Opinion Your Views — 26 December 2013
Trading parking spaces for bike lanes is a worthy sacrifice

By Dave Levy, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

I support the plan to remove parking and adjust the travel lanes for bike lanes on the north and south sides of King Street between Rosemont Avenue and Janneys Lane. One of Alexandria’s strategic goals is creating “an integrated, multimodal transportation system that efficiently and effectively gets people from point A to point B.”

The debate is about whether we will achieve the 2008 transportation master plan vision for “a transportation system that encourages the use of alternative modes of transportation, reducing dependence on the private automobile.” Achieving this goal will require removing parking spaces along the north side of King Street for several blocks.

That will present a change in parking for guests of the residents along King Street. Limited parking, however, is nothing new in many other parts of the city, especially Old Town and Del Ray.

While we have parking on the streets in the Del Ray neighborhood, we have a lot of demand for it. I own a home along East Nelson Avenue, near the intersection with Mount Vernon Avenue. Even on good days, residents may only find parking more than a block away.

There are five restaurants within a one-block radius of my house (and soon we will have a Walgreens). Most of the houses do not have driveways. My guests must park up to four blocks away when visiting me.

I do not see removing parking on King Street as an inconvenience to the residents. The change in the location of traffic lanes and addition of bike lanes will provide a safer pedestrian, bike and auto corridor.

 

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(5) Readers Comments

  1. Let me see if I understand this correctly; there is already an issue finding parking in Old Town. Old Town shops and restaurants attract a lot of people. These people often bring cars along with their money. These people already have a difficult time finding parking, taking away from the local residents. The plan is to remove parking spaces? Seems like a solid plan.

    • Previous poster. You don’t understand it correctly. Reading comprehension, or actual reading, try it! This is not in the Old Town commercial district.

  2. The first guideline in Complete Streets policy is “Safety”. Without contracting with a transportation consulting firm, the City’s normal route for a project of this type, the solution remains opinion only.
    Generally, parked cars – not bicyclists – are the buffers used for traffic calming. Bike and pedestrian pathways are built within the safety zone provided by parked cars.
    Staff has done a good job in crafting consensus, but it remains that the nature of this particular stretch of road is high risk and high incidence of accidents. Traffic studies have been done for much less accident prone areas, such as Union Street in Old Town… so why not here?

    • Cameron, I am not sure what you mean when you say that bike and pedestrian pathways are built within the safety zone provided by parked cars. If you mean that cars are a good buffer between traffic and a sidewalk, I agree, but only for pedestrians. Cyclists riding in roads dislike parked cars: they face hazards from both moving traffic and people who don’t look before opening their doors.

      I ride this stretch of road often. There are few ways to get to Old Town from the west, for bikes but also for cars. If as you say the area is currently accident-prone, removing parking spaces can only benefit everyone.

    • So by your logic, the people on the north sidewalk of King St get the ‘parking buffer’ but the people on the south sidewalk are out of luck?

      How considerate.

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