Arlington, VA

Columbia Pike simply is not conducive to safe bicycle travel.

Much of the Pike — with four travel lanes, a turn lane and, eventually, a streetcar line — does not have room for bike lanes. Meanwhile, traffic tends to be too fast and too congested for safe shared use by bicyclists. And the sidewalks are too narrow for bicyclists and pedestrians to safely co-exist.

So what are cyclists — and county planners — to do?  The solution being discussed tonight, which has been in the works since 2004, would create two “bicycle boulevards” that run on quiet residential streets parallel to the Pike.

The east-west routes — along 9th Street S. and 12th Street S. — would remain open to vehicular traffic but would be marked as designated bicycle boulevards. In addition to street markings, crosswalks, signage, and trail access, the project would include bicycle and pedestrian safety enhancements to the busy intersections of S. Walter Reed Drive and 9th Street, S. Walter Reed Drive and 12th Street, S. Glebe Road and 9th Street and S. George Mason Drive and 12th Street.

Some have expressed concern that the creation of the bicycle boulevards could produce additional safety hazards and disturbances for residents along the routes. Those critics and other interested parties will be able to learn more about the project tonight at a public meeting. The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Patrick Henry Elementary School Cafeteria (701 S. Highland Street) starting at 7:00 p.m.

Map via Arlington County

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