Ride In 3/3

Excuse me if this post is a little more acerbic than usual. I made the mistake of reading a synopsis of last night's ANC 3D meeting on Washcycle this morning. Here are some "highlights" of the objections with editorial commentary:
3) There are many driveways onto New Mexico, particularly near the office buildings/stores, and parked cars already make visibility for drivers exiting those driveways limited. Having to turn across a bike lane will make it even more difficult. AU's plans for new buildings where the Nebraska Ave. parking lot are calls for an underground garage entrance/exit, which will also be a problem.  [WC:This has not really been a problem elsewhere]
4) Delivery trucks double park in front of the office buildings, which means they would park in the bike lane (surprise!), requiring bikes to go into the car lanes. [WC: if we didn't build bike lanes where people parked in them, we wouldn't build bike lanes]
6) As a general matter, putting bicyclists into bike lanes makes them less safe and increases the possibility of bike-car conflicts. [WC: Huh? That is not what the data shows]
One commissioner pointed out that because New Mexico is not safe for bikes now, he often bikes up 44th street instead, or on the sidewalk. He believed a bike lane would lead cyclists to bike on New Mexico instead of side streets, reducing safety. [WC: It's as bad as those candy-apple-red bikeshare bikes that draw children to cross the street]
Um, I bike on New Mexico almost every day. Only NOW are you telling me it's not safe! I mean, I would have thought that the hundreds of hassle free rides meant that it was ok, but I guess I'll take your word for it. From now on, only taking a helicopter to work. Anyway, looks like DDOT dropped the ball a little:
Unfortunately, Jim Sebastian from DDOT didn't do the best job in making the case for the bike lane. He was a bit on his heels because apparently DDOT had previously sent a letter suggesting that the bike lane was a done deal. The commissioners don't take kindly to their prerogatives to block things being circumvented. He also did not make a strong case for the bike lane itself--the main argument for it was that DC is installing bike lanes and this seemed to be a good opportunity to add some more bike lanes. He made no mention of the Glover Park transportation study, or how the lane would interconnect with other bike lanes. He had no data to support the need for a bike lane in this area (e.g., some study of the number of users), although they did estimate 100 riders/day use that stretch of New Mexico. He also presented no strong counterarguments to the safety points, such as information about improved safety created by other bike lanes (if such data exist). He also had not distributed a plan/diagram in advance of the meeting, which could have allowed for more study and opportunity to address specific concerns rather than generalized fears based on speculation. Finally, he did not explain any coordination that may exist between the bike lane and addressing other traffic issues in the area, including Ward Circle (discussed earlier at the meeting), the intersection of New Mexico and Nebraska (which is a mess already from vehicle and pedestrian traffic), and New Mexico generally (which is too wide in places, leading to lane jockeying in places).
That's unfortunate. Not that I think that any presentation would have been effective against I group I basically envision as this:

I guess that they didn't read my love letter either. Probably didn't have time before the meeting (stuck in traffic, maybe?)
Anyway, I decided to count the number of drivers that I irreparably inconvenienced this morning with my presence. It turns out that while I was biking up New Mexico, exactly 20 drivers passed me. I don't know how many drivers didn't pass me on account of their cars swerving off the road and exploding as a result of the "unsafe" situation I put them in. To the best of my knowledge, of the 20 drivers that passed me, not one of them seemed to be crying enraged tears as a result of having to maybe (?) slow down a little (?) and move ever-so-slightly to the left. I couldn't see their faces because, let me reiterate, they just drove past me and were on their merry way. As far as I know, moving slightly to the left to accommodate my very confusing appearance on their road didn't resulting in some sort of cascading series of horrible events that resulted in their losing their jobs, savings, homes and loved ones. But one can never know the deleterious and mind-bogglingly awful  consequences of having to maneuver your car slightly to the left momentarily. I can't even countenance the idea of permanently having to drive your car slightly to the left of your desired pathway, especially if there's a white line and pictures of bicycles painted on the street. Shit could really hit the fan.
I'll once again point out that I'm going to continue riding up New Mexico whether or not there's a bike lane. The people who currently make the ride don't seem to mind that it's only a signed bicycle route (why would they mark it if it's so UNSAFE? WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN????) and if the lack of a bike lane hasn't deterred us so far, I don't think that the painting of one will. Anyway, screed over. Sorry.
PS- I saw a driver make an illegal right turn on red. I think that cars should be registered and forced to carry insurance to stop this kind of law-breaking. Oh wait, they are already? And it has no effect? Oh, well, then I'll just write an angry letter to the editor about it. Ok, sorry again. Screed over again.

No comments:

Post a Comment