Your View: Revisit the King Street bike lanes

Your View: Revisit the King Street bike lanes

By Louise Welch, Alexandria (File photo)

To the editor:
Alexandria residents on King Street — from Rosemont Avenue to Janney’s Lane — look out on empty bike lanes that occupy 30 percent of the roadway. Last year, parking that was available to residents when they bought their homes was removed and the roadway was narrowed by two feet to accommodate these bike lanes.

On May 15, “Bike to Work Day,” I counted only 15 bike riders using this section of King Street between 7 and 9 a.m. The weather was beautiful — sunny, with a few clouds and temperatures in the upper 50s. During the same time period there were 1,978 motorized vehicles, including 76 buses. There was plenty of room on the sidewalk to accommodate the 15 bike riders, or they could have used the George Washington National Masonic Memorial Bike Trail. These options especially make sense when you view pictures taken by residents documenting the dangerous overlap of vehicles into the bike lanes.

The city has committed to review council’s decision on King Street bike lanes by October 2015. Considering, a year after implementation, that only 15 bike riders traveled this section of King Street during the morning rush hour on a day designated for cycling to work, I would make the case that we reverse the decision for these dedicated bike lanes.

At the time of implementation, city plans advised that King Street had a low potential for bike lane usage, suggested alternative bike lane routes and did not suggest the removal of on-street parking, which served as a buffer. Basically, empty bike lanes have proven the wisdom of these original plans.

Restore King Street. Restore it for its primary users — drivers of motorized vehicles and those who live every day on this major roadway that takes them to and from Old Town. Bring reality back to the complete streets plan.