Heated words abound following bike lane vote

Heated words abound following bike lane vote

By Derrick Perkins (File photo)

City councilors ended months of debate when they unanimously approved adding bike lanes to a section of King Street earlier this month, but at least one resident remains up in arms.

F.H. Buckley, a professor at George Mason University, lambasted the controversial decision in the American Spectator last week. One of several nearby homeowners opposed to the project from its inception, Buckley blasted Alexandria’s top elected officials as well as cyclists for their behavior during the contentious deliberations.

“We’re an old historic city, and that’s just what [city] council hates. Instead, they keep approving condos with mini-apartments, six-story boxes with a Trader Joe’s on the ground floor and bicycle racks in the basement,” Buckley wrote. “Then there are the cyclists. Backed by powerful lobbies, they knew what they wanted and they were ruthless. Some keyed our cars, stole our “no bike lane” signs, physically threatened one of us. … They also don’t have lives, jobs, families. What they have are their bicycles and an inexhaustible desire to attend community meetings.”

The project, discussed at multiple public hearings before city councilors gave it the green light earlier this month, will see bike lanes installed from Janneys Lane to West Cedar Street. Pedestrian safety improvements also are slated for the short section of road.

To make room for the lanes, 27 on-street parking spots will be removed. The loss of parking sparked the initial protest to the plan, though safety concerns took center stage as the project wound its way through City Hall.

The contentious debate eventually garnered national media attention. Buckley was among those stoking the fire last year, penning a letter to the editor published in the Wall Street Journal warning of impending “bike wars” in communities across the country.