Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Should trucks double park in bike lane or next to it?

Extending the 15th Street cycle track through downtown has given people a great way to ride north-south without having to fight with car traffic. However, trucks which habitually double park downtown have started parking in the bike lane.

On a ride downtown yesterday, I encountered multiple trucks parked in the lane, including a Comcast truck and a USPS minivan. Multiple readers have sent in photos of FedEx trucks in the lane.


Left: Comcast truck in the lane. Photo by the author. Right: FedEx truck. Photo by Thomas J.

This forces people on bikes into the general lanes. For people riding southbound, that's a little risky when the street is busy, but for people riding northbound, they have to ride against traffic to go around the truck.

On the block between I and K, however, two trucks were parked not in the bike lane itself, but in the general-purpose lane adjacent to the bike lane:


USPS and UPS trucks parked next to, rather than in, the bike lane. Photo by the author.

This is a more sensible place for trucks to double park. They shouldn't double park at all, but there perhaps aren't enough loading zones for the trucks that do need to park, and unfortunately some zoning decisions over the years removed many of the internal alleys in those downtown blocks.

Before the lane existed, the curb lane in some of these blocks had parking, so trucks still had to double park in the second-rightmost lane. Now, if they continue double parking in the second-rightmost lane, they're still parking in the same place.

It appears that these trucks park next to the lane because the vertical posts are too closely-spaced for them to get in and out. Smaller trucks, however, can maneuver between the poles. DDOT expanded the spacing based on residents' requests, but perhaps in this commercial downtown area, they need to add poles?

The bigger question is, can DC effectively accommodate these trucks without forcing them to block either people on bikes or people driving? There could be loading zones just around the corners, though FedEx and UPS trucks typically aren't willing to park a block away. I've even seen a delivery truck double parked next to some parked cars when there was a giant open space just 10-20 feet away.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Double parking is something that faces drivers and bike riders equally, I don't think that there is a way to effectively avoid these types of issues. The white pylons are a good deterrence but short of building a wall, this will always be an issue. I know coming up 16th street in my car is a nightmare due to people double parking to pick people up and makes it almost impossible to get around them when traffic is moving. Bikers have the opportunity to dismount and travel safely around the car or truck to the right in most situations.

by Doug on Jan 7, 2011 11:14 am • linkreport

Issue #1 is that the city has made it nearly impossible for delivery trucks to operate legally downtown.

Issue #2 is that it makes more sense for them to park illegally in the bike lanes than in a traffic lane, particularly during rush hour. It's simple mathematics: How many lane users will be affected by the illegal parking? In a bike lane, a user can either ride into the traffic lane and then move back into the bike lane, or dismount and get around the truck. An annoyance, no doubt, but not something that really impedes the rest of traffic. In a car lane, an illegally parked delivery truck will cause a backup of traffic, as well as cars trying to merge into open lanes and then speeding back into the empty lane. Much greater impact on larger number of street users.

Issue #3: The city needs to ticket the hell out of double parkers and ticket & tow cars parked in rush hour no parking spots.

by Fritz on Jan 7, 2011 11:22 am • linkreport

So parking illegally in bike lanes is no problem? Then why even have bike lanes? (I'm sure some autocentric people will agree with that)

by Fred on Jan 7, 2011 11:25 am • linkreport

Not a huge issue if you're riding with the flow of traffic. I usually just hop out and take the traffic lane for the entire block where there's an obstruction. Incredibly dangerous if you're riding in the contraflow direction, because that's not possible. You're stuck on the wrong side of the street, so what are you going to do? Jump into the oncoming traffic and try to make it around?

To compare blocking both lanes of a contraflow bike lane to blocking a single traffic lane is simply wrong. If these guys are going to illegally park, they need to be doing it in the traffic lane, where they're only shutting down half the throughput.

They should tow these guys immediately. I wonder if giving their side-view mirror a love tap with a u-lock would provide some deterrent effect?

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 11:27 am • linkreport

You can't remove curb parking in front of commericial businesses that have no offstreet loading/parking zones and not expect "some" issues with their day to day deliveries etc. What else are they to do?

If they doublepark in the traffic lane, they block far more people AND they still have to haul their deliveries across the bike lane anyway so it is lose/lose. No one likes a double parker but commerical vehicles have the need to and this is the safest solution for everyone, pedestrians, drivers, bikers and delivery people.

Bikes have the lawful right to bike in both the regular lanes AND the bike. I don't see the problem with simply biking in the traffic lane for the 15 feet required to get past the mail/delivery truck.

by freely on Jan 7, 2011 11:28 am • linkreport

It seems to me that the problem here is failed enforcement. It's not a bike or a car issue. The same issue affects L St, which despite a low load capacity during the day is commonly a nightmare even in off-peak hours. Do we know that fedex and UPS drivers won't walk a block? Or do they simply have no incentive to do so since they get away with externalizing their double-parking costs? Seems to me that the city could bring a good lot of funds from ticketing this sort of behavior.

I also love how the last pic clearly shows that bikes are expected to ride in the gutter. That's contrary to engineering specs, right?

by reader on Jan 7, 2011 11:34 am • linkreport

Wherever they park, the city should be doing a lot more to ticket these vehicles.

by Scoot on Jan 7, 2011 11:39 am • linkreport

Riding south this morning on 15th St I also experienced several vehicles in the bike lanes including two DC police cars closer to the White House. I think the discussions thus far have had some valid points. My take on this is to allow more short time legal delivery parking in multi-lane roads. I agree that during rush hour, this is not acceptable. Deliveries should not be allowed to park in these lanes during rush-hour. They should NEVER be allowed to park in the bike lanes and should be ticketed heavily more so than normal illegal parking. The reason I saw this is because FedEx and UPS generally already accept that they will have some parking tickets and so they cost it into their business model to park illegal to be more efficient so the current ticket prices are not a strong deterrent. Unfortunately this leaves limited time given the long rush hours that DC has. Perhaps we need to look at the possibility of more after hours deliveries.

by Other Options on Jan 7, 2011 11:44 am • linkreport

Escalating fines. UPS and Fedex pay large fines already. But we should switch to the VA HOV rule. First ticket $60. Second ticket $120. Third ticket $240 etc... They'll get the message soon enough. They don't need double parking, they like it. There are loading zones and legal places to park - it just takes longer. So be it. Maybe they could park one truck in a parking garage and have two dozen couriers - some on bike, foot, segway etc...deliver packages in a four block radius or something.

If you make double parking expensive enough, they will not just shut down. They will find a way.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 11:49 am • linkreport

Not sure I get the rationale of ticketing illegal parking at higher rates depending on whether its in a bike lane or non-bike lane.

I get the rationale of rush hours being good grounds for higher fines, but what's the rationale for higher fines for bike lanes than any other lane? Illegal parking is illegal parking regardless of where it occurs.

by Fritz on Jan 7, 2011 11:50 am • linkreport

It's an enforcement issue everywhere in DC and it's not limited to bike lanes or to delivery vehicles. The valet parkers at the restaurants are a major problem since they have their patrons double-park while they write up the ticket and the like. The area outside Zaytinya and Ruth's Chris on 9th Street is a serious problem because the Zaytinya valet blocks the left lane of traffic and the Ruth's Chris valet blocks the bus lane, so everyone has to funnel down to one lane or drive in the bike lane (not surprisingly, everyone drives in the bike lane).

The problem in downtown DC is that they got rid of all the alleys many years ago. The benefit of alleys is that they allow for off-street deliveries. There are always going to be situations where there's going to be a reason for someone (such as a utility-servicing vehicle) to break the rules, depending for example on the location of the utility box to be serviced and the nature of the repair. That's life and we all know it, and I think we could all accept it if it were the exception that occurs when there is a serious need. The problem with the way things are downtown is that the city has made it so that double-parking or parking in bike lanes has become the norm, rather than the exception. As "Other Options" notes, the cost of parking tickets is a drop in the bucket to most commercial carriers. The only way to put some teeth into the matter is for the city to tow them aggressively, but that's never going to happen. The prospect of having to go retrieve my car from Blue Plains is a pretty serious deterrent to me.....

by Rich on Jan 7, 2011 11:51 am • linkreport

If you look at double-parked commercial vehicles downtown, you'll notice that many of them already have tickets on their windshields (sometimes more than one ticket). I'm guessing the bigger corporations already see parking tickets as a cost of doing business downtown.

And Oboe, proposing vandalism as a solution helps no one, even if you're being tongue-in-cheek. You'd go berserk is someone suggested a love tap with an umbrella would deter cyclists from almost running over pedestrians on the sidewalk or in an intersection (pretty much a daily occurrence).

by anon on Jan 7, 2011 11:54 am • linkreport

@reader
UPS/FedEx and others have found that it is more cost effective to just pay the ticketing costs of double parking as opposed to wasting time walking further to get to their destinations.

We have to realize that delivery trucks are going to double-park no matter what. They should try to do so in the least inconvenient manner possible - not blocking critical routes during rush hour, etc.

And yeah, trucks shouldn't be parking in the contraflow lane, because you're then blocking the traffic in BOTH directions and that's really dangerous for the people heading in the contraflow direction.

by MLD on Jan 7, 2011 12:00 pm • linkreport

@Fritz,

Not sure I get the rationale of ticketing illegal parking at higher rates depending on whether its in a bike lane or non-bike lane.

Sure, I'll explain it to you. If you illegally park on one lane of a four-lane road, you're leaving three lanes free for traffic. Two in one direction, and one in the other.

If you illegally park on both lanes of a two-lane contraflow cycle track, you are essentially blocking the entire road.

Do you think enforcement would be different in the case where someone double-parks on K Street, versus where someone has parked a tractor-trailer across all lanes, east- and west-bound? That seems obvious to me. The city would dispatch a tow truck ASAP, and possible arrest the driver.

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 12:02 pm • linkreport

Would it be illegal to place reminder stickers on these vehicles that they are parked illegally?:

http://www.myparkingpermit.com/Parking-Stickers/Illegal-Parking.aspx

by ontarioroader on Jan 7, 2011 12:07 pm • linkreport

Fritz, there are plenty of instances where illegal parking fines vary depending on the site of the infraction. But the issue here is enforcement, not fines. Some fine -- any fine -- would be preferable to the current situation. It's not just delivery trucks either. Four way hazard flashers have become de facto free parking lights in many areas.

by aaa on Jan 7, 2011 12:07 pm • linkreport

This is a problem with bike and/or bus lanes. They are relatively empty, and people want to use them. Particularly during winter and bad weather, when bike lanes really empty.

The most common offender I see is the police. So ticketing has its limits...

I'd say the best approach is work with USPS/FedEX/UPS, which are probably the majority of the offenders, to try and bring truck size down or put more people in a roll out. Very expensive, you have a a stick to wave (fines)

Restaurant delivery trucks seem to me the worst. Out of towners, are often lost, and pick the strangest spots.

I think the simlple answer is enforce it harshly during rush hour, but keep up the same enforcement (none?) during the rest of the day.

There is certainly the manpower in terms of meter maids downtown who can do the legwork.

by charlie on Jan 7, 2011 12:11 pm • linkreport

The issue here, as mentioned above, is really for the contraflow lanes. Yes, if you're heading with traffic, it's not THAT big a deal to go around the truck.

But if you're going in the contraflow lane, it IS a big deal to go around. I emailed my councilmember (Jim Graham) yesterday about 15th Street, and DDOT claims they'll do some more enforcement. I had to go around a USPS truck, a UPS truck, and some guy dropping someone off, all in the span of two blocks of 15th. And this was around 345pm, when southbound traffic on 15th is pretty light.

by Jon Renaut on Jan 7, 2011 12:11 pm • linkreport

And Oboe, proposing vandalism as a solution helps no one, even if you're being tongue-in-cheek. You'd go berserk is someone suggested a love tap with an umbrella would deter cyclists from almost running over pedestrians on the sidewalk or in an intersection (pretty much a daily occurrence).

If someone on a bicycle actually ran down a pedestrian, and was clearly in the wrong, I'd whacking them with an umbrella would be a pretty reasonable reaction. (In fact, I have [though only slightly tongue-in-cheek] proposed sticking an umbrella in the spokes of cyclists who ride on congested sidewalks at anything faster than a walking pace).

Having said that, it's a particularly driver-centric fallacy to confuse violence against a human with violence to a motor vehicle. If a good percentage of the time, when a delivery driver came out, he had a cracked side-view mirror, my guess is that they'd reconsider the economics of putting cyclists in danger for some marginal gain to their personal convenience.

Sorry, but whether it's delivery trucks blocking both lanes and pushing contraflow riders into oncoming traffic, or cyclists careering down sidewalks, they're both incredibly selfish, asshole maneuvers. I think folks who transfer risk to the more vulnerable in order to secure minor safety gains--much less to save walking a few more feet--are indefensible.

It's totally debatable whether scratching up their stuff to discourage that behavior is appropriate.

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 12:14 pm • linkreport

I see a lot of indignation, but not 1 legitimate "solution" to the problem.

If we as a city have decided to remove all means of short term delivery parking anywhere adjacent to said business (no alleys, no street parking etc), then we as a city also have to acknowledge that we've created the scenario and that we have to deal with it as a part of urban living.

Delivery trucks can't park in "parking garages" because none of them have the clearance required.

We could identify one spot every block or two where all delivery trucks have to park and mandate all delivery traffic walk from there, but then we've forced people like UPS to double their rates (which then everyone would complain about)because we've wrung all the efficiences out of their business model and they now require 2 or 3 people to service the same area in the same amount of time.

Stretches of road like K street were purposely built with service streets to allow delivery and dropoff/pick up traffic to happen out of the main throughfare, but we ridicule those streets as wasteful designs of the past. There is no "win" here.

Seriously, what are some suggestions?

by freely on Jan 7, 2011 12:38 pm • linkreport

I'm not a cyclist. And sometimes I get annoyed by their ways. But this just pisses me off. And the worst part about it is there is nothing that can really be done short of towing them. All of those companies get thousands of parking tickets per month, so much so that they just send in a payment to the city each year to settle all of them at once. Thus, fining them for parking in the bike lane won't change any behavior, many of these drivers rack up dozens of tickets a month for parking everywhere else. There's no way to fight this realyl unless we start ticketing drivers personally, which could still be circumvented by the company paying the driver back.

I think the only solution might be to put a single barrier in the center dotted line of the bike line at each intersection, thus making it impossible for cars to drive into it from the ends, and to make sure enough barriers are along the side to discourage people.

by DavidY on Jan 7, 2011 12:40 pm • linkreport

I should amend my comment: by barrier I mean one of those plastic pilons as seen in the photos.

by DavidY on Jan 7, 2011 12:41 pm • linkreport

Yes, the delivery drivers do add the infraction into their cost of doing business. I've seen trucks with several tickets on them and asked the driver about it. He confirmed they are paid. But I also understand why many of them do park illegally. In certain corridors, deliverymen do not only have to serve the building they may have parked in front of, they also can serve several in a few block radius.

Sure, they "could" move the truck to another location after the exit one building. But it's not likely to happen since it'll only be in another legal spot. There is however, a difference between a delivery truck heading to a company's loading dock, and a ups/fed/water delivery who may deliver to several within a building.

by HogWash on Jan 7, 2011 12:41 pm • linkreport

another reason to have a curb

by egk on Jan 7, 2011 12:42 pm • linkreport

I think the only solution might be to put a single barrier in the center dotted line of the bike line at each intersection, thus making it impossible for cars to drive into it from the ends, and to make sure enough barriers are along the side to discourage people.

Good idea. I'd also like to amend my vandalism suggestion: we should empower the parking control officers to paste those *incredibly* difficult to remove bright-orange "Tow" stickers on the windows of vehicles that park in the contraflow lane--and only that lane.

It's minor irritant that should be just enough to dissuade drivers from parking there. Until we can get a supply to the parking officers, you can get your own here:

http://www.myparkingpermit.com/Parking-Violation-Stickers/Vehicle-Parked-Illegally-Towing/SKU-D-2051.aspx

Don't think of it as vandalism; think of it as a public awareness campaign with spine.

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 12:49 pm • linkreport

Freely, like I said, excalating fines would create a solution. At some point it would no longer be profitable to use double parking as a business plan (without punishing someone who gets caught once a year). As tickets get up into the $10,000 range, UPS will find a solution. I believe in the market and I think they're smart enough to figure it out. Would rates go up? Maybe (but not double). But isn't that fair? Shouldn't the people who use the service pay for it, instead of everyone else who's forced to deal with added congestion? Do we need to subsidize all these businesses with air pollution and time away from our families?

There are places for them to park. They aren't incentivized to use them. Tickets that double for each infraction in a calendar year would give them the incentive. They will find a way to make it work.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 12:52 pm • linkreport

There's an easy solution to this problem. Every delivery truck needs two drivers (which UPS and FedEx already do). One guy runs into the building with the packages, and the second circles the block until he can find parking, or the first guy has finished his delivery run.

Or, buildings just need loading docks.

by andrew on Jan 7, 2011 12:52 pm • linkreport

BTW, If they're trucks don't fit in parking garages, they could invest in different trucks. Not that hard really.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 12:52 pm • linkreport

Dammit, "their" not "they're"

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 12:53 pm • linkreport

"There are places for them to park. They aren't incentivized to use them."

Doesn't this mean that were they "can" park have remained empty spaces? Where are the empty spaces and why don't they use them?

by HogWash on Jan 7, 2011 12:55 pm • linkreport

"BTW, If they're trucks don't fit in parking garages, they could invest in different trucks. Not that hard really."

Now this has really gone off the deep end! They already have smaller vans. But I assume that means you want the driver to: pay to park in a garage and assuming they find one that not already full or somewhat close to their destination, load their flatbed and (depending if the garage has elevators or allows self-parking) walk the flatbed up several ramps?

by HogWash on Jan 7, 2011 1:02 pm • linkreport

@David C,

Where are these places for them to park that they aren't incentivized to use?

And you didn't answer my question. You simply explained how to penalize them.

My question was what exactly do we expecet delivery folks to do if we've consciously removed all options for short term parking?

Escalating fines doesn't solve the primary issue and not a solution at all because UPS will simply pass on those fines to the customer as they do now. You say they "will find a solution". Well, unless UPS invents a hover truck or teleportation, you need to tell us "how" they will solve the problem.

Your one solution of having them use smaller trucks flies in the face of everything this blog is about. How? Because smaller trucks results in more trucks. Your solution just doubled the number of delivery trucks on DC streets, not decreasing them which seems to be the unified goal here.

That...on top of again massively increasing the service cost basis by having them hire twice the people and support twice the fleet they were before, all of which they simply pass on to the customer.

That $20 dollar UPS just jumped to $40

by freely on Jan 7, 2011 1:06 pm • linkreport

There are non-travel parking lanes downtown that could be use. Can't we limited the use of parking spaces to be only used for trucks or loading/unloading only during the business day as opposed to car parking? Non-commercial people have more options than parking their car in one of those spaces. They can park in a garage, don't drive, walk, public transit, etc. This does reduce parking revenue. You could possibly balance this by selling permits to be able to use those loading zones during the day to balance this out.

by Other Options on Jan 7, 2011 1:24 pm • linkreport

@ HogWash: Now this has really gone off the deep end!

Why should we accept a business model that pertains on breaking the law frequently? Why should we care about the extra cost of the business incurred by complying with the law?

In general, I think it's not specifically a bike lane problem. Double parking is illegal, and MPD should enforce this more.

by Jasper on Jan 7, 2011 1:28 pm • linkreport

I like the sticker idea--stick them on the driver's side window (or if you're in a particularly prickly mood, the side view mirror). Doesn't hurt anyone, doesn't damage any property, just eats up some time and makes a point. Kind of like how, when I had a car and lived in a high-rise building with a garage with teeny tiny parking spaces, I'd make a point of parking my car inches away from the driver's side door of poor/selfish parkers (or the monster SUVs parked in the "compact only" spots, taking up 2.5 of them). Never hurt anything, just countered annoyance with annoyance.

by Catherine on Jan 7, 2011 1:31 pm • linkreport

@Jasper,

As far as I can tell in all 3 photos above, there was legal parking, albiet short term parking there prior to the installation of the bike lanes. The bike lanes removed what curb parking there was.

As I stated above, we've consciously chosen to remove all means of short term delivery parking anywhere adjacent to said business (no alleys, no street parking etc), then we as a city also have to acknowledge that we've created the scenario and that we have to deal with it as a part of urban living.

There business model wasn't illegal last year, we've chosen to remove all clear and legal methods in which to provide their service by removing the parking lane for blocks at a time.

I am not defending double parking, I absolutly hate it, but you have to admit that in certain areas downtown (like the three above) that we've actively created a problem that didn't exist before and now somehow expect someone else to solve it, when none of us can come with a valid solution ourselves.

by freely on Jan 7, 2011 1:36 pm • linkreport

@oboe: But even if a vehicle is blocking a 2-way contraflow bike lane, a cyclist has the option of either going into the general traffic lane (assuming he/she is going in same direction) or - shocking concept - dismounting the bike and walking it on sidewalk around the illegally parked car. No doubt an inconvenience, but it's doable. And by simple math, it affects the fewest number of street users.

Your suggestion is that the illegally parked vehicles should be in the general traffic lane because there's additional lanes of traffic. True enough, but it ignores my point that those lanes of traffic generally have actual cars in them. Which means your suggestion would benefit the relatively few cyclists using a bike lane at a given time, but inconvenience the far larger number of cars using the general traffic lanes at that same time (the issue is generally moot when the road is generally empty and a cyclist can come out of the bike lane and into the general traffic lane and back again, even if they're going in opposite direction of the street traffic).

Now, as a cyclist seeking to occupy the lofty high moral ground while looking down on all other non-enlightened folks who comprise the vast majority of road users (known as car drivers), your cyclist uber alles viewpoint makes sense. But from the viewpoint of simple efficiency and total number of street users, it doesn't.

And "freely" makes a good point: No one has offered a reasonable, rational, and realistic solution to how to solve the problem of illegal double parking. It's an issue that's affected everyone for decades and still no solution. Not sure why it would get top priority now that cyclists are being inconvenienced by the same issue that drivers have been inconvenienced by for generations.

by Fritz on Jan 7, 2011 1:40 pm • linkreport

Doesn't this mean that were they "can" park have remained empty spaces?

Yes

Where are the empty spaces and why don't they use them? In parking garages, farther down the block, around the corner, etc...Everywhere you find parking in the city.

But I assume that means you want the driver to: pay to park in a garage and assuming they find one that not already full or somewhat close to their destination, load their flatbed and (depending if the garage has elevators or allows self-parking) walk the flatbed up several ramps? If that is the best they can come up with, then yes.

Where are these places for them to park that they aren't incentivized to use? See above response.

what exactly do we expecet delivery folks to do if we've consciously removed all options for short term parking? We haven't people park for short terms all the time. There are thousands of for-pay parking spots downtown. They should use those.

unless UPS invents a hover truck or teleportation, you need to tell us "how" they will solve the problem. No. I don't. Solving the problem is there job. My point is that the market will make them solve their problem. But I've already suggested a solution. Let me state it again.

1. UPS drives trucks to loading zones, legal on-street parking spaces or for pay parking spaces in the neighborhood they need to deliver/pick up packages from.

2. Many employees then unload the truck and transport the packages by foot, bike etc... a few blocks to/from all the necessary destinations and then return to the truck - which may have moved or not.

3. Rinse

4. Repeat

That is just one solution. It may not be the best. I have full faith in the leadership of UPS to come up with the best solution once illegally parking, screwing everyone else and paying a few thousand dollars in fines is taken off the table.

UPS will not pass those larger fines on to customers because to continue to do business as they have will prove to be too expensive. That is the point. We don't like how they run their business now, so we make it less profitable to doing it legally. It is not unfair to ask businesses to not break the law as a part of their business.

Smaller trucks need not mean more trucks, unless you think they're all packed to the gills. And because the trucks will drive less and park more, it would likely reduce traffic, not increase it.

What is your obsession with everything doubling? The number of trucks double. The cost doubles. You do know that things can increase by 10 or even 5% right? Doubling isn't the only option.

Service cost will probably go up. Right now we all pay for UPS to be able to double park. We pay with our time and with traffic congestion and with trucks parked in the bike lane - so with our safety and possibly our lives. I for one would rather pay with cash, and only when I am the one using the service.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 1:40 pm • linkreport

The sticker is just another fee. And an inefficient one. It wastes UPS's time, but gains the city nothing. If we're going to fine them, let's at least put that money into the hands of someone who can use it (i.e. us). The beauty of escalating fines is that it doesn't need any more enforcement. The current enforcement will result in higher fines for repeat offenders, without increasing fines for current offenders.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 1:43 pm • linkreport

Whoops

Where are the empty spaces and why don't they use them? In parking garages, farther down the block, around the corner, etc...Everywhere you find parking in the city. They don't use them because they are farther away and require more time.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 1:45 pm • linkreport

it ignores my point that those lanes of traffic generally have actual cars in them.

The bike lanes have actual bikes in them. Why are cars preferred to bikes?

Which means your suggestion would benefit the relatively few cyclists using a bike lane at a given time, but inconvenience the far larger number of cars using the general traffic lanes at that same time

Would you care to guess what the ratio of bikes to cars is on 15th Street? Or what the relative inconvenience is of getting off your bike walking it around a vehicle and getting back into a bike lane compared to changing lanes in a car? You're talking about the utility of either option. I'd like you to try and quantify that.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 1:57 pm • linkreport

@David C,

C'mon, you aren't even trying nor acknowledging the actual legitimate problems by simply saying "UPS can figure it out".

UPS and FedEx are recognized around the world as the preminent logistics experts. The DOD, Toyota, NASA have all used their models of efficiency to tweak their own so saying things like " Smaller trucks need not mean more trucks, unless you think they're all packed to the gills" is just ridiculous. This is a company with over 100,000 vehicles and who have teams of logisticians figuring out ways to squeeze out additional mpg efficiences and efficiences of scale. UPS eliminated all left hand turns in 2005 from their fleet (because of additional time spent waiting at lights) and eliminated 464,000 miles of travel and 51,000 gallons of fuel from their fleet usage in the District of Columbia alone (google "UPS says turning right saves time".

So unless you can prove that all their trucks aren't already sized problerly and loaded in the most efficient manner (which I would assume they are...being the world experts in efficience) then your critiques have zero merit.

So yes, by forcing UPS to use 'minivans' you've massively increased the size of their fleet and the number of people required to deliver. There is no way around it. Forcing them to carry 10 people per truck and bicycles or segways to deliver the contents of one truck the last 4-6 blocks when one or two people in one truck was doing the same thing have massively increased the number of vehicles on teh streets, the time, effort and cost of them delivering their packages.

If you think people like UPS hav not to mention that I'd give you $100 bucks if you can find one commercial parking garage downtown that can accomodate any vehicle larger that a pickup truck (let alone a delivery truck or van).

And if UPS has to change their methods, than so do all the other delviery businesses which means yes, they ALL have to increase their pricing accordingly.

Can we all just get on the same page and admit that people like UPS are already delivering in the most efficient manner possible and focus on solutions to the problems we've "just" created by taking away all long or short term parking for blocks and blocks downtown that they used to use?

by freely on Jan 7, 2011 2:04 pm • linkreport

@Fritz: I understand your point about the volume of motorists vs. cyclists, but are you really saying it's less inconvenient for a cyclist to dismount, walk the bike to the sidewalk and around the obstruction and get back on than for a car to wait a couple of seconds to pull around the offender?

by Rom on Jan 7, 2011 2:13 pm • linkreport

Loading docks are definitely a good solution, but only if it's a large building either with a lot of tenants or one really large tenant. Otherwise, it isn't efficient: you drive around the find the loading dock, park, open your door, open the loading dock door, find your way into the main part of the building, etc. ... for a few packages.

Maybe the lack of alleys is something the city should think about for future developments. Perhaps developers should be required to put in an alley for large developments.

by Tim on Jan 7, 2011 2:14 pm • linkreport

@freely: The left-turn thing is a myth. UPS didn't eliminate left turns. It just programmed its routing software to avoid them most of the time.

It's all about efficiency, yes. So if making a left turn is more efficient than avoiding it, chances are, the routing software will tell the driver to turn left. Anything else would be stupid. And years and years of re-writing their routing software has figured out pretty damn efficient things, including the fact that sometimes, a left turn is best.

Also, keep in mind that routing software isn't just about fuel efficiency. It's also about saving time, staying safe, lessening wear and tear, etc. It's really about saving money.

by Tim on Jan 7, 2011 2:20 pm • linkreport

"The bike lanes have actual bikes in them. Why are cars preferred to bikes?"

As he stated a couple times, it comes down to the fewest number of people inconvienced, the greater good.

"Would you care to guess what the ratio of bikes to cars is on 15th Street? Or what the relative inconvenience is of getting off your bike walking it around a vehicle and getting back into a bike lane compared to changing lanes in a car? You're talking about the utility of either option. I'd like you to try and quantify that."

Thats the easiest thing to quantify because DDOT does it for us.

Generally DDOT has quantified the number of trips taken in DC by bikes to be 2.2%, so there are 45 times the number of vehicles on DC streets at any given minute than vehicles. Disclaimer, those numbers were taken in September and we all know the number of bikes during the winter months falls off precipitously. This is easily evident by looking at something like the daily cap bike share numbers which have fallen by ~40% since winter has hit.

More specifically and according to DDOT traffic volume maps anywhere between 15 to 21 thousand vehicles per day use that stretch of 15th street downtown near the white house (depending on what block you cross)

Even if we doubled the District average because 15th street now has a bike lane and assumed those numbers were maintained year round regardless of weather, we are still talking about ~600 bikes a day versus 20,000 cars.

@Tim,

Ok, I stand corrected, they didn't eliminate 100% of them, but they got rid of the bulk and in the process saved 51,000 gallons of fuel consuption and nearly have a million miles of driving in the tiny District of Columbia alone. My point about them doing their job in the most efficient (time, money, people, fuel etc) way possible stands.

by freely on Jan 7, 2011 2:23 pm • linkreport

Jeez this is getting out of control. UPS is not going to switch to smaller trucks so they can fit in parking garages and take three times as long to deliver the same number of packages. It's totally inefficient. Package delivery companies are a huge part of the city and vital to city business. In the name of improving "traffic efficiency" many of you are ignoring the inefficiencies that forcing delivery trucks to park far away would create.

The real question we should be asking is: WHY do we want to curtail this behavior? How much traffic backup do these trucks cost? I'd say when I'm looking around the city I see way more things backing up traffic than delivery trucks. I don't see a lot of UPS or FedEx trucks parked in the lanes on 16th during rush hour, but I see a couple of personal autos blocking 1/2 of the SB lanes every other morning. Are double-parked delivery trucks really a HUGE problem?

I think that parking in the cycletrack is an entirely different issue - it's dangerous since you're forcing people into oncoming traffic or making them walk around. The delay to cars in changing lanes isn't as great in those places where there isn't heavy traffic.

by MLD on Jan 7, 2011 2:30 pm • linkreport

@David C: Your "solutions" are simply not serious. It's as easy as that. And as "freely" pointed out, you're simply not going to win a numbers game of cars in general use lanes vs. bikes in bike lanes on 15th Street or, I'd wager, on any other street. And that's based on Gridlock Gabe's agency's own numbers.

@Rom: I acknowledged the inconvenience to cyclists from dismounting due to an illegally parked vehicle. But my point is based on numbers affected, not on level of inconvenience. And on that score, it's an easy decision to park illegally in a bike lane.

by Fritz on Jan 7, 2011 3:01 pm • linkreport

These types of posts always elicit a bicyclists versus drivers argument. I utilize both modes of transportation, as well as walking and transit.

However, I do take issue with the notion that a blocked bicycle lane means the entire roadway for a bicyclist is blocked. Safety issues aside, it's like saying that whenever there's a bike lane, bikes must stay within those white lines. That's just ridiculous. Bicyclists can use the entire roadway if they wish.

Share the road. Be safe. Be considerate. Be patient!

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Levy an excise tax on bicyclists and send that revenue to the Highway Trust Fund!

by DriverAndBicyclist on Jan 7, 2011 3:06 pm • linkreport

1. Inconveniencing the fewest people does not necessarily mean greatest good.

2. Maximizing efficiency in moving people does not necessarily mean greatest good.

Greatest good is subjective and distinct from efficiency and convenience. As a cyclist, I have drank the Kool-Aid and believe improving cycling experience better contributes to the greatest good than marginally improving the efficiency of moving vehicles or reducing driver inconveniences. The marginal benefits of keeping a bike lane go beyond allowing cyclist to move faster. Knowing there is a clear path encourages people to bike more. An increasing cyclist population improves public health, reduces CO2 emissions, and encourages more people to bike. How to compare these benefits with those of getting drivers up and down 15 Street quicker are probably pretty difficult.

Furthermore, keeping the 15th street cycle track clear likely has some traffic benefits for 14th and 16th street. I, for one, have adjusted my route to make maximum use of the 15th cycle track. If others have done the same, commuting by car on 14th and 16th street has likely become easier because there are fewer cyclists.

Also, I do not think the inconvenience to drivers and the inconvenience to cyclist are equal. Cyclist do not have other cycle traks they can use to go north/south, whereas cars can switch over to 14th and 16th street. Thus, if we permitted trucks to double park in a travel lane on 15th street many drivers would switch to another route to avoid the congestion. Kind of like, how you avoid Dupont Circle like the plague on a Sunday. But cyclist that are dependent on the cycle track because of safety/comfort concerns do not have an option to reroute.

Finally, the danger of maneuvering around a truck in the bike lane is greater than for a car around a truck in a vehicle lane. It has been noted that a cyclist has the option of getting off their bike to use the sidewalk. Speaking for myself, this inconvenience is too great. I would just go back to using 14th street for my daily commute as would many others, I believe. This, I think, would be a shame because of the investment and space that has gone towards making a safe convenient cycle track on 15th street.

by sk on Jan 7, 2011 3:18 pm • linkreport

@Freely

First you say that it is a punt to say that UPS can figure it out and then you go on to talk about how fantastic they are. I did give a suggestion. I could come up with more and so can UPS.

So unless you can prove that all their trucks aren't already sized problerly and loaded in the most efficient manner

So all I need to do is prove that at least one truck isn't sized properly or packed in the most efficient manner? Doesn't the sheer size of that task proof itself to be impossible? I've looked in the back of trucks, they aren't that full.

So yes, by forcing UPS to use 'minivans' you've massively increased the size of their fleet and the number of people required to deliver. There is no way around it.

Wow, I guess there's no point in discussing it then. Since you seem to have already done the analysis that one would suspect would require a team working for months to do. Thank God you're American.

Parking garages and smaller vehicles was only one suggestion. Perhaps the same vehicles at legal loading zone spaces, or at loading docks or at metered spaces makes sense. There are dozens of solutions, that's why I say UPS can figure it out. I'm surprise with your trigger knowledge of all things shipping you haven't gotten a solution yet.

Forcing them to carry 10 people per truck and bicycles or segways to deliver the contents of one truck the last 4-6 blocks when one or two people in one truck was doing the same thing have massively increased the number of vehicles on teh streets, the time, effort and cost of them delivering their packages.

Not the idea at all. The truck brings the packages and the bikes and people are already there. Just as FedEx planes don't fly the trucks with them back and forth between Memphis.

And if UPS has to change their methods, than so do all the other delviery businesses which means yes, they ALL have to increase their pricing accordingly.

OK.

Although that isn't a given. It may be that they just reduce their profit.

You seem to be saying there is no solution, when what you mean is there is no solution for the same price to UPS, FedEx etc... I will agree with the second part, but I'm not sure why that is a deal-breaker. What would happen if prices went up a little? How fluid are the prices? Do they go up every time gas prices go up? Does business come to a halt.

Can we all just get on the same page and admit that people like UPS are already delivering in the most efficient manner possible and focus on solutions to the problems we've "just" created

They're operating in the most efficient manner for the business environment we've created. If we change it, by punishing repeat illegal parking with massive fines they will find a new most efficient manner to operate. After all, UPS is full of efficiency geniuses right?

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

Some problems demand a solution, while others require forbearance.

We all benefit from these trucks delivering goods that enable us to walk to the corner shop to buy. Increasing fines, and other means of making their job more difficult, will also make living in the city more costly and less convenient. We will either pay more for what we buy in the city, or else drive to the suburbs to buy things at the price we can afford.

City living has always been enabled by the mobility goods and services from the hinterlands. We should focus on making deliveries easier, not harder. Let them do their job, so we can enjoy what they bring in.

BTW, when they leave the distribution center, the UPS trucks are tightly packed, with very little room for the driver to fetch the packages.

by goldfish on Jan 7, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

we should absolutely inconvenience the private automobile motorist first, which means that, short of an infrastructural solution that offer truck drivers better idling opportunities, yes, truck drivers should idle in a motor-vehicle lane.

and the reason is simple: bike lanes work more toward the greater good than motor-vehicle lanes.

by tony on Jan 7, 2011 3:27 pm • linkreport

My plan is whenever there is a delivery truck in a bike lane, drive down the center of the car lane very very slowly, and signal very clearly so drivers see why you're doing it. Once this becomes a problem for cars then it will be solved. Nobody will take cyclists seriously.

by Ward 1 Guy on Jan 7, 2011 3:29 pm • linkreport

There are multiple car lanes. There is one, and only one cycle track.

Block the rightmost car lane.

Or go around the corner.

by JJJJJ on Jan 7, 2011 3:30 pm • linkreport

David, it seems as if you, unlike some of us, fail to appreciate or even care about the logistics and physical demands of what you are proposing. With these empty spaces you mention, how would a driver unload his truck with another car directly behind it? If you haven't noticed, they usually park in places where they are able to load from the back of the truck. Just saying, "somewhere around the corner" just doesn't cut it.

As I said earlier, there is a difference between a delivery to a company or building vs several companies across several blocks. Parking in a garage doesn't help that in any way, nor does parking in "empty spaces."

by HogWash on Jan 7, 2011 3:38 pm • linkreport

Freely,

Generally DDOT has quantified the number of trips taken in DC by bikes to be 2.2%, so there are 45 times the number of vehicles on DC streets at any given minute than vehicles. Disclaimer, those numbers were taken in September and we all know the number of bikes during the winter months falls off precipitously.

Actually that number comes from the Census Bureau. I'm not sure when the data is from, but based on your track record I give you a 1 in 12 chance of picking the right month. Still, your math is way off. 2.2% of all commutes (not trips) are by bike. The other 97.8% are not by car because many people travel by foot or transit. On 15th street cars make up 43.8% and bikes make up 2.33%. So the actual ratio is 1:19.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 3:39 pm • linkreport

And "freely" makes a good point: No one has offered a reasonable, rational, and realistic solution to how to solve the problem of illegal double parking.

Nonsense. There've been several proposals, perhaps just none you like. I think the best so far is to separate the cycletrack from the travel lanes with some sort of impassable barrier. Perhaps a series of mini Jersey-wall structures.

As far as the argument that "delivery vehicles should just park in the bike lane because it gets less use". Sorry, that's just silly. The whole point of cycletracks is to increase bikes as a share of total road usage. You don't do that by parking in them.

I suppose you're also in favor of allowing delivery vehicles to just pull up on the sidewalk and park there, right? After all, most of the time pedestrians will still be allowed to pass. And even if they can't, there are a lot more folks driving than walking in most parts of town anyway.

There really are no limits to some driver-advocates' appetites in this city. It probably shouldn't still have the power to shock, and yet it still does.

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 3:39 pm • linkreport

I have to laugh at some of the same folks who argue that this country was founded so that cyclists could drive in ALL traffic lanes suddenly taking the viewpoint that when a delivery truck is illegally parked in a bike lane, somehow the laws of physics, gravity, and Godwin are changed so that a cyclist can ONLY ride in that bike lane.

Come on folks! This is why people don't take most cyclists' issues seriously - you're making a mountain out of an inconvenience of city living!

David C is coming up with ever-more unrealistic "solutions" to a problem that few believe to be at a Code Red level. Others are acting as if a cyclist being inconvenienced by an illegal parker is worthy of the tarring and feathering of the driver, owner, and the owner's family, neighbors, and pets. Yes it's a pain. Yes it's inconvenient. But it's part of the realities of city life.

by Fritz on Jan 7, 2011 3:41 pm • linkreport

But my point is based on numbers affected, not on level of inconvenience. And on that score, it's an easy decision to park illegally in a bike lane.

Or on the sidewalk for that matter. Fortunately, most folks in DC--including our elected officials--aren't pathological autocentric loonbags. That's the reason we're going to a Complete Streets model in the first place. Of course, a minority of DC residents resent the way things are plainly moving in this city, so they can't see anything wrong with parking motor vehicles in space specifically reserved for pedestrians and cyclists.

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

@Fritz. My solutions are serious. In Tokyo this is exactly what they do. You aren't serious since you won't even try to answer the utility question.

But my point is based on numbers affected, not on level of inconvenience.

Well then, you aren't seriously talking about utility. If you get to ignore inconvenience and only focus on numbers, then I get to ignore numbers and focus only on inconvenience. But neither is the right answer because you have to consider both.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

I have to laugh at some of the same folks who argue that this country was founded so that cyclists could drive in ALL traffic lanes suddenly taking the viewpoint that when a delivery truck is illegally parked in a bike lane, somehow the laws of physics, gravity, and Godwin are changed so that a cyclist can ONLY ride in that bike lane.

Sure, I'll clarify: parking in a bike lane is lame, but an urban inconvenience. Parking in a contraflow lane is dangerous, and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

I can't tell if you're just not getting it because you don't understand the dynamics of the contraflow lane, or if you're just enjoying the debate. But frankly, the advice that "it's easy enough for a cyclist to get off and get on the sidewalk and walk for a while every time they come across an illegally parked vehicle" is pretty easy to offer if you've never ever tried to get anywhere on a bike. Fortunately we live in a Democracy, and a progressive one at that. So I'm guessing a legislative fix is likely.

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 3:50 pm • linkreport

@goldfish,

We all benefit from these trucks delivering goods that enable us to walk to the corner shop to buy. Increasing fines, and other means of making their job more difficult, will also make living in the city more costly and less convenient. We will either pay more for what we buy in the city, or else drive to the suburbs to buy things at the price we can afford.

Well then, let's go the other direction and allow UPS to park anywhere they like without fines. And lets let them run red lights and go whatever speed they choose. Let's let them do whatever they want to make it as cheap as possible to deliver toner cartridges because we all benefit from these trucks delivering goods.

We can either pay with more congestion and all that brings or we can pay more for the stuff we ship. In the first the costs are passed off to everyone and in the latter they go only to the users. Which is more fair?

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 3:51 pm • linkreport

Tuesday this week I was traveling north in the 15th Street bike lane when I encountered a FedEx truck parked squarely inside of it. Forced to mount the sidewalk, I chirped at the driver headed toward a building.

"FedEx, seriously?" I said in his ear hole wheeling by.

"Mind your business," he replied.

Maybe I'm a prick, but I thought my business was interrupted by his poor judgement.

by WheelPlay on Jan 7, 2011 3:52 pm • linkreport

@goldfish Let them break the law? Seriously?

I benefit from delivery trucks like everyone else, but just like I wouldn't want to buy stolen merchandise, I don't want artificially low delivery fees just because the police have decriminalized the drivers' bad behavior. The police should ticket and collect fines aggressively from commercial vehicles that block traffic (bike or car) illegally. So what if delivery drivers continue doing it, as long as they pay the price and the money benefits the taxpayers who are giving up their roadways for the sake of cheap delivery.

by Ward 1 Guy on Jan 7, 2011 3:53 pm • linkreport

David, it seems as if you, unlike some of us, fail to appreciate or even care about the logistics and physical demands of what you are proposing.

The only thing I'm proposing is that UPS not be allowed to break the law as part of their business plan. In that sense, no I'm not considering the logistics. But UPS does this in Tokyo, and I'm sure in other cities, so they've already considered the logistics for me. I don't need to do it. But no I don't care about the logistics.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 3:55 pm • linkreport

I have to laugh at some of the same folks who argue that this country was founded so that cyclists could drive in ALL traffic lanes suddenly taking the viewpoint that when a delivery truck is illegally parked in a bike lane, somehow the laws of physics, gravity, and Godwin are changed so that a cyclist can ONLY ride in that bike lane.

Oh, just had to tip my hat for this gem, too.

While I'm not sure where you're getting the vibe that the "country was founded" on the principal, but, yes, it's been found over and over and over again at every judicial level that bikes have a Constitutional right to ride in ALL traffic lanes--the right-most in all situations, and every other when, for instance, they need to take a left turn.

Meanwhile, motorized vehicles have no rights so ever to park in a bike lane, cycletrack, or any other space that's reserved for non-motorized traffic.

If those two concrete facts are beyond comprehension, I think we're really at a conversational dead-end here.

:)

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 3:56 pm • linkreport

I have to laugh at some of the same folks who argue that this country was founded so that cyclists could drive in ALL traffic lanes suddenly taking the viewpoint that when a delivery truck is illegally parked in a bike lane, somehow the laws of physics, gravity, and Godwin are changed so that a cyclist can ONLY ride in that bike lane.

David C is coming up with ever-more unrealistic "solutions" to a problem that few believe to be at a Code Red level. Others are acting as if a cyclist being inconvenienced by an illegal parker is worthy of the tarring and feathering of the driver, owner, and the owner's family, neighbors, and pets. Yes it's a pain. Yes it's inconvenient. But it's part of the realities of city life.

Fritz, take your hyperbole elsewhere, the adults are trying to talk. If you can't make a point without making stuff up, then just keep quiet.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 3:57 pm • linkreport

"FedEx, seriously?" I said in his ear hole wheeling by.

"Mind your business," he replied.

See, that's when the u-lock...erm...I mean "day-glow orange sticker" comes out.

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 3:57 pm • linkreport

Ok, I'm out of this discussion. As someone else above said, the one solution I saw was so beyond the pale of an actual constructive and "doable" thing that they just aren't serious.

People claim to have other ideas and depsite asking many times I haven't seen any.

This had nothing to do with bikes versus vehicles, it had everything to do with solutions to a problem, the problem being the removal of curbside parking, long term or short for miles long stretches of commercial entities whose livlihoods depend on constant and timely delivery service.

But again, this devolved into a smarmy holier than thou comparison where a seasonal 2% is somehow more important not only than the year round 98%, but the thousands of businesses downtown affected by this very issue who pump hundreds of millions of dollars worth of commerce into the city every year.

You want to disband deliveries for downtown businesses, fining them and their delivery lifeblood thousands of dollars every time they get a delivery so that they start parking their trucks in VA and biking supplies across the river? Fine, then don't whine when you have to wait 3 hours to get a $25 scone in some random downtown eatery that has to get its supply delivery by bicycle from Baltimore.

Sometimes I really have to wonder what world some of you live in.

by freely on Jan 7, 2011 3:58 pm • linkreport

@Fritz and @freely:

You're trying to turn this into a mathematical equation in which traffic volumn is the only relavent factor. It isn't. Safety is also a factor: even in a pure utility model, the risk of even one northbound bike rider detouring into opposing traffic significantly outways the effect on vehicle throughput. You can't just narrow everything down to one factor and call that "utility"!

Besides, if we compare the current traffic pattern with the previous one, and only consider traffic throughput volumn as a relavent factor, you two should be absolutely giddy about the addition of the cycletracks! Almost all of the vehicles that are currently double-parked in the traffic lane would have double-parked in the traffic lane anyway. However, the majority of the vehicles that are currently double-parked in the *cycletrack* would not have been able to find parking in the earlier traffic pattern. Therefore, I suspect that the addition of the cycletracks allows higher traffic throughput volumns, satisfying your utilty model.

Again, assuming that traffic throughput volumn is the only relavent measure of utility, if all of the vehicles currently double-parked in the cycletrack park in the traffic lanes, there would probably be two or three incidents over the course of a week of trucks in the traffic lane that would have otherwise parked in the parking spaces. Whatever effect that may have on traffic throughput volumn is mitigated, however, by the fact that you now have fewer bikes in the traffic lanes, and no cars cruising/slowing/stopping in the southbound traffic lanes as they try to park. So, your utility model would likely still be satisfied. (Of course parking, biking, safety and package deliveries all have their utility.. but we are only considering traffic throughput volumns here!)

And anyway, why would we assume that, if a delivery man is willing to take the risk of a parking ticket in order to avoid walking a longer distance, a biker wouldn't also take the risk of getting hit by a car in order to avoid debiking and walking a longer distance? Sure a *reasonable* person wouldn't do that, but we're talking about bikers here! We can't ever assume that any biker would dismount and walk around a relatively short obstacle. God knows I don't.. I have already ridden northbound in the southbound lane in order to get around a truck in the cycletrack.

by Steven on Jan 7, 2011 3:59 pm • linkreport

Ok, I'm out of this discussion. As someone else above said, the one solution I saw was so beyond the pale of an actual constructive and "doable" thing that they just aren't serious.

Umm.. Clearly you weren't reading. There were several proposals. My favorite was a curb to separate the cycletrack from the road. This will probably happen going forward.

The fact that auto-centric folks like yourself can't even conceive of such a thing happening is frankly puzzling. If we didnt' have curbs to separate the sidewalks from the roadways, people would park on the sidewalks, and you guys would just throw up your hands and say, "There's no possible solution, and there's not really even a problem to begin with!"

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 4:06 pm • linkreport

Solution:

Expand loading zones in certain areas - meter the parking in the loading zones to use performance principles and ensure spaces are available.

Large commercial carriers like FedEx and UPS could purchase permits that would exempt them from paying at the meter, instead paying via GPS monitoring or via some other means. They would be willing to do so if it means cutting down on parking tickets (and yes, enforcement does happen and ticket are issued).

We have loading zones, we just need to use them and manage them better.

by Alex B. on Jan 7, 2011 4:07 pm • linkreport

@Ward 1 Guy: I am happy that I am not a member of a law-enforcement organization, and it is not my job to determine who to prosecute, out of the bzillions of traffic laws that are broken every day.

I appreciate having a package dropped off at my address, and I am not inclined to ask questions about how it got there.

And so what about you? When you got your last delivery from Amazon (or wherever), did you call the police to report that a UPS truck was double-parked?

by goldfish on Jan 7, 2011 4:09 pm • linkreport

"The only thing I'm proposing is that UPS not be allowed to break the law as part of their business plan."

Herein lies the biggest flaw in your argument. UPS is currently fined for breaking the law. That's the whole point of discussing the number of tickets many of us see plastered on their wipers. What you are proposing is something that goes farther than even what current law allows.

As a vehicle owner, is there a limit to the number of paid illegal parking tickets I can have before my license is revoked or additional fines paid? I don't think so.

But there is a limit to the number of unpaid illegal tickets I can rack up before my car is towed. In this case, the ultimate consequence (beyond the fine) is that if I don't pay the tickets, they then double, then I'll get a boot, then if they're still unpaid, my car is towed. Those are several consequences to "breaking the law." Yet, you propose something more substantial than current law.

So what's next, I pay my tickets and the fee for storing my booted car. Since this happens to some people over and over again, should the ultimate price of consistently breaking the law (keep in mind we're talking illegal parking) be jail? That'll stop me from breaking the law wouldn't it?

Seriously, dude you are being irrational to the point of lol.

by HogWash on Jan 7, 2011 4:10 pm • linkreport

@Freely:

You want to disband deliveries for downtown businesses, fining them and their delivery lifeblood thousands of dollars every time they get a delivery so that they start parking their trucks in VA and biking supplies across the river? Fine, then don't whine when you have to wait 3 hours to get a $25 scone in some random downtown eatery that has to get its supply delivery by bicycle from Baltimore.

Just to tweak my previous comment:

If we didnt' have curbs to separate the sidewalks from the roadways, people would park on the sidewalks, and you guys would just throw up your hands and say, "There's no possible solution, and there's not really even a problem to begin with! What do you want to pay $85 for a scone delivered from Columbus, OH via Roller-Blades?????"

Man, and I thought *I* was prone to pique-fueled hyperbole!

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 4:10 pm • linkreport

This devolved into a smarmy holier than thou comparison where a seasonal 2% is somehow more important not only than the year round 98%, but the thousands of businesses downtown affected by this very issue who pump hundreds of millions of dollars worth of commerce into the city every year.

You want to disband deliveries for downtown businesses, fining them and their delivery lifeblood thousands of dollars every time they get a delivery so that they start parking their trucks in VA and biking supplies across the river? Fine, then don't whine when you have to wait 3 hours to get a $25 scone in some random downtown eatery that has to get its supply delivery by bicycle from Baltimore.

Sometimes I really have to wonder what world some of you live in.

One in which 98% of people in DC don't drive to work because a lot of them walk and take transit. One in which exaggeration is not an argument. One in which asking UPS trucks to park around the corner or at metered spaces will not cause the local economy to crash to the ground. Y'know, the real world.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 4:11 pm • linkreport

But there is a limit to the number of unpaid illegal tickets I can rack up before my car is towed. In this case, the ultimate consequence (beyond the fine) is that if I don't pay the tickets, they then double, then I'll get a boot, then if they're still unpaid, my car is towed. Those are several consequences to "breaking the law." Yet, you propose something more substantial than current law.

...in the case of parking in cycle tracks, not in bike lanes generally. At least that seems to be the consensus among cyclists here.

It amazes me--and highlights the intransigence of our usual anti- multi-mode crowd here--that this is even controversial.

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 4:14 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

What you are proposing is something that goes farther than even what current law allows.

Not true. Current law allows for fining people who park illegally. And it allows for higher punishments for repeat offenders.

Seriously, dude you are being irrational to the point of lol.

That might be true if I were proposing that people who consistently park illegally go to jail. I'm not. So your point is irrelevant.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 4:23 pm • linkreport

@DavidC: Sorry, but I can't take you seriously. Especially when you toss out third-grade level retorts like "the adults are trying to talk". Seriously? Grow up, lad.

I'm out of this conversation. It's pointless arguing about common sense solutions. Much better to rely on the City Council to mandate it.

*sigh*

by Fritz on Jan 7, 2011 4:30 pm • linkreport

Fritz Sorry, but I can't take you seriously.

It's OK. What's important is that you acknowledge your shortcomings.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 4:33 pm • linkreport

"Not true. Current law allows for fining people who park illegally. And it allows for higher punishments for repeat offenders."

Ok and since you don't want to change current law, considering that it has been established that these companies likely pay for their part in breaking the law, what more do you want?

BTW, what are the higher punishment doled out against repeat offenders? I know serial offenders and they simply end up paying the tickets and for the impounded car.

Did I repeat that we're talking about parking violations? Hell, this isn't even moving violations but parking.

by HogWash on Jan 7, 2011 4:43 pm • linkreport

Ok and since you don't want to change current law, considering that it has been established that these companies likely pay for their part in breaking the law, what more do you want?

I want the fine for parking violations to increase for each violation in a calendar year. Virginia does this for HOV violations. It is not unprecedented. And even if it were, being unprecedented in and of itself is not a reason to oppose something. DC can set the price for parking violations. That is their right.

The point of the parking tickets is to discourage illegal parking. Clearly it is not working because the penalty is too low. Escalating fines will solve that problem.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 4:47 pm • linkreport

I'm curious: if delivery trucks were parking on the sidewalk, what would be the response from Fritz, HogWash, et al? Any thoughts?

by oboe on Jan 7, 2011 4:50 pm • linkreport

BTW, I support the creation of more loading and unloading spaces. Even spaces reserved for package delivery companies (just as we set aside spaces for zipcar, etc...) But they should have to pay for the right to use them.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 4:50 pm • linkreport

f delivery trucks were parking on the sidewalk, what would be the response from Fritz, HogWash, et al? Any thoughts? Since 2% of people bike and 98% drive, there are no pedestrians, so no need for sidewalks.

by David C on Jan 7, 2011 4:51 pm • linkreport

@ freely "UPS and FedEx are recognized around the world as the preminent logistics experts."

Not disagreeing (for the most part they're great) but I read that and laughed. I had a nightmare with FedEx recently. Very long story short, I work a 9-5 so couldn't be home to sign for a package, the sender wouldn't allow me to sign the door sticker, it was being held at a FedEx location about 5 miles from my house, transit inaccessible.

I requested that the package be transferred and held at my local FedEx office, and was told it would be. I showed up there 3 mornings in a row with it not there(after being told the night before it would be there the next morning), only to be told that "oh, the sender doesn't allow it to be transferred" for some reason (the "for some reason" was utter BS, by the way). At that point, I decided to just get the thing myself, only to get a call later that day being told that the package WOULD be at my local office the next morning. But when I called the 1800 number to confirm, I got the line that it couldn't be transferred. I was very confused, and decided to take matters into my own hands. So I rode my bike 5 miles (10 round trip) in a rainstorm to get the package myself.

But think about this: this was a 5 day long cluster$*#. FedEx, which is the owner of what may very well be the largest fleet of privately owned vehicles in the world and which is a logistics expert couldn't figure out how to get a 3 lb package from one end of Alexandria to another within 5 days, and it took me, with NO motor vehicle an hour to do what I'd paid them quite dearly to do in the first place. Insanity.

by Catherine on Jan 7, 2011 4:55 pm • linkreport

Should drivers go around bikers or just drive over them? Discuss.

i think it's a bit weird that that could be posed as a serious question, but...

in any case, missing from the post and comments so far, i believe, is the notion that a major, if not _the_ major, reason for separate bicycle facilities is not necessarily 'safety,' but 'subjective safety' -- that is, making bikers and would-be bikers _feel_ safe when riding. whether they actually _are_ safe/safer or not is an entirely different question, but we know that nobody will bike if they don't feel safe -- which is why so few people bike in DC today -- it's not that it's 'dangerous,' per se, it's that it 'feels dangerous' -- big difference. we could do some statistical analysis that probably shows biking is about as safe (if not moreso) than any other form of transportation. this means that we can never let anything block the bike lane, period -- that would decrease subjective safety, defeating the purpose of the bike lane. simple.

Seriously, what are some suggestions?

Motorized transportation is going to continue to get more expensive relative to non-motorized as we continue to take back our cities for humans -- that's obvious and inevitable and right. And that 'expensive' is in terms of money, time, effort, etc. Obviously, there are some folks here who think that DC taxpayers exist to make sure UPS remains highly profitable, but others of us, including UPS themselves, realize this is a fact of a changing landscape. They started as a bicycle messenger company, they've started returning to their roots as a bicycle messenger company, particularly around the holiday season, etc. It's, as others have pointed out, not a big deal.

Other cities like London are talking about banning delivery trucks during business hours, etc. Makes sense. Large motorized, trackless vehicles are anti-human and shouldn't be tolerated, especially not in cities. The smaller the motorized vehicle, the less anti-human. That's where we're going. It's like global warming - you can deny it, you can fight it, you can ignore it, but at the end of the day, it's coming for you, and you _will_ obey. Cities and towns (in America and much of the already-developed/Western world) are becoming places for humans again, and that's a good thing. India and China and other developing nations are already being forced to re-evaluate their pro-car/truck/bus mentalities, and are starting to think more clearly -- they're becoming pro-walk/bike/human.

The solution to allowing business to continue to operate, then, is to implement commonsense policies that are in alignment with the Livable Streets Transportation Hierarchy. And that means, im part, giving 'work vehicles' (delivery vehicles, taxis, buses, etc.) priority over SOV (single occupancy vehicles). So, double-parking in a regular auto travel lane should be fine.

This situation, as well as the myriad situations mentioned in the 'Biking Social Contract' post, suggest why it is drivers and pedestrians who most need to learn the rules of the road, not bikers. So, let's stop picking on bikers, and educate the truly ignorant and dangerous among us, mainly drivers.

by Peter Smith on Jan 7, 2011 5:07 pm • linkreport

Imagine that you're legally riding contraflow, towards the front bumper of that Comcast truck in the first photo. Where would you go? To your right, directly into oncoming traffic, without tons of metal sheathing you, and your view by a blockading truck? Onto the sidewalk? (That's illegal south of Mass Ave, and with the curb there it's not like you can pop onto the sidewalk for a few feet -- particularly if you have, say, a child in the back. It's also akin to asking a driver to get out of the car, open the trunk, shift stuff around, and get back in -- yes, it's quite a hassle.) And it's a Comcast truck -- they'll probably be there for hours.

This particular cycletrack is new. Hopefully, one day we'll get to the point where thousands of people are using it -- there are many roads around the world that move more bikes than cars -- but in order to get there, we'll need to make sure that those lanes aren't blocked first. Sheesh.

The best solution, as Alex Block mentioned, is performance parking. Price parking such that there's always available curb space on every block, and provide a way for delivery companies to use that space for short-term loading -- perhaps through a high-priced annual parking sticker. The price for such permits could even be set via an auction. And parking continues to go even higher tech: NPR just reported on a pilot program in Toulouse that locates open parking spaces, and if UPS has such astounding routing software I'm sure that it could incorporate that as well.

Oh, and UPS already does bicycle delivery -- even in suburban Silicon Valley. (Now I see that Peter's beat me to this.) They also use smaller, easier to park, easier to maneuver trucks in plenty of countries, and they could do the same for urban areas in the USA. They adjust their pricing all the time -- including for factors like fuel prices and yes, parking tickets. Businesses will adjust yet again if we can make this process work better for everyone.

As for myself, I'm with Ward 1 Guy. I ostentatiously take the next lane whenever I encounter a double parked car. "Hey, they made me do it!"

by Payton on Jan 7, 2011 7:19 pm • linkreport

let me inject a little timely humour -- this will appeal to anyone who's ever received those multitudes of UPS 'we tried to deliver' door-stickers -- it's a conspiracy!

by Peter Smith on Jan 7, 2011 7:28 pm • linkreport

@Peter Smith are becoming places for humans again, and that's a good thing

I hate to break this to you ... but cars don't drive themselves. There really are humans behind the wheel of them. The only thing that distinguishes them (i.e., the cars) from the bicycles is there greater functionality and flexibility. They're a better incarnation of the same thing ... i.e., a means to get around. Why do you think that they won the battle of competition against bicycles.

Now are they better in all ways? No, of course not. Bicycles are better for excercise ... Hence why we build bike paths in the parks ...

by Lance on Jan 8, 2011 10:26 am • linkreport

@ freely:There business model wasn't illegal last year, we've chosen to remove all clear and legal methods in which to provide their service by removing the parking lane for blocks at a time.

This is not an argument. Delivery cars double park everywhere, regardless of there being a bike lane. Double parking is illegal everywhere.

Furthermore, things change. UPS got a shiny new center on Backlick road some time ago. That causes traffic jams when they start pulling out. So much that they get a county cop there to regulate traffic. Now DC has decided to create bike lanes. Delivery companies need to adapt to that, just like they need to adapt when parking spots are created or terminated. When laws change, people who feel negatively impacted have no right for compensation. They just need to adapt.

by Jasper on Jan 8, 2011 10:40 am • linkreport

I fail to buy the argument UPS cannot operate legally, or that the city has made it anywhere near "impossible" for them to operate legally. I worked on M Street at Connecticut and Rhode Island. The entire block was full of office buildings with back alley loading dock access. But UPS never parked there. They would park in the middle of the block, put on their hazard lights, and block traffic for 25 minutes at a time to service the entire block. The drivers make a choice to break the law. They make a choice not to seek out legal parking and refuse to use it even when it is provided. They do this in the interest of delivering packages faster and for their bottom line.

On my residential street things are no different. The two largest apartments on my street have "No Parking--Loading" signs specifically for commercial and service vehicles like package delivery, Comcast, Pepco, etc. But UPS parks instead in the middle of the crosswalk at the intersection of three streets, creating both an impediment to the curb cut (very convenient when my wheelchair-bound neighbor tries to cross the street) and a blind spot for cars turning onto my street. The city didn't make it impossible for them to do anything. They chose to park illegally, despite the legal option.

There is the valid argument that this is the reality of living in a city and I understand that. But I've seen countless MPD officers and parking enforcement officers walk or drive right by a UPS truck, or Pepco truck, or any other type of commercial vehicle and do nothing. If less safe streets and traffic congestion is my cost of living in a city, thousands or dollars worth of fines, and the occasional booted or towed truck ought to be their cost of doing business here. This should be a $500 fine, minimum, and it ought to actually be enforced. Every time I see a UPS driver slap a decoy ticket face down on his windshield before making a delivery, I know it's not going to be, and that's wrong and it's theft.

by Nice Marmot on Jan 8, 2011 1:23 pm • linkreport

This post and many of the comments clearly illustrate how some of the bicycle infrastructure has been put in place without sufficient planning and without consultation with the other stakeholders.

By not taking into account the elimination of parking and loading zones, DDOT didn't consider the impact on the local businesses and their ability to efficiently recieve deliveries.

Many of the comments seem to show that there are bicycle infrastructure proponents who believe that if something serves the bicycle user, the impact on others does not matter, and that it is not necessary to consider the impact on others or design a system to minimize the impact on local businesses, customers, workers and other DC residents. The proposed "solutions" to the initial lack of planning seem to maximize the impact on others.

by Paul on Jan 8, 2011 3:55 pm • linkreport

Paul, DDOT did not remove loading zones. They also met numerous times with the Downtown BID - from whom they have complete buy-in, and thus the stakeholders. DDOT considered the impact of removing parking.

by David C on Jan 8, 2011 6:55 pm • linkreport

Paul - If double-parking proves that infrastructure was put in place without sufficient planning, we need to shut down K Street.

by tt on Jan 8, 2011 9:02 pm • linkreport

Am I the only one here that would seriously support, where possible, having delivery vehicles interact with cyclists and pedestrians in a low-speed curbless environment?

Here's one simplified way it might work:
*Take some of the busiest pedestrian/bike streets, and elevate the asphalt to one contiguous level
*Use average-speed cameras to change the automotive speed limits here to a hard 5mph for 18 hours a day, with a wide area for parking under 30 minute duration
*Ban all parking over 1 minute duration for the remaining 6 rush hours with prohibitive fines, including delivery vehicles in bike lanes.

by Squalish on Jan 9, 2011 11:11 pm • linkreport

@Squalish, This would only work were you the only vehicles allowed are delivery vehicles. Commuters, be they driving a car or riding a bike, would be unable to function under your 5 mph restriction.

by Lance on Jan 10, 2011 8:21 am • linkreport

Why has the option of bikers dismounting and passing the vehicle been dismissed so quickly? Someone mentioned that its easier for a car to pull around a delivery truck than a cyclist to use the sidewalk. This isn't true downtown at the busiest points. The streets are already at max capacity and there simply isn't enough room between cars for one lane to quickly and efficiently merge with another. This instead tends to cause one lane to cease moving and ripples outwards. This is the primary reason almost every intersection is no left turn during rush hour.

During off-peak hours, the car lane is easiest for everyone, but when the streets are filled, I can't see how removing a lane of flowing traffic is a better solution than a small inconvenience to bikers.

Of course this doesn't do anything to solve the greater problem, merely a position on the car lane vs bike lane discussion.

by DC Driver on Jan 10, 2011 12:15 pm • linkreport

@DC Driver, You make some good points. Not all places at all times are appropriate for bicycling. Where there's a lot of traffic, for example, it's not a good idea for someoone to be in the middle of it. Can you imagine a pedestrian (say a jogger) snaking through heavy street traffic downtown during rush hour? I find it ironic that we tolerate someone sitting on a 20 lb metal frame to do something we wouldn't tolerate from someone in similar circumstances but not on that 20 lb metal frame, ... say someone on a skate board ... or maybe pushing a wheel barrel ... or using a hula hoop .... Why do we make an exception for someone with literally no more protective armour than these others ... and equally disruptive of traffic. In that way, the defined cycle tracks are good in that they take the cyclists out of the way. But, until we mandate some 'bike walking' when in areas with heavy traffic like downtown, putting more cycle tracks in these areas is just inviting more trouble.

by Lance on Jan 11, 2011 8:25 am • linkreport

Why do we make an exception for someone with literally no more protective armour than these others ... and equally disruptive of traffic?

http://www.bicyclelaw.com/road-rights/a.cfm/road-rights-first-there-was-the-bicycle

by oboe on Jan 11, 2011 9:23 am • linkreport

@oboe

Cyclists earned this legal status long ago, before the first automobiles appeared on American roads, as the result of a nationwide campaign. The roads of the late 19th century were rutted, uneven dirt tracks, dusty in summer and muddy in winter. After the League of American Wheelmen (now the League of American Bicyclists) was formed in 1880, its members tackled the poor state of American roadways. The Good Roads Movement was born and, with cyclists leading the way, roads were paved.

That's kind of what I thought ... But times change and conditions change. There was also a time in this country (and others) because water was relatively unsafe to drink, people drank beer and ale and other fermented beverages starting in the morning ... since that was the only way to safely get your liquids. But times changed, the water supply got cleaner and now the use of fermented beverages, even very lightly fermented ones, is pretty much regulated and restricted ... I think bikes are a wonderful thing. But really, if common sense isn't good enough for people to realize that in the age of the automobile there are a lot or times and places where bikes are not appropriate, then we should pass legislation enforcing this. I mean, we probably don't have a law saying people on skateboards shouldn't be weaving in and out of heavy traffic in the business district during rush hour, but I'd suspect most skateboaders would know better than to attempt it. What surprises me is that many cyclists don't. But the history you bring up explains why it is. Unfortunately, the bike in mass production came about a decade or two before the automobile in mass production (they'd both been around since the late 18th century in terms of developmental forms), so we have some pretty archaic and unusual ideas in society about where and when a bike can or should be safely operated.

by Lance on Jan 11, 2011 11:09 am • linkreport

if common sense isn't good enough for people to realize that in the age of the automobile

This isn't the age of the automobile.

there are a lot or times and places where bikes are not appropriate, then we should pass legislation enforcing this.

Where not appropriate, such as the interstate, it is already illegal. Where appropriate it is legal. It is legal in heavy traffic because the majority of people think it is appropriate. So your statement that it is inappropriate is the outlier opinion. That is not the common sense. The common sense is that it IS appropriate. Additionally, experience would show that it is. What you never do is point out WHY it is in appropriate. It isn't dangerous. It doesn't cause congestion. So why is it inappropriate, since the majority thinks it is.

Actually Lance it's illegal to ride a skateboard in the street in DC. You really know absolutely nothing about anything and yet you keep talking.

by David C on Jan 11, 2011 11:56 am • linkreport

But really, if common sense isn't good enough for people to realize that in the age of the automobile there are a lot or times and places where bikes are not appropriate, then we should pass legislation enforcing this.

Fair enough. And there are many jurisdictions around the country that have sought to do this. Fortunately for cyclists, tractor driving farmers, Amish people, the courts have in every case come down on the opposite side of the issue.

Not saying that, assuming we proceed further into the Age of the Automobile, that might not change. In which case some rural, reactionary jurisdictions might ban bicycles from their roads.

But even if that came to pass, the odds of progressive, urban jurisdictions (like DC) doing so seem infinitesimally small.

by oboe on Jan 11, 2011 12:45 pm • linkreport

@oboe But even if that came to pass, the odds of progressive, urban jurisdictions (like DC) doing so seem infinitesimally small.

I would beg to differ with you on that. We will be one of the first ... second to NYC which is already further along the curve of 'what happens when you have more than just a handful of bikes in the middle of traffic'.

The 'majority' (to use David C's term) haven't really cared one way or the other because the level of ridership has been relatively low. One bike encounter every fourth or fifth day is no big deal. Now one bike encounter every fourth or fifth minute is. The issue was so unimportant, that no one cared. But now that it has become important, what do you think will happen? I predict the majority will indeed demand restrictions in certain places at certain times as the problem of trying to mix two modes of transit which by their very nature demand to different, and at times at odds with each other, sets of 'rules of the road'.

by Lance on Jan 11, 2011 2:24 pm • linkreport

OK Lance, let's put some numbers on this. When do you predict NYC - since they'll be first - will restrict the time and place where bikes are allowed to ride. This year? Next? Look into your crystal ball and let's put a date on it. I'll add it to my calendar and we can check back in then.

by David C on Jan 11, 2011 2:33 pm • linkreport

Yeah, I hate to gang up on Lance, but I'll take that bet any day of the week...though I'm unsure of the relevance of betting on the likelihood of some unlikely hypothetical thing B happening in the case of some other, even less like hypothetical thing A.

Guess we'll all have to just hold our breaths and wait to see.

by oboe on Jan 11, 2011 2:49 pm • linkreport

I would like to keep a link to your prediction, though. So that hopefully you'll be able to take a well-deserved victory lap in a few years when bikes are banned from the streets and plazas of the District. Unfortunately, I'm not that well-organized, so we'll all just have to remember this historic day.

by oboe on Jan 11, 2011 2:51 pm • linkreport

@Lance

It's interesting how you keep making your point using language that's just fundamentally incorrect. Let's break it down:

1. what happens when you have more than just a handful of bikes in the middle of traffic - What does happen? I don't think we've seen any hard data that says there are negative consequences to having more bikes. More injuries/deaths? More measured traffic congestion? Pretty much all we've seen is that when you inject more bikes is that a few vocal people get pissed off and get quoted in newspapers.

2. "The majority" of people who are walking around DC's downtown on a given weekday aren't people who drove there. They took transit. http://www.downtowndc.org/reports/pedestrian_study

Your predictions of the future are a total pipe-dream. People aren't driving more, they're driving less - check out VMT numbers if you don't believe me. VMT started slowing down before they recession started. And if you think NYC and DC are going to be banning bikes from their roads you are seriously mistaken. I would put the chances of this happening at ZERO percent.

I don't know where this world is that you live in where the "backlash" against cycling has reached any sort of boiling point. Cyclists mowing down pedestrians with abandon every day! Cyclists causing massive traffic jams! It makes me wonder if you've actually looked at the how the city operates from anyplace other than behind the wheel of your car.

The "blame cyclists" mentality is just a crutch used by people who can't admit the facts: commuting by car in the city sucks - people drive like idiots, it's stressful, finding parking is a pain in the ass, etc. The reality is that traffic will get worse forever - more people will live in the metro area and as long as they keep deciding to drive to work that will mean more cars on the road every year, period. The other reality is that there is no way to make enough space for all those cars - where exactly are we going to conjure up space in downtown DC for more roads? It's built out.

by MLD on Jan 11, 2011 3:09 pm • linkreport

The reality is that traffic will get worse forever - more people will live in the metro area and as long as they keep deciding to drive to work that will mean more cars on the road every year, period. The other reality is that there is no way to make enough space for all those cars - where exactly are we going to conjure up space in downtown DC for more roads? It's built out.

I tend to agree with MLD here. I'm always amazed by the optimism drivers seem to have that the motoring experience in DC and the neighboring suburbs' roadways will somehow get better if we just add one more lane, or get those pesky bicycles out of the road. They don't seem to grasp that that--due to population growth and irreversible sprawl trends--this is it. As Lance put it, we're in "the age of the auto". It's the Golden Age of Driving. It only gets worse from here. At least until we get hovercars and personal teleportation devices, the auto commuting experience will only get shittier.

That doesn't mean everyone's going to be riding a bicycle, of course. Just the lucky ones.

by oboe on Jan 11, 2011 4:06 pm • linkreport

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