Hi again. Your blogger is still in the busiest season of work at her nonprofit while trying to accomplish some freelance work as well. And so I was unsure how I would put together a worthwhile post for you this week.
Both before and after one of our lectures I encountered reckless sidewalk bicyclist on Corcoran. [You may remember that Corcoran is a small side street with a narrow sidewalk and trees and steps of row houses jutting out to make it yet more difficult for even a pedestrian to navigate. It is also between between Q and R, both of which have bike lanes, one going one way east and the other going west]. Thus why anyone would ride a bicycle on such a sidewalk, especially at night, when there is no auto traffic on the street remains a mystery to me, but I have to deal with it because I have the “perk”, finally, after years of commuting long distances, of working in my own neighborhood. At any rate, the more dangerous of these bicyclists was the one who came up silently from behind and brushed me, since I had to move around a fence surrounding a tree. he did not stop to apologize so I yelled after him as he sped away–“Say something when you’re coming from behind” And without turning back he was still able to yell a curse. I looked and, of course, not a car to be seen on Corcoran between NH and 17th. The other was easy to avoid, except it came as a surprise. I’d just crossed 17th, headed toward 16th, on the really narrow south side of Corcoran, when out of the shadows came a biker in a real hurry. Since I was at the corner and his plan appeared to me to be to get to the corner and turn up over the handicap cut to the 17th street sidewalk, I was a sitting duck. But because I saw him I could move behind the shop on the corner Prego Again.
So With that motivation…
Here are a couple of things in the little file I’ve been keeping to get to when things die down.
1.Did you see the Post Magazine’s Sept. 15 Design Issue?
I had thought to comment on this here at some point, merely to make a point that, for all the articles on Design, including a big one on DC’s bike friendly status, there was nothing in that article or in any of the other articles on making DC more “walk-friendly.” But I didn’t have the time with both work and partial work travel intervening(the rest of that travel was fun–more about the situation for pedestrians in the cities I visited another time). However, I was surprised to find in the Post Magazine a couple of Sundays later, this Reader Reaction, which I quote in its entirety:
Regarding the Sept. 15 article “How D.C. blazed the path, by Leah Binkowitz.
Arthur Mason, Washington: Leah Binkowitz’s article was one of the most biased I have ever read. Let’s start with the picture on Page 20 captioned “Bikers wait for a green light.” How long did you have to look for bikers waiting for a green light? They never wait for a green light. Anytime I talk to a D.C. driver, the subject always gets around to the lawless biking community. Red lights, one-way signs, do-not-enter signs mean nothing to them. They act like they are entitled to go anywhere on any street or sidewalk at any time. No wonder they get into accidents. They have the politicians’ ear and get laws passed making it an offense for cars to annoy them in any way.
MY COMMENT: Personally I think Mr. Mason probably represents an increasing number of people in DC and certainly makes good points about a number of bicyclists. But, as your blogger has pointed out before, there are lot of good bicyclists out there. Still they are tarred with the same brush. And when, inevitably, if the laws aren’t changed and enforced to cut down that reckless entitled biker mentality of some, a tragedy occurs,all bicyclists, even the many good ones–like the Gentleman Bicyclist of 17th Street, about whom I wrote in an earlier post, will be negatively affected. This is why I am trying to work with WABA and other responsible people in the biking and pedestrian community to move things in the right direction before we reach the point where we’re shaking our heads and saying, “If only, we’d done something earlier.”
2. Did you happen to read the Express Oct. 17 Best of issue?
If not, on the DC life page, they had, first, the most popular neighborhood blog: PoPville.com, with which you will be familiar from a previous post here. I think the honor is well-deserved from what I’ve been able to read.
The Express also had a most popular Bike Lane award (sorry, fellow pedestrians, no “most popular place to walk” category)
The bike lane award went to “Pennsylvania Avenue NW” (the one mile stretch of protected pavement that opened in 2010, with reflective barriers and special traffic signals for cyclists). Coming in second, was 15th St. NW and third, L St. NW.
So here’s a question or two for you bicyclists out there: Would you rank these bike lanes at the top? Why? Do you have other selections? And again why?
And finally–What in your mind would be the best kind of bike lane that could be realistically implemented here in DC?
It really helps for me and those who follow this blog to know what you think. So weigh in on this, or other issues raised in this blog. Thanks.
Well that’s all for now. Have a great weekend and STAY ALERT AND STAY ALIVE.