Letter to the Editor: Improvement Is Needed

Letter to the Editor: Improvement Is Needed

To the Editor:

The on-going debate on the re-striping of Sherwood Hall Lane is characterized by a signal lack of data on all sides; its permanent re-striping should hold off until we’ve got some hard data to make an informed decision. I assert that those, on either side of the bike lane divide, who advocate a final solution right now are nervous that the data wouldn’t support their preferred position.

Temporary striping should not cost all that much.

The only “data” presented at the public meeting two or three weeks ago were mentioned by the planners, who cited prevalent speeding (no figures), passing on the right (over 300 tickets issued in a particular month, with no context on trends or prevalence), and a reduction in accidents (80 percent reduction on a street in western Fairfax re-striped from four lanes to two lanes, a left turn lane, and bike lanes.)

What is common behavior on a street with wide pavement, one travel lane in each direction, a left-turn lane, and a bike lane on each side?

Don’t tell me that no one has ever looked at this. How often do drivers violate the bike lane or the turning lane to pass cars in front of them? How dangerous is it to back out of a driveway into a narrow parking lane plus bike lane? We’ve got people on Ft. Hunt Road departing their driveways directly onto the travel lane. What are the accident statistics there? If it’s a problem there should be significantly more accidents per vehicle mile on that road — which must have similar drivers to Sherwood Hall given that they are exactly the same people in significant degree. Just how dangerous is it to bicyclists and pedestrians on a two-lane plus left-turn lane street with 35 mph speed limit? Somebody must have those stats. Just how inconvenient is it to have no place for visitors or service people to park on the street?

There are a number of people living on Ft. Hunt Road in this exact situation. Doesn’t anyone have even anecdotal evidence of their problems?

What we do know is that virtually everyone dislikes Sherwood Hall Lane’s traffic as it is. The fact that one cannot imagine any configuration improving it — short of ripping up the extra pavement to take it down to two narrow lanes and giving all the property owners their front yards back—is no rationale for opposing any efforts to improve things. A little experimentation is in order, and that’s one of the things that cities ought to do best. And we do live in a city, people.

Larry D. Huffman