Opinion Your Views — 23 January 2014
Bike lanes serve the 1 percent

By Linda Greenberg, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

Ninety-nine percent of Alexandria’s residents use cars and buses to go to work, church, favorite restaurants and the grocery store. At the same time, most of the main arteries to and from the city — such as Duke, King and Washington streets as well as Braddock Road and Route 1 — suffer gridlock during rush hours. Even at other times, they are crowded with vehicles, whether cars, trucks or buses.

Why do our city fathers want to reduce road lanes and make it more difficult for the 99 percent of city residents who depend on cars and buses? Why, particularly, when we know that residential and commercial development continues, and there will be more people and more cars to squeeze onto these same roads?

I find it incomprehensible that the city is talking about expanding bike lanes. Why isn’t it talking about expanding car lanes to ease congestion? Why is its priority serving 1 percent of the population?

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(8) Readers Comments

  1. If we don’t want 99% of people to drive, then we need to build infrastructure that gives them an alternative. 99% of people drive because 99% of our infrastructure is car infrastructure.

    We’ve tried widening roads to ease congestion for decades, it hasn’t worked. What works is giving people alternatives to driving.

  2. Expanding car lanes to solve congestion is like loosening your belt to solve obesity.

    • Alexandria is already considered among the highest walkable city. Craig and other Bikers: this in not a valid argument. The issue on King Street is it is the wrong street for significant bike traffic. it is narrow and steep. There are homes that access garages from King Street. The bike lanes are where delivery trucks deliver. etc. It is a horror story to think about a biker with a child on this busy, steep, street. The City should look at alternatives: going through neighborhoods where the traffic is less and the streets can be less steep, reducing the problems on King Street.

  3. That’s like stating that 99% of the people in Burger King eat fast food, and then using it as some kind of indication of people’s broader preferences. When people only have one choice, of course the overwhelming majority of them will “choose” it. Not to even mention the fact that bike lanes help make driving and walking safer by calming traffic.

    And please do yourself a favor and read up on the concept of induced demand. Insisting they build “more car lanes” when mountains of research show that all that does is create MORE traffic and pollution makes you seem very uneducated about this topic.

  4. All up and down King St are signs saying bike lanes are unsafe, as if forcing bikers to squeeze in among the cars like they do now is preferable. Just be honest and say you don’t want to give up your parking and car driving ways.

  5. Wow. Where did you get that 99 percent number? According to the latest data from the U.S Census (American Community Survey), approximately 68 percent of City residents use a car to get to work. Another 18 percent use transit, but many of them are using Metrorail and some of them are biking to get to the station.

    The problem with making up facts is that it’s easy to trick yourself into thinking everyone wants the same thing as you.

  6. No matter what your personal opinion … the city owes it to all of you to do a traffic safety study, including the best way to accommodate all types of getting around.
    Without this, it’s all just sitting around the campfire and shooting the … in other words, let’s get real, city!

  7. It is pretty bold of residents of some of Alexandria’s most expensive houses to use the 1% term on their opponents, given its recent use in relation to income/wealth disparities. Then again, the 1% have never been the best at recognizing the uniqueness of their own position of power- power that got the city council to personally consider the bike lane decision.

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