Proposed Streetcar Raises Concerns Over Cyclist Safety

by Katie Pyzyk July 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm 8,021 85 Comments

(Updated at 10:40 p.m.) There’s been a lot of back and forth over whether or not to build the proposed Columbia Pike Streetcar, ahead of the County Board’s scheduled vote on Monday, July 23. Amidst the frenzy, some bicyclists are hoping their needs and safety won’t get overlooked.

Organizations such as the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee (ABAC) haven’t yet taken an official position on the streetcar plan, considering it hasn’t been officially approved yet. Still, individual members of the organizations are raising red flags for potentially dangerous situations.

Shane Farthing, Executive Director of WABA, explains that the streetcar tracks pose a particular problem because bicycle wheels could become caught in them. In addition to such a scenario making it possible for a cyclist to tip over, it increases the danger of being hit by a vehicle.

“As long as you’ve got gaps that can catch a tire, it’s probably not terribly safe to mix with high speed traffic,” said Farthing. “WABA really supports as many transportation options as possible. But the streetcar is one that has a particular difficulty mixing with bikes, because the tracks themselves present a physical hazard.”

Farthing said this issue has come up numerous times in D.C. when accidents occur because of the streetcar tracks on H Street NE. He expects the problem to be similar on Columbia Pike should the streetcar be approved. In fact, he notes it could be worse considering the longer stretch of land that Columbia Pike covers, and the higher speeds at which drivers travel. Additionally, cyclists on Columbia Pike have fewer parallel lengths of road they could use to commute.

“There really aren’t any alternative routes to Columbia Pike. It’s a main corridor and a straight shot,” Farthing said. “If streetcars go on Columbia Pike it’s going to have big numbers of folks having to figure out how to negotiate that conflict.”

Mark Blacknell, ABAC chair, explained that his organization has worked with the county to create plans for “bicycle boulevards” — lower traffic cycling routes just north and south of Columbia Pike. While the boulevards may be a viable compromise, Blacknell admits they’re not the most ideal scenario.

“I’d love to find a way to move the tracks to the center of Columbia Pike, removing the worst of the danger to bikes,” said Blacknell. “The bicycle boulevards aren’t a perfect substitute for adequate bicycle facilities on the Pike itself.”

Besides the wheel problem, there are other safety issues related to the streetcar, such as slipping on wet tracks or cyclists not having adequate space to maneuver. Tracks are often installed on the right side of the road, where cyclists are accustomed to traveling. Adding another obstacle makes some cyclists nervous, because it will be more difficult to avoid dangers like car doors opening.

“It’s uncomfortable to ride in areas where you’re squeezed between hazards, not having the spacial freedom to make movement where it’s needed,” Farthing said. “You’re basically confined to that because once you’re in between the two rails, you can’t get out of them easily.”

Farthing said the space crunch is not only a concern for cyclists, it puts drivers at a disadvantage as well.

“It gives another level of unpredictabililty. How do I keep myself safe?” said Farthing. “And from everyone else’s perspective, where should I expect cyclists to be?”

Should the streetcar go in as planned along Columbia Pike, Farthing fears some cyclists may grow frustrated, and eventually give up.

“If you basically take a piece of roadway that’s a major regional connector for cyclists, and you make it somehow unsafe for cyclists, you’re actually going to be discouraging ridership,” said Farthing. “It’s a challenge that needs to be worked out. You don’t want to invite crashes and hazards, or decrease ridership.”

Both Blacknell and Farthing stress that they’re not against the concept of a Columbia Pike streetcar as a rule. They’d just like to see an increased effort to incorporate cyclist safety into the plans. That could mean discussions with county staff members regarding compromises, and further examination of lessons learned in other cities with streetcars.

(One such city is Toronto, where an extensive streetcar system helped to make streetcar tracks the number one cause of bicyclist injuries.)

“Just like the county was a leader in bike sharing, perhaps they can be a leader in resolving this conflict,” said Farthing.

Not all cyclists share the desire to ride on Columbia Pike, however. Chris Eatough of BikeArlington says that stretch of road has never been an ideal route, and he doesn’t recommend it to others.

“There is some redesign that is coming to the Pike – even without the streetcar – that will help a little bit,” Eatough said. “But the nature of the Pike and the lack of available street space means Columbia Pike is never going to be a premier route for cyclists. It’s one of the very few routes in the county that I would say this about.”

According to Eatough, the county will continue to work on providing alternate routes to Columbia Pike. He notes progress on the bike boulevards plan, and a new trail likely to go in near Washington Blvd. He also mentioned expansion of the Wayfinding Signs Project, which will help guide cyclists to alternate routes.

  • novasteve

    I love when liberal darling issues collide with reality.

    • herpderp

      boring troll is boring

      • charles

        novasteve, your images shows that you’re obese. Maybe YOU should try biking, hon, if not a little generosity of spirit and kindness toward others.

        • b0rk

          That is a Michael Moore puppet from “Team America: World Police”, not an actual photo.

          • drax

            Way to get the point, bOrk.

    • Arlingtonian

      Since when is this a liberal issue? 80 percent of Republicans favor spending on bike infrastructure.

  • veeta

    I am a bike commuter, but I will never ride on Columbia Pike whether there is a streetcar or not. It will never be safe for cyclists. That is why they are developing the bicycle boulevards.
    The Pike is too narrow to do everything for all people. Can’t they just be patient and take the alternate routes? Everyone cannot get everything they want!

    • thelevyisdry

      100% agree. I used to ride on Columbia Pike … scary to say the least. I have since modified my route out of self-preservation.

      My solution for the Pike would be a lane that changed direction with the commute. West of Walter Reed all it takes is a stopping bus and car turning left to completely block traffic. A streetcar does not address this fundamental problem. Although, if I think about it long enough … I am fine with discouraging Pike traffic. So let’s have streetcars in all four lanes!

    • JoeO

      Alternate routes are hard to come by in that area, whether you are headed East-West or North-South.

    • The Columbia Pike roadway in Arlington–without streetcar tracks in both curb lanes–is perfectly safe for any modestly fit adult who understands and practices vehicular bicycling (aka bicycle driving). This road has two travel lanes in each direction, posted speed limits of only 25, 30, or 35 MPH, and traffic lights that halt traffic every few blocks.

      I bicycle on the Columbia Pike roadway quite comfortably and safely almost daily. Those “bicyclists” who believe this roadway is dangerous either lack easy-to-acquire traffic cycling skills or are irrationally phobic. Traffic cycling classes are widely available. Take one; you won’t regret it.

  • Thomas

    good points veeta.

    i too, am a bike rider. streetcar>bike riders. in fact, cyclists MUST LEARN to stop at red lights. None are, they just ride along like they are immune to traffic signals. I say, ticket them. If bikes can run red lights, CARS should.

    • spaghetti

      Thomas, you realize that stop lights only exist because of cars?

      • buzzrbtr

        spaghetti, so profound. Next spaghetti will answer the age old question “Which came first? the chicken? or the egg?

  • veeta

    I stop at stop lights as well as stop signs. I acknowledge that some cyclists break the rules–how is that different from any other group? I see just as many cars roll through stop signs as cyclists. We all need to stop making generalizations.
    What we also have to acknowledge is that drivers do not receive any education when it comes to coexisting with cyclists. There might be one question on the driver test for a teenager. If drivers just gave me the legal 2 ft clearance when passing me, then 90% of my angst (and danger) would be taken care of.
    If you want to license cyclists, fine by me, but cyclists have a much more vested interest in watching where they are going.

    • buzzrbtr

      Cyclists are not regulated at all. Should we make licenses mandatory for cyclists? Evidently most of them don’t know they are a motor vehicle? “cyclists have a much more vested interest in watching where they are going.” Thus they should be more aware of the rules, and regulations.

      • Jason S.

        They should be licensed if they wish to ride on the street and should pay taxes as well.

      • drax

        Pedestrians don’t need licenses to walk either. Doesn’t mean they aren’t subject to traffic laws.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    cha-ching +10% on the cost of the streetcar – what’s next? on the road to 2X or 3X the estimate.

  • Becoming indifferent

    And just one more reason not to construct the trolley.

    BTW, will the trolleys have bells? That would so quaint!

    • It’s a streetcar, not a trolley. You’re thinking Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis. Anyway, I’m all for the Columbia Pike streetcar. I hope the county is farsighted enough to see it through.

      • Becoming indifferent


  • Elmer

    Great. Mr. Zimmerman now has an excuse to make another fact finding mission to Eurupe to discover how and if they deal with streetcar/bike issues.

    • Elmer

      And a trip to Europe.

    • nom de guerre

      At this very moment, Arlington County ONE is being fueled and the pilot is on standby waiting for the arrival of Zimmie and Jay Fisette (the cycling aficionado) who will be traveling to France to investigate the improbable issues posed by streetcar tracks on bicycles. One possible solution that is being studied will be to mandate the use of tires of at least 3″ in width to avoid the possibility of being caught in the tracks. Please stay tuned for future updates.

  • Mc

    Bikes don’t belong directly on Columbia Pike – it is dangerous. The cyclists might as well complain that 395 is not tailored to their needs.

    • Better Transit

      Thank you for the laugh!

    • MDP

      Couldn’t have said it any better. This is the perfect response to this ridiculous debate.

  • StreetCarDoer

    Let’s do the math, how many people currently bike Columbia Pike and how many take the 16s bus line. No brainer! And thats assuming the street car would be utilized to the same level of the 16 busses – which is not true. Ridership would increase exponentially!

    • SomeGuy

      Exponentially? I like math. Please quantify.

      • darsasx

        I like math as well. What I do not like is the $$ spent per rider extreme of the trolley vs anything else.

  • not your bro

    I totally support moving the tracks to the center of the road. I’m surprised that wasn’t the original plan. Market St, Church St and many other streets in San Francisco do it that way, and it works great for everyone.

  • Chinny McChipstah

    Having just returned from Amsterdam 3 days ago, I can assure you that trams and cycling can coexist but bicycle safety must be an important concern for traffic planners attained through thoughtful road architecture, bicycle lanes AND extensive education of cyclists and drivers about the rules of the road. In the Netherlands, bicyclists are considered drivers, similar to motor vehicles, but are given the status of vulnerable users. Street space is shared equally among pedestrians, cyclists and cars (proceeding at walking pace). Pedestrians and bicyclists have priority over cars. Infants, toddlers are exposed to cycling and education continues in school. No one wears a bike helmet and I saw many folks smoking, talking on their phones, holding an umbrella (while riding in the rain). Men wear their suits and women in dresses and heels. Sometimes there would be 3 persons on one bike. For this to work in Arlington would take a tremendous effort on the part of the traffic planners as well as the citizens. I foresee a lot of carnage on the Pike.

    • Elmer

      Interesting observations from the Netherlands.. I’d love to see the reaction should our jet setting county board members come back with something like that for us rubes out here in the provinces-excuse me-I mean in our world class “urban village.”

    • Mick Way

      Wow I was just going to post this essentially same thing about Amsterdam.

      +1 as the kids say

  • Adult

    Want to be on two wheels–but be treated with the same right the cars have? And be able to go fast enough to travel safely with the traffic?

    It’s called a motorcycle.

    • happycyclist

      But I want to get exercise and not burn gas. Going on two wheels is not a goal in itself.

      BTW, bikes ARE traffic.

      • Adult

        By your logic, so are tricycles. Let’s allow them too.

        • dirty biker

          Ummm there are lots of trike recombents on the roads and trails, and yes, they are allowed.

        • WeiQiang

          They are allowed

          • Adult

            You know what I mean–trikes that go 5 mph.

            The point is that there is a de facto (and often a de jure) minimum speed limit. the major issue with bikes on major roads is that they can’t or don’t go fast enough. It’s often not possible to pass them, if it’s a two-lane road or the cyclist is in the middle of the lane.

            We have bike paths; let the cyclists use those. I don’t insist on walking in the middle of a lane of the Pike.

          • happycyclist

            usually the de jure minimum if 15 MPH below the posted maximum. on a 35 MPH road, that would be 20 MPH, which many cyclists can do.

            Of course many times the actual speed of traffic is well below that anyway.

            And bike paths go to relatively few places. Are you confusing them with bike lanes? With sidewalks?

          • dirty biker

            Nothing ticks me off more than a driver yelling at me when I’m riding the speed limit (not under it mind you, at it). Would you yell at a soccer mom doing the same thing? Well, maybe… Heck, I’ve had drivers make dangerous passes of me on blind curves when I was actually speeding (say 30 in a 25).

            Virginia Lane (where the WO&D crosses I-66 and 495) is a famous cluster-f because of this. My choices are a sidewalk bisected by 20 driveways or a road where I can easily top 30mph- the road is unambiguously the safer answer. Yet even with a 25 mph limit cars are forever freaking out at cyclists here. Relax. You’re speeding a lot, I’m speeding less but the whole thing will be over in about 10 seconds (whereupon you sit in traffic and I continue on my merry way)

            Directly to “Adult”- I admit, it makes me happy to cruise by you sorry saps stuck in your cars in gridlock. Over my 25 mile commute I bet that my average speed is equal to or greater than the average surface street user at rush hour- do I get in the way sometimes? Sure, but I do my best (for my own sake) to stay out of the way too.

          • happycyclist

            you also neglect the fact that limiting bikes would mean MORE cars on the road, which would slow you down, by adding to congestion.

    • happycyclist

      BTW, what does this have to do with streetcars?

      notice how in streetcar vs bike conflict threads, the street car advocates and the cyclists are always looking to work things out pragmatically – the folks saying it can’t work out are usually not cycling advocates, they are usually folks who dislike both bikes and transit and see both as threats to driving.

      for the most part cycling and transit are complementary, whether in terms of specific trips, in terms of lifestyle, and in terms of built form. The transit/cycling advocates know this, as do their adversaries.

  • ProfessionalObserver

    Oh, I am pretty sure that as long as the cyclists shout “on your left” before they pass, nothing can possibly happen….

  • MadDog

    Columbia Pike is too narrow to share with cars as it is. They would need a dedicated lane and the space doesn’t exist. The alternative is to learn the side streets.

    It would also be nice if drivers of motor vehicles stopped at red lights and stop signs. It’s more than just cyclists playing racer boys that’s the problem.

    • observer

      I have yet to see a cyclist in Arlington stop at a stoplight or stop sign unless there is a car directly in its way. If they think they can get across without being hit, they go. Always.

      Drivers do run stop signs or lights from time to time, but the frequency is about 1% of how often cyclists ignore stops.

      • Arlingtonian

        Funny. That doesn’t describe me at all. On the other hand, many car drivers speed through right turns on red all the time. I won’t exaggerate as much as you do but I will say that about a quarter to a third of all drivers seem to do this. Those drivers don’t even bother to slow down or check if there are pedestrians crossing in the crosswalk. Look at how many car accidents there are every week.

        • RoRo

          I agree so much,

          Stopping at a red light can be dangerous in a right turn lane. When I am in my car, stopping for a red light with a right turn possible, it is extremely dangerous to come to a full stop.

          I am also a weekend bike rider and follow the road rules since I am just out for fun exercise and not training for the tour de jour. I am dismayed to see all the bike riders disregarding basic road rules.

          All things considered, I do not want to drive my car on Columbia Pike let alone ride my bike.

          • kitty

            Why should it be dangerous to stop at a red light in a right turn lane? After all, the “right on red” the law says to stop and then yield to oncoming traffic before proceeding. Everyone does this right? After all everyone operating a car on the road has a license, right? The know the law and obey it, right?

            Take the operator of any vehicle — car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or streetcar — that runs a red light and put ’em in jail.

          • drax

            Stopping at a red light can be dangerous?


          • Elmer

            Hey Ro Ro: Read the Virginia Code on right turn on red. Here it is Va. Code Section 46.2-835 Now, what part of FULL STOP do you not understand?

            § 46.2-835. Right turn on steady red light after stopping.

            Notwithstanding the provisions of § 46.2-833, except where signs are placed prohibiting turns on steady red, vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal, after coming to a full stop, may cautiously enter the intersection and make a right turn.

            Such turning traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic using the intersection.

        • observer

          I’m a pedestrian, not a driver. I don’t own a car or a bike. Cyclists are by far the worst traffic offenders, and I stand by my previous statement.

      • Ren

        Yes, some cyclists break laws that were designed for cars. I’m not one of them, and I see plenty of cyclists who stop at lights and signs. Here’s the key though. I keep track of this and for about every 10 miles I travel on my bicycle, a driver commits a traffic infraction that, if I were not able to respond to it, could cause a collision with me while I am on my bicycle. Most drivers are polite and conscientious but a few are not and they can and have sent me to the hospital. I’m happy to type of my log of this. This argument is so whiny and tired. And by the way, cyclists on roads always have to breathe drivers’ polluted air. The bakery truck I was behind at a traffic light on Columbia Pike this morning stunk; I’m sure I was breathing great junk.

        • dirty biker

          I need a GoPro camera- yesterday on a 2 mile stretch of EB Fairfax Blvd while riding in the bike lane (and stopping cold at every light despite my “lance wannabe gear” and speedy nature):

          5 cars taking rights without signalling (essentially swerving into my bike lane and taking rights in front of me- it’s called a “right hook” by cyclists
          4 more cars doing the same while signalling
          6 cars running reds
          3 cars taking rights onto Fairfax sitting perpendicular to traffic in the bike lane
          2 cars actively pulling into the bike lane (ignoring me)
          2 cars refusing to yeild to my clear and obvious signal where I need to take a left on Washington (I’m going the speed limit people, let me in! Nothing illegal here but come on…)
          4 cars not yielding to peds in a mid-block crosswalk
          1 bus at Ballston fully in the bike lane

          I’m not exaggerating at all on this- say what you want about bike behavior but you car people generally suck. The difference is that we often die if we do something stupid (so it is super important to be predictable) If you hit us when YOU do something stupid, it’s probably just a dent.

          • observer

            Cyclists in this area think they’re saints. So over it. Car drivers here are no prize, but cyclists only obey traffic laws when they think their lives are threatened.

            I’ll start taking video, sounds fun.

          • Elmer

            Your on the ground observations of the vehicle drivers seem to me a good argument for local law enforcement to get on bikes and patrol in traffic.
            I’d support that-trolly or no trolly.

        • jaynon

          Those drivers are the ones busy texting or talking on the phone, we all agree they are stupid…and i think most would agree it’s not all bikers, just the dumb ones that are the issue…one simple fact, car vs bike, head to head, car ‘wins’ each time. I’ll wait until I’m on vacation or in my nice little retirement town to bike, you people that bike here on main roads are

  • 1021bum

    Interesting- demand that pepco/dominion bury all of the power lines, then hang some more overhead lines for the streetcar. (based on rendering anyhow) then plant more street trees as part of the pike beautification and then hack them to hell once they grow taller than 10′ to avoid the wires. Oops too cynical

  • jaynon

    I’ll never understand the ‘everyone else is responsible for me’ attitude….here’s a thought, make your own decisions and live with them. If you’re the dope that thinks rocketing down the Pike is a good idea or that because you’re in your Lance wanna-be outfit and you think holding your arm out is going to stop a 4000 lb car, then don’t be surprised wheouet injured. I know bikes have rights to the street, but when you get hit by a car, you can still be right and be dead. I run, and runners rule #1 is if there is a sidewalk, use it…I’ll never understand people who run on the street, if you think asphalt is softer, you have deeper issues. everyone needs to practice common sense. If Arlington is going to provide parallel paths for bikes that are safer, then you’re stupid not to use them, and you can blame yourself when you get injured on the Pike, because out was YOUR decision to ride on it when a safer path is offered.

    • ballsteve

      If you actually read the article instead of just skimming, you might see that they don’t advocate for not using the safer routes. Blacknell is saying that creating them in the first place is not the ideal substitue for actual infrastructure on the Pike. “The bicycle boulevards aren’t a perfect substitute for adequate bicycle facilities on the Pike itself.” I’m sure if the bicycle boulevards are the only thing built, then people would use them.

      • jaynon

        My comment is for the “bikers without thought” and their comments…thank….

  • JnA

    I want to scrap the streetcar and start talking about the three bus options for the Pike. I did a Web search on “streetcar bicycle accidents” and am appalled. People on bicycles, many people on bicycles, are going to be seriously hurt and killed by streetcars if streetcars are put on the Pike.

  • John Flack

    The problem with the bicycle boulevards is that neither of them run the entire length of Columbia Pike. I’d like to ride all the way from Jefferson St. to Joyce St. I haven’t seen a proposal that will let me do this safely out of Columbia Pike traffic.

  • Trolly Troll

    Why does the street car rendering with the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse used for all of the propaganda show what looks like a dedicated bike lane between the tracks and the side walk?

    Bikes get 5′ from the side of parked cars and if a car cant safely pass or has to cross a double yellow to pass the bike gets control of the whole lane. If there is no dedicated bike lane on the pike, the street cars will be limited to the speed of the bikers.

    I think the street cars are a good idea, but over 200 million and no dedicated bike lanes? The pike planners should be fired. The bike boulevards are useless.

    • Marie Antoinette

      Propaganda. Love it. +1,000

    • It’s no bike lane. It’s a gutter with a photoshopped bicyclist!

  • happycyclist

    Im not sure why more complete bike boulevards are not possible. Cutting paths further east from the current ends of the bike lanes.

  • Sim City

    Hurray for the sensible comment from Chris Etough that the Pike will never be great for biking and he doesn’t recommend it. Chris may not score points for aggressive advocacy by taking that stance, but I think the debate is served better by taking reasonable positions and reflecting reality. I bike into DC every day and have have ridden in urban areas for over 30 years, and I almost never ride on the Pike. Going east, there plenty of are quieter and safer routes. It’s true that there are fewer alternatives to get Bailey’s Crossroads, but that may be a solveable problem. Right now, I drive there.

    • dirty biker


      I have an asymmetric daily riding commute precisely because of traffic patterns- in the morning I ride an additional 1.5 miles so that I can avoid left-turns on major Loudoun roads. As a result, in both directions I have all right turns (excluding minor roads). No way I’d ride on CP if I had a different way to go- even if it were another mile or so.

      • WeiQiang

        + 29er

  • SimplyDusty

    For Pentagon City/Pentagon/Crystal City bicycle commuters, The Pike is one of the only routes to get there, and the “Bike Boulevard”, while a good alternative, strangely does not resolve the difficult Pike-Wash Blvd intersection, which will be made more complicated and dangerous with streetcars. Would be nice to get even a one-side of the street dedicated bike lane there as that underpass is critical to connecting the Pike to east of 395.

    • Ren


  • BanjoBill

    ArlNow Morning Notes, July 18, 1902 – New Horseless Carriage Sure To Spell Doom For Horse and Velocipede Riders!

  • T Xoxy

    Read herring! Roadways are full of hazards and always will be. Rails are just one more thing in the road and not much of a problem for bicycles. Less of a problem than many other road hazards because rails are always in the same place. Crossing a rail takes a little extra care to not cross at a shallow angle — an easy maneuver I have performed many times. No biggie.

    I think the sudden concern for bicycle safety is disingenuous, just one more bogus objection attempting to defeat streetcars — streetcars that would be a great benefit to the community.

  • Huh ??

    “Read herring!”

    Silly human, fish are illiterate !!

    • YTK

      Coulda been worse.

      Read Herring’s.

  • YTK

    Gee, the streetcars are not safe for the cyclists and the cyclists are not safe for the pedestrians, Tsk Tsk..

  • Dudley Horscroft

    I note the publicity photo used for the CP line shown in the article, and while at first opposed to kerbside, or near kerb side, streetcar tracks, have now come to wonder if in some circumstances, perhaps such as CP, they may be better for cyclists.

    Consider, on the streetcar tracks there will be no cars parked. A cyclist riding on the tracks has a good four foot of clear brand new road between the rails, effectively swept by the streetcars of all loose material, and no cars to be ‘doored’ by. Given that the average speed of a streetcar – depending on the number of stops, would be 10 to 20 mph, a rider should have little difficulty in keeping up with the streetcar ahead, if necessary pausing for a rest at each stop. It effectively means a clear bike lane. And if the rider is fit, for a fair bit of the time, depending on how quickly the streetcar accelerates, he will be riding in the streetcar’s slipstream, and able to keep up with very little effort.

    Since there are no, or very few turns where a cyclist would be required to cross the streetcar tracks, this looks like a good bargain for cyclists.

  • Guy

    First, Columbia Pike is a terribly dangerous road for pedestrians and cyclist and even cars. As a cyclist, I would be caught dead on that road. And the most dangerous aspect of this road is a bus. I want those buses off the roads and street cars are the best way to do it. A street car cannot suddenly pull out in front of you. They cannot block the intersection. They cannot suddenly turn without indication. Or do many of things stupid metro bus drivers do daily. So please bring these street cars to as many roads as we can. Second, the metropolitan area need to invest in real bike lanes – this “throw a painted line on the asphalt and call it day” doesn’t cut it. Cars constantly ignore the bike lines – they double park over the lane, they drive into the lane to overtake another car, etc. I have seen the police park in the bike lane (although this was in the District of Chaos). Arlington should lead the way by curbing the bike lanes. We are investing in lanes for bikes, not cars, not joggers, not motorcycles. In fact, I think the County should allow for a proposal and funding by WABA (who should but some money where the mouth is) and have them installed! With so many people currently cycling as a means of transportation (and I believe this will only continue, they county should create a non-appropriated department for the management and regulation of our bike ways. They can get their cash through the sales tax from bike sales and membership dues.

  • It’s a little late for WABA and the Arlington BAC to weigh in on this issue. The Arlington County Board unanimously endorsed a streetcar in the curb lanes of Columbia Pike in 2006. The recent County Board vote was merely a reaffirmation of that decision in order to apply for a $75 million federal grant.

    If Uncle Sam denies the $75 million, the County Board will be forced to face the reality that a voter referendum to fund the Pike Streetcar with County funds would never pass.


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