

by David C on Jun 13, 2014 10:00 am • linkreport

Change of getting success is higher when you hire knowledgeable people.

DDOT hires consultants. I think Toole Design worked on this one.

Start by calling some embassies.

OK, so there are some people that can't be named or identified, but if we call the embassy they can be tracked down quickly? That sounds like a good plan. It's just like how I call the Italian embassy when I'm looking for the best pizza in town.

by David C on Jun 13, 2014 10:02 am • linkreport

There, I just threw up.

by Crickey7 on Jun 13, 2014 10:02 am • linkreport

"Toole Design often works with them. Tole Design often works with them. "

thats the other firm I was thinking of. They work with FFX. I am pretty sure they are aware of Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 13, 2014 10:08 am • linkreport

I dont know of Dutch biking consultancies, but as I said above, there is a Danish one that seems to be prominent (I only know them from the blog and their bike friendly cities rankings) - Copenhagenize. They seem to have had a hard time winning US business from Toole and Alta though. Not sure if thats because A. They dont know US conditions well enough B. US clients are too afraid to go with a foreign firm C. travel costs, etc give Toole and Alta an edge. Note there are legacy factors in the consulting business too - once a firm like Toole has several successful US engagemens, they build their referral network, their knowledge base on US conditions, etc. Also Copenhagenize probably has a limited number of qualified consultants and enormous demand in markets other than the US and EU - IE in Canada, in South America, in Asia, etc. So they may not have much incentive to make the effort to break into the US market. I note Toole doesnt seem to have any clients outside the US.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 13, 2014 10:19 am • linkreport

These lanes aren't designed this way because our designers are ignorant of European ways or worse, because they have the audacity to be American, it's because they made choices that fit best into our system.

Yes.

Also, design is only part of the issue. You can design a perfect bike facility, but if you can't get it implemented, can't get approval for it, can't build political support for it, then you have nothing.

The Dutch and Danish bike facilities didn't start out at the gold standard, either - they've evolved over time. Same thing is happening in DC: a good-enough design that gets implemented builds support for the next round of designs, incorporating improvements learned along the way. And that learning process isn't just the designers, it's everyone - users, drivers, politicians, etc.

The quick and dirty paint-only cycletrack installations of the last few years may not be perfect, but they have made the process for future facilities a) much easier, and b) opened the door for better design. And that process will continue.

by Alex B. on Jun 13, 2014 10:26 am • linkreport

Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but I feel like Jasper has even made that argument in the past, that current Dutch facilities have grown from a gradual process of improvement...

by MLD on Jun 13, 2014 10:51 am • linkreport

@ Walker:As for RD/Shell, they don't produce much oil in the NL.

Google Maps Europort.

Tesla wasnt in Tilburg when NL made its changes which have built up sufficient momentum in the last 40 years that doesnt matter.

I was just kidding. But 40 years ago, DAF was still producing cars. Currently, we embarrassingly do not have a decent car industry. But we did have a little one.

@ David C I think someone's pro-European bias is showing.

I am not denying that.

Europe is not some magical place where all knowledge is held and European's should not dismiss American solutions just "because whatever some stinky foreigners made up, can't be right'?"

Nup. American bike lane solutions should be dismissed when they suck. And American experiments should be dismissed when they have been done elsewhere. It is government waste.

OK, so there are some people that can't be named or identified, but if we call the embassy they can be tracked down quickly? That sounds like a good plan. It's just like how I call the Italian embassy when I'm looking for the best pizza in town.

You, but you can call the Italian embassy when you want to find the best pizza in Italy, or if you need know-how on how to run good pizza places. As for the bike knowledge, I'd ask for contact info in the national ministries of infrastructure, specifically the section that deals with biking. An embassy should be able to get you that. European officials would be thrilled to get a trip to DC out of it.

@ Alex B:The quick and dirty paint-only cycletrack installations of the last few years may not be perfect, but they have made the process for future facilities a) much easier, and b) opened the door for better design. And that process will continue.

Exactly. And hopefully while using all knowledge of biking in the world, in stead of re-inventing the wheel.

@ MLD:Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but I feel like Jasper has even made that argument in the past, that current Dutch facilities have grown from a gradual process of improvement...

Oh yeah. I've mentioned before. In the 80s, I biked on the road. In the 90s, painted bike lanes showed up. In the 00s they were separated, and now the bike highways are being built. It's a very long process guided by ministers who mostly want to build new highways.

And to re-iterate, I did not suggest to call the Dutch. (Unless you want to build dykes or waterworks. Then we are the only source.) I just am horrified by some of the 'experiments' I see here. The L-St bike lane is just awful. I can not imagine there is no better way to do things. The knowledge is out there - if only arguments to win the discussion with. In Holland, but also Denmark, Germany (car-lover alert!), Belgium, France and even the UK is starting to get it. And China and Japan. And other places. DDOT needs to tap that knowledge before they do experiments.

by Jasper on Jun 13, 2014 11:47 am • linkreport

"@ Walker:As for RD/Shell, they don't produce much oil in the NL.
Google Maps Europort."

Do you mean rotterdam? Thats not oil production, its refining, right? and for all europe, not mostly for NL I do not think RD/S has intervened in Dutch politics in defense of autocentricism the way some US oil companies have in the US

"I was just kidding. But 40 years ago, DAF was still producing cars. Currently, we embarrassingly do not have a decent car industry. But we did have a little one."

But not one strong enough to fight gas and auto purchase taxes. Thats my point.

" The L-St bike lane is just awful. I can not imagine there is no better way to do things."

I am quite sure DDOT knew about the better designs. And did not implement them because of political opposition.

"The knowledge is out there - if only arguments to win the discussion with."

I don't think dutch arguments will win the discussion. I think tangible interests, and culture, matter more than arguments, at least at the margin. I think every imaginable argument has been used. I think that by the time Amsterdam was interested in such arguments and built quality cycle tracks, it already had much higher bike share, and thus a different political situation.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 13, 2014 11:54 am • linkreport

"The knowledge is out there - if only arguments to win the discussion with. In Holland, but also Denmark, Germany (car-lover alert!), Belgium, France and even the UK is starting to get it."

there no less than ideal bike lanes/cycle tracks in UK, France or Belgium? I would be very surprised.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 13, 2014 11:55 am • linkreport

I can not imagine there is no better way to do things

I think Alex B is right. There is a certain amount of ignorance about the process that gets us to these bike lanes. DDOT does not draw up a bike lane and then send it off to engineering to build it. That would be great.

Instead there is a whole political process to it too. That's how we end up with a gap in front of a church.

Let me point out that "experiment" and "experimenting" is Matt's word, not DDOT's. I'm not sure Mike Goodno views these facilities as "experiments." So if the problem is that they're experimenting, they really aren't. They're building.

I'm not clear on what it is that DC is doing wrong on these cycletracks that the Dutch would not do. Perhaps we should start there instead of insisting that we bring in the Dutch to fix our streets for us.

by David C on Jun 13, 2014 12:17 pm • linkreport

Perhaps we should start there instead of insisting that we bring in the Dutch to fix our streets for us.

Ok. This is getting frustrating. I am *not* at all saying that Holland is the end all be all. Just anywhere there they have implemented good bike lane things. Like in San Fran (see new post).

I'm not clear on what it is that DC is doing wrong on these cycletracks that the Dutch would not do.

You would need to get an expert to do that. I am not that expert. My point is to get those experts involved.

by Jasper on Jun 13, 2014 1:31 pm • linkreport

My point is to get those experts involved.

And my point is that they already are.

by David C on Jun 13, 2014 1:37 pm • linkreport

@Jasper: you're missing the point. the experts will tell you that the good facility is something that cannot be built in DC for reasons not related to the technical merits of the design. once you accept that, you have two options: you can try to figure out what kind of facility can be fit into the existing constraints, or you can do nothing. (I suppose that a third option is to continue to demand something that isn't going to happen, but that's effectively the same as the "do nothing" option.)

by Mike on Jun 13, 2014 1:42 pm • linkreport

@Mike-- An argument made with zero supporting facts.

Point to ONE expert who has said that a dutch-style design won't work. (Xenophobes on this blog don't count!)

What EXACTLY about it won't work? Have you ridden them? I sure have. They work fine, they're not that different from what DC is trying now, except for the details are much more refined.

What part about getting the design right is unworkable and unamerican?

Close-minded people say things can never change, yet don't give any actual reasons why. Just saying "it's different" is not a persuasive argument.

by JoeyDC on Jun 17, 2014 5:25 pm • linkreport

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