Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Contra-Flow Bike Lane in DC

A cool video that explains the city's thought process behind the bike lane, which basically boils down to -
  • There was a desire for more bike lanes
  • They found that they could remove a lane of car traffic on 15th St (a one-way going north) without affecting throughput
  • They realized they needed to protect the bike lane if it was going to go against the one-way
  • Adding bikes and signage, and bringing cars closer together had the added benefit of calming traffic
I like it.  Of course, there's always the unintended consequences.  The city added signage (including road paint) to indicate the right-most lane is to be shared with bikes going north (the protected contra-flow lane goes south on the other side of the parked cars).  However, based on personal experience and as described at Borderstan, many bikes do not want to use the on-road shared lane and are treating this lane as two-way.  I don't think it's quite wide enough for that, but hey - people want to feel safe.  Borderstan also describes the lane as being used by strollers, rollerbladers, and motorized wheelchairs, to which I react initially by not wanting them to clutter the dedicated lane, but Matty goes on to point out that the sidewalk may be in disrepair and this could be why people are jumping into the dedicated lane.  This is a point very well taken.

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