Alexandria When City Council deliberates the fate of the King Street Traffic Calming and Bike Lane plan on March 15 they have many examples of similar successful redesigns to draw upon. The city’s plan is neither cutting edge nor untested theories. Similar traffic calming and safety measures have been successfully implemented in many U.S. jurisdictions, including Alexandria, with the recent successful redesign of Slaters Lane.
Slaters Lane used to have some of the same challenges that King Street has today between Janneys Lane and Russell Road: a high percentage of cars traveling well over the speed limit, pedestrians on sections of narrow sidewalks immediately adjacent to fast moving motorists with no buffer zone, and unsafe conditions for bicyclists. But today Slaters Lane is a civilized and safe corridor. How were these improvements achieved?
When Slaters Lane was recently resurfaced, one of the two underutilized eastbound travel lanes was redesigned to provide a bike lane in each direction. Today bicyclists travel safely in their own space without conflicts with pedestrians or cars, pedestrians have a buffer between themselves and motorists, and motor vehicle traffic has been calmed. A win, win, win situation. I know this to be true because I witness it every day on my bicycle commute between D.C. and my home in Old Town, using the direct and safe connectivity now provided by Slaters Lane.
The city’s Traffic Calming and Bike Lane project will provide a similar win, win, win solution for this section of King Street. Underutilized parking space would be redesigned so that pedestrians will have a buffer from motor vehicles, cyclists will have a direct and safe route, traffic will be calmed, and all modes will benefit from the predictability that comes with allocating each mode its separate space. I look forward to a safer, calmer King Street with implementation of the city’s plan.
Scott Binde, Alexandria