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Meeting Tonight to Discuss Safety at Lynn and Lee

by ARLnow.com September 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm 3,179 42 Comments

The Arlington Bike Advisory Committee is holding a site visit and safety discussion at the intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway in Rosslyn tonight.

The meeting is being held following a number of recent bicycle/vehicle collisions at the intersection, which serves vehicles exiting I-66 and approaching Key Bridge, as well as cyclists and pedestrians on the Custis Trail.

“Arlington County staff will be on hand to explain and discuss future plans to improve the intersection,” according to organizers.

Anyone interested in attending the site visit is asked to show up at the northeast corner of Gateway Park, near the intersection, at 6:30 p.m. The gathering will move to the Continental lounge around 7:15 p.m., organizers say.

  • brendan

    A little common sense would be nice (scraping stop signs was an ineffective solution at best and likely enhanced the risk to cyclists). It’s a dangerous, high volume intersection with obstructed views – maybe not have right-on-red during heaviest commuting hours, add signs alerting motorists to two way bike traffic, and there’s no way around having cyclists come to a complete stop before crossing (sorry Lance wannabes).

    • cyclist

      No, it is completely unnecessary for cyclists to come to a complete stop there.

      They should simply follow the walk signal and cross with it. They really should cross only on the green, which would require it to be lengthened from its current two seconds. And they should slow down. But no need to stop, that’s pointless and will only let the traffic turning right on red to proceed, which would lead to even more confusion about who is yielding. Peds and cyclists have the right-of-way on the green, and should take it.

      But this meeting will hopefully address long-term solutions too, like redesigning the whole intersection.

      • G

        Exactly. Cars aren’t expected to stop when they have a green light.

        • c

          True, but cars are on the road. In this case, the bike is on the sidewalk/bike path. While I don’t think the biker should have to come to a complete stop, the biker needs to slow down enough to be able to come to a complete stop if necessary. Cars are expected to do this as well. It can be difficult for a car to see a bike approaching, especially from behind, before committing to the turn. The biker may not appear in the drivers mirrors, given it is being ridden on the sidewalk.

          • d

            Bikes should ALWAYS be going slow enough to come to a stop if they need to. This doesn’t mean ‘ride super slowly’, it means ‘only ride as fast as you can control’.

            Bikers effectively need to live their lives as though everybody is out to kill them.
            You cannot expect pedestrians and particularly car drivers to either know the rules of the road, or to follow them. They just won’t.

            Caution to the point of paranoia is the only way to stay alive if you cycle the city streets.

      • brendan

        @cyclist — you are part of the problem. your several comments on here are that of a typical entitled biker that is more interested in staking a claim to your rights than coming up with a pragmatic and safe solution.

        I drive, bike, run, etc… and have lived in places where those groups get a long a helluva a lot better than here. You can complain about drivers not giving you a full lane or what have you all you want, but at the end of the day the attitudes of some cyclists are as much at fault for the current situation.
        You want to be treated with the same respect as a car, but then you want to have two way traffic on what is essentially a sidewalk? nine.

        Listen, there is simply not enough of a sight path to allow bikers to travel against traffic without dismounting at this intersection. Additionally there is no indication to driver’s of two way bike traffic occurring on the sidewalk. You want a special carve out? accept some safety measures put in place to protect you. You want to travel with the green lights without stopping? Simple solution… go one block up and ride in the street w/ southbound traffic.

        below is the view that drivers have…. even if they are aware of two way bike traffic, drivers can only see about 20 feet up the path which the average cyclist covers in less than a second. simply impossible to make this safe without requiring cyclists to come to complete stop.

        • cyclist

          No, you are part of the problem. I do have rights, and I stake a claim to them. I don’t claim more than what I have, but damn right I claim what’s mine. Now, I won’t claim my rights if they still endanger someone – much like cars should do. But I don’t believe I am doing that. I am not stupid either – I know that if I push the limits of safety, I’m the one who would pay.

          I have never once complained about drivers not giving me a full lane. You have me mistaken for someone else.

          I will do what I think is safe for me and the cars. I don’t think it’s necessary to dismount there for safety. If I change my mind or the law changes, I will. I am already much safer than most cyclists when using that intersection. I ONLY ENTER THE CROSSWALK ON THE GREEN (not the red countdown), and I watch the cars carefully, making eye contact with drivers when possible, and I go slowly – usually as slow as a pedestrian anyway, since I am pretty much always crossing from a stop since I wait for the green.

          So don’t lecture me about your particular solution and expect me to accept it. I know plenty about that intersection and what is required to safely cross it.

          • brendan

            u mad, bro?

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Decisions should be made based on traffic volumes – the good of the many out weight the good of the few – rather than agenda’s.

    • cyclist

      So that means what? That we should shut off all crossings of major streets by small streets with less motor vehicle traffic? Doubt you’d go for that.

      Nobody is asking that bikes and pedestrians get more than a fair share of crossing time. They just want to cross safely.

      By the way, many cyclists are on their way to work too.

  • arlicommuter

    I’ve noticed Arlington is actually being responsive this time! New traffic pattern at 19th Street and N. Lynn (one block from this intersection) they’ve changed the pedestrian walk pattern so you are no longer crossing intersection in front of turning cars. Takes a little longer at the intersection, but well worth the safety from crazy car commuters!

  • charlie

    i think have 115 people out on the corner looking at line markings at 630 PM should slow just about everything down very nicely.

  • SimplyDusty

    I notice that “future development plans” feature new at-grade crossings across the GW Parkway off-ramp. I’d rather take my chances with Lynn.

  • CW

    Glad I will have passed by there on my bike commute home before the meeting happens! The irony level will be high as the group is sure to anger many passing cyclists who don’t know what the apparent flash mob is up to.

    Joking aside, I am glad that they are being responsible to these issues. I think that the block before on Lynn (the bridge over the highway) is just as big an issue as well, as there’s not room to accomodate a bike lane but not much of a sidewalk to speak of either. Whether I stay in traffic or go up on the sidewalk is always a game-time decision.

  • anotherlocal

    Can someone please also address the walk sign timing at the traffic lights at N Lynn and 19th St? They’re currently not timed correctly and the walk lights expire way too soon before the lights turn yellow/red. This results in people crossing whenever, and there’s no way to tell when the light is going to change. Very unsafe, and I have no idea who to contact about this!

    • othersideoftheriver
    • Aaron

      The new walk sign timing at 19th and North Lynn is intentional. See arlicommuter’s comment above. If the half-witted pedestrian population in this neighborhood would actual observe the walk lights now, there’ll be a lot less box-blocking there and it’ll be a lot safer for pedestrians in general. The way to fix “people crossing whenever” ought to be an ACPD patrol handing out tickets to everyone crossing against the light and/or snipers.

  • Allthatglimmersisnotgold

    The only reason any of this is happening is because the pedestrian struck and given the warning by police is extremely close to jay fissette. The guy has a huge problem with police and has had traffic/bike related issues in the past.

    • MB

      No, the reason this is happening is because the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee – at its August 1st meeting – thought that it would be a good idea to help emphasize to Arlington County that this is an intersection in serious need of attention.

      What there’s a huge problem with is people getting hit in the intersection.

      • bmurray

        Given the seriousness of this issue, it would’ve served the Bicycle Advisory Committee to get the word out that it was considering this issue. The Committee is a bit of a joke, but still, get the job done gents: Pedestrian overpass.

    • cyclist

      Enough with the ridiculous accusations.

      • Mike Oksmal

        Seems like a fairly detailed accusation to me. Sounds like the type of statement that has a lot of truth behind it.

        • D’oh

          Since 2005, Harry Potter and Santa Claus have secretly paid $502,735.67 in brides to VDOT and the county board in order to make this intersection dangerous because they have a cyclist- and pedestrian-hating agenda. However, with Santa busy as the holidays approach and the recent death of Harry Potter, the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee has seen and seized their moment.

          • Mike Oksmal

            So you have no knowledge that Allthatglimmersisnotgold claim is false. Thanks for backing that up.

          • cyclist

            Like your knowledge that it’s true?

            The point is not whether it’s true or not, but that it’s irrelevant.

          • CW

            Can you explain to me your valuation scheme for brides? There might be some money-making potential in that intellectual property.

          • Thes

            If I get a payment in brides, do the dresses come included?

          • D’oh

            silly typo.

        • cyclist

          I’m saying the ridiculous part is that this is the “only” reason this meeting is happening.

          There have been many accidents there recently, so the Bike Advisory Committee decided to have a meeting. They don’t sit around and do nothing until a Board member calls them up.

    • CW

      Either way, what’s it matter? That’s how all politicians do anything. They’re not aware of every issue through some sort of divine knowledge. They get made aware of them one way or the other. Some of them, such as hanging out with lobbyists all the time, are less savory than others. But either way, even if this is true, it’s a constituent, albeit a connected one, bringing an issue to the attention of a policy-maker. You live in or around D.C. and are surprised that things like this are going on?

  • Ren

    I probably can’t make it tonight but I appreciate that the meeting is occuring.

  • JASDCA

    They need to visit that intersection during the morning commute, when more cars are coming up the ramp to make the right turn onto 110.

    • Confused

      Huh?

      • dirty biker

        I think that JASDCA means “the right onto Key Bridge” (Rt. 29)

        The intersection is particularly bad in the morning with many cars floating the red and others getting aggressive to peds and bikers in the intersection

        • JASDCA

          Oops! Sorry about that. Yes – the right onto the Key Bridge. The intersection is bad in the morning and the ramp is pretty bad, too, because there aren’t lines painted to clearly delineate the lanes until you get close to the top. There are three lanes (lefthand one to go straight, middle to go straight or turn right and right to turn right). When traffic gets backed up in the mornings, it’s a mess, with people not forming three lanes.

          • MB

            Yep, it’s a mess (at least) twice a day. I can tell you that almost all (if not all) of the members of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, and all of the Arl Co. staff involved are quite familiar with the problems posed by both rush hours.

            One of the more interesting ideas I’ve heard so far is to post a traffic officer at that corner during major commuting hours. Cheaper than a tunnel/bridge, more effective than signage.

  • MB

    Thanks to everyone who came out tonight. That’s much more helpful than the anonymous trolling here in the comments.

    • cyclist

      Thanks for working on this, MB and the rest of the committee.

      I think the trolling comments, and the honest ones, do teach us something though – there needs to be clarity about what is expected from cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. The rules, no matter what they are, need to be clear and enforced.

    • charlie

      i find that hard to believe.

    • othersideoftheriver

      So, was there any sort of consensus? Were drivers as represented as pedestrians and cyclists?

      • drax

        While not many drivers ride bikes, pretty much every pedestrian and cyclist drives a car.

  • Jerry

    I have crossed this intersection just about every work day for the past year. I have been grazed and nearly struck by cars turning onto Lee Hwy on several occasions – having to literally jump out of the way a few times. It’s worse in the winter, when it’s dark out, or when it’s raining. Also, I think most drivers are unaware that pedestrians at crosswalks have the right of way, and that they are required to yield to them. None of the drivers that nearly struck me ever stopped. Had I known there was a camera at the intersection, I would have reported the incidents. There should be a red light for drivers who are turning on to Lee Hwy to at least give pedestrians a chance for a longer life.

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