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The Old Bike Shop in Lyon Park is closing next month after a decade in business.

Owner Lawrence Behery told ARLnow that he’s shuttering the used bike repair and sales shop on N. Pershing Drive because of a decline in business and family health challenges.

While Behery said he doesn’t know the exact date of the closure yet, he expects it to happen at the end of February. Additionally, the shop is now only open three days a week from Friday through Sunday. The Old Bike Shop first opened in 2013.

It’s been a bumpy road for Behery and the Old Bike Shop over the last two years.

The pandemic was “crazy” for the bike business and sales were good at first, Behery said, but then his mom was diagnosed with cancer and business began to decline. Last year was particularly tough with sales dropping to the point where the shop “cost me money.” Then, his mom suffered a stroke and Behery became her caretaker.

“Learning to do that with the business not doing so well… it was really tough,” he said. “I really love serving the community, but it’s a delicate balance. I’m trying to fight the fight, but I have both hands tied behind my back and I’m just a little guy.”

Another reason for the closure is the soaring costs related to warehousing and storage. Behery said that storage unit prices have “skyrocketed” leaving him making tough decisions about what parts and inventory to have on hand.

Rent at 2647 N. Pershing Drive, however, has stayed consistent, something that has allowed the shop to survive as long as it has. Behery called his landlord “fair” and a “very decent human being.”

Over the last several days, ARLnow has received notes from readers and loyal customers, asking about how the community could help to keep the shop around. Behery said while that’s a very kind sentiment, he needs to take a step back to help his loved one.

“This is hard for me because I love it, but can’t digest it all… running a business and taking care of mom,” he said. “I just want one hand free. I can’t concentrate on everything.”

He does hope that someday he’ll be able to return to selling and repairing bikes for the Arlington community. As Behery put it, now is the time to take care of his family so that he can come back stronger in the future.

But he’ll always have the memories and is thankful for the community support.

“It feels like that little shop is sorta like a neighborhood bar… I’ve seen kids grow up, from their first bike to the one they take to college,” Behery said. “I have had gratitude to this community since day one.”

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Drivers have been blocking a new PBL in search of the perfect PSL.

Last November, as part of a 2022 Complete Streets project, Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services replaced two parking spots with a protected bike lane, or “PBL,” on the east side of Clarendon Blvd. It also added new free, 15-minute parking spots at N. Danville Street, to accommodate those who would have used the two former spots when picking up their coffee order from the nearby Starbucks.

“All those legally parked automobiles are actually protecting bikers who are using the bike lane to the right,” noted DES spokesman Peter Golkin.

But illegally parked vehicles caused a different problem. Flouting a no-parking sign, cars — and even a county pickup truck — parked where the spots used to be, partially or completely blocking the bike lane. Local cyclist Jeff Hopp said he saw cars blocking the bike lane “all day, every day,” to access the Starbucks location across the street from the Whole Foods.

“In the area near Starbucks, [the county] created a hazard to cyclists instead of a safe PBL,” he said. “The county removed two parking spaces in the area when creating the PBL but the design of the PBL at this spot allows for drivers to drive into and park in the PBL while they ‘run in’ to Starbucks to grab their drinks.”

Public feedback helped guide the designs, Golkin says, but in response to the reality on the ground, the county recently made it harder to park there.

“Extra bollards were added this month to make such an abuse less tempting and to encourage drivers to look for the free and pay spaces just a few feet down the road,” Golkin said.

Hopp, who had notified the county about the issue, says he appreciates the changes.

“I feel the county was responsive to a conversation about a solution and, in the end, I feel they made the right decision to install additional bollards around the edges,” he said. “With these additional bollards, vehicles will not have enough room to pull into the PBL in this area — unless drivers just mow them down, which I’ll bet has happened before.”

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Rainy day in Rosslyn (staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

While the pandemic prompted a well-documented exodus to, and development of, sleepy suburban and exurban towns, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District says it has identified a different Covid migration pattern.

About a quarter of Americans reported moving to cities where they could be within a 15-minute walk or bike ride of grocery stores, healthcare and parks, according to a national survey by the BID.

The survey also found 41% plan on moving to be within walking or biking distance of their preferred amenities — including coffee shops, schools and gyms — in the next one to three years. That’s in contrast with places that prioritize mobility by motor vehicle, with sidewalks and bike lanes as a relative afterthought.

Amenities that Americans want within 15 minutes of them (via Rosslyn BID)

The idea of being in a place within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from these amenities, dubbed a “15-minute city,” was developed by French-Colombian academic Carlos Moreno. He says his aim is to “rebalance” localities that have been designed to boost productivity rather than well-being. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, popularized his idea when lockdowns kept people closer to home than usual, and efforts to realize Moreno’s idea took hold there and in other European cities.

Arlington County Planning Commission member Daniel Weir embraces the concept, saying it is better for people and the environment.

“Cities are for people, not cars, and we should be able to get our needs met within a 15-minute walk or bike ride,” he said. “Once upon a time, in living memory for our grandparents, every city in America — from Luray, Virginia to Manhattan — was a 15-minute city. Sometime after the war, we got the idea that cities were about highways and cars, and people had to make way. Now, we’re seeing auto-oriented infrastructure and development is one of the most flawed social experiments of all time.”

Arlington is now trying to at least partially unwind auto-oriented development along Langston Blvd and Richmond Highway, but has yet to tackle the suburban neighborhoods that fall outside its primary planning corridors. Still, the county, which has no singular city center, has had a number of “15-minute cities” spring up through transit-oriented development, which began in the 1960s.

Transit-oriented development created compact urban villages of Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Ballston, Pentagon City and Crystal City along the Orange and Blue Metro lines, and is facilitating more development on the bus-connected Columbia Pike.

“The 15-minute city approach is consistent with many facets of the Arlington Comprehensive Plan and is more intrinsic in Arlington’s principles for compact and transit-oriented development,” says Erika Moore, a spokeswoman for Arlington County Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development.

Where the pandemic is helping advance the 15-minute city concept in Arlington is via an expansion of uses permitted in the county’s densest zoning districts.

“This is creating potential for expanded uses, including workshop spaces, breweries/distilleries, indoor agricultural such as hydroponics, and animal boarding,” she said. “This blending of retail, restaurants, entertainment, and destination uses, along with offices in smaller, non-traditional formats may prove beneficial to residents living in any of Arlington’s mixed-use corridors or in close proximity to them.”

No longer does a Rosslyn resident, for instance, need to drive to a lower-density part of Arlington to board their pet.

While Rosslyn has transformed from downtown district to 15-minute city, BID President Mary-Claire Burick says the county, property owners and the BID must keep “working together to keep our urban center active and accessible.”

Burick says her organization supports the mixed-use developments and the amenities they’re bringing.

“We support Arlington County’s planned investments in public green space and critical transportation infrastructure — such as the removal of the Fort Myer Tunnel,” she added, “and further building out Rosslyn’s network of pedestrian and bike facilities — which are essential in helping make our amenities even more accessible.”

The BID will focus on “economic resiliency efforts, as well as our community events, programming, and placemaking, all which help create an urban downtown where people want to be,” Burick said.

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A cyclist and pedestrians near Route 50 (via Google Maps)

A number of options have emerged for upgrading an iffy portion of the Arlington Blvd Trail.

Engineers found it would be possible to accommodate a trail up to 11 feet wide with buffers and guardrails, between the bridge to Thomas Jefferson Middle School and George Mason Drive. That could be accomplished by narrowing a few on- and off-ramps, closing slip lanes and reducing the number of thru-lanes and turn lanes in some places.

This summer, Arlington County asked trail users how they feel navigating the 1.3-mile stretch of the trail, which runs along the busy and congested six-lane Route 50. Many said they feel unsafe due to bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle conflicts and the lack of buffer between the trail and vehicle travel lanes.

“It’s not very welcome to users. It feels narrow, it’s not continuous and there are poor pavement conditions,” Arlington County transportation planner Bridget Obikoya said in a Nov. 17 meeting. “We want to develop design concepts that improve the existing conditions, such as widening key pinch points and removing barriers and obstructions, improving connectivity and making the trail overall a much more pleasant place to be.”

Over the years, several plans have recommended improvements to the Virginia Department of Transportation-owned trail, which runs east-west from D.C. through Arlington to Fairfax County and bisects a 16-mile bike loop ringing the county.

The 2022-24 Capital Improvements Plan allocated $200,000 to study potential intersection improvements and accessibility upgrades to the area, which has a number of destinations: Thomas Jefferson Middle School and community center, Fleet Elementary School, the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, the Columbia Gardens Cemetery and several churches.

Despite these features, there isn’t much of a trail, and sidewalks are not continuous, says Jim Sebastian, an engineer with Toole Design, a firm that studied the corridor and developed the proposed changes.

“It is challenging, but it’s also exciting thinking about some of the improvements we can make to allow biking and walking to be a little more safe and comfortable,” Sebastian said.

The 1.3-mile stretch was broken into seven segments, four on the north side of Route 50 and three on the south side.

Segments of the Arlington Blvd Trail that could get upgrades (via Arlington County)

All but one segment has two proposed alternatives, and details of these proposed alternatives can be found in a presentation and explained in a recorded online meeting.

Residents can share their feedback on the proposed alternatives through Monday, Dec. 5. There will be pop-up events along the trail corridor, hosted by the county and local churches and other community destinations.

“This is extremely preliminary,” Nate Graham, a DES public engagement specialist, said in the Nov. 17 meeting. “This is an opportunity… to hear what parts you prefer and develop some combination of first and second alternatives between these seven segments to meet the goals of this project and serve the needs of the community.”

The study found that accommodating the trail, along some segments, could require changes to vehicle traffic.

For instance, between Glebe Road and George Mason Drive, one alternative calls for the closure of the off-ramp slip lane west of N. Thomas Street. The connection between the service road and George Mason Drive would also be closed, with traffic rerouted up to N. Trenton Street.

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Kds from Escuela Key and Campbell Elementary schools can regularly be seen bicycling to school to upbeat music.

Sometimes, there is a theme — like wearing costumes on Halloween — as well as the occasional sweet treat or freebie, like bicycle lights from the county program Bike Arlington.

“I am not above bribing children,” says Gillian Burgess, who leads a group of children to the dual-language elementary school Escuela Key. “Donuts are definitely a big help.”

Burgess is a volunteer conductor of a bicibús (Spanish for “bike bus”) — a weekly bicycling group with a set route that makes two stops to pick up kids on the way to Escuela Key. It has a Spanish name because the concept started in Vic, Spain, to provide safety in numbers to kids intimidated by traffic, per a Duolingo podcast with the woman who started the bicibús.

It has since spread to larger Spanish cities, such as Barcelona, and throughout Europe. And it has gone stateside to Portland, Seattle and now Arlington.

Burgess started the Escuela Key route when APS provided hybrid education in spring 2021, and some parents worried about Covid transmission on buses. Now, families stick with it because they have noticed improvements to their child’s mood and focus in school, she said.

“It’s fun,” says fourth-grader Billy Schnell. “I like biking to school with my friends in the morning. It makes me happy. The regular bus is hot and stuffy, but I feel cool on the Bicibús.”

Burgess said there are two great things about the program: “Kids can go even if caretakers can’t go with them and there is safety in numbers.”

In greater numbers, Escuela Key riders feel safer navigating unlit crossings and getting from the intersection of the Bluemont Trail with N. George Mason Drive to Escuela Key a block away, she said. It also helps families break from their driving routines and gives kids independence.

“We take our kids to all these places. We sit and wait for them to finish their activities. We drive them there and home,” Burgess said. “It sucks for us as parents because we’re spending all this time chauffeuring, and kids are not learning how to be independent and confident.”

Meanwhile, the Campbell bike train, which started this year, provides a bi-monthly alternate route home now that parents cannot drive to pick up their kids directly from school, a decision Burgess said was made to improve student safety.

Burgess has taken other steps to help kids feel comfortable on bikes, such as helping install traffic gardens where kids could learn the rules of the road in miniature two years ago.

At the time, that had support from APS, but she is hoping for more coordination with the schools system now. That’s especially so in the wake of a number of high-profile crashes that involved students or happened near schools and have prompted the community and the Arlington County Board to call for swifter action on traffic safety and drunk driving.

“We don’t have a partner in APS right now,” she said, adding that she has reached out for help but hasn’t gotten much of a response. “We need someone who can come at it as a professional in the school system in terms of what is appropriate for adolescents, children and teenagers. What is the right messaging? What works?”

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Arlington County has drafted preliminary designs to slow speeds and improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians along a busy artery in the East Falls Church neighborhood.

It proposes a number of streetscape changes to N. Sycamore Street between Langston Blvd and 19th Street N., near the East Falls Church Metro station and not far from the W&OD Trail. A fatal crash happened just over a year ago within the project’s boundaries at the intersection of N. Sycamore Street and Washington Blvd.

The plan calls for replacing right-turn-only lanes with protected bike lanes, removing slip lanes — which motorists use to turn while bypassing an intersection — and adding high visibility crosswalks and green skid marks for bicyclists.

It has taken more than a decade to get to this point. The 2011 East Falls Church Area Plan recommended shortening crossings, eliminating right-turn-only lanes and improving curb ramps on N. Sycamore Street. The, the 2019 Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan recommended adding a bike lane along N. Sycamore Street between Williamsburg Blvd and the East Falls Church line.

County staff have studied the street twice, but progress was sporadic, due to two unsuccessful transportation grant applications and budget-tightening due to Covid. The Dept. of Environmental Services reprised the project last fall.

The department gathered feedback about problems with N. Sycamore Street where it intersects with Langston Blvd, 22nd Street N., Washington Blvd, the I-66 off-ramp and 19th Street N. Staff incorporated this feedback into preliminary plans, which can now be reviewed and commented on through Sunday (Nov. 20).

“Generally we heard from you all that the slip lanes in the corridor negatively impact pedestrian and bicyclist safety,” project manager Ariel Yang said in a presentation. “The other overarching thing we heard is a desire for safety and more comfortable crossings for people walking and biking N. Sycamore Street,” including better markings for bike lanes and better signalization for pedestrians.

Yang said participants reported frequent speeding, particularly around 22nd and 19th Street N., a tendency that the proposed changes are designed to address.

“Through design, we are trying to change behavior at the intersection where conflicts tend to happen more,” Yang said.

Other issues include unmarked and long crossings, narrow sidewalks and unclear markings in “conflict zones” between cars and cyclists, per the presentation.

The county proposes changes to five intersections.

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Work to rebuild Army Navy Drive through Pentagon City and improve safety and transit along the corridor is officially underway.

This morning, Arlington County and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority ceremonially broke ground on the long-planned Army Navy Drive “Complete Street” Project, which is intended to make the current multi-lane expanse of Army Navy Drive between S. Joyce Street and 12th Street S. more friendly to pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.

The project includes shortened pedestrian crossings, dedicated transit lanes between S. Joyce Street and S. Hayes Street, planted medians, new traffic signals at five intersections, and in some places, narrowed or reduced vehicle travel lanes. There will be a protected, two-way bicycle lane along the south side of Army Navy Drive.

Work kicks off as the number of workers and residents in the area is projected to significantly increase in the coming years. Amazon is preparing to build the second phase of its HQ2 — known as PenPlace, and which includes the iconic “Helix” building — at the corner of Army Navy Drive and S. Eads Street, while continuing to hire toward its goal of 25,000 employees. Meanwhile, JBG Smith has filed plans to add 1,668 residential units to surface parking lots at the nearby RiverHouse complex.

For the next three weeks, road users will see signs of crews setting up for the Army Navy Drive project, like cones and a construction management trailer, says Mark Dennis, project manager for Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. In mid-November, people will start to see demolition work.

“Both sides of the corridors will have markings and indicators that the entire area is a working construction zone,” Dennis told ARLnow. “There will be slight changes in traffic patterns to accommodate lane shifts that are needed.”

He said drivers will need to pay extra attention to navigate these changes.

“Complete Streets” project plan for portion of Army Navy Drive (via Arlington County)

Before scooping ceremonial dirt with gold-colored shovels, local and regional dignitaries celebrated the expected benefits of the project.

Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said the project will make Army Navy Drive safer for pedestrians and cyclists and more convenient for bus riders. It will also slow down drivers, improve air quality and reduce stormwater runoff, she said.

“It’s better for all of us because providing safe, accessible and multimodal transportation is a key part of the economic competitiveness of Pentagon City and Arlington overall,” said Cristol.

NVTA CEO Monica Backmon celebrated the project for “getting people out of their single-occupancy vehicles and giving people options.”

https://twitter.com/NVTAuthority/status/1584554450823544832

The transportation authority said in a press release that it has invested more than $227 million into transportation projects located in Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard, known collectively as National Landing.

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Work is underway to take down the aging RCA building in Rosslyn — but a demolition schedule has yet to be set.

The forthcoming residential redevelopment for 1901 N. Moore Street, by McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group, was approved in June 2021.

Sixteen months later, JAG Senior Vice President Greg Van Wie tells ARLnow that “the crews are removing cell tower equipment from the roof in preparation for demolition.”

As of now, though, there is no set date for the demolition, Van Wie said.

“We will have more updates on the schedule in the coming weeks,” he said.

A reader noted to ARLnow that he noticed the cell towers were gone in late September. This month, he described a large crane clearing the roof of HVAC units and other equipment, while down below, N. Lynn Street was closed down to one lane.

Before cell towers, circled in red, were removed from the roof of the RCA building (courtesy of anonymous)

Those who were hoping for a dramatic implosion may be disappointed.

“We will be dismantling the existing building rather than imploding it so there won’t quite be the same show as with the old Holiday Inn, unfortunately,” Van Wie said.

One December morning in 2020, the 18-story hotel in Rosslyn came down during a controlled demolition that closed local roads and I-66. A new development with a 25-story residential tower an a 36-story hotel tower are being built in its place.

After taking apart the 13-story, 1960s-era RCA building, JAG will build a 27-story, 423-unit apartment complex. The planned 260-foot tall building is composed of a north and a south tower joined at the base and at the rooftop with an “amenity bridge.”

The fourth floor will feature a landscaped terrace and the roof will also have garden elements. There will be two levels of retail and 286 parking spaces spread across garages on the third and fourth floors and underground.

As part of the project, the developer will remove inner loop roads around the Rosslyn Metro station, as well as the skywalk connection between the RCA building and the Rosslyn Gateway building.

The developer will also donate $2.2 million toward improvements within Rosslyn, such as for Gateway Park, and add a mix of buffered, protected and unprotected bike lanes, colorized bus lanes, new intersections, a relocated red-light camera and a new Capital Bikeshare station.

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A bus parked at a new bus bay outside of the Ballston Metro station (staff photo)

(Updated 6:00 p.m.) A new survey shows that a majority of Arlingtonians are satisfied with public transit, but their levels of satisfaction vary by geography.

Mobility Lab, a division of Arlington County Commuter Services, surveyed county residents last year to gauge travel patterns for work and non-work trips as well as concerns about public transit. This “state of the commute” survey was last conducted in 2010 and 2016, and the 2021 results included additional information about the pandemic’s effect on travel in Arlington.

ACCS uses the data to improve how it markets bicycling, walking and transit options to residents, businesses, and commercial and residential property managers, said Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors. Those people-facing efforts include Bike Arlington, Walk Arlington and Arlington Transportation Partners.

“The primary uses of ACCS surveys are to check how well these programs are running,” she told ARLnow.

Of the 4,213 respondents, 71% of residents said they were satisfied with transit in Arlington. But people living along Metro corridors were happier with their options than people living in parts of  South Arlington where the bus is the main transit mode.

People living along the Rosslyn-Ballston and Route 1 corridors were the most satisfied with their options, at 81% and 75%, respectively. And they were more likely to be members of Capital Bikeshare, at 37% and 38%, respectively.

Outside of the Metrorail corridor, the survey found satisfaction levels of 64% in Shirlington, 58% in Columbia Pike and 64% in what was deemed “Other South.” Shirlington residents reported lower rates of availability for various transportation services in general and only 13% said they had a Bikeshare membership.

Pors said a takeaway from the survey for ACCS might be that they need to focus their outreach in Shirlington “to make sure they’re aware of their options… and make sure apartment managers are talking to tenants, and using daily face time to make sure they’re fully informed.”

What the data will not do, Pors said, is set which transit projects to prioritize — for instance, applying more time and staff to improving bus transit along the Pike over adding a second entrance to the Ballston Metro station.

Concerns about safety and long waits

While generally happy with their options, Arlingtonians did have some gripes with the transit system, including how long one must wait for the bus or Metrorail as opposed to driving.

Nearly 40% said they would have to wait too long for transit to arrive while another 35% said the trip would take too long.

As for barriers to bicycling, two-thirds of residents said they don’t feel safe riding a bike in traffic, while another 37% mentioned concerns about the network of bike paths or bike lanes.

The pandemic spurs changes

The survey showed how transit use for non-work trips changed during the pandemic. While remote work contributed to the widely reported steep drop in Metro ridership, between 2015 and 2021, transit use for non-work trips also declined from 87% to 68%.

But one form of transportation increased during the pandemic: walking. About 34% reported walking “somewhat more” for non-work trips and 22% walking “much more.”

In fact, many respondents said the most important transportation needs facing the county post-pandemic are ones that take them outside: walking (58%) and cycling and scooting (42%).

Meanwhile, most respondents said they won’t be changing their commuting mode anytime soon: 81% who drove alone, 82% who used transit, and 71% who biked or walked indicated they would keep doing so post-pandemic.

Still, to chip away at those statistics, Arlington is embarking on extensive marketing efforts to encourage people to swipe their SmarTrip cards and stop driving.

“Through ACCS, [the county is] going to come out with more messaging to get people to feel comfortable on transit again,” Pors said. “There has been that loyal set of riders who’ve stayed through the pandemic. Maybe this is an opportunity for people who shifted to single-occupancy vehicles to try something new, and pitching bus as that option.”

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The Aug. 9 bike-on-bike crash on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn (image via Arlington County traffic camera)

Paul Kiendl doesn’t even remember what happened.

It was early August and he was on his bike, making his way to work via his regular route on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn. He recalls being stopped at a traffic light near the intersection of Langston Blvd and Fort Myer Drive.

Then, memories come in bits and pieces for Kiendl. Lying in a patch of poison ivy, in the back of the ambulance, and then being in the hospital.

It’s been about a month since the bike accident, which left Bluemont resident Kiendl with a severe spinal injury and nerve damage. He’s begun to piece together what exactly happened, believing he clipped another cyclist when it sped ahead of him at the traffic light.

“I think that was just a bicyclist that was trying to run a red light on Fort Myer Drive,” Kiendl tells ARLnow. “And I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.” 

But knowing exactly the cause of the accident has proven to be very difficult. That’s because Arlington County Police Department didn’t prepare a crash report, as it would when a driver of a car hits a bike or pedestrian.

So, there’s no account of what happened, no identifying details, no interviews with witnesses, and no diagram of the crash.

The information about Kiendl’s crash was so sparse that a family member reached out to ARLnow, after seeing our brief post on Twitter, above. We did not have any information beyond what was in the tweet, however, and at the time the injuries involved were reported to be minor so no reporter was sent to the scene.

The lack of a crash report in keeping with police protocol, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage notes. The county police department does not put together crash reports for bike-on-bike or bike-on-pedestrian incidents.

“ACPD follows Virginia law and guidance by the DMV for reporting crashes,” Savage said in a written response to ARLnow. “In Virginia, a crash report involving a bicycle is required only when the bicycle is involved with a motor vehicle in transport.”

Bruce Deming, the “bike lawyer,” thinks this is a very bad policy. He’s been practicing law in Arlington for more than 30 years, exclusively representing injured cyclists and pedestrians.

Deming notes that by not taking a crash report, there’s no information or official documents one could use to pursue any sort of civil compensation or insurance claims for help with medical bills.

“Why should the Arlington County police treat injured cyclists that are involved in a bike-on-bike collision as second-class citizens?” Deming rhetorically asks. “They’re badly injured and they need the information to pursue their own civil claims just as much as a motorist would need it.”

Per Savage, a crash report is taken in accordance with Virginia Code § 46.2-373 which says one must be prepared when a “motor vehicle accident” results in injury, death, or property damage of $1,500 or more.

As defined by Virginia Code § 46.2-100, the term “motor vehicle” does not include bicycles, scooters, e-bikes, mopeds, electric personal mobility devices, or motorized skateboards.

Just because a crash doesn’t involve a car, however doesn’t mean someone can’t be badly injured.

Deming recounts another situation back in 2015 when a client of his was severely hurt colliding with another bike in the Rosslyn/Courthouse neighborhood. Deming says the police showed up, but wouldn’t take any witness contact information or interview the other cyclist.

Bike-on-bike crashes often result in terrible injuries. You’ve got two bodies and quite often [it’s] a head-on type of situation,” says Deming. “It doesn’t take a physics professor to understand the type of force that happens when you have two bodies collide at any kind of speed. It’s a terrible policy.”

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The Wild West of e-bikes and e-scooter parking is being tamed.

Last month, Arlington County began installing 100 special street parking spaces for shared and private micro-mobility devices. And shared transportation providers such as Bird, LINK and new arrival Veo are footing the bill.

Some locals have long complained that scooter parking blocks pedestrian and, at times, vehicle traffic. These “corrals” are intended to address this problem, now that Arlington permits the operation of up to 350 e-bikes and 2,000 e-scooters.

Each hitching post consists of three bike rack half-loops, which provide six parking spaces, surrounded by flex-posts that make the installation more visible to drivers.

“Scooter and bike corrals are designated parking spots in public areas for people to start and end rides safely,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors. “They are important to keep sidewalks clear for people walking, and aim to cutdown on tripping hazards and other risks for people sharing public spaces.”

About 20 existed in the county as of this past December. Planning and scouting for this new batch of corrals began last year, with the county on track to install 100 corrals by the end of this year and another 100 per year for the next three fiscal years, Pors said.

From start to finish, the process to choose a location and install a corral takes four months and costs about $1,000. The county is funding it with the $80 fee per device per year that micro-mobility companies pay to operate in Arlington.

These stations are being placed where cars are already restricted, such as curbs near intersections, to improve visibility.

“This particular example of placement also helps maintain visibility, so everyone traveling can keep a clear line of sight around high-traffic areas regardless of their mode of transportation,” she said.

As a bonus, drivers don’t lose street parking.

Of the corrals in place, most are located along the Rosslyn-Ballston and Route 1 (Crystal City/Pentagon City) corridors, where the bulk of rides have started since e-scooters and bikes arrived in 2018.

“The team is selecting corral locations throughout the county based on data showing where micro-mobility trips are being made,” Pors said.

The county, meanwhile, is taking suggestions for more locations — and maybe a different name, too.

 

Cycling advocate Gillian Burgess said in a tweet that she would like to see additional corrals in Arlington’s more suburban neighborhoods, where sidewalks are narrow and are easily blocked by bikes and e-scooters.

“They should put a corral by every crosswalk, to increase visibility,” she said. “They could start at [N. Nelson Street] at the crosswalk for the Custis Trail, which is also a hub stop.”

https://twitter.com/NeilBakesBikes/status/1567202084591747076

Although the corrals are placed where cars cannot park, one Twitter user observed that some drivers will just stop somewhere else — like a bike lane.

https://twitter.com/zacycles/status/1567267663084244999

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