To the Editor:
Thank you to Alexandria City Transportation and Environmental Services (TE&S) Director Richard Baier and his staff for their prescient decision to implement bike lanes on King Street. Having participated in many of the tense public meetings where both the pro and con bike lane camps provided public comment, Mr. Baier and his staff listened carefully and responded in a fair and balanced manner that I feel accommodates the majority of needs on each side of the debate. More importantly, this decision continues to support a future vision in our city where transportation is not just about cars but also pedestrians and bikers like myself who want to safely ride and walk on and near this heavily used city street.
In response to the TE&S decision I have observed many anti – bike lane yard signs appearing at homes along King street with statements like: “Bikes Unsafe on King St” and “No Bike Lanes.” One message is written in equation format: “BIKE LANES = UNSAFE.” These signs make false claims that as a daily rider on this street require a first-hand biker’s response.
As a biker that uses this road daily I do agree with the anti-bike crowd on one point — King Street as it’s configured today, is dangerous for cyclists. In my 15 years of riding this road I’ve mixed with cars that honk, yell and often race past me for no reason but to meet me at the red light at the bottom of the hill. Without benefit of steel or glass to surround and protect me, two seconds of driver’s carelessness could put me in the hospital. Thankfully, in the spring when the city paints the bike lanes, I will no longer have to mix with cars or careless drivers; bicyclists like me will have a pocket of safety when riding the bike lane on King St. So the truth is: ‘BIKE LANES = SAFER ROAD”.
Having no private property on King Street to respond to these yard signs, here are my virtual yard sign responses:
BIKES = < CO2
BIKES = < CONGESTION
BIKES = < CAR TRAFFIC
BIKES > HEALTH
BIKES = THE FUTURE!
BIKES = HAPPINESS
Rudolf Rojas, Alexandria