Alexandria To the Editor:
How are Alexandria's bike paths different from New York City's?
The answer is not at all. Any terrorist who seeks a spot near the Nation's Capital to copycat New York City's recent tragedy can come to bike-friendly Alexandria.
Alexandria bills itself as bike-friendly. However, most of its bike trails are protected by nothing more than a barely visible paint stripe. Not a lot of protection from cars and trucks who park in them. Not a lot of protection from cars who see a quick way to pass on the right.
Pedestrians sometimes complain about bicyclists biking on sidewalks. No one notes that this is the City of Alexandria's policy. For example, on the south side of Duke Street from S Gordon Street to Normandy Hill
Drive, there used to be a hiker/biker trail. Now there's only a much less wide sidewalk. A bicyclist can either bike on the sidewalk, or if suicidal, on Duke Street.
The Park Meridian on Eisenhower Avenue was recently completed and occupied. There are no less than three pedestrian paths in front of the new building, but no bike trails. Again, bicyclists can either bike on a sidewalk or compete for a lane of traffic on busy Eisenhower Avenue.
When my bicycle competes for a lane of traffic with a vehicle that can weigh tons, guess who wins?
I've only been struck once by a car in Alexandria while biking on a street marked for bicycle traffic. But I've been nearly struck many times. And cursed for the audacity of using a traffic lane. Forget the sharrow, that cute on-street marking that communicates that bikes may ride in the full lane.
My favorite: the segment of the alternative Mount Vernon trail that runs along E. Abingdon Drive from Slaters Lane to the railroad right of way.
Bicyclists using this segment heading south have two choices: either bike on the sidewalk and compete with pedestrians on that narrow sidewalk or bike the wrong way on a one-way street.
This one is the most dangerous of all Alexandria's bike-friendly routes.