Archive for July 22nd, 2011
You might’ve noticed that here in the DC region, we’re embroiled in our annual heat wave. Temperatures are hovering in the triple-digit range, air quality alerts and heat advisories are a daily routine. Even some of us who ride our bikes year-round don’t find too much enjoyment biking in these circumstances, but there are a few tips we’ve learned over the years to make the best of the blistering heat:
Dress for success
Staying cool is all about preparation. First of all, get ready to get sweaty. It’s inevitable, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, the whole point of sweating is that it cools you down, right? You should be thinking about wicking or evaporating fabrics for your shorts and shirt, usually polyester. Whether you go the full-on lycra route is entirely up to you. Light colored clothing reflects heat away from your body.
Other things to consider: arm/leg coolers, sunglasses, summer bike gloves, biking in sandals, lots and lots of sunscreen (30 minutes before stepping outside & every 2 hours thereafter).
Plan your route carefully
Change up the time of your ride and try to get out on your bike early, before the heat of the day sets in. Alternatively, wait until after the sun has gone down to ride. Remember, Rock Creek Park is always a few degrees cooler than anywhere else.
Try to prioritize shady streets and pick out shade-covered or air-conditioned rest locations ahead of time. It’s always worthwhile to plan a bail-out option: put your bike on the bus or lock it up and call a cab.
Other things to consider: stopping to fill your water bottle(s), avoiding large hills, riding through sprinklers.
With overheating a serious concern, it’s important not to overexert yourself. Hyperthermia and heat stroke are caused by prolonged exposure to heat and humidity and are dangerous conditions that can result in disability and death. Take them seriously! Ride slowly, take breaks often, and don’t be too proud to call it quits.
Other things to consider: telecommuting, knowing your limits.
Pack extra water and make this your motto: Drink Before You Are Thirsty. Remember that you can fill your water bottle for free at area TapIt locations.
Other things to consider: camelbaks, drinking energy drinks to replace electrolytes.
From the project website:
The District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are proposing rehabilitation of the 1.7-mile segment of Oregon Avenue, NW, between Military Road and Western Avenue….
The purpose of the proposed action is to rehabilitate Oregon Avenue to satisfy operational and safety needs and done so in a manner keeping with the setting of the project area. Context sensitive solutions will take into account the adjoining land uses – residential developments to the west and Rock Creek Park to the east. Improvements to the corridor will consider all modes of transportation including buses, bicycles and pedestrians.
Currently, this portion of Oregon Avenue is significantly degraded and contains no provision for bicyclists. Unfortunately, some neighbors oppose the inclusion of bicycle facilities on Oregon Ave. Therefore, it is important that neighbors and District residents who support or would benefit from bicycle facilities along Oregon Ave. provide input on the project.
View Oregon Ave EA in a larger map
The four transportation alternatives are as follows:
- Alternative 1: No Build. This alternative would include spot repairs but no improvements for bicyclists or pedestrians. The EA states that it “does not meet the purpose and need of the project.”
- Alternative 2: Minimum Width Build. The second alternative would create no bicycle accommodations of any kind, but would include a 5 ft. sidewalk on the west side of Oregon Ave.
Alternatives 3 and 4 are both divided into a southern and northern section at Bingham Drive, in which the southern section is built according as in Alternative 2: Minimum Width Build (i.e. no bicycle accomodations, 5 ft. sidewalk on west side) due to limited DDOT right-of-way.
In the northern sections:
- Alternative 3: Shared Use Path. The third alternative incorporates a 10 ft. shared use path on the west side to serve two-way cyclist and pedestrian traffic.
- Alternative 4: Bike Lanes. The final alternative would provide a 4 ft. bike lane in each direction and a 5 ft. sidewalk on the west side, with the bike lane and sidewalk separated by a 10 ft. vegetated swale.
WABA supports the inclusion of bicycle facilities on Oregon Ave., so clearly favors Alternatives 3 and 4 over those alternatives that do not provide any bicycle facilities.
In Alternative 3, much depends on the design of the multi-use path–and many cyclists who approach from the roadway will prefer to stay on the roadway rather than mix with pedestrians regardless. In Alternative 4, there is an on-road bicycle facility in each direction–though the east-side lane abuts a curb and is only 4 ft. wide.
While individual cyclists may reasonably differ in their preference for a multi-use path or bike lanes, WABA supports the on-road facilities included in Alternative 4. Here, the multi-use path is so short than any advantage in safety due to physical separation may be surpassed by the added danger of entering and exiting the path outside the normal flow of traffic. Additionally, many cyclists will prefer not to mix with pedestrian traffic or divert to a multi-use path that extends less than one mile, and therefore will choose to ride on-street even where the path is present.
Therefore, WABA supports Alternative 4. We recognize that under most circumstances, the east side bicycle lane should be wider than 4 ft. when alongside a curb in order to meet AASHTO standards. However, given the space constraints and the included reduction of the travel lanes to 10 ft., the incorporation of a mountable curb with 4 ft. bike lane provides the best proposed Alternative.
Please CLICK HERE to contact the project team and provide your input. Comments must be received by July 29.
The full Environmental Assessment of this 1.7 mile stretch of Oregon Ave. can be found HERE.