Posts Tagged ‘Alexandria’
It was standing room only last night for the city of Alexandria’s Traffic and Parking Board’s monthly meeting. The topic of discussion was the King Street bike lane and traffic calming project, which we wrote about yesterday. Sixty-two residents and representatives of local organizations took to the podium to express their opinion on the city’s newest proposal. Forty-two speakers spoke in support of the bike lane project, while 18 were opposed to the plan. The written comments to the board were three-to-one in favor of the bike lane project, according to city staff.
City traffic engineers originally proposed installing bike lanes the complete length of King Street from Russell Road to Janneys Lane, which would have required removing all 37 on-street public parking spaces (this stretch of King Street is a neighborhood street with plenty of off-street driveway parking). Last night, city staff presented a revised plan, which would retain 10 on-street parking spots on King Street and add 3 more on side streets based on the concerns of residents. Residents also requested more data from city staff. That data was presented last night and included an 85th-percentile speed for the street: 35 miles per hour, which is 10 miles over the legal speed limit.
After almost three hours of testimony, board members briefly discussed the topic and voted to defer for two months. The board voted in September to defer the vote for the first time and asked city staff to address residents’ concerns. Now Alexandria residents must wait another two months for a hearing. Which, unfortunately, also means they must wait for a safer King Street.
If you can’t wait two months, please send a message to the Alexandria mayor and city council expressing your support for the King Street bike lanes.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is the leading voice for bicycling in the region. WABA members and supporters enable us to advocate for better conditions for bicycling. Join or donate today to ensure that we can continue to represent you.
This morning, we emailed a version of the text below to our supporters in Alexandria. We’re posting it on our blog to encourage those who don’t subscribe to our action alerts but live in and around Del Ray to attend tonight’s hearing about the proposed King Street bike lanes, which are in danger of being killed in favor of parking spaces.
“We want people to be using bicycles and walking,” Alexandria Mayor Bil Euille has declared (as recently reported by the Del Ray Patch).
This winter, the city of Alexandria plans to expand the popular Capital Bikeshare system to Del Ray with five new stations. However, Bikeshare will falter without additional on-street bike lanes, routes, and trails. Alexandria is proposed to construct bike lanes on King Street from Russell Road to Janneys Lane. The western section of King Street is an uphill climb. The proposed lanes will provide a safe place for people on bikes to climb at their own pace, while keeping car traffic flowing smoothy and unimpeded. Neighbors report that drivers often speed on this stretch; bike lanes will calm this fast-moving car traffic. Pedestrains will benefit from a buffer from car traffic and a sidewalk clear of bike traffic. The King Street bike lanes are an unequivocal win for nearby residents, pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and bus riders.
Learn more about the King Street bike lane proposal on Alexandria’s website.
But there are a few vocal and well-connected neighbors opposing the bike lanes. Their main complaint is the loss of a small number of public parking spaces. The stretch of King Street in question is residential, with single-family homes and driveways. The ciy observed that about 95 percent of all street parking spaces were vacant over a three-month period this year. This empty public space should be used to make King Street safer for kids biking to school, residents walking to the Metro, and visitors using Capital Bikeshare to shop in Old Town.
There is a real chance that Alexandria’s Transportation and Parking Board will vote against the bike lanes in favor of these parking spaces. Please attend TONIGHT to testify in support of the King Street bike lane project and demand safer streets.
Transportation and Parking Board Hearing
Monday, Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m. (TONIGHT!)
Council Chambers, City Hall (Market Square, King Street at Royal Street)
More information: http://www.alexandriava.gov/TrafficParkingBoard
You must sign up to testify by 7:45 p.m.; download the speaker form (PDF)
Thank you for helping to make the streets of Alexandria safer.
Last week we announced WABA’s new Business Membership program, and mentioned the first five businesses to get involved. Today, let us give you a more in-depth look at what the businesses that have joined up with us have to offer.
VeloCity Bicycle Cooperative is a non-profit, volunteer-run, do-it-yourself bicycle workshop in Alexandria. It offers trainings, rides, and events to empower and educate area bicyclists through building, maintaining, and embracing the fun of riding a bike. VeloCity actively sought us out for a business membership and quickly became our first member.
Bike and Roll is a bike rental, repair, and touring company with locations in D.C. and Alexandria. It provides hourly and full-day bike rentals, guided bike tours, and bicycle repair and maintenance. A long time supporter of WABA, Bike and Roll has frequently donated its bikes for use at WABA events and classes.
Ecoprint is an environmentally responsible printing company in Silver Spring that uses a 100 percent carbon-neutral printing processes—Ecoprint was “eco” before it was cool. The company has printed WABA’s newsletter and direct mailings for many years and has helped us raise awareness of bicycling issues in an environmentally friendly manner.
KGP Design Studios, LLC is a design firm providing architecture, urban design, and transit planning services. It has been a leader in the livable cities movement, designing premier bicycle facilities including the Union Station Bicycle Transit Center (which is operated by Bike and Roll).
The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company that provides financial solutions for all kinds of investors. Committed to cultivating bicycling as a viable transportation option for its staff, The Motley Fool brought in WABA for an employee-based bike commuter seminar in 2011.
(This posting provided by Jonathan Krall, Chair, Alexandria Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee)
On Friday, June 29 bicycle advocates and transportation officials met below the Wilson Bridge on the South end of Old Town to discuss mitigation strategies for the the risks associated with a series of bollards on the Mt Vernon Trail at the Wilson Bridge. This meeting happened because of concerns raised by cycling advocates such as blogger John “Rootchopper” Pickett and through the efforts of Eric Wagner (Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee) and Carrie Sanders (Alexandria City Transportation and Environmental Services). The meeting included representatives from VDOT (John Lynch, John Bolecek), Woodrow Wilson Bridge General Engineering Consultants (Bill Barkely), Transportation Safety Administration (Steve Sprague), Alexandria T&ES (Lucas Cruse), Alexandria BPAC (Jonathan Krall, Jerry King, Eric Wagner) and WABA (Shane Farthing).
Cyclists and pedestrians have encountered the bollards in question near each of the two points where the presently-configured Mt Vernon Trail passes under the Wilson Bridge. The bollards, rigid metal posts designed to stop unauthorized vehicles from gaining access to the underside of the bridge, represent a post-9/11 recommendation of the TSA. There are numerous such bollards and other barriers within the Wilson Bridge/Jones Point Park project. According to one representative of the TSA, an unauthorized vehicle can be “a motorcycle pulling a trailer” or anything larger.
These very solid obstacles are a proven hazard to cyclists in the area, having caused two very serious bicycle crashes within the past two months. According to counts performed by Alexandria BPAC, an estimated 750,000 people pass though this area under the Wilson bridge each year, about 2/3 of them on bicycles. Because of the location of one set of three bollards at the bottom of a hill (the ramp connecting to Washington Street south of the bridge), the present configuration is particularly dangerous for northbound cyclists, who are likely to approach these unmarked bollards at speed. Worse yet, if a northbound cyclist passes to the left of the leftmost of the three bollards at this point, she will quickly encounter a high curb that cuts into the trail 5 feet past the bollard. The present, incomplete configuration is a 911-call waiting to happen.
In each of the two spots the attendees discussed at the meeting there is a trio of bollards: one on the (not yet painted) centerline and one each to the right and left of the trail. Planned trail elements include white edge and yellow centerline striping to narrow the trail at the bollards, “path narrows” and “bollards ahead” signage, and yellow (or white) paint and reflective markings on the bollards themselves. The yellow center stripe will split 20 feet ahead of the center bollard to visually separate the two trail-lanes from the center bollard.
The meeting participants agreed on additional measures to protect citizens of the Homeland. First, the dangerous opening to left of the leftmost bollard south of the bridge (as viewed by northbound travelers) will be marked with painted hash-marks outside of the white stripe and will be blocked by, for example, one or more soft plastic bollards. All cyclists at the meeting agreed that, despite signage, the bollards will prove a surprise to cyclists, especially in crowded conditions. In an effort to create a more forgiving design, there will be additional soft plastic bollards within the yellow split-centerline in advance of the solid bollard. This increases awareness for trail users for the dangerous configuration ahead and will reduce the likelihood of dangerous situations or crashes since cyclists who misread the trail configuration will encounter a soft bollard rather than a hard one. At this late stage in the process, it seemed almost impossible to make actionable recommendations for implementation of alternative proposals that would have completely eliminated the need for bollards on the trail. One proposal suggested to remove the center bollards entirely (deemed to make the trail too attractive to terrorists). Another would be to move the bollards south of the bridge to the top of the hill and otherwise block vehicles from entering the trail from the nearby parking lot (too elaborate at such a late stage). On a positive note, VDOT will look at the possibility to make changes to the 4-inch curb and “rock mulch” awaiting any trail user in the case of a fall, all but guaranteeing bloody injuries. General trail design guidelines suggest that there should not be a high, right-angled curb on a trail and in addition, at least two feet of “safe space” (not sharp rocks). Finally, we agreed to monitor the results and take further steps if needed to protect cyclists from bollards along the Mt Vernon Tail within the project area.
One direct safety improvement is VDOT’s assurance to install a variable message sign at the bridge, directing southbound trail users to use the appropriate path (the two destinations will be “Mount Vernon” and “Wilson Bridge Path”) while the construction at the top of the ramp blocking access to the southbound trail towards Mount Vernon is ongoing.
This is a VDOT project. While VDOT deserves recognition for keeping this very busy trail open throughout most of this multi-year project, they do not have the expertise to recognize some hazards to bicyclists and pedestrians. Getting this expertise “in the loop” on transportation projects is an ongoing challenge for planners and builders. Hazards associated with this project and with these bollards have been extensively documented on Rootchopper blog (here’s an example http://rootchopper.blogspot.com/2012/06/mandatory-8-count.html). Anyone who wishes to become proficient at detour design for multi-use paths would do well to study Mr. Pickett’s many examples and critiques.
WABA’s Workshop Series brings FREE bike education workshops to your neighborhood! You can read more about our Workshop Series here. Want to bring a WABA Workshop to your local bike shop? Just call them and ask them to request one! You can use our list of local bike shops in the region. Questions? Comments? Email email@example.com or call 202-518-0524 x200.
Interested in finding out more about commuting by bicycle? The Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Spokes Etc. Bicycles in Alexandria are teaming up to bring you the Bike Commuter Clinic! This is the perfect opportunity to interest your friends and coworkers in bike commuting. Don’t forget, National Bike to Work Day is right around the corner! Sign up for the Bike Commuter Clinic here.
Spokes Etc. Alexandria
1545 N. Quaker Lane
Alexandria VA 22302
Join Daniel Hoagland, WABA’s DC Bike Ambassador Coordinator as he presents tips, tricks, and essential knowledge for commuting by bicycle in the Washington DC area. Daniel is a League Cycling Instructor, has taught many different cycling classes, and is heavily involved in community cycling resources throughout the area.
The clinic will address safe bicycle commuting techniques and equipment, riding in traffic, safe routes for commuting, preparing for your ride, and more. Plus, we’ll show you a wide variety of bikes and accessories you can use to get you ready to ride. We’ll even have a couple of commuter bikes set up and ready to roll.
Refreshments will be served. Due to space constraints, you must register beforehand here. For more information, call Spokes Etc Alexandria at 703-820-2200 or email Nate Graham, Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!
Last week, at its regional summit on bicycling advocacy, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) previewed its Regional Call to Action for better bicycling in the area. The Call to Action focuses on making bicycling a viable form of transportation for a much broader segment of the population.
Currently, approximately 3% of DC residents bike to work according to the most recent American Community Survey. WABA’s goal is to continue to improve cycling conditions for those who already bike, but to make improvements in a way that will induce the 60% of people who say that they are interested in biking, but concerned about some element, to give cycling a try.
“We need to think bigger and think broader about making bicycling appealing to the average person who simply wants to get where he or she is going in a convenient, economical way,” says WABA Executive Director Shane Farthing. “For bicycling to become and remain a viable transportation option for the average person, it needs to be usable, connected, safe, and protected. While biking is great fun and great sport, it is also–in many parts of our region–the fastest and easiest and cheapest way to simply run an errand or make a short trip. In those parts of our region that lag behind, where conditions are not what they need to be for the average person to bike comfortably, we must accept the challenge and bring about improvements.”
WABA’s last Call to Action, in 2000, was directed to the District of Columbia government, and focused energy on the improvement of District bicycling facilities. In that 11 year period, the number of miles of bike lanes has jumped from less than three to more than fifty, the District Department of Transportation has built a reputable bike program, and bicycle mode share in DC has tripled.
This 2011 Regional Call to Action is directed to the bicycling community, encouraging every cyclist to get involved in the growth of cycling.
WABA’s upcoming Regional Call to Action Summit on November 3rd is going to be an exciting day for bicycle advocacy in the Washington region. Over the last two months, WABA has held five of the six local stakeholder meetings in Maryland, Virginia and DC (the sixth and final meeting is next Monday, 10/17 in Fairfax Co.) to listen to members, supporters, advocates, bike shop owners and other community members about what is needed to improve bicycling in the region. With this feedback in mind, WABA staff and board are creating a Regional Call to Action document to help prioritize the next five years of bicycle advocacy. The November 3rd Regional Call to Action Summit will present this document along with others speakers and panels related to the report. Below is the schedule for the speakers and panel. Learn more about the Summit at waba.org/events/summit.php. Please join us on November 3rd and please RSVP.
8:30 am – Gathering & Coffee
9:30 am – Welcome
9:45 am – Tools for Planning Healthy Communities - Gina Arlotto (WABA’s Safe Routes to School Network Coordinator)
10:15 am – Crashed! Your Legal Rights In A Bicycle Accident – Bruce Deming, Lawyer
11:00 am – Panel: Regional Bikesharing – Speakers TBA
12:00 pm – Lunch Break (1 1/2 hour)
1:30pm – Panel: Planning Bicycle & Pedestrian Access to Metro – Nat Bottigheimer (WMATA Assistant General Manager), Patrick Schmitt (WMATA Parking Manager), Kristin Haldeman (WMATA Manager of Access Planning & Policy Analysis), Justin Antos (WMATA Transportation Analyst)
2:30 – Panel: The Role of Bicycle Businesses in Advocacy – Jakob Wolf-Barnett (Chief Operating Officer, Revolutions Cycles), Erik Kugler (Owner, BicycleSPACE), Stephen Marks (Managing Partner, Bike the Sites), Debora Hardng (CEO, City Bikes), Anne Mader (Owner, The Bike Lane)
3:30 pm - WABA’s Presentation of Regional Call to Action
4:30 pm – Summit End
A Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeo in Alexandria produced some promising new riders at Tucker Elementary School this past weekend. After educating approximately 60 student riders (and parents) about the basics of smart bicycling, handing out free helmets and ushering riders through a long skills course, WABA education staff started removing training wheels from some of the youngest rider’s bikes. The results were pretty amazing and after a few minutes of “pedals-off” scooting one 7 year old girl was ready to put her pedals back on. To the amazement of her father she took-off like she had been riding for years, a real pro!
Three more riders were liberated from their training wheels and several more made real progress towards freedom on 2 wheels. Glen Harrison, WABA bicycle education staff, encourages more parents to teach their children how to ride a bike by using this simple, effective method.
1) Lower the seat and remove the pedals (the left one is reverse threaded)
2) Have child scoot their bike with both feet on smooth, level surface (don’t hold the bike or rider, this will only hinder progress)
3) Insist on practicing until the rider can balance and steer in a straight line with both feet off the ground for 20-30 feet.
4) Raise the seat and re-install pedals.
5) Show rider how to step down on one raised pedal to create forward movement.
6) Rider should sit up, arms straight (but not locked) and looking out in front of the bike about 20 feet (don’t look at feet or front wheel).
7) Give gentle push on back to help get started until rider’s feet can “find” the other pedal.
8) Teach rider how to stop!