To the editor:
As someone who bikes from Old Town to Chinquapin Pool and back twice a week, I am thankful for the bike lanes on King Street, as well as on parts of Prince and Cameron streets. The bike lanes make for a pleasant trip, and I feel reasonably safe. I thank the city for making travel in Old Town a pleasant experience for me.
I am also a user of Union Street on my bicycle to just about anywhere in the D.C. metro area. It is unfortunate that Union Street is one of the very few places in the area where a bicyclist has to ride on city streets, instead of on a bike path. It is too bad there is not a better solution for getting through Old Town on a bicycle.
Perhaps, with the continuing development of the Waterfront in Old Town, a bike path solution to getting through Old Town will be found. One thing that could be done to help the movement of bicycles along Union Street would be to eliminate stop signs on Union Street at cross streets that end at Union Street. This is already done at Pendleton, Princess and Quay streets, and could be done at Queen, Cameron and Gibbon streets.
Longer term, perhaps the west side of Union Street could be made one-way on the south side with the east side being a bike thoroughfare. Everything east of Union Street could then be “waterfront”, with no cars allowed. There would be no need for stop signs on Union Street, even for cars.
A speed limit of 15 mph might make a pleasant trip for everyone. In the few places where access to existing parking east of Union Street was needed, perhaps the “bike path” could go along the waterfront or along what is now The Strand. The idea would be to separate cars and bikes traveling through Old Town to avoid the conflicts between motorists and bicyclists that continue to grace these pages.
The entire newly-developing Waterfront in Old Town east of Union Street could be a nice place for strolling, hanging out, playing, bicycling or grabbing a bite to eat. I think it would be welcoming for tourists and locals alike.
I would like to see the city continue to encourage people to use some form of transportation other than their automobiles to get to and around Old Town.
-Mike Schauer, Alexandria