Greater Greater Washington

A cycletrack appears in Pentagon City

Arlington's first significant protected bike lane quietly popped up last week in Pentagon City. It runs on South Hayes Street from 15th Street to Fern Street, next to Virginia Highlands Park.


South Hayes Street cycletrack. Photo by Darren Buck.

There are actually two cycletracks. There's a grassy median in the middle of Hayes Street, so in order to serve bicyclists going both directions, each side of the street has its own one-way cycletrack next to the curb.

The cycletrack connects to the new green-painted bike lanes on Hayes Street further north, forming a spine for cycling through Pentagon City.

Technically speaking this is Arlington's second cycletrack. The first one, in Rosslyn, is so short that it hardly counts. Hayes Street is the first significant one.

It's great to see such high quality bike infrastructure appearing in more jurisdictions. Who will be next? Maybe Montgomery County?

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a professional transportation planner for the Arlington County Department of Transportation. He has a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado, and lives a car-free lifestyle in Northwest Washington. His posts are his own opinions and do not represent the views of his employer in any way. He runs the blog BeyondDC and also contributes to the Washington Post Local Opinions blog. 

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(if not done already) Put up bike racks, too!

by asffa on Aug 19, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

I noticed it last week. Everyone was parking in the lane and not in the newly painted parking areas.

by NikolasM on Aug 19, 2014 1:56 pm • linkreport

I'm pleasantly surprised this was done so quietly and easily. Arlington usually insists on a silly ribbon-cutting/groundbreaking/etc. ceremony for almost every project that happens in the county.

by Nick on Aug 19, 2014 2:06 pm • linkreport

When I walked by yesterday, about half the parked cars (it was only about 4pm, so there weren't a lot yet) were in the correct spots, and the rest were parked in the bike lane. One of the illegally-parked cars appeared to have a ticket on it, so hopefully people will figure out which lane is which pretty quickly (we'll see)

It does seem odd that they left the old-style, individual parking meters in place, separated from the parking lane by the bike lane and bollards, which might confuse some people especially if the meter doesn't line up well with where they are parked. I'd think this would be an ideal spot to put in multi-space meters (the ones that print out the ticket for you to place on your dashboard) to avoid such issues.

by Nick on Aug 19, 2014 2:13 pm • linkreport

Hopefully the plastic poles are placed along the entire stretch to make it clear for drivers where the parking area is and where the bike lane is. A few more bike lane markings in the lane itself would probably help as well.

by Mr. Johnson on Aug 19, 2014 2:22 pm • linkreport

Seems like a strange place for a protected cycle track. I used to ride this stretch frequently to use the CaBi station near 18th and Fern, and found it to be an unusually comfortable place to ride. The fire station in the middle of the block is frequently used by Arlington PD cruisers, and my sense from both driving and biking is that drivers there are pretty cautious.

by FHE on Aug 19, 2014 4:54 pm • linkreport

The fact that this connects to the green-painted bike lanes on Hayes doesn't thrill me. Those lanes are useless at best and dangerous at worst. The problem is that next to the Metro entrance there is a constant parade of cars and shuttle buses dropping off and picking up passengers. These vehicles often block the bike lanes. The lanes also pass an area where a lot of tour buses park, and they don't always look for bikes before pulling in and out of the spaces.

by John Flack on Aug 19, 2014 6:24 pm • linkreport

I don't know where to post this, so this latest thread looks like a good place. Thought you guys and gals would like:

http://blog.thealzheimerssite.com/bill-and-glad-a-love-story/

by Breastaraunt on Aug 20, 2014 12:14 am • linkreport

They've finally started installing a painted bike lane on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE. Of course not a protected cycle track, but I'll take it. Nice to see DC finally investing some infrastructure and amenities East of the River. Let's hope this trend continues.

by gallegoscot on Aug 20, 2014 9:16 am • linkreport

The green lanes on Hayes north of 15th seem to be a big missed opportunity to continue this cycle track. The space is certainly there (3 lanes of traffic in each direction + 2 lanes of parking + a generous median + existing bike lane). Surely some of that space could be rededicated to biking. All that's missing is political leadership.

by TransitSnob on Aug 20, 2014 9:24 am • linkreport

This is a great start, but I'd really love to see Arlington plan some sort of safe bike route between Pentagon City and the Columbia Pike corridor. They're *right next to each other*, and are needlessly difficult to travel between on foot or bicycle.

by andrew on Aug 20, 2014 2:54 pm • linkreport

Andrew: That was the original purpose behind Arlington's plan to acquire land from the Army Navy CC and connect across 395 to the west of Pentagon City. They've since added emergency vehicle access to the list of requirements, and completion is > 5 years away. I think this was covered on GGW and Arlnow recently

by FHE on Aug 21, 2014 10:51 am • linkreport

Andrew: there is a plan but it is terrible. Currently, bike riders have one option for the stretch between "Pike Town Center" (Walter Reed & the Pike) and Pentagon City, the roadway on Columbia Pike. The plan is to remove that for the streetcar. The replacement is a crummy sidewalk that will be quite narrow, will run on only one side of the street, and won't even run the full route to Walter Reed. Also, the "bike boulevards" are a total mess: poor visibility, no stop signs on cross streets, no marked/signaled crossings on major crossings, and much too narrow for cyclists in both directions.

Arlington basically only puts bike infrastructure where it is easy/won't ruffle the feathers of NIMBYs. They are totally incapable of making the hard choices to increase biking options along the Pike.

Also, be careful of GGW authors who are also Arlington County employees. Not journalists, propogandists.

by Piker on Aug 21, 2014 10:30 pm • linkreport

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