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: http://alexandriava.gov/localmotion/info/default.aspx?id=74320

 

Results of the poll are in: http://www.actionalexandria.org/blog/results-king-street-bike-lane-poll-are

Further comments and suggestions should be sent to Hillary Poole, hillary.poole@alexandriava.gov by Friday. 


Comments

Thank you everyone for the feedback! We would like to make ACTion a place where everyone feels comfortable leaving comments, so please help ACTion keep up an atmosphere of friendly debate! 

I live on King Street in this stretch and I hope everyone - especially the Alexandria City Council remains focused on what this proposal is supposed to achieve - traffic calming and a safer environment for pedestrians. This isnt a debate over the highest and best use of King street between parked cars and cyclists. Eliminating parking and installing bike lanes will make King St. less safe - not more. First - the City Council needs to do THEIR job with respect to ensuring safety on King street. That means enforcing the law. There is ZERO traffic enforcement on King street between Janneys Lane and the King Street metro. The top offendors are the Metro and Dash buses that typically are going 40-45 mph up that hill and regularly run the red light at King and Highland. Over the course of the last two months alone, i have watched two of my neighbors and my wife and dog almost struck by cars and CITY buses speeding and running that light in particular. I do not believe that eliminating bike lanes will calm traffic and improve the safety on this corridor - instead it will make it much worse. Parked cars create a narrower travel space and have the psychological effect of slowing drivers down. Eliminating these spaces - while it may narrow the indivdual travel lanes for the driver - creates a wider roadway with less obstacles for vehicular traffic making drivers even more comfortable speeding. Janney's lane is where King goes from 2 lanes each direction and 35mph to one lane and 25mph. The cars that are parked on that stretch are the only thing keeping drivers from going faster than they are. I would gladly trade street parking for slower speeds on King. While it would be a bit of a hassle, the safety issues on King street need to be addressed. City Council needs to accept that this proposal could actually make it worse. King street is going to be resurfaced this fall so the debate should be about whether in the course of those improvements, we can make a safer pedestrain environment in the process. If Alexandria Government compounds the safety problem for the residents on that stretch by eliminating parking for the benefit of a few cyclists who are just passing through - that will be a major problem. We would be better off returning access off King to the Rosemont neighborhood at the now closed Walnut St. and putting a light up if we were serious about slowing traffic on this stretch. We might also look at Braddock to see how bike lanes and parking can coexist.More importantly, the City needs to get with the Alexandria Police and start some aggressive traffic enforcement over the next 30 days. What they find might be highly imformative as to what will actually work to improve saftey on this cooridor.   

I find driving in a car out of Taylor Run or Rosemont Neighborhoods (between Callahan and Janneys’) on to King is perilous as cars are moving way too fast for the limited line of sight provided short property setbacks, high retaining walls, shrubbery and current lane layout.  I always find myself having to inch my car’s nose into the King St traffic lane until I get a decent line of sight.  It’s even more perilous if you are trying to make a left turn.<P>  Bike lanes on King in will make turning from these neighborhood side streets safer, because cars will be closer to the center of the road (improving line of sight) and moving slower (narrow lanes slow cars down) So as a car driver, these lane changes are a great improvement.<P>   Additionally, for those that choose to bike rather than drive, these lanes will be a welcome relief on a road that is very difficult to cycle, because of high car speeds, heavy rush hour traffic and lack of defined cyclist road space.  Although there are sidewalks and it is now legal to bike on sidewalks (thank you City Council!!)  the many pedestrians, rough paving and many light and street sign poles in the middle of the sidewalk make it impossible.  The new bike lanes on King street will be a great improvement in safety for cyclists as they will have a place on the road and the car drivers can see it, and steer clear.<P> I'm looking forward to the bike lanes!   

I find driving in a car out of Taylor Run or Rosemont Neighborhoods (between Callahan and Janneys’) on to King is perilous as cars are moving way too fast for the limited line of sight provided short property setbacks, high retaining walls, shrubbery and current lane layout.  I always find myself having to inch my car’s nose into the King St traffic lane until I get a decent line of sight.  It’s even more perilous if you are trying to make a left turn.<P>  Bike lanes on King in will make turning from these neighborhood side streets safer, because cars will be closer to the center of the road (improving line of sight) and moving slower (narrow lanes slow cars down) So as a car driver, these lane changes are a great improvement.<P>   Additionally, for those that choose to bike rather than drive, these lanes will be a welcome relief on a road that is very difficult to cycle, because of high car speeds, heavy rush hour traffic and lack of defined cyclist road space.  Although there are sidewalks and it is now legal to bike on sidewalks (thank you City Council!!)  the many pedestrians, rough paving and many light and street sign poles in the middle of the sidewalk make it impossible.  The new bike lanes on King street will be a great improvement in safety for cyclists as they will have a place on the road and the car drivers can see it, and steer clear.<P> I'm looking forward to the bike lanes!   

As demonstrated by data collected by the City and my own experience as a motorist, the current 11.5 ft travel lanes and few parked cars on this section of King Street only encourages high speed traffic through this corridor.  By contrast, 10.5 ft lanes, and bike lanes actually occupied by cyclists... there there will be lots of cyclists... this will actually create the traffic calming that we all desire on King Street. 

Data is highly useful if it is empirical (as collected through observation) as opposed the academic assumptions about the value of bike lanes generally in slowing traffic or "your own experience as a motorist." Do you live on King Street? Have you observed first hand how drivers behave when they pass through the light at Highland heading West and at Janney's headed East? Traffic accelerates from Russell heading up the hill West towards Janney's. Once vehicles crest that hill and encounter parked cars - they actually slow down! Same for traffic heading East. After passing Janney's lane - traffic slows down. Why? Parked cars remind people that they are driving through an actual neighborhood. Eliminate those and you will turn King street into a freeway. Pedestrians, cyclists and residents will all come regret that - so will the City Council. Everyone supports a safer road for bikers and pedestrians alike. Frankly, Im all for putting more bikes on the road but its important to take into account the actual conditions on the the road where changes are being proposed. The bike lanes as proposed are not a practical, real world solution to the problems that plague this stretch of King Street (primarily speed, red-light running). They also do not provide a significantly improved route for bikers. Remember - under this proposal, the bike lanes terminate at W. Cedar anyway and bike traffic will have to return to sharing the road with cars. We are talking about significant neighborhood displacement - without a measurable improvement in safety for approximately 1/2 mile of bike lane? There are a lot of things the City can do to improve safety on this stretch that will be more effective that what has been proposed. If enhanced safety is their true objective - lets push them to better solutions. If, however, the objective is to shoehorn a bike lane onto every street even if it makes the saftey situation worse - then it seems like we are already on the right path. 

There is a quick and elegant solution to this: Build the bike lanes with bollards which are made of steel or some other material that will remind people driving to avoid them. This will have the same effect as parked cars and will allow for cyclists to make their way through the lane.

I agree totally with this message.  I walk every day to the metro and observe cars running the light at Highland Street.  They need to improve safety before thinking about bike lanes. 

I think this is a great idea. When I used to live in a home abutting King Street, I always biked out the backyard onto King Street. While the parking spaces are not used very much on that section of King Street, usually only one car, there are very helpful for loading and unloading, especially given accessibility issues for homes abutting King Street. The lanes should be built because many residents would use them to get to the Metro but some residents should be allowed to temporarily block lanes when loading and unloading. This is usually bad practice but would placate most of the concerns of residents along King Street.  I wish the lane would extend to the intersection of Russell Road by elminating the rarely used left turning lane. The intersection is dangerous and notoriously anti-pedestrian and bicyle. 

I will start off by saying that I too fully support bicycles, being a bike commuter myself for a number of years.  However, I think three things are being missed in this debate.  The major issue is that outside of peak traffic times, people do not obey the speed limit.  I just cannot understand how the proposal to add the bike lanes as a "traffic calming" will help this problem.  It is extremely dangerous, especially to those with small children who are great at darting away from even the most watchful parent. The second issue is that, having spent some time studying this issue after the proposal was made, there is not actually a lot of bike traffic on this route, even on the sidewalks, which are often empty to cyclists.  So it doesn't appear that there is a great need for a bike lane.Finally I urge you to think about the residents.  Not all houses have ample driveway parking or the ability to add any more, which would put a strain on visitors- especially visitors with mobility issues.  To add to that, which no one has mentioned yet, if you drive along the street you will see that everyone backs their vehicles into their driveways because otherwise it would appear they would not be able to get out, especially during peak hours.  If you remove the parking, those residents will have no choice but to halt traffic going up the hill while they back in, which would make the traffic worse.

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