I write in response to the letter to the editor titled “Revisit the Bike Lanes” in the July 2, Alexandria Gazette Packet.
The King Street Traffic Calming Project was aimed at making this portion of King Street safer for all users. The writer unfortunately focuses narrowly on the number of cyclists using the bike lines during a two-hour period on one particular day. (I used the bike lanes on that day to bike to work, but, as I always do, I left earlier in the morning than the time period during which the writer observed the lanes.)
As someone who regularly walks and bikes on the portion of King Street at issue, the improvements, including the bike lanes, have been a huge success. Although the project included bike lanes, it was broadly aimed at making the street safer for pedestrians as well. When I walk to and from the King Street Metro Station, I no longer have to walk as close to cars coming down the hill, and, on rainy days, I am no longer splashed with water by passing cars. And I feel much safer on my bike with the bike lanes separating me from the traffic.
By coincidence, on the day I read the letter, I was listening to the radio and heard an interview with Colorado University Civil Engineering Professor Wesley Marshall about bicycling. Marshall noted that studies show the safest cities in the United States and the world are those that have a lot of bicyclists. Safety was the focus of the King Street Traffic Calming Project.
Alexandria is right to encourage walking and bicycling. In addition to safety, it is great for your health. People who engage in regular aerobic exercise, such as cycling, have health characteristics of those much younger in age.
So I say “Bravo” to the Alexandria City Council for making our streets safer for all users and encouraging us to get moving.