Ride In 4/7

Part of me wanted to bike in wearing work clothes today, another part of me wanted to bike over the Chain Bridge. In the end, I did neither and took my normal route wearing my normal bike clothes on my normal bike. But today was anything but normal.
Actually, scratch that. It was pretty normal.
Some suggestions for Arlington County bike infrastructure, in part brought on by this piece in the Clarendon Patch. Here's the problem Mark points out:
The trip from Ballston starts out well enough – Fairfax Drive has wide bike lanes and less traffic than Wilson Boulevard.  For this reason, it’s a recommended route on the Arlington County Bike Map.  Unfortunately, those bike lanes disappear at the intersection of Fairfax Drive and 1oth Street (in front of GMU Law School).  The expectation (as marked out on the map) is that cyclists will continue along Fairfax Drive by taking a left.  This puts the cyclist on the street that is more often thought of as the place where you park when you drive to Northside Social.  While this street is far preferable to Wilson Boulevard (which gets very narrow at this point), it leaves a cyclist with a confusing array of options at the end.  Since the street ends in a U-turn, a cyclist is asked to 1) transition to a sidewalk, 2) cross a one-way street that invites high-speed turns by cars, and 3) somehow move back into the street by one of two cross-walks on the other side.  This set of choices leads to so much uncertainty – not only on the part of cyclists, but also pedestrians and drivers – that an inherently unsafe intersection is the result.  It’s not clear what the rules of the road are here, so any cyclist passing through this intersection is well-advised to assume nothing and proceed very carefully.
What I normally do to avoid this, and this is completely illegal and perhaps also displays bad judgment, is cut across the opening in the median at Kenmore street than salmon down the bike lane on the opposite side of the street. If I get the time right, I cross at the pedestrian signal and make a left onto Kirkwood. This is the solution I've worked out to the problem above, but it's really not a great one. I think maybe if there were a left turn bike-only light at the intersection of Fairfax and 10th (maybe with a bike box even), that would reduce some of the left hand turn anxiety. As for going down past Northside Social and getting past that intersection, ugh. Unless you work right there, I'd suggest going down 13th or Key instead. 13th will dump you on Irving, which you can take back to the Clarendon Metro station. You ride a little more, but you probably make up the time not having to wait for two sets of lights to change. Speaking of 13th St N, it's another good place for a "Bikes May Use Full Lane" sign.  It's the cut through that I use to get to Key Boulevard (via a short ride on , which is the best alternative to biking down Clarendon through the Courthouse area. I guess if you work on the Clarendon Boulevard side of the R-B corridor, it's less direct than taking Clarendon Boulevard proper, but if you're traveling through to DC, it's way, way better way to start your trip down to the MVT or over the Key Bridge.
Let's make some more suggestions. How about giving Custis Trail users the unambiguous right of way across the Marriott parking lot exit before Fort Myer drive on Lee Highway (not the Nash Street one with the stop light) by removing the stop signs there? I'm sure there's a reason for them, but I think maybe if you just put a stop sign for cars at the exit, along with a watch for Bikes and Peds sign, it'd make things a lot clearer for all users. I don't think they're very effective anyway.
Time for some unsolicited advice: Don't move over into parking the lane, even if there's room there. I know it's tempting to move further to the right, but in all likelihood, you're eventually going to have to move back into the traffic lane and this can create a conflict with a motorist behind you, who might try to beat you (not literally) to the space you're trying to occupy.
Some dude wearing a trench coat driving an old Mercedes jumped the light turn across my path with a left turn from 37th to Calvert today. It was sort of funny because I could tell what he was going to do, so I shook my head at him with a " Oh no you didn't" expression on my face. No real harm, but still not cool.
I saw an abandoned Confederate flag flip-flop at the base of the hill on New Mexico. It's probably the kind of flip-flop that Stonewall Jackson wore.
One last gripe suggestion. Can DDOT please immediately remove the two parking spots right before the bus stop at the intersection of New Mexico and Nebraska? When they're occupied, it causes motorists to move over into the left turn only lane (from which I ride straight into the SIS garage, but that's a different story) before moving back into the right lane in order to turn onto Nebraska. Some lady honked at me today, even though she was the one who was moving into the lane that I rightfully occupied. It's not my fault that some people parked their cars there. I whipped my head around and gave her a "what!", but I doubt she cared. I assume that the heft of my own personal umbrage is enough to bring about changes in road configuration, right? Just pull up the meters- even though it gets rid of some parking, this would totally get motorist support since it'll facilitate their turning onto Nebraska. Who says that bikers are inimical to the interests of motorists?

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