32°Overcast

Cyclist Struck, Injured on GW Parkway

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm 6,046 140 Comments

A bicyclist was struck and injured this morning on the George Washington Parkway.

The accident happened in the northbound lanes of the GW Parkway just south of Memorial Circle, in an area that has seen tragic accidents and close calls between vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

According to U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Brooks, the cyclist was conscious and breathing after being struck by the vehicle, and was transported to a local hospital via ambulance. No charges have been filed against the driver, Brooks said.

According to Brooks, cyclists and pedestrians are “required to stop and make sure the roadway is clear before crossing” the section of parkway where today’s accident occurred.

“It’s a confusing area and unfortunately we have a lot of accidents involving bicyclists and motorists and joggers,” he said.

  • Joe

    It would be nice if the Park Police actually, you know, policed.

    • charles

      The police POLICING? You’re living in a dream world. Police usually ignore traffic stuff, other than speeding. Look at the current culture of running red lights.

  • meh.

    I absolutely HATE crossing the parkway during my morning and afternoon commute. Sucks that there are so many bike paths in the area but little thought and planning was put into the crossings at the major thoroughfares. I cringe seeing all the new bikers and casual tourists riding those clunky red bike share bikes all over the place.

    • Terry

      Whenever I am on the parkway cars approaching that intersection (GW Parkway north/pedestrian-bike crossing) cars think the poorly placed STOP signs are for them because they are right on the road and are facing in such a way that could easily be misconstrued as a stop sign for cars. And therefore lots of drivers slam on their brakes to allow pedestrians and bikes to cross nearly causing several cars behind them to rear end each other. It’s a mess. That stretch of road operates almost like an interstate so who the hell thought it was a good idea to put a bike path crossing on it?

      • Ken Schellenberg

        You said “That stretch of road operates almost like an interstate” – isn’t the psoted speed 30MPH?

        The real problem is that suitombile drivers consider it virtually a constitutional right to go as fast as they please – the safety of joggers, walkers, bicyclists be damned.

        • Josh S

          No – it’s 40 mph. Nonetheless, people will get very mad at you if you attempt to drive that slow…..I usually go 45 so as to admire the view – this has got to be one of the prettiest stretches of road in the area. But then again, I don’t commute on this road and am usually only on it on the weekends…..

          • crin

            Josh S is absolutely wrong. The last posted speed limit before this crossing is 25 mph. Here’s the GSV: http://goo.gl/maps/rp3h.

            Under Virginia traffic code, vehicles that break the speed limit FORFEIT their right of way:
            “Virginia Traffic Code § 46.2-823. Unlawful speed forfeits right-of-way.
            The driver of any vehicle traveling at an unlawful speed shall forfeit any right-of-way which he might otherwise have under this article.”

            BUT GW Parkway is technically in DC. Good luck finding the DC traffic code on line. Wonder what it says on speeding cars and whether they retain or forfeit the right of way.

            This is all a long way to say that the NPS Police suck at their jobs.

          • cyclist

            “Good luck finding the DC traffic code on line.”

            http://dmv.washingtondc.gov/info/DMV%20Municipal%20Regulations.shtm

        • suitmobile?

          where can I get one of these?

      • Mary-Austin

        I know exactly what you mean. I saw a 5 car pileup almost happen there because a driver stopped for bikers.
        Luckily the girl in the lane next to me reacted fast enough and drove up on to the grass instead of slamming into the cars in front of her and likely the bikers.

        • cyclist

          That’s EXACTLY how a jogger was killed at this intersection last summer! Someone swerved and ran into the jogger who was waiting to cross – in the grass, not in the crosswalk.

          If you need to swerve off the road to avoid traffic slowing ahead, unless it’s a panic stop on their part, it means YOU are going to too fast and/or driving too close!

          Drivers need to slow down, and also they need to not stop there to let people cross (unless they are already crossing of course). Let the cyclists/peds wait for safe gaps in traffic. Don’t be nice there, it’s too dangerous.

          • dcbrewer

            Couldn’t agree more. I HATE it when a driver in one lane stops as I am waiting to cross. It is just dangerous for everyone involved, and even during rush hour, it is rarely more than a 30-60 second wait for a break in the traffic.

          • CW

            Honestly I agree. I have long maintained the stance, as a daily cycle commuter, that the world would be a better place if cars just acted like cars around cyclists. Which is to say, DO NOT try to do anything “nice”. Like when you slow down for us, but keep rolling, so we don’t know if you’re slowing down to be nice and let us cross or if you were just checking your Blackberry and are about to slam the accelerator.

            So, to drivers: just keep on driving. If we’re in the traffic lane, then get behind us and pass when safe. But other than that, act like we’re not there.

          • cyclist

            Yep, and sometimes I refuse to cross because it’s not safe, and then the cars get mad at me for not taking up their nice offer.

          • Ricardo

            I agree too. I’ve seen so many near-misses when drivers stop at crosswalks, and drivers in other lanes don’t realize that a pedestrian is about to jump into their paths.

          • DCCHughes

            But you need to remember that it is state law to stop and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. Not on the Parkway, but on regular city streets. I know this generates a huge head of steam among the Commenterazzi but those pretty painted lines across the streets of Clarendon and Courthouse are supposed to allow pedestrians to cross as needed, even where there isn’t a light or intersection.

          • Mary-Austin

            We were both going about 30-35 which is what the speed limit is. It happened because one car just came to a dead stop when it looked like traffic was flowing normally. All of the cars came within inches of hitting each other and everyone was lucky people reacted quickly.
            Maybe they need some kind of “Do Not Stop” sign there because many drivers do not even realize it is an intersection until they are right there.
            It was scary even for me in the other lane and I can see how people have been killed there.

          • thatguy

            DCCHughes:
            June 6th, 2012 4:55 pm
            But you need to remember that it is state law to stop and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. Not on the Parkway, but on regular city streets. I know this generates a huge head of steam among the Commenterazzi but those pretty painted lines across the streets of Clarendon and Courthouse are supposed to allow pedestrians to cross as needed, even where there isn’t a light or intersection.

            Wrong! The law is to stop for Pedestrians IN crosswalks. “Pedestrians at crosswalks” is idiotic. The Pedestrian cannot enter the crosswalk with disregard to approaching traffic. Why would you stop if you see someone waiting to cross the street when there are multiple lanes? The person in the other lane is just going to run over the poor bastard you let cross.

          • Dasgeh

            Actually, thatguy is referring to the law in Virginia. The crossing in question is on an island in the Potomac, which means it’s in DC. In DC, cars are required to STOP for pedestrians and cyclists crossing a crosswalk. There is no responsibility for pedestrians to regard approaching traffic similar to that in Virginia. Posting a sign telling vehicles not to stop would be in direct contradiction to the law.

          • thatguy

            Dasgeh:
            June 7th, 2012 11:02 am
            Actually, thatguy is referring to the law in Virginia. The crossing in question is on an island in the Potomac, which means it’s in DC. In DC, cars are required to STOP for pedestrians and cyclists crossing a crosswalk. There is no responsibility for pedestrians to regard approaching traffic similar to that in Virginia. Posting a sign telling vehicles not to stop would be in direct contradiction to the law.

            Wrong again. Pedestrian are still told to exercise caution and common sense when attempting to cross an intersection. The bottom line is that cars have to yield when a pedestrian has entered the cross walk, not a pedestrian at a crosswalk as you said earlier. That being said there are a ton of people that don’t yield to pedestrians that are in a crosswalk (actively crossing a street).

            2303.2 No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb, safety platform, safety zone, loading
            platform, or other designated place of safety and walk or turn into the path of a
            vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

    • onjulic

      Then why cross it? Short of coming through Arlington National Cemetery and getting on the Mount Vernon Trail, there is no reason to cross the GW Parkway at that spot.

      Take the tunnel under the Humpback Bridge. Sure, under certain circumstances it might add as much as half a mile or so to your ride; but, a few extra minutes is better than a ride to the hospital.

      • crin

        So other than the good reason to cross there, there’s no good reason to cross there. Can’t argue with that I suppose.

      • toolie

        If you’re trying to go across Memorial Bridge, you have to cross there.

        • Mt Vernon Trail Veteran

          I’ve always wondered why they did not put steps adjacent to the Memorial Bridge that would connect the MT Vernon Trail to the footpath on that bridge.

          You see these types of steps on bridges in London or Paris.

          Instead a Pedestrian has to cross 2 to 3 “Parkways” in order to cross the bridge.

          • cyclist

            Silly Veteran, bridges are for cars! Cars cars cars!

        • kc

          One thing I do is to go across Meml Bridge from Arlington on the north side during the morning commute. The traffic going out of DC is much less than the traffic going into DC and there are many more gaps than when using the north side of the bridge. Often times I don’t even have to wait for a gap to cross.

          • kc

            I mis-wrote in my second sentence. Meant to say there are more gaps when using the north side of the bridge than when using the south side because of fewer drivers leaving DC..

          • drax

            You mean you cross illegally, at the spot that’s now been blocked by a fence?

        • 5555624

          Why cross Memorial Bridge? Since you’re on the MVT, you could cross at the George Mason Memorial Bridge (14th Street) or Roosevelt Bridge. Neither is as “nice” as the Memorial Bridge, but neither one involves going from the MVT and across the GW Parkway. Sure, the distance between the Memorial and George Mason is longer on the DC side, but Ohio Drive is no anywhere near as bad as the GW Parkway and there’s a path alongside it.

      • dread

        The tunnel under the Humpback Bridge goes to the marina. It doesn’t cut out the need to cross the Parkway near Memorial Circle, whether travelling north or south.

        • cyclist

          No, you don’t have to cross the Parkway itself, just a few exits from it, and they are safer crossings.

        • 5555624

          It does cut out the need to cross the parkway — it goes under it. If you want to take Memorial Bridge, for some reason, cross the bridge over the Boundary Channel, skirt along the Pentagon parking lot, cross the exit from 27 to the parkway and the parkway to 27 and then the last exit from 27 just before the circle. The last one might actually be worse than the parkway, but all of these are on the west side of the parkway.

      • meh..

        It’s a designated bike route and the best access point to the Memorial bridge. There’s no way to avoid crossing the parkway when commuting by bike from Arlington….at least from S.Arlington. It’s pretty much a paved river..

        • Dasgeh

          Depending on where you are in South Arlington, you can go through Fort Myer, down through the cemetery, and directly across Memorial Bridge (best commute in the area, in my opinion), or take the Washington Blvd trail. If you’re coming from far East or Alexandria, that’s a big detour.

  • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

    ARLnow – any news as to whether the cyclist was in the crosswalk?

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      Because it was not a serious accident, there was no investigation. Thus what you see here is all the information police were able to provide.

      • ProfessionalObserver

        I differ with your comment. This is a personal injury accident (someone was injured as a result of being struck by an automobile), therefore, it would by Commonwealth law need to be investigated at some level and a report written and forwarded.

        • Harry

          Fun fact: That stretch of trail is actually on Columbia Island, which belongs to DC, not VA.

    • cyclist

      There are fences all along the GW Parkway now, like they do every year for July 4. It’s very unlikely that anyone would be crossing anywhere other than a crosswalk.

      I have come across three car accidents, including one where a car hit a cyclist, and the aftermath of one where a card killed a jogger at this intersection in just the past year or so. Do something, NPS.

  • cyclist

    don’t know why they bother with those stripey bits across the road – apparently they don’t mean anything

    • Le Zimmster

      “don’t know why they bother with those stripey bits across the road”

      They add to the vibrancy !!!

      • Josh S

        I think you mean VIBRANCY.

        • WeiQiang

          the MOST VIBRANCY

    • John Fontain

      Oh they mean something. In this case they mean you can cross the road so long as you wait until no cars are coming.

      • Louise

        I agree.

      • cyclist

        just like the unstripey bits then

      • dk

        I reluctantly agree with this. I used to always stop in this area to let cyclists cross, until I realized that doing so posed more danger to them, not less, because invariably a car would pass on my left while the cyclist was in the cross walk.

        I don’t know what the answer is, but something has to be done to improve safety in this area. If we want cyclists & pedestrians to cross there, then there should be a stop light. If we don’t want them to cross there, we should put up a fence and force the crossing to somewhere else.

        • crin

          Chicanes and speed bumps to make cars obey the 25 mph speed limit would do the trick.

    • other cyclist

      There are fences all along the parkway now, making it pretty much impossible to cross anywhere but a crosswalk, so your unsupported implication doesn’t work.

      • other pedant

        And your unsupported implication only works between now andl July 4th.

        • drax

          But it’s now, now.

  • Bob

    People on the GW parkway drive like maniacs (probably MD drivers, those asses). I drive the speed-limit. So f-you if you’re behind me.

    I am concerned about bikers, though. Recently in D.C. on Penn. Ave. the light showed a green arrow to turn; what I did not see was the little icon in the traffic light that showed that it was a green arrow for bikes, not for cars. I never knew about that change. I still see drivers take that turn when the light turns green.

    I’m also concerned about the bike lanes around Arlington. You see them and notice them designated on the right-hand side of the road, but when you come over, for example, a short hill — the bike lane is suddenly now in the car lane. You wouln’t know that if you hand’t lived here for a long time and knew (some of) the changes.

  • Chronic Speeder

    There are three options for preventing more deaths/injuries:

    1. Start enforcing the speed limit, 24/7, using speed cameras, after fair warning to drivers, and/or a pedestrian-prompted stoplight.

    2. Accept that GW is a commuter freeway now, raise the speed limit to 55 or 65, and get rid of all ped/bike crossings.

    3. Build some type of tunnel or bridge crossing.

    It’s a crappy situation for everyone.

    Meanwhile, hope the cyclist is OK.

    • Nick81

      I vote for numbers 2 and 3 – the speed limit should be raised – probably 45 or maybe 50 on the stretches that are currently 40; and 55 on the rest, further northwest where it is currently 50. Those would be much more realistic than the current limits, where everyone drives 10-15 mph over.

      The pedestrian/ bike crossings could be built over or under the parkway. Expensive, but certainly doable and would make life much easier for commuters of all kinds who use the route – cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

      No one in a car is using the GW parkway for a scenic drive anymore, except maybe on weekends. The park service needs to get over than 1930s-era fantasy and admit it is a vital commuter artery, serving a route that is not currently served by anything else.

      • crin

        A 50 mph speed limit on the approach to the circle at Memorial Bridge is a brilliant idea, physics be damned.

        • sim city

          Yep, slower speeds — and enforcement of them — on the stretch near the ped/bike crossing would help reduce accidents there.

    • 5555624

      Unfortunately, with regards to #3, it’s going to be in the wrong place and won’t be convenient for the whiners. Why? Because, for someone unknown reason, that’s the ONLY place cyclists and joggers can cross.

      A previous poster mentioned coming through Arlington National Cemetery and that seems to be the only reason anyone would cross there, but I see plenty of people crossing just north of the Memorial Bridge.

      The existing tunnel under the Humpback Bridge is not ideal. It does potentially add some road crossings (exits/entrances to route 27) and some distance. The fact that the southern tunnel does not easily and readily connect to anything is a pain in the butt, too. On the other hand, it eliminates that GW Parkway crossing and has made my commute easier.

      Oh, that’s right, it might add some distance. The previous poster said half a mile, it might be more like three-quarters or so — depending on where you are going. While I agree that’s a little to make things safer, I’ve been told — more than once — that most cyclists only want to ride 3-5 miles. (I continue to doubt that.)

      The Mount Vernon Trail to Columbia Pike: If you’re heading north on the trail, the tunnel is shorter; if your traveling south, it’s a little longer.

      The Mount Vernon Trail to Arlington National Cemetery: If your heading north, slightly longer (not a whole lot); if you’re heading south, it’s a good bit longer. (Many people heading south on the MVT tend to cross before the Memorial Bridge, not in any designated crossing.) If you’re commuting to DC, cross the bridge and head down Ohio Drive.

      Any other routes can avoid that crossing.

      • Prefontaine

        joggers aren’t the problem bro. leave us out of it

        • brian

          the heck they aren’t.

          they jog on the other side were there IS NO CROSSWALK because they can’t be bothered to use the crosswalks.

    • cyclist

      4. Narrow that section to one lane to slow traffic and make crossing safer.

    • dk

      +1. Could not agree more.

    • Greg

      If you’re going to do #1, we MUST raise the speed limit to a reasonable number. There’s no good reason GW Parkway should be 40 mph between the Key Bridge exit and where traffic lights pop up in Alexandria. It’s not as absurd as 395 being 35 MPH, but it’s close.

      • crin

        Um, traffic circle? Or we could up the speed limit to 80 and install ramps before and after the circle and cars could just jump all merging traffic and baby carriages. NPS would have to put up a “Watch for falling cars” signs though.

        Not to mention multiple zipper merges, substandard lane widths, no shoulders, and other things that professionals have to consider.

        And definitely don’t consider that every traffic engineer will tell you the highest vehicle throughput is achieved at speeds of 35 mph. But that would be engineering and math not suitable for a stupid comment section. God why am I wasting my time.

        • Greg

          I was making a general comment, not specific to a traffic circle.

          I didn’t say to raise it to 80. Speed limits were supposed to be set around where the 80th percentile would drive. You’ve presumably driven on the GW parkway. Do you think only 20% of people are going above the speed limit?

          Show me a traffic study that shows maximum throughput on the GW Parkway is achieved at 35 mph. Maximum throughput is dependent upon the road itself, and I will bet you that maximum throughput is similar to most other similar roads, and that number is above 35 mph. And, if it’s all about throughput during peak times, you can lower it at that time.

          Whatever you do, don’t install speed cameras everywhere to enforce artificially low speed limits.

        • thatguy

          The traffic circle is not on the parkway. This accident happened on a parkway exit/on ramp and not on the actual 2 lane parkway. The GW Parkway goes under the traffic circle. The bottom line is that people are stupid and they do moronic things, doesn’t matter if they’re on a bike, running, or driving a car.

      • Dasgeh

        There is a very good reason for the speed limit on the Parkway to be lower than on a highway: there are at-grade pedestrian crossing of that road. What’s ridiculous is that National Park Police does not enforce the speed limit and the right of way laws on this stretch of road.

  • CSJ

    This is another example of where we live in a county that says they are cycling friendly – and does not see where to improve safety for all. I do hope this cyclist is okay – peds and cyclists have to use good common sense – and so do drivers – the area where this happened is a place that is lightly patrolled and cars are almost always speeding into the circle. I hope this is a wake up call for the County.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      Arlington County is *quite* aware of the issue, but has no control over this road or these crossings. This rests squarely on the shoulders of the National Park Service (and especially the GWMP and Park Police).

    • AllenB

      This road is maintained by the Federal Park Service. The County has nothing to do with it.

      • wut

        Why isn’t our omnipresent congressman all over this then?

        • AllenB

          Don’t know. Do you know if anyone has ever raised the issue with him?

          • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

            Yes, he’s aware of the issue, and has been helpful in trying to get the NPS to take action.

          • brian

            is this part of dc, or is it va? I need to double check the map.

          • 5555624

            It’s DC. The stretch of the GW Parkway from the Humpback Bridge to just short of the Roosevelt Bridge is on Columbia Island, which is part of DC. On the other hand, I’ve never seen a DC cop or any DC government vehicles on the island. I believe it’s all pretty much under NPS control.

          • Ricardo

            By “helpful” you mean he hasn’t actually accomplished anything?

    • 5555624

      Not to mention that the crossing is not in Virginia, much less Arlington. The crossing in question is on Columbia Island and is part of D.C.

  • Just Me

    ARLnow, why do you and so many media people say, “conscious and breathing”? If a person is conscious I can guarantee they are breathing, just saying.

    • D’oh

      Hold your breath. Now you’re conscious and not breathing. Same thing can happen as a result of trauma, though you’d eventually pass out.

  • bobco85

    It’s just ridiculous that this troubled crossing still exists in its current form. It’s tough for everyone, albeit obviously more dangerous for pedestrians/cyclists, because there is no guarantee that both lanes of traffic will be clear/stopped when someone wants to cross and that both lanes of traffic will be able to see someone in the crosswalk.

    I really wish they would put in a stoplight right there, one that only turns red when a pedestrian/cyclist pushes a cross button. I hope they do something more than just crossing their fingers and hoping no other accident occurs.

    • CSJ

      That’s a good idea

    • Suburban Not Urban

      I’d go with the tunnel/bridge crossing

      • Jason S.

        A tunnel or bridge would be far better, because a day’s experience in the area shows many wouldn’t wait for the crossing light anyway, they’ll just run into traffic.

        • bobco85

          I agree that a tunnel/bridge would be better, but I’m not holding my breath for one to be put in due to how expensive it would be.

          • bb

            Tunnel might be problematic due to the fact that the Memorial Bridge underpass just past here floods frequently.

    • crin

      Give NCPC a call. See if they’re OK with it. (Hint: they’re not).

    • Ricardo

      What about taking out the crosswalk altogether, and telling peds and cyclists that they cross at their own risk? Then the lines of responsibility are clear, and no one has to guess what everyone else is about to do.

    • amgrills

      It’s a challenge every morning and afternoon to cross here. I have seen three incidents in the last year of commuting and crossing GW Pkwy. It MUST be addressed before more lives are lost.

  • Michael H.

    Yes, they need to build a bike/pedestrian overpass, for both the Washington Blvd. crossing as well as the GW Parkway crossing. I think the Washington Blvd. crossing may be more dangerous because the intersection is so close to the fork in the road. It’s extremely difficult to tell if a car is going to continue straight or head onto the right lane. During the day, there aren’t many gaps in traffic so cyclists, runners and walkers have no choice but to guess.

    http://goo.gl/maps/ymbh

    The intersection can be dangerous even when a cyclist or runner is waiting to cross. In one of the previous accidents, a driver slowed up before the intersection. The next driver tried to avoid the stopped car and drove into the trail, hitting a runner who was not even in the road.

    Unfortunately, an overpass would be expensive, so I’m not expecting one to be built in the near future. I try to avoid that section of the trail as much as possible. It’s safer to take the 14th St. Bridge (George Mason) to D.C. instead. (However, traveling near the Jefferson Memorial can be tricky.)

    I hope the cyclist is OK.

    • woodsia

      They could build a direct route onto the bridge instead of the two intersections- that is where most of the traffic (foot and bike) heads anyway.

      • cyclist

        Yes – a ramp up to the bridge on the same side as the trail.

  • woodsia

    Another accident at this intersection – not a big surprise. Hope the cyclist is okay. I shake my head each time I have to cross this intersection. It seems that because there is a straight away for the vehicles (after being slowed down from all that merging traffic) the vehicles speed up on that stretch. I suspect the biker was either impatient or they could not gauge the speed of the vehicle properly. I have never seen a bicycle cross the road without stopping – the police office should not assume such things.

  • Rodney King

    Bikes, Cars,

    Why can’t we all get along?

  • Crystal City

    Those are the most useless crosswalks I’ve ever seen anywhere. No one stops for pedestrians (or bikes) so they’re forced to dart between (speeding) cars. And if someone is nice enough to stop for you, you’re never guaranteed that both lanes will stop. I’ve also seen cars that stop get rear-ended three separate times there while waiting to cross. It’s ridiculous that anyone thinks those crosswalks are good for anyone. A bridge would never fly in that location, but maybe pedestrian tunnels would work?

    • crin

      99% of the time, cars and bikes all do the right thing when I cross there (twice a day).

  • esmith69

    I’m all for an investment to put a proper ped/bike crossing there. Unfortunately any such proposal will definitely also be met with lots of opposition by tea party type people who oppose pretty much any public spending nowadays. It’s unfortunate because this is an instance where there desperately needs to be something done.

    • brian

      a crosswalk is not proper?

      • esmith69

        No, a crosswalk is not proper for a 40/45 mph 2-lane road. There should be a tunnel underneath the road or some type of bridge/overpass.

        • Scott

          A crosswalk is proper; it’s our car-dependent culture that is skewed.

          Anyway, my solution for under a thousand buck will freak people out . . . but here it goes:

          Place stop signs before the crosswalks. A couple stop signs won’t really back up traffic IF traffic is actually driving the speed limit. They don’t need electricity or millions of dollars to drastically renovate the area. Pedestrians and cyclists getting hit by cars going 5mph are much more likely to come out of it alive. Moreover, if the stop signs are always there, there won’t be as many rear-end accidents like the one last year that killed the jogger who was waiting patiently on the trail at the crosswalk.

          • Greg

            I feel bad for the people that do get hit, but they accept the risk. People who ride motorcycles amongst cars are called organ donors, but nothing is thought of people who ride their bicycles in dangerous areas among cars.

            I agree that improvements can be made to improve safety, but you wouldn’t jump from a plane before you have your parachute, would you?

            You say it’s our car-dependent culture that is skewed. I think the culture among some bicyclists that they can ride anywhere and in whatever way they please — and that all cars must stop for them no matter what — is skewed. I saw some moron and his wife riding their bicycle on Fort Myer Dr in Rosslyn under the overpass against traffic. These were experienced cyclists. These were experienced cyclists.

          • crin

            So if you’re killed by a drunk driver, too bad for you, and that’s it? You accepted the risk I suppose when you decided to go for a drive. My bad, dude, sorry your dead. That sounds about fair, because that’s what you’re saying.

          • Greg

            You accept the risk of everything you do. There are cyclists posting here who are terrified of certain crossings, but they make them anyway. They are accepting the risk. I feel bad if they get hit, but they’re accepting the risk. I said I think something should be done to improve safety, but people who know it’s dangerous do it anyway. Like I said, they accept the risk.

            Whether I bike, drive, or metro to work, there are risks in each. I choose not to bike because I know people drive stupid AND the roads aren’t set up for bikes to share AND bikes are difficult to see. You’re welcome to dance on my grave when my metro train derails or I get T-boned in my car. I’m taking and accepting the risk.

          • cyclist

            Every car must stop, even at an empty crosswalk, and then proceed?

            My solution is to narrow that part to one lane. It would slow traffic and also make crossing safer. No more one lane stopping but the other continuing until they see the ped/cyclist at the last second.

            But that will never happen.

          • Mel Brooks

            MY solution is a time-tested one, as I demonstrated its effectiveness to Count de Money. I will place all a-hole self-absorbed drivers, cyclists, and joggers into my human-skeet-shooting launcher, yell pull and demonstrate just how good it is to be the king.

            The only problem is that there would only be five of us left in the county, and we’d have to levy assessments at $150 billion for our houses just to be able to still claim ‘low tax rates’

          • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

            Just wanted to give props to Count De MONET.

    • marie antoinette

      Gotta drop politics into everything, eh? I wish the “tea party type” people would oppose the Democratic Board dumping $200 million into the most worthless transportation system ever devised–the Folly Trolley.

      Too bad that $200 million isnt going to a number of much smaller projects–such as a proper cyclist and pedestrian crossing. I think everyone–Dems and Repubs (and the pesky tea party people) could agree on that.

      I do hope, though, that the cyclist is doing fine.

    • Squirginia Vare

      I wasn’t aware that Arlington County (and DC, as this is DC territory) are hotbeds of Tea Party activity. Good to know.

      • cyclist

        This area is in DC, in an national park – Arlington politics is not the issue.

        • brian

          so if this is DC, why does ARLNOW keep reporting on this intersection?

          • be smart

            maybe because people who live in Arlington take this route to work every day, whether they’re driving or cycling

  • C

    I passed by the accident while the ambulance was still there. The cyclist was NOT in or near the crosswalk. He was crossing in a place people may use, but at least 100 ft away from the crosswalk. Drivers certainly need to be mindful of pedestrians and cyclists, but anyone crossing there needs to be particularly careful. It is not a place where one would really expect to see someone crossing.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      Hrm. There’s not really a natural crossing point anywhere but the crosswalk, there (cf. the point just north of Memorial Bridge). Weird.

      If there was an ambulance, there should certainly be a police report and more facts available than what the Park Police gave ARLnow.

    • cyclist

      Strange. Was there a fence along the GW at that point?

      Is it possible that this guy was riding ON the GW, not crossing it (which is against NPS rules)?

      • C

        Yes, there was the plastic temporary fencing in the area.

    • arl2012

      maybe the car pushed him out of the crosswalk.

      • C

        Too far away and the driver would have had to have been going the wrong direction for the biker to end up where he did. I would say he was trying to take a short cut.

        • drax

          Or riding on the GW, not crossing it?

    • drax

      C, can you pinpoint exactly where? Maybe on a Google map link?

  • ArlRider

    As an occasional bike commuter on that route, this has me spooked. I think that driving through the new Humpback Route is for me. It’s a bad route (through a parking lot, lots of leaves, dangerous when wet) but you are more separated from fast cars. Really sad but the worst thing is that nothing will be done in the near future to prevent this from happening again.

    • 5555624

      It’s not a “bad route” when compared to trying to cross the GW Parkway. This has been part of my p.m. commute since the tunnel opened. I’m going form the George Mason Memorial Bridge (14th Street) to Columbia Pike, so it’s a tad shorter for me, too.

      Leaves have never bee a problem, regardless of the weather. (I commute by bike year-round.) The short bit through the memorial grove can be a little dicey in the pouring rain, but just slow down a little. Cars might be a problem on weekends, but have never been an issue.

      The biggest issue is the lack of lighting, especially in the parking lot and on the bridge over the Boundary Channel. Since too many cyclists in this area don’t have good lights, that can be a problem.

  • ballsteve

    Can someone explain the new Humpback route? Are we just talking about taking that bridge up and over and using 14th St. Bridge? Are we assuming that the person was on the MVT and using the crosswalks to go up and over the Memorial Bridge? A lot of people (myself included) use those crosswalks coming from the path on 110, up in front of the cemetary, and so have no choice by that point (recognizing the choice to not go through Rosslyn onto the MVT).

    Also, to the point about the cyclist not being hit in the crosswalk possibly. I do see mountain bikers fairly often crossing in weird parts of those intersections. Just the other day I saw some crossing GWP just north of where it goes under Memorial Bridge. Sometimes people ride through the grass and cut across the roads go get down to MVT.

    Either way, hope the cyclist is ok, and those crosswalks are terrible.

    • cyclist

      You go under the Humpback Bridge and then back up to the Memorial Bridge on the other side of the GW. Instead of crossing the GW, you cross at the exit leading to the traffic circle at the head of the bridge, which is a less dangerous crossing. I think you have to cross it twice, but it’s still better.

  • CarsSuck

    Why not try some rumble strips leading up to the crossing? Also for speed cameras as a revenue generating solution.

    • Scott

      Rumble strips are a good idea. Another idea that is cheaper than cameras is placing stop signs. Stop signs before the crosswalks wouldn’t back up traffic IF traffic is actually driving the speed limit. They don’t need electricity and maintenance like cameras. They don’t require millions of dollars in drastic renovations of the area.

      With stop signs at the crosswalks, the area would be much safer for cars, pedestrians and cyclists. Slow speed accidents cause scrapes, not deaths. Moreover, if the stop signs are always there, there woouldn’t be as many rear-end accidents like the one last year that seriously injured a motorist and killed a woman who was waiting patiently on the trail at the crosswalk.

      • Greg

        Stop signs wouldn’t back up traffic? In what universe?

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      Talked to an NPS staffer last night, and it sounds like rumble strips are one of the near-term efforts they’re going to make for this particular crossing. Not ideal, but it’s something.

  • CW

    It’s weird that these always happen on the GW Parkway section of the crossing. The crossing at Washington Boulevard is, IMHO, 100 times worse. Are they turning, or going straight? Turning, straight, turning, straight? Close eyes, pray, GO!!!

    Also, I am not an attorney, but after all of these accidents, the next time somebody gets killed or badly hurt here, isn’t it going to be like shooting fish in a barrel for their lawyer to point to all the past accidents and the fact that NPS has done NOTHING and then sue the pants off of NPS?

  • ultrarunnergirl

    A crosswalk means YIELD to pedestrians.
    So either the crosswalk needs to be removed, or the law needs to be enforced. There is nothing more confusing than a stop sign for pedestrians/cyclists at a crosswalk/trail intersection. It’s one or the other.
    Best solution: build a walkway OVER the lanes. Cars are coming around a turn — very poor design.

    • cyclist

      Not quite.

      At a crosswalk, the law says cars have the right of way unless someone is actually in the crosswalk. Cars are not required to stop when they see a pedestrian waiting to cross, only to not plow into them once they start crossing. It follows common sense – peds shouldn’t cross until cars have the distance to slow or stop once they do, at which point a car can’t keep going and hit them.

      Also, there are stop signs at this intersection for cyclists/peds, so that would give cars the right-of-way anyway.

    • CW

      First off, let’s just assume that this was in VA. Actually, it’s not, it’s in DC, and that’s part of the problem. The DC traffic code is incomprehensible.

      BUT – and this comes up in all these discussions – even if it were in VA, it is unfortunately not that cut and dried. The VA code has this weird gray area where it basically says drivers should stop for pedestrians but pedestrians shouldn’t step into the road when it’s not safe. So basically provision #2 precludes provision #1 from ever happening. The law is thus not very protective of pedestrians.

  • Mt Vernon Trail Veteran

    Agreed, even the Park Police Said this in article above.

    As somebody with some civil engineering experience, building walkways (they would also have to be wide enough for bikes) over all three (or four if you count North of the Circle) would be a major undertaking.

    A similar type bridge crosses Route 50. It is a green suspension steel bridge that is unappealing. Anything built down here would have to match the Memorial Bridge Concept, Concrete or Stone.

    I’ve had some violent run ins with drivers at the Washington Blvd turn off crossing, they just don’t pay attention.

    • YTK

      “A similar type bridge crosses Route 50. It is a green suspension steel bridge that is unappealing”
      So what? It’s safe — Are we going to sit around on Route 50 to dispute the aesthtics of something that is a lifesaver??

  • arl2012

    That intersection is deadly. I trained for marathons for years on that trail…leaving Crystal city from work for my evening runs. I took my life in my hands everytime I crossed.

  • Flooritt

    I have long wondered why there is not an under road pass through (similar to the one from the Pentagon N parking to Pentagon City) for pedestrian and biker traffic at this intersection. I pass by here during the daily commute and have witnessed accidents and many more near accidents. I would have to agree that an over-road walkway would be an eyesore. Regardless of the law, most drivers will not stop for pedestrian right of way, or one sees that one lane will stop and the other doesn’t which is a huge risk to the crosser – so, fix the issue so there is no issue. Build an under road pass through.

  • WeiQiang

    The mid-block crosswalk [for the 4MR trail] at S. Shirlinton Rd & 27th St. S. has motion or button-activated flashing LEDs that warn cars of the crosswalk. Could be an interim improvement to GW Pkwy and Wash Blvd crossings.

    Also, cars tapping their brakes as they slow/stop for the crossing is more apt to get the attention of the driver of a car behind them than just stepping once on the brakes.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list