King Street Bicycle Lanes


The City of Alexandria is planning on resurfacing King Street from Russell Road to Janneys Lane in the fall. Within the resurfacing plans, The City is propsing to install bicycle lanes in both directions and narrow the moving lanes to calm traffic. In order to gather public feeback, The City is holding a public meeting on September 18th at 7:00pm in the cafeteria at Maury Elementary. To learn more visit:


Results of the poll are in:

Further comments and suggestions should be sent to Hillary Poole, by Friday. 


I appreciate that the folks who really want the bike lanes on King Street are posting links to helpful data to support their position on everything from vehicle speeds and home values. There is of course, just as much data on the other side. For example: you dont want to read the whole thing - the conclusion of this study was that "the bulk of empirical evidence indicates that visual narrowing via striping does not slow down motor traffic, and is just as likely to increase speed." Point is - you can find data out there to reach any conclusion that you want - either pro or con. That is why the folks that actually live on King Street have been encouraging City officials to pay more attention to what is actually going on traffic wise on this stretch of road and in that regard why the majority are strongly opposed to the bike lanes. Putting aside the debate over the loss of street parking for a moment - the City's proposal (according to their website) is designed to achieve two things:1. Slow vehicle speeds + improve safety;2. Connect bicycle facilities at Janney's Lane to King Street metro as part of the "Complete Streets" initiative. A fair assesment would be that it fails at both. As far as #1 is concerned. Everyone knows that vehicle speeds are out of control. Residents have been complaining for months/years about speeds topping 45mph on this stretch and the City has shown no inclination to conduct even a minimum of traffic enforcement. I'm not sure why that is but i hope they are prepared to accept liability when a Dash bus hits somebody at those speeds because bike lanes are not going to change that behavior - or the red light running. The City's bus drivers are some of THE worst offenders. There is a LOT that can be done to address this public safety issue that will guarantee results in a way that bike lanes will not and the City needs to tackle that first. That should be priority number one before we try to introduce even more non-vehicular traffic on what is already an unsafe road.As far as #2 is concerned - it is pretty amusing to hear the City talk about connecting bike facilities at Janney's to the metro when under their own proposal - the bike lanes headed east stop at Cedar - almost 1/4 mile before the metro station! Not what I would call a "complete street." If bikes are to return to sharing the road after Cedar anyway - it doesnt make a whole lot of sense to disrupt an entire neighborhood for what amounts to 1/2 mile of dedicated bike lane.Braddock Road should be a model for how the City addresses very similar issues on King Street. On street parking, sharrows and bikes sharing ordinary traffic lanes all combine pretty seemlessly on a route that almost parrallels King. The City needs to go back to the drawing board and address the very real issues on King Street before throwing another variable into the mix and presenting that as THE solution because their proposal doesnt address the core issue (safety) directly at all.   

Bike lanes and street safety are not mutually exclusive. Why not build bike lanes and increase police enforcement on King Street? Both can easily be done however I am sure you don't like this idea because your primary motivation in this fight is keeping the exclusive parking spaces - just as it showed in the meeting.There are bike lanes on Braddock Road. So there should be some on King Street.

Bike lanes and parking are not mutually exclusive. Why not build bike lanes that share the road with parking on King Street? Both can easily be done however I am sure you don't like this idea because your primary motivation in this fight is to use King street as a proxy battle for expanded bike lanes everywhere - just as it showed in the meeting.There are parking spaces on Braddock Road. So there should be some on King Street.

Nice try. However my horse in the battle has nothing to do with putting bike lanes everywhere - just where they are needed. In this case, they are needed on King Street. I was the only one at the meeting who spoke up for better sidewalks and pedestrian amenities - unlike ANY of the residents.

  • There are bike lanes AND parking on Braddock. City did not pick one over the other. Those spots on Braddock are also "exclusive" parking spaces used primarily by residents there - yet nobody appears to be accusing them of being feudal land barons who dont want to share driveways with their maid or gardener. 
  • Your suggestion is premised on the notion that bike lanes reduce speed. That is a tenuous conclusion not supported by data. The data that does show a reduction in speed indicates that it is not statistically significant (i.e 1-2mph). We have cars going 45mph on this stretch. That just aint going to cut it. 
  • There are a host of safety issues on King including excessive speed, redlight running, lack of pedestrian crossing. I think you will find many residents of King are all for increased enforcement but the City is not inclined to do so. Talk to the police that run radar on that stretch and ask them how many tickets they write. Very few. They will also tell you that they dont like running radar on King. As a result there is no effective enforcement. I think you would find residents to be supportive of many ideas including increased enforcement, bumpouts, pedestrian crossings and even redlight cameras. What we are opposed to is the City saying exclusive bike lanes are the answer to all these problems. They are not and will compound some of the more pressing ones. 
  • And yes, we also do care about preserving those parking spaces. Most of our houses have one tiny spot for multi car families. The proposal would force us to park in a neighborhood blocks away for some residents not near a cross street. This is a neighborhood with few sidewalks, poor lighting and an already tight parking situation. We already have safety issues with King as mentioned above. Forcing residents of at least 25 homes on the North side of King to go back and forth across a street that is already inadequate in that regard and walk down the middle of the road in a neighborhood without sidewalks is not an attractive option. 
  • My premise is not based on the idea that bike lanes reduce speed since the data is inconclusive. My premise is based on the need for alternatives to the motor vehicle to reduce traffic jams since there isn't room for more roads.
  • The City never said bike lanes are the solution to these problems. They hope that the problem will be alleviated by bike lanes but no one is saying that is the only reason for this project. The primary reason for this project is to provide for a transportation alternative.
  • As for the police not wanting to do their job, that is something you need to discuss with the APD. I don't understand why they wouldn't want to enforce speed limits on King Street with the safety concerns you cite and the revenue that they could generate from doing so.
  • Being forced to walk is not an ordeal. Maybe you'll advocate for better sidewalks instead of preserving your parking spots. Once again, there was one person at the meeting who spoke up for better sidewalks and that was one of the cyclists. The residents had no interest in making that an issue.
  • I appreciate that you are looking for ways to improve pedestrian safety and i mean that earnestly. I dont think it is accurate to say that none of the residents have raised those as concerns too. A number of residents stood to highlight the low curbs on some stretches of the sidewalk and the need for improved pedestrain crossing at Upland and at Highland, the desire to see a stoplight at Upland (doenst apparently meet the criteria) or a camera at Highland. If you look at any of the communication between the various neighborhood associations and the City (available online) - you will see ongoing requests for many of the improvements that you want to see too. The reality is that paint is cheaper than what will actually improve the situation on King - real solutions will cost real money. 
  • I appreciate the suggestion to call APD. I can assure that generally the first step people make around here. I dont think its an issue of them not wanting to increase enforcement. Its a matter of it not being done on a consistent enough basis to have an impact.
  • I dont think anybody said walking is an ordeal. I myself walk the sidewalks to the metro everyday. Sometimes i ride my bike. My only point is that this neighborhood is trying to solve the safety issues on King Street as a first priority. It is not currently safe from a pedestrian perspective because of the very things that you raised. Seems like there is some common ground there. Before we create a situation that forces residents to go back and forth across an already unsafe street with inadequate pedestrian facilities - lets get the safety issues fixed first and then have the discussion about whether its appropriate to add bike lanes. Its a question of tackling issues in a logical order. 
  • The Complete Streets program requires the city to consider whether expanding transportation options is appropriate for a particular street whenever any repair work is done which is why we are having this debate. What our neighborhood is saying is that because of the serious safety issues - it is currently not appropriate to add bike lanes and the City needs to focus on the existing safety concerns first. That is not to say there are not also some real and legitimate concerns about what losing on street parking will mean for our neighborhood, but at least lets have that debate when all the other issues are resolved. 
  • Ill leave you with a question because i think its worth keeping the discussion going - as an advocate for bike lanes on King Street - do you think there are roads in Alexandria where bike lanes are NOT appropriate for whatever reason? If the answer is yes - under what conditions would you oppose them?

If we define bike lanes as a strip of paint on the road, then the obvious places where this idea wouldn't work would be Duke Street west of Old Town, Telegraph Road, and King Street between Quaker Lane and Beauregard. In all of those spots, vehicle speeds are far too high for this to be a safe proposal. A fully separated lane with barriers, etc, is a different idea altogether. 

To:          Mayor Wm. Euille; Members of the City Council; Members of the City Traffic and Parking Board;               Local Motion & Hillary PooleFrom:    Mr. Richard and Mrs. Darlene Johnson                2210 King Street                Alexandria VA 22301 Date:     September 21, 2013 Please find 3 pages which has our response to the King Street Traffic Calming/Bike Lanes Proposal1. Response to the Proposed Priorities of the City (starts below)2. Regarding Bike Lanes and Traffic Calming3. Regarding Bike Lanes vs. Street Parking REGARDING THE PROPOSED PRIORITIES OF THE CITY:We have been told that the city priorities for the city’s transportation are (in this order):1. Pedestrians2. Transit3. Bicycles4. Automobiles We have been told that the traffic needs calming on King Street from the Russell Road/Callahan Drive intersection to Janney’s Lane. A Proposal For Pedestrians & Transit AND Calming King Street TrafficIf it is truly the goal of the city to calm/slow the traffic on King Street and also accommodate pedestrians and transit, here are some thoughts for your consideration:1. It is a given that the speed of automobiles is slower as they approach the cars parked on the north-side of King Street, particularly at the stretch between Maple and Janney’s Lane, where many of the residents have no other place to park/receive company/contractors/family/deliveries/moving trucks.2. To slow the northbound traffic coming up the hill still sooner, place a bump-out on the north-side of King Street just west of the Rosemont Street intersection, the width of a parking space, such as the one on Duke Street at the Fayette Street: ·         Place the bump-out just after the public transportation/bus-stop, that is already there to allow riders to disembark safely (This would eliminate only one parking space at the corner nearest Rosemont.)·         The bump-out would protect the street parked cars of families and visitors living to the west along King Street at 2207 and on up the hill.·         It would slow the traffic, assure the cars moved over to a single lane going west, as the street sign already indicates they should, but often don’t  do·         The bump-out would slow the traffic and provide a shortened place/thus an added safer crosswalk for pedestrians who could then cross over to the south-side of King Street, east of Park Road, and  walk up the street or down along the Masonic Memorial grounds. REGARDING BIKE LANES/SAFETY AND TRAFFIC CALMING:When there is minimal traffic on King Street, in the off-hours of the rush hour (which is not very long)  those few bikes that travel on King Street between Janney’s and the foot of the Masonic property go far beyond any set speed limit as they come “unrestrained” down the street going east to the hill bottom… and bike riders “strain” to ride up the hill, wander as much as car width to maintain their upward mobility. Even if NO CARS were allowed on King Street and the entire street was devoted to biking, we do not believe it is a safe ride down or easy hill up for the average biker to climb. Only the most ardent, physically fit biker who always abides by the “rules of the road” is a candidate for using King Street as his/her daily route (and those bikers are already using the street for that purpose).As it is, and as it is proposed:1.       The Bike Lanes would not begin at Janney’s nor end at the bottom of King Street on Callahan Drive because there are 3 lanes (to accommodate turn lanes) of traffic at both the upper and lower end of the hill. There is a disconnect.·         That means that in the approximate 5 block distance over 2 blocks would not have space to accommodate bike lanes, just as they do not now accommodate on street parking. (And yet, about 40 parking spaces are eliminated!)·         Would biker’s freely riding down the hill suddenly stop/slow down/go on the sidewalk when coming to the end of the bike lanes?2.       There are at least 2 bus stops on each side of King Street on the stretch under discussion. ·         Will biker’s stop behind the buses?·         Will biker’s try to go around the stopped buses?3.       As a driver we are obligated to allow the bikers a “piece” of the street; they are to follow the same laws that govern automobiles. ·         Stop at stop-signs and stop lights·         Use the traffic lanes·         Allow a distance between themselves and the car in front of themShould they not be held accountable to follow the same rules of the road as any other vehicle?And…Why can’t “shared bike/car lanes” identified with the biker-arrow symbols frequently placed along the car lanes be done on King Street (as has been done on many other congested streets in the city) to remind car drivers and bicyclists that they share the road and are all responsible for each other’s safety. REGARDING BIKE LANES VS. STREET PARKING:Whatever happened to the Alexandria in which the residents who pay taxes and own properties are considered?·         There are 49 homes plus 4 parcels of land for additional potential homes, facing King Street from the juncture with Janney’s Lane to the juncture with Callahan Drive/Russell Road1.       There are a minimum of 83 adults living in these homes; most drive and own a car2.       These residents pay $525,197.00 in annual taxes3.       Eliminating on-street parking will devalue the property value of these/our homes·         20 of those 49 homes which are on the north side of King Street have no alley or alternate off - street parking, except minimal space in small front yards1.       2 other homes have larger yards but often use King Street parking2.       All (with one exception) of us on King Street have needed to use the parking spaces for company or family.3.       We don’t know how much a parking spot is worth, but Urban Turf found that as of November 2011 “…home buyers have become savvy enough to negotiate a list price down in the event that the listing they are interested in doesn’t come with a spot.” During the meeting of September 18 at Maury School a comparison was made that King Street would become like Slaters Lane – with --1.       The increase in bike traffic2.       The slowing of cars’ speedsKing Street is NOT Slaters Lane. ·         It is not near an established national bike trail that has been used for decades·         It does not feed into the George Washington Parkway as a major artery to Washington D.C.·         It DOES HAVE homes – as mentioned above – 49 of them – and IS in an area where parking is already very tight in the community on either side of the street SO…WHEN is this city government again going to consider its citizens who represent its tax base and are its reason for being? ·         In the years since we moved here the city has been overdeveloped without due consideration to parking  and to the point that the streets cannot easily accommodate the traffic·         Green space is less·         Taxes are more and more·         The government is bigger and biggerSo…we ask:How many of you ride your bikes to work? To the grocery store?How many of you transport your children on a bike to school events or to day care?How many of you would willingly give up your parking spaces for city council and city workers and ride a bike to work or meetings?How many of you live in a house on King Street that will lose parking? OR are willing to lose street parking in front of your house?Are you ready to lower the assessments/ taxes on those homes facing King Street from Janney’s to Callahan Drive should this proposal go through?


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