Your View: Bike lanes assessment on King Street must have established metrics

Your View: Bike lanes assessment on King Street must have established metrics

By Dino Drudi, Alexandria (File photo)

To the editor:
City council’s vote last year to establish bike lanes along upper King Street without first having established metrics is problematic.

One metric I would propose — not the only one — the city department of transportation and environmental services should be using to gauge the efficacy of the bicycle lanes pilot program is the mathematical ratio of the number of bicycles relative to the number of motor vehicles relative to the respective lane widths. This metric evaluates the percentage of vehicles disaggregated out of the general traffic flow by installing bicycle lanes.

Failure to include this metric is suggestive of a skewed evaluation, designed to justify the decision City Hall has already made, rather than fairly assess it. The fact that city council made the decision without having pre-established metrics, then ordered a pilot, like the Queen of Hearts’ “Sentence first, trial after,” suggests that city council wanted to justify the decision it had already made.

A bona fide and open process would establish the metrics first, both what is measured and what standard constitutes success, before gathering data. Otherwise, if data is gathered first, my concern is that staff can structure the evaluation of the program around what the data shows to justify that predetermined outcome, which would constitute a rigged, rather than an open, process.

That is why I believe the city’s evaluation of the King Street bicycle lanes should incorporate the metric I am suggesting, and the bicycle and pedestrian master plan should set forth the metrics before any further data is gathered. Metrics mean: what is measured, when and how it is measured and what standard must be met to constitute success.

On another topic, I believe the bicycle and pedestrian master plan should encompass other miscellaneous forms of travel, such as skateboarding, roller blading and push scooters, which we increasingly are encountering on our streets as alternative methods of transport.