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Morning Poll: Pro-Car or Pro-Pedestrian?

by ARLnow.com — June 28, 2011 at 9:30 am 3,547 121 Comments

The issue is presented as a set of two mutually-exclusive options: either continue to support transportation policies that make it easy to own and drive a car, at the expense of bike and pedestrian safety; or support policies that make it easier and safer to walk and bike, at the expense of drivers.

Yesterday on the Arlington’s Commuter Page Blog, county Commuter Services Transportation Bureau Chief Chris Hamilton lauded Europe’s pro-pedestrian and anti-car policies, which have “reduced traffic and the number of cars in cities… re-conquering space for pedestrians.”

The policies, outlined in a New York Times article, include “making it harder and more costly to park… capping the number of parking spaces in new buildings rather than providing minimums… slowing cars down and closing streets to cars altogether and creating pedestrian plazas… synchronizing signal priority for people and transit, not cars… and giving people on foot the right to cross a street anywhere they like.”

“By following these examples we can make the Washington, DC region an even greater place to live,” Hamilton concluded.

Arlington’s stated transportation policy is to focus future street improvements on facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders. One example of this in action is the the proposed improvements to the Meade Street Bridge in Rosslyn. The current plan, as outlined at a public meeting last week, calls for the addition of dedicated bicycle lanes, the conversion of a free-flowing off ramp from westbound Route 50 to a square intersection and the addition of two traffic signals on either side of the bridge

If the choice is limited to pro-car or pro-bike-and-pedestrian policies — as opposed to policies that attempt to benefit both cars and alternative transportation choices — which would you support?

  • YTK

    ANTI-Bike- – get them OFF the sidewalks! They’re vehicles, should be LICENSED, and TAGGED and every bike rider should take a COURSE on safe biking (safe for ALL around them as well as themselves!!) and be subject to the rules of the road!!

    • G

      Ok how about a compromise? Bikers take the course and stay off the sidewalks, but drivers give up some of the 95%+ of road they take up and give a dedicated lane to bikers. On roads with just one lane on each side, bikers drive in the middle and cars cannot pass.

    • Waaaaycroft

      Pro-bike policies would get people riding in dedicated bike lanes on the streets, not anti-bike policies. In some cases, people ride on the sidewalks because streets can be unsafe. Even as a competitive cyclist who also bikes to get around though, I do find it annoying and unsafe when people ignore bike lanes and ride on sidewalks anyway.

    • Ben

      Ehhh just let bikers be assholes – in Germany bikes have the right of way over everything (pedestrians and cars) and things work out pretty well.

      Then again they also have their own lanes on sidewalks.

    • Abe Froman

      And taxed.

  • G

    I really like the idea of allowing the streetcar drivers to control the traffic signals.

  • JamesE

    I enjoy being able to walk everywhere, but I also enjoy driving. Can’t we all just get along?

    • CrystalMikey

      I’m with you James.

    • Tre

      Where do rollerbladers fit into this?

      p.s. I would’ve voted “both” on the poll… thanks for polarizing the issue ArlNow!!

    • RosRes

      +1 JamesE. I am all in favor of multimodal transportation, which allows for biking, walking, cars, metro, buses, light rail, carshare, etc. Why one or the other?

  • chipotle_addict

    Pro-Pedestrian, but there needs to be a good way for the drivers to become pedestrians. We need more cheap or free parking around metro stations if you want to encourage people to take public transportation instead of driving. It’s ridiculous to expect people to take the metro when metro parking + metro fare costs more and takes longer than driving.

    • PikerShorts

      +100

    • Tabby

      I agree, but you may want to lay off the Chipotle. Those burritos pack more than 1,000 calories.

    • Guest McGuest

      I don’t think driving is cheaper when I factor in gas, maintenance, insurance, interest on my car loan because I’m too undisciplined to pay cash, and the 100,000+ brave (I mean it) men and women with guns we maintain abroad to protect our oil beneath the other people’s sand. It’s just a good thing that there are no environmental costs to petroleum use that I would need to factor in also, because they would make the true cost of driving even higher.

  • Tim

    I don’t think you have to be anti-car to be pro-pedestrian. The problem is that if you try to slow cars down, make drivers pay attention to more things, make driver be more careful, ask people to drive less, etc., it’s seen as “anti-car.”

    One big thing is traffic calming. Traffic calming slows car traffic down in order to make it safer for other road users. Drivers see this as anti-car, because it makes driving slower. But it really make it safer for everyone.

    To echo JamesE, can’t we all just get along?

    • jan

      Yes!

  • Not4Me

    Arlington…the County of Spandex and Lycra!

  • FunnyMunny

    I’m very PRO bike/walk during most months and love the flexibility to drive when I need to, taking the kids to school, doctor’s appts, etc. With the bike share program expanding, Arlington really has the potential to become a model for other cities.

    But mostly I like to ride my bike so THE MAN can’t tell me to wear a seat belt. Sic semper tyrannis!!!!

    • Westover

      THE MAN will soon be telling adults to wear their helmets though.

  • http://www.arlnow.com/2010/10/13/lyon-hall-answers-the-call-when-a-loyal-customer-pops-the-question/ Lauren

    I’m not voting on this one because we need to make room for all 3. It is ridiculous to assume people won’t drive. There are places and times when we simply cannot walk or bike. Furthermore, people like my husband with MS cannot walk or ride a bike. What is he supposed to do? Don’t tell me he should take a bus – he can’t do that either! What about the elderly?

    If we don’t make room for all 3 forms of transportation people will end up stuck in their general areas and won’t travel throughout the county to conduct business. I would probably end up going to Fairfax Co for groceries and other items that are bulky.

    VERY stupid idea to make it one or the other.

    • Lou

      I agree. A foolish dichotomy.

      • doodly

        I agree too. I ride a bike, walk, ride Metro, and drive a car. We should have all these options.

        The reason for the apparent dichotomy, though, is that we’ve focused too much on cars, and now we need to focus on the other options to even things out.

        • Westover

          No substantial taxes are paid on bicycles (I would not say the 5% sales take on them are making a real budget impact), while a pretty hefty amount of money is brought in on car registration, sales tax, property tax, and gas taxes when it comes to vehicles. The ones who pay the piper get to pick the tune, we are not focused too much on cars, they deserve the focus they get based on the revenue they provide, that does not mean that we can’t also start to focus on pedestrians and bike paths too.

          • Chris Slatt

            If the taxes paid on cars and gas came even close to covering the maintenance of our existing roads, this would be a reasonable argument, but they don’t. All transportation is heavily subsidized.

          • doodly

            True.

          • FrenchyB

            +1

          • Westover

            And what about sidewalks and bike lanes/paths? Vehicle revenue takes a far greater chunk out of the costs than the non-tax on shoes and bikes.

          • CarsSuck

            yes, vehicles generate a lot of revenue. The costs to society are astronomical in comparison. Costs of building roads, maintaining roads, lighting roads at night, snow removal, street cleaning, etc. There are also many unseen costs, including lives of soldiers who are sent to fight and die to keep the oil flowing, financial costs for oil wars and maintaining the flow, huge government subsidies to keep the tax payer from paying the full price of gasoline and going broke. Then theirs land consumed by parking lots which could be taxable business or residences and create job opportunities. There’s also the crime increase in vast desolate parking lots, drug trafficking, robberies, and violent crime that are more conducive in areas dominated by cars. Police man-hours are spent too frequently on car related issues, such as patrol, traffic accidents, and directing traffic instead of patrolling our neighborhoods. Then there’s the wasted Fire and Rescue resources dealing with wrecks. Also consider the anonymity and sense of entitlement that come with people in their cars. People will commit murder if someone “touches” their car. Drivers think they can roll up the window and shut out the rest of the world, and not be accountable for their wreckless behavior. I ride a scooter, I get where everyone in cars does at less than 20% the fuel they consume, and less than 25% of the space it takes to park a compact car. When someone cuts me off or tailgates me, I can’t ream them out at the next red light, they just roll up the window and act like they’re invincible. People are pu$$ies and act aggressively behind the protection of their windows and doors. Try ramming my ankle with your shopping cart in Whole Foods, watch how quickly you’ll get your A$$ kicked.

            Cars have a place, but not a priority in our society. Putting cars on a pedestal above COMMUNITY became the downfall of our society.

          • Max

            what stupid logic. Legs cost nothing, so do you propose getting rid of sidewalks?

          • doodly

            But in general, supporting bikes and pedestrians is good for cars too because it gets people off the streets and out of their way.

          • Stu Pendus

            Except for when they are crossing the street wherever they want, like the people in the linked article are advocating.

          • Suburban Not Urban

            The other element of this is demand. And I’m not talking about agenda based demand creation – I’m talking about given equal footing what would someone rather do(as in what improves their quality of life). To illustrate – if I have $1 dollar to spend and demand by 4 people of this to spent in one way and demand by 1 person to have it spend another way, you are getting a greater return by spending it for the 4 people.

      • Jonathan Krall

        Indeed. Very foolish. Except that cars take up a lot of space per traveler and the population isn’t shrinking.

        Public policy involves choices (and refusing to make a choice is in fact a choice). Taking reasonable steps to dial back on the pollution-mobiles isn’t such a bad idea.

  • Scott

    Most places I’d go with Pro-pedestrian, but there are a few intersections around town where I’m certainly pro-car.

    But why compromise? Many areas you can be both at the same time. All it takes is some good thought.

  • BerryBerryCold

    “the conversion of a free-flowing off ramp from westbound Route 50 to a square intersection”

    This will cause backups all the way to the I-66/US50 Roosevelt Bridge during rush hours. Why take something that works and break it?

    • G

      Because crossing that road on foot sucks and the cars refuse to stop for pedestrians.

    • cj

      Besides, the merge is a free-for-all now. Your definition of “works” must be different from mine.

  • SamsontheCat

    I’m all for making more biker and pedestrian friendly…once they install the 100 new metro stations and bus routes and streetcar lines out to the middle of Bumblef$#k Beyond the Beltway. Otherwise you just create a nice little insular area where people can walk and bike, but no one comes to shop or eat except for the people down the street.

    And does the fellow from Zurich realize that making that car idle and inch its way through the street around the bikers and pedestrians puts out more CO2 that if it didn’t have to stop every 5 seconds.

    Collect money from parking fees and use them to build dedicated bike lanes and autonomous paths so you don’t endanger or incovenience either drivers or bikers. Parking garages work to let you build vertical so you don’t have to take up huge amounts of land to build a sea of cars parking lot or take up space on the street. If somone driving in knows they can drive in and park in a garage in Ballston or Rossyln without driving around the block 10 times they will and it’ll save on CO2 (compared to them driving around the block 10 times, not the alternative of them not driving in from Manassas or Frederick at all so we can live in a car free/broke county).

    • Westover

      Well said.

    • JS

      Everyone driving in knows they can drive in and park in a garage in Ballston or Rossyln without driving around the block 10 times… however, they choose to drive around the block because street parking is, in so many cases, way cheaper than garage parking. That’s why people complain when they take away spaces. They don’t want to pay 12 bucks to park all day when they could be paying 8 (or whatever… arbitrary numbers, but the point stands).

      • Veeta

        They also don’t want to walk a couple blocks.
        I also don’t see why places like Lyon Hall have to have valet parking. It’s ridiculous.

      • Westover

        Parking in Ballston Commons is a Buck, but it is a pain to get in and out of. It is the convience factor as street parking cost more.

  • Clarendude

    In general, I think it is the case that in an urban environment, with the practical steps that can be done – that improvements to the comfort and speed of car travel, negatively impacts the comfort and safety of pedestrian travel and the opposite is true as well.

    However, I’m not sure framing it as pro-car or pro-pedestrian is that informative. I think most people want “a balance”. The question is – where do you perceive the balance to be, currently? This will determine which direction you think needs to be persued.

    As for myself, I think the balance has been and continues to be the favoring of car travel over pedestrian, although Arlington has made somewhat incremental steps to improve the situation for pedestrians. I remember when I was involved in one of the sector plans, a really nice neighbor came up to me and said “I’m all for pedestrians and all, but I worry that we are going too far”. So, people differ on where they think the balance is at present. I guess part of it depends on whether you are mostly a pedestrian or mostly in a car all the time.

  • Veeta

    It is NOT one or the other. What the bike haters fail to realize is that every fewer driver means one less car to compete with on the road and one more parking space for them. We’re not taking your precious car away, we just want to make it safer for everyone.

    • Westover

      True, but the one biker going 15 mph in the middle of the left lane down Washington Blvd this morning took one car off the street, but was holding up the 30 cars behind him. Courtesy needs to go both ways.

      • NPGMBR

        Thank You Westover

      • emily

        How long did he hold up those 30 cars for?

        Do you have this kind of feeling about every other car on the road? I mean, they’re all in the way.

      • eh?

        so he should have been on the sidewalk? make up your effing minds!!

  • JamesE

    Just build tunnels underneath each intersection, problem solved.

  • EastPike

    The sensible part of me wants to vote pro-car, but there is SO MUCH that needs to be done to make ARL pedestrian friendly, I have the feeling if we work on being pro-pedestrian it’s going to even out.

    For example, I got hit by a car today while I was walking on a sidewalk (to catch my bus) because a driver pulling out of his apartment complex didn’t even look to his right, he was only looking left to see if there was any oncoming traffic. It didn’t even cross his mind that someone might be walking to the bus stop, which is the real problem here.

    • G

      This is one of the biggest problems I’ve experienced running or walking on sidewalks. Drivers are notorious for never looking right along the sidewalk when making a right.

      • John Fontain

        I’m guessing if you were instructing a child on how to handle that situation, you would strongly advise them to pass behind the vehicle (especially if the driver didn’t make eye contact with you because he was looking the other way). Am i right?

        So why don’t you follow the safety advice that you’d recommend to a child, use common sense and be extra safe, and pass behind the waiting vehicle?

        It sounds like you are more interesting in proving to the driver that you have the right of way than in protecting your safety.

        • G

          I agree with what you’re saying. But a lot of times I will already be in the walkway before the car gets there and the driver will still go forward without seeing me. They fail to even look straight ahead because they are in such a hurry to make that right hand turn, they only look left.

          • John Fontain

            Well, in that case you should jump on the hood of their car, stomp your feet a few times, and then use the sledgehammer you are carrying to smash in their windshield!!!

          • JS

            A lot of garages that I run by in Rosslyn have angled mirrors at their exits so that exiting cars and passing pedestrians can see one another. These should be required by law. Drivers oftentimes ignore them (which is annoying and ticks me off, seeing as how, since they’re crossing the sidewalk, I have the right-of-way), but as a runner, I’ve saved myself from several near-misses and maybe a hit or two by paying attention to them so I don’t get hit. Why these aren’t a requirement on every garage that exits over a sidewalk, I have no idea

        • emily

          So you’re saying that all pedestrians should make sure not to get in the way of drivers who are breaking the law and not being safe?

          Well, then.

    • G

      A lot of times they wont even look straight!

    • JamesE

      When I pull out of my garage I cannot see either side of the sidewalk and pedestrians constantly just run out in front of me then give me the smug look that actually makes me want to hit them if I didn’t love my car so much. If I am walking and see a garage door open I stop for 5 seconds and don’t even take the chance because I know that person cannot see me.

      • eh?

        Where do you live? because you need to get your building to install mirrors on your parking lot exit. And you need to use them. You think cars have right of way on the sidewalk?

  • YellowSubmarine

    I agree w/ YTK.

    Cyclist flat-out refuse to obey traffic laws. They weave in-and-out, run red lights and stop signs, and do all sorts of things that we drivers could be ticketed for.

    And then, every now and then, there’s a terrible accident, and a cyclist is hurt.

    And the cycling community goes into Uproar Mode, blaming it on drivers.

    This is the reality: unlike many European cities, our roads are not built for cyclists. Our roads are meant for cars; cyclists must find a way to safely integrate themselves into this system, and stop crying about how the system doesn’t work for them.

    Also? Please don’t dominate the Mt. Vernon Trail, W&OD and other paths that are meant for multi-use. Those trails have signs which dictate who has right of way. In all cases, it’s pedestrians. Slow down. It’s not The Tour. You won’t win, even if you run me over or curse at me for walking on the wrong side of the path.

    • Westover

      European cities were not built for bikes either, they were built for horse and carriages…..

      • SamsontheCat

        It it too late to make Arlington built for personal jetpacks?

    • Guest McGuest

      You say you walk on the wrong side of the path. Do you drive on the wrong side of the road too?

      Actually I’m guessing you do walk on the right, because I bike a lot and rarely, rarely see anyone on the wrong side, thankfully.

    • Chris Slatt

      We’re not cyclists, we’re not drivers, we’re not pedestrians. We’re people. Some people riding bikes run red lights, some don’t. Some people driving cars run red lights, some don’t. Some people jaywalk, some don’t. Painting everybody with the same brush just pisses people off and starts arguments. Every mode of transportation has its share of scofflaws.

      • emily

        Yes!

    • doodly

      SOME cyclists don’t follow traffic laws. Many do.

      Many motorists also don’t follow traffic laws either.

      So let’s not make this another “cyclists are all crazy” thing.

    • CrystalMikey

      “Also? Please don’t dominate the Mt. Vernon Trail, W&OD and other paths that are meant for multi-use. Those trails have signs which dictate who has right of way. In all cases, it’s pedestrians. Slow down. It’s not The Tour. You won’t win, even if you run me over or curse at me for walking on the wrong side of the path.”

      Amen!

      I could not agree more on this. I’ve yelled back at quite a few cyclists that this isn’t the “tour de mt. vernon”. If I’m running on the very edge of the trail, I should not be grazed by someone who just has to pass other cyclists or pedestrians.

      • Or..

        Agreed. As someone who loves to walk and enjoy some of the views, the bikers flying out of nowhere are way out of line. Please respect that this is a small, shared path in an urban area and do your Tour de NOVA somewhere further out.

    • doodly

      As for roads being “meant” for cars, this is flat wrong.

      Bicycles have a legal right to the road, with a few obvious exceptions, in all 50 states.

      Cyclists were on the roads before cars too. Bicycles predate motorized vehicles, and cycling advocates were responsible for getting many roads paved in the late 19th century, literally paving the way for the automobile.

    • emily

      Not every cyclist refuses. Not every cyclist terrorizes people on trails. Not every cyclist is the same any more than the asshole driving 55 on Washington Blvd is the same as every other motorist. Don’t lump every cyclist in with the ones you notice because they act the way you don’t like.

      But why would you walk on the wrong side? That seems like a bad idea, coming from someone who uses the trail for both cycling and running/walking.

  • Novanglus

    None of the above. We need a transportation network that supports all three. Bicyclists and pedestrians need safe passage, but a policy that’s anti-car is also anti-family.

    Look at Europe’s birthrates and resulting budget imbalances before you say we should do everything they do.

    • Novanglus

      That said, I think the illustration showing the proposed Meade Street realignment is a great compromise, slowing the cars down a little and making it safer for bikes and pedestrians.

  • Steve

    As the county population grows, there will be more pedestrians, more bikers, more drivers and more mass-transit passengers. It would seem rational to try and accommodate increased traffic of all types and improving the interaction between everyone. Artificially inducing scarcity or framing the issue as one vs another would seem like a recipe for creating more problems and diminishing quality of life.

    Personally I think allowing builders off the hook for on-site parking just pushes the parking problem to the public streets. Get the parked cars off the streets and you free up real estate for bigger sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes (without the door in your path surprises).

    • South Arlington

      Which new buildings aren’t including on-site parking?

    • John Fontain

      Steve,

      I’m glad to see that good sense still exists. I agree with your points.

  • johnny b

    “Bicyclists and motorists basically have the same rights and duties, and the laws governing traffic regulation apply equally to both.”
    http://www.vdot.virginia.gov/programs/bk-laws.asp

    Until I see the bicycling community (say 80%) start obeying the laws, I’ll remain pro-car.

    The best examples are the ‘bike clubs(?)’ riding in packs of 10 or 20 decked out in full regalia, all ignoring stop signs and red lights ‘en masse’.

    • Novanglus

      Thank you Johnny. I agree – the most dangerous bicyclists out there are the ones in club riding gear. Squaddra Coppi tops the list.

    • JamesE

      the people decked out like they are in the tour de france crack me up.

    • doodly

      I see the “motorist community” disobeying the law all the time too, observing from both my bike and my car. It annoys me either way.

      Playing this game of which people on which kind of vehicle obeys the law the most is silly and pointless.

    • emily

      Until I see the driving community, say 80%, start obeying the laws, I’ll remain pro-something else.

      How many motorists speed on residentials? Roll through stop signs? Turn right on red without stopping? Come on. Every group has bad apples.

      • Webster

        Until I see 50% of bike riders obey all laws, I’ll be anti-them.

        • emily

          And does being “anti-them” mean that you are willing to risk their lives? Because that’s some absurdity right there. And yes, I’ve seen people say it, which is why I’m asking.

          The original person threw out a number and my point is that the same amount of motorists break the law. Until I see 50% of motorists obey ALL LAWS, I’ll be anti-them. That includes speeding.

  • Veeta

    Do you people not see drivers making the same violations you pillory cyclists for?
    I wholeheartedly agree that cyclists should follow the laws, but don’t pretend that they are any different from drivers when it comes to following laws. I see drivers roll through stop signs every day. Cyclists can are are ticketed for traffic violations. They also put their lives on the line by flouting the rules.
    Roads were made for all of us, no matter how we choose to use them.

    • Novanglus

      Veeta: As a pedestrian, I regularly see bicyclists speeding through stop signs without looking, completely ignoring red lights, going the wrong way down one-way streets without considering crossing pedestrians not looking their way, and yelling at pedestrians to whom they should be yielding.

      When cars do any of that, it’s rare, and shocking to everyone around. When bikes do it, people just accept it, and that needs to change.

      • emily

        It’s rare that cars exceed the speed limit? That they roll through stop signs? That they ignore pedestrians and almost run them over?

        • Webster

          Yes, it is.

          • emily

            You are going to try to tell me that speeding is rare? Really. Please, hang out on Washington Blvd where the speed limit is 35. Or on 50 where the speed limit is 45. Or on the Beltway, for heaven’s sake.

            I haven’t seen a motorist make a full stop at a stop sign in years – unless there was cross traffic that made them wait.

  • Charlie

    As a onetime 22209er, I’ve had some of my road rage at that intersection — on bike, on feet and with steering wheel.
    Anything will be better.
    But whatever happen here MUST include the Rhode street bridge too. This are a system and not independent of one another.

  • EPinBC

    Several comments:

    I think ARLNow is being intentionally provocative with the car vs. bike/pedestrian question. Of course there has to be a middle ground.

    I bike, walk, and drive and believe, on average, that bikes are worse than cars when it comes to following the rules of the road. I’ll see cars not come to a complete stop at a stop sign but rarely see cars intentionally blow through a red traffic light well after the light has turned red.

    I biked to work for several years from S. Arlington to Georgetown and had no more problems with cars as a cyclist than I do as a motorist. If you respect the traffic laws and demonstrate you’re concerned for your own safety (wear a helmet, reflective gear, lights when needed, etc.) and are cognizant that cars are bigger and faster than you are, you get respect in return.

    • Westover

      Plus 10000000

    • Greg

      As someone who commutes by bike, I agree with this.

    • emily

      I honestly wish that respecting traffic laws and behaving predictably while showing I care about my own safety was enough. Please, let me know how I can get respect from the woman who was stopped behind me at a red light (that I was waiting for, in line with everyone else) who laid on her horn for a straight 30 seconds and kept screaming at me to get over to the right. So that she could move up 10 feet in the wait for the light to turn green.

  • Josh S

    I won’t vote because of the false dichotomy and gross distortion of reality these fixed choices represent. No one involved is actually talking in this way – we will orient policies for one or the other. It’s a pointless poll, other than as a way to get people to yell at each other….

  • R0bespierre

    I’d be happy if Arlington would design crosswalks such that drivers who are courteous enough to stop before them could still see the traffic they need to enter from the right or left, and there were no shrubberies, or cars, or other obstructions in the way. On various streets, drivers have to pull into the crosswalk or crosslines just to be able to safely turn, which of course annoys and even endangers pedestrian traffic.

  • Black Flag

    I agree with Johnny B and James E. What ever happen to just rolling around Arlington on 1985 Mongoose or Supergoose, with out the man tights!!!!

  • GB

    I walk to work and am all for increased pedestrian and bike safety. Just for “fun” while I walk to work, I love to count the number of drivers I see with one hand on the wheel and one hand on their phones. Here’s a tip for drivers that will increase safety with ZERO cost. PUT DOWN YOUR PHONES WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING. I’ve had plenty of near misses as I try to cross streets. I’d prefer not to become roadkill just because you were so eager to check your messages while driving.

    • Clarendude

      It’s getting crazy in the driver’s seat in these new cars. I have a rental Ford Explorer for hauling stuff for work and it has 2 electronic screens and menu systems – the one on the driver dash is manipulated with buttons on the steering wheel and the one on the center console is a touch screen. Fiddling with the touch screen is incompatible with keeping eyes on the road.

  • JimPB

    Plan for the future of soaring energy prices: as a result, walking, biking and using public transportation will become ever more desirable/necessary (economically), and smaller cars (probably electric powered) will become prevalent. So, less demand for road space for cars and more demand for walking and bicycle lanes — and express lanes for public transportation.

  • GreenWithEnvy

    Who is envious of who ? Who has pity for the other? Do the pedestrians slogging away on the sidewalk envy the people in their nice comfy car seats? Do the people stuck in their cars envy the people eating their froyo under the shady street tree ? This question is what determines who has the upper hand. When I was in Paris, I wasn’t even driving and I could not wait to get out of that cab and on to my own two feet to walk along the beautiful streets. Walking on the street between the Wal-Mart and the Home Depot, I felt like a termite and wished I could be in one of those magical, leather upolstered chariots with satelite radio.

  • http://blog.robpitingolo.org Rob P

    I love this blog, but polls like this drive me insane. A good poll always includes an ‘other’ or ‘none of these’ option. The county doesn’t have to be Pro-car OR Pro-ped – the idea that it has to be one or the other is logically fallacious and perpetuates an already highly emotional debate.

  • hank hill

    I don’t care how much take payer dollars are spent on bike lanes and stations I will never use a bike for transportation. Bikes are for kids and hipsters. This is a form of central planning.

  • South Arlington

    Using his logic, Hank can send me a rebate check for my taxes that go to the Arlington school system to teach his kids, despite me not having any kids.

    The olds are so cute when they try to argue.

    • emily

      Ha, yes.

      Also, every bike that someone else uses for transportation is another car that isn’t on the road.

      You’re all welcome.

      • Webster

        But they are slow and get in the way of cars. That slows people down so it does not help.

        • emily

          You’re missing the point. Every car gets in the way of cars. Every single one. If you aren’t mad at all the other motorists for getting in your way and slowing you down, you have a bias.

  • Joe

    There is NOTHING the nitwits on the Arl County Board can do to make me drive less and I hereby challenge them to try. In fact, since they started this silly campaign, I make it a point to drive MORE to give them the finger……………….

  • BlueSkies

    The more bike and pedestrian-friendly, the better.

    I would definitely bike around Arlington to run errands on a regular basis, except that I was hit by a car and injured a while back and, given the way people drive here and the number of cars on the road, think it’s just not worth the risk. Now before everyone starts singing the “obey the law, you scofflaw cyclist” song, I had already taken a bicycle safety class and was following the rules of the road. The driver wasn’t, and he was charged.

    Bring on the bike paths!

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Anyone else see the article in WP today saying that living in a dense urban area is bad for your mental health?

    • Thes

      It’s not living in an urban area, only growing up in one. There doesn’t appear to be any effect on adults.

      • PhilL

        Hmm, the article I read did not say anything about where the adults they tested grew up. Are you sure we’re talking about the same Post article?

  • Or..

    How about pro-pedestrian then pro-Metro then pro-car and screw bikes. Bikes are dangerous in this urban area. I’m tired of feeling like an accident is inevitable due to negligent biker behavior and lack of room for safely using another competing transport. Take the bikes to a less urban area.

  • GOB

    I came to Arlington as a devoted car driver, but I’ve now come to see it as a city/county that could afford to go even further in its accommodation of pedestrians and bike riders.

    I live in Clarendon and it’s ridiculous how some people feel the need to drive recklessly in an area that usually has a pedestrian in every crosswalk. Additionally, bikers are so numerous that I’m always shocked when I see one that is essentially forced to ride on the sidewalk (unless they have a death wish).

    This topic couldn’t have come at a better time considering something that happened to me last night:

    I was waiting at a light in order to cross the street. The ‘walk’ sign eventually came on and I proceeded to make my way to the other side. I’m halfway through when this ___hole, who’s attempting to make a left, comes speeding toward me. The guy looked right at me and continued to speed past. This was on N Highland and 10th Street. The offender (whose face I’d love to spit in):

    - Blonde …possibly military
    - Silver sports car with the top down (Audi?)
    - Released an air of d-bag superiority as he sped away

  • crw

    Americans have a love affair with the automobile that will be hard to break. The sense of entitlement to the road by drivers at everyone else’s expense is a big problem. As for the tax dollar issue that always comes up in these discussions, I and most other cyclists also own cars and pay our share so stop throwing out that red herring of an anti-bike argument.

  • John Andre

    Definitely pro-pedestrian and pro-transit.

    The state won’t let me drive because of medicated seizure disorder since I was young. There have been a couple of bad accidents around the Metro area when a driver suffered a seizure at the wheel.

  • BallstonDweller

    1) When the pedestrians learn how to walk (not right out in front of cars that have the green light),
    2) when the drivers learn how to drive (and not text or talk on the phone, and no, hands-free does not help much at all), and
    3) when bikers learn how to bike (no, you can not be treated like a car when you want to be and like a pedestrian when you want to be),
    then this poll may be worth something.

    I hope the county will do something to improve transportation around here. A first step, though, would be to ticket people for some of the everyday stupidity.

  • Hans

    Pro bike and pedestrian. This is why I live in Arlington!

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