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How can L Street’s markings be clearer?

The L Street cycle track is open, but the pavement markings continue to be confusing for some people. Car drivers planning to turn left off of L Street often don’t understand how to cross the cycle track into the turn lane, and instead stay in the travel lane only to cross in front of the bike lane at the intersection.

In response, twitter user @whiteknuckled proposes this modified painting scheme:

I am always in favor of more green paint on bike lanes, and this idea is no exception. However, the real key to solving this problem is the arrows on each car lane, especially the “left turn enter” one, which indicates to drivers where to cross over the bike lane. That’s the awkward movement, so that’s what needs to be clarified.

In a twitter response, DDOT notes that bikes turning left are also supposed to use the left turn lane, which is why they used sharrow markings in that area. But DDOT’s twitter rep also promised to pass along this idea to the bike team for their thoughts.

Cycle tracks are still a pretty new thing in the United States, so it’s natural that designers need to experiment a little with different options. DDOT deserves enormous praise for being on the very cutting edge of this field.

Other DOTs might have waited years until all these design questions are answered and there’s an adopted nationwide standard for every conceivable layout, but DC needs better bikeways now, and DDOT is doing its best to deliver. That’s great.

But it also means they may have to adjust the lanes as we learn how cyclists and drivers interact with it in the real world.

Ideally DDOT could apply both the turn markings and green paint section, as whiteknuckled suggests, but at a minimum, “left turn enter” markings for cars could make a big difference.

Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.

November 14th, 2012 | Permalink
Tags: bike, roads/cars, transportation, urbandesign



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