104 Comment

  • So where should moving vans go? The middle of the street? It doesn’t look like they have many options on 15th.

    • Alleys. Moving vans can be parked in alleys if there no viable parking spots.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Not without a permit. Plus, not all buildings/houses have access to an alley.

        • Yeah, we had our moving van in the alley because there was nowhere to park it on the street, and the cops showed up real quick.

        • There are alleys on every west-side block along the 15th Street cycletrack from Rhode Island to U Street, and judging by the picture, it was just before R Street. I feel that temporarily parking in an alley without a permit is more forgiving then blocking the 15th Street cycletrack for our bike riding neighbors.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            I disagree with that actually. Alleys are extremely narrow and usually you cannot pass a vehicle parked in an alley without backing up, turning around and driving all the way around. Bikes can easily get around this van.

        • Or get a permit! That’s what people do to get those no parking signs for moving trucks.

      • Alley’s aren’t for parking. They are public ROW just like any street and some are even used for fire access.

      • And I can’t get out of my garage all day? No.

    • They should be parked in the parking spaces, like all other automobiles on 15th. Moreover, “middle of the bike lane” is the functional equivalent of “middle of the street”

    • There is NO PARKING in the bike lane. No exception. You don’t get to violate the law and inconvenience –and endanger–others because its easier for you. It sucks that other cars didnt respect his reserved spots (it looks like he did get a U-Haul in), but you can’t just park in the middle of the bike lane because you’re inconvenienced. This guy might as well have just parked on the sidewalk – that’s just as legal as this.

    • Anywhere but the bike lane. Not much use in having a bike lane blocked by vehicles. Cyclists are safer without lanes if they are blocked randomly.

  • clevelanddave

    Which part is unfair? The guy who reserved the space for moving and then found his space taken by other cars? Or the part where someone needs to move heavy stuff over a curb instead of taking it right into the moving van? Or is the unfair part the ineptly created bike lanes? Or is it just unfair to block the bike lanes so bikes need to go around the moving van that is unfair? It seems there is a lot of potential unfairness in that picture…

    • Not going to argue with every single point, but you can call the cops if you put up reserved space signs and someone blocks it. I called the cops on someone who did the same and they were pretty prompt in coming to ticket him.

      • That won’t work on Sunday. There is no enforcement/towing regarding no parking signs on Sundays. Given that, not a lot of options for the mover.

      • 1. What good does a ticket do? You need the cars towed, not ticketed.
        2. I have purchased those signs twice now and never once have they been of any use to me. Both times, cars were parked in both locations and my movers had everything loaded (with the truck parked illegally because I was paying them by the hour and was not trying to wait for the cops to come) and were gone before anyone showed up to ticket or tow.

        Yes, calling 311 to complain is the right answer, but it also rarely works in practice. This system is broken and needs to be fixed.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Sure, they will ticket them, but on a Sunday, they won’t tow, so it doesn’t solve the problem of no space for a moving truck. That said, given that one of the vehicles parked in the blocked off section is a U-Haul, I wonder if it also belonged to whoever was moving, making this worse. If not, it is easier for a bike to get around that van than it would be for a car to get around a truck parked in the middle of the road. I really hate how people do not obey no parking signs.

        • I really, REALLY wish we allowed private tows for this sort of situation. Has happened to me as well a few years back.

        • This is not a correct statement: “If not, it is easier for a bike to get around that van than it would be for a car to get around a truck parked in the middle of the road. I really hate how people do not obey no parking signs.”
          This is a one way street and cars are familiar with passing double-parked cars. It’s annoying, but not difficult.
          The bike lane, on the other hand, is a two-way bike lane. So the bikes would be passing the van blind and potentially running into on-coming bikes.

      • I’ve done this 3-4 times. Every single time people park in the spots anyway, the moving truck has to be parked illegally and/or far away and I’m out $200 bucks. It’s absurd and unfair.
        People need to move – sometimes it’s going to inconvenience other people. It was a Sunday afternoon, not rush hour on Monday morning.

    • Or perhaps it’s unfair that DC has established an nearly impossible system of hoops that residents must jump through to reserve a street space for moving vehicles. The probability that said reservations will be enforced by ticketing and towing is approximately 0. The only silver lining to any of this is that Sunday was gorgeous, traffic is usually light, and therefore bikers could hopefully use the car lanes.

  • Every car in that photo should be towed. The moving van, for parking in the bike lane, and all the cars in the parking lane, for failing to obey posted no-parking signs.

    • Carlosthedwarf wins this argument 100%

    • It was a sunday, start towing the illegally parked church cars then go after people who are just trying to move.

      • AMEN!!!! See what I did there? But for real why do church goers get to park anywhere they want including on crosswalks? Church happens say 52 days a year assuming it’s a Sunday celebrating church and the crowd is clearly too large to bother parking legally. The wizards play 41 home games a year and their crowd does park legally and pay for it. So does that mean as a Wizards fan I should be able to park any way I want citing the fact that there’s not enough parking for my large group of gatherers?

  • I am a frequent and frustrated biker. Of everything I deal with as a cyclist in this city, a moving van parked in the bike lane is the last thing I would describe as ‘unfair’. Moving is an unpleasant beast and I will give this person the benefit of the doubt.

    The cabs that idle in the bike lanes and pull out without any kind of warning, on the other hand… just the foam on the top of my brewing bike-rage…

    • samanda_bynes

      yeah, dis the truth. i bike everywhere and i wouldn’t even think twice about this, I’d bike a little into the street and forget that a van was even parked there.

    • The problem with cars and vans parked in the bike lane is that moving out of the bike lane “for a hot second” is generally a dangerous move. Sure I do it, and I’m not going to get particularly angry and the poor folks moving, but it does create a dangerous situation and perpetuates the idea that blocking the bike lane is acceptable. When I’m biking I often have bike lane blockers tell me “I’m just waiting for someone”, “I’m dropping someone off”, “I’m on the phone”, as if doing those things was a good enough reason to force a biker into the regular lane. We need drivers to better understand the danger they put us in when they do that. And, we need police to enforce the rules against self-centered twits, whether then are parking in “no parking” spaces reserved for movers or “just waiting for someone” in the bike lane.

      If there are too many cars in the bike lane, I’m going to ride in the car lane, and you better not start honking at me and telling me to “get in the bike lane”.

      • +100

        Thank you

      • Here, a biker could move onto the sidewalk for half a block. It’s perfectly legal north of Massachusetts.

      • As a non-cyclist, I think MT makes a reasonable distinction. The problem I have with DCBikingMama’s argument (and Happy Cyclist’s further down) though, is that the person blocking the lane is creating a an inconvenience – and perhaps a pretty major and massively unfair one – but it is the cyclists reaction that determines if it is dangerous or not. When faced with a stationary obstacle in the bike lane (as distinct from being doored or someone walking in the way unexpectedly), the cyclist always has the option to stop and get off their bike to avoid any hazard they perceive. It’s not fair to put them in that position but for extraordinary situations, but let’s be clear that the danger is not inherent.

        • Many of the responses here have suggested swerving in to traffic, which is dangerous.

          Yes, one can dismount, and walk the bike on the sidewalk, say. The same way a pedestrian can safely walk around a vehicle parked on the sidewalk. In both cases it is illegal, because the inconvenience is significant, and violates the rights of the other mode. Maybe the inconvenience of moving justifies that. But I this is not a trivial thing.

        • Again, I’m not really blaming the moving person in this case, but the day care drop offs, donated clothing drop offs (Matha’s Table, I’m looking at you), “waiting for someone” (Trader Joes!), clueless suburbanites in the city for an evening (Studio Theater), Valet parking etc. All of this means I need to move out of the bike lane, which is dangerous. And them move back into the bike lane, which can also be dangerous b/c parked cars that start moving or opening doors might not anticipate your moving.

          Saying the cyclist should just dismount and walk the bike, is like saying a driver who encounters a blocked lane should turn off their engine and step out of their car. We are biking to somewhere, to drop our kids off from school, pick up our kids, get to work, finish grocery shopping before baseball practice. It is not fair to say we need to be significantly inconvenienced so some asshat can “wait for someone” who is shopping at TJs. Park the f-ing car properly, or block the lane of car traffic if you think you are so special.

          I drive a car, I’m not trying to be an ass, but just think about what you are doing and whether you would do it in a lane of motorized traffic, if not, it is probably not ok in a bike lane.

      • The problem here is that it is a two-way bike lane with a barrier of parked cars. It is not easy to move into the car lane, and the south-bound bikes would have to salmon against oncoming traffic.

  • alissaaa

    There was also a car parked in the bike lane on 15th yesterday at Church Street around noon–the car was clearly associated with the church, and was just parked there while churchgoers were all talking outside.

    This doesn’t happen often on 15th Street (unlike L Street and some of the other bike lanes) but when it does happen on 15th there is nowhere for someone on a bike to go since you are blocked in by the cars on the right.

  • everyday cyclist here and as much as this also bugs me, people gotta relax because we have it real good here as far as bike infrastructure relative to other cities/countries.

    • not better than Amsterdam! (I’ve never actually been, but someone has to bring it up every time bike lanes are discussed)

      • much of western europe is an exception, but you get my point.

        • Well yeah, Western europe. And Japan. And Portland, and Minneapolis. And even NYC and Chicago and Boston are catching up. But well DC is better than Baltimore. And Fairfax. And Detroit. And Beijing. So yeah.

          • Detroit has some bike infrastructure and often very low vehicle traffic, so biking there is often pleasant.

  • I cycle regularly, and this wouldn’t bother me. Moving is not easy, and I wouldn’t expect someone to carry their stuff down the block just because some a-hole ignored the no-parking signs. I would just go around and not give it a second thought.

  • If a moving van is parked in an alley for several hours that prevents anyone from using the alley. That seems significantly more unfair than having to bike around a van and have everyone still be able to use the rest of the bike lane.

  • Wow, moving in a city is hard…give them a break!

    Weight the options…you cycle your bike 4 feet to either side and go on your merry way or force the poor movers to carry heavy stuff further in what was a very sunny day.

    I think someone with common courtesy (the tag) might offer to help with the move-out/in or just introduce themselves like a nice neighbor rather than publicly shame.

    • i’m guessing you’re not a biker? It’s not a matter of “cycle your bike 4 feet to either side”. Look at the picture to get a bit of context and you see it’s not that easy.

      You either hop a sidewalk, which not everyone can do (I can’t do it and I frequently bike to work). Or you go into that striped section and run the risk of colliding with another bicyclist who is doing the same thing from the other side. And past the striped section are parked cars, which you can’t bike through.

      So I think someone with common courtesy might stop scolding people for something they clearly didn’t take any time to actually understand.

  • The nature of city living being what it is, people routinely encroach and inconvenience others out of necessity, desperation, or obliviousness. I would wager that most people – including those that tut tut at the scene in the picture – have their own private histories as scofflaws, recognized or not, and do not in actuality have any higher moral ground to stand on. Bike lanes are not specially exempted from these types of frustrations. Given the circumstance this mover appeared to be facing, I would just go around without fuss or anger and consider my patience a deposit in the karma bank for the next time I end up in someone else’s way.

    • The same people who are saying there’s nothing wrong with this, are the same people who are going to complain that we don’t enforce the traffic rules against bikers vigilantly enough. And that’s some hypocritical-ass shit right there.

      • The hypocrisy works both ways. But I think one could make an argument that moving violations are a different animal from parking in stupid/illegal places. There’s always going to be a safe way to navigate around a stationary object, even if it creates a big inconvenience, while moving violations can cause dangerous split-second types of situations.

        • Swerving out into general lanes from a protected cycle track can be quite dangerous. And of course lots of the violations by cyclists that people are complain about are not dangerous.

          • I’m not fully versed in what violations people complain about regarding cyclists, which is why I acknowledge the hypocrisy charge may stick. But I do stress that if a cyclist comes up on a vehicle that is already parked in the cycle track, swerving dangerously out into traffic is not necessary. There should be ample time to react and there are going to be ways to carefully navigate that situation without putting anyone in danger. That may involve stopping or slowing down considerably, which is why I stressed that it could be a big inconvenience.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        I see cars parked in lanes with flashers on every day and it is annoying that they are blocking the lane and backing up traffic, but I don’t snap pictures and send it to blogs. I am willing to be drivers are inconvenienced by poor parking significantly more than bikers and pedestrians combined. I say that, and I am a biker, pedestrian, and a driver.

  • Forget unfair, it’s illegal. You don’t get to park anywhere you want because you’re inconvenienced. How many cyclists did this guy inconvenience? He should have been towed.

    • So, I’m wondering – what is the right thing for the movers to do? You reserve the spot, post your signs, and come moving day, there are cars parked in your reserved spot, and no other spots within half a block, at minimum. (I’m assuming that last bit, but I think it’s pretty safe on a Sunday on 15th street.) What do you do? Park a block away and haul the stuff? Park in a car lane? Send the movers home?

      • Do what MPD instructs you to do when you pick up the signs: call them to have the cars towed.

        • This doesn’t work on a Sunday, as stated several times here. It rarely works even when not on a Sunday.

          I would imagine this person would probably have not blocked the bike lane had ti been another day of the week, but as it was a Sunday, most of the lots are full and the city is generally full of bridge and tunnel folks coming to try to wait in line at Ted’s Bulletin for brunch. You’ll notice the car closest to the camera there has Maryland plates. Figures.

        • So put your hazards on and park your moving van in the car lane. There’s two of them, and the situation would be much less dangerous for the drivers on 15th St.

        • JCM — From the photo, it looks like this was 15th Street up by Meridian Hill Park. If it was, parking the moving van in a car lane wouldn’t have been an option, because 15th Street is one way with only one car lane between about V/Florida and where it feeds into 16th Street.

        • textdoc, I may be wrong, but I’m fairly sure that picture is just north of U St, based on the location of the chruch (St. Augustine’s). If I’m right, then 15th st is actually three lanes wide there.

          The protected bike lane ends at V, so the picture can’t be north of there. I don’t think there’s anywhere that 15th is only one lane wide and the protected bike lane also exists.

        • A little bit of street-level-google-mapping confirms that jcm is correct.

      • Slash their tires.

      • Parking on the sidewalk or in the middle of the street is no different than this. As carlosthedwarf has already said, have them towed.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          All well and good except the city won’t tow on a Sunday, which is when many people move. Plus people hire movers on an hourly basis, so by the time you waste getting a cop and a city tower (on days they tow) you are a few hundred in the hole (not to mention the $75 you paid for the signs (at both locations if you move within the city)). Movers often do multiple moves in a day, so they cannot stand around waiting for a tow. Hence blocking traffic (and apparently bike lanes).

        • For whatever it’s worth, I tried to do this once, and my movers told me not to bother. They said that by the time the tow truck came (if ever), I would have really run up my hourly rate for the move. I think we should turn our attention back to blaming the a-holes who didn’t read the parking permits, not the movers who are trying to do their jobs.

        • By the looks of that van, I don’t think professional movers are involved here.

        • Well it is different in that it only inconveniences bikers, who tend to have greater flexibility when maneuvering through the city than say a vehicle, which cannot use sidewalks, or a pedestrian, who is unlikely to walk in the street. Here at least, there’s one small segment being burdened that isn’t even being burdened since they can legally use the regular lanes of traffic.

          So yeah, it is different. Still illegal, but let’s make a list of all of the illegal parking that happens on a Sunday and deal with some other frequent offenders first.

          • I don’t understand this statement. While it’s annoying, cars are perfectly capable of going around double parked cars on a multi-lane road like this.

      • I’d say parking in a car lane would be preferable, while still illegal. There are multiple car lanes, and they do not raise the issue of the two-way bike lane with southbound bicyclists. Parking in the two-way bike lanes is significantly more dangerous than in the “regular” bike lanes where the bike can easily move into one of the car lanes.

    • I’d rather focus on how many were endangered. inconvenience is a minor gripe. What really matters in the cycilng chronicles is whether a situation puts people in danger. Blocking a dedicated bike lane with a vehicle potentially puts people in danger who have been asked by way of bike lane infrastructure to use the lanes rather than the main roadway.

  • I can one up this. A few weeks ago someone was moving at dusk and had a truck with a side door open and the ramp going across the bike lane abou a foot and a half in the air, such that the ramp was almost invisible to bikers. I’m honestly surprised nobody died. These people should be charged with a misdemeanor.

  • if you are going north, you can’t ride your bicycle in the lanes of oncoming traffic. It is both illegal and dangerous.

    • I think you mean South, which is against traffic. And you are right. So you can use the sidewalk, which is legal north of Massachusetts.

  • Easy karmic fix – Every biker who went by should have shut the van’s back door. Trade one minor annoyance for another.

  • As a cyclist, I take this kind of thing in stride. For the convenience of living in the city, there are some INconveniences that don’t exist in rural and suburban areas. Blocked travel lanes are one of those inconveniences. Anyway, there’s actually plenty of room here to fit between the lane-blocker and the parked cars (not true in most other places where you’d have to go into car traffic).
    Let’s not pretend it’s equivalent to blocking a car lane, though. If you’re in a car and the lane is blocked, you pull into another car lane and go around. If someone hits you, given city driving speeds your car gets dented. A cyclist whose lane is blocked has to pull into the car lane. Depending on the street, this can be really dangerous – and if someone hits you, you could be seriously injured or even killed. So I DO get upset when people block the bike lane because they’re dropping off passengers, or running inside of a store or any other reason that boils down to them averting a minor inconvenience (as opposed to the major inconvenience of moving lots of heavy boxes across the bike lane, like the person pictured was doing).

  • My primary mode of transportation completely shapes my opinion on this! Loud noises!

  • Bikers can use the sidewalk like some do even if there is a bike lane on the same street. Why do I as a pedestrian have to tolerate that?

    • A. They cannot do so downtown, where sidewalk riding is illegal
      B Elsewhere you have to tolerate that because it is the law. You can of course lobby to change the law. When you do so, be aware that there are different cyclists with different levels of ability (including children), that many bikes lanes are one way, that many sidewalks have few pedestrians much of the time.
      C When biking on a sidewalk, bikes should go slowly and respect pedestrians.

      • And yet, I see cyclists every day on the sidewalks throughout the area where it’s banned. Including a Secret Service officer on a bike headed down an I Street sidewalk (at 16th).

    • If it’s within the downtown area as defined by DC law (where the vast majority of bike lanes are), you don’t. It’s illegal and they can be ticketed.
      Really though – I see pedestrians in bike lanes just as often. Or jaywalkers who step out too close to oncoming cars. Or people speeding. Or cyclists shoaling or salmoning. There is not – and never will be – enough enforcement $ to keep some people from being jerks. That’s just life.

  • There is plenty of room for a bike to skirt the truck. Is this so, so unhappy a scene then?
    That bike lane was not well designed to begin with (RANT). Two lanes on a one way street. When I debouche from the alley between P and Church onto 15th, I pray no car crashes into my passenger side. And I curse that Fenty, who put it there and then took off on his bike.

  • So can we post this picture every time an obnoxious biker jets in and out of vehicle traffic. If so that would easily break popville in one day…

  • Did anyone ever see a car being ticketed for stopping, parking, or driving on a bike line? There is no legal enforcement so they don’t exist. Like it or not. They were built to win an election, that’s it.

  • justinbc

    As someone who bikes regularly this is so far down on my list of grievances, especially on a Sunday when traffic is significantly lighter. You should be able to see this from blocks away and be able to adjust accordingly.

  • This is 15th and U, so I’m pretty sure there is parking for about 25 cars in the GIGANTIC court behind the building. Sure maybe the “parker” doesn’t have access, sure maybe there is no door back there, but it really seems like they chose to inconvenience others rather than themselves.
    In other news, I was Northbound Sunday and encountered this. I’m a defensive biker so I slowed and went around. So appologies to the girl who was in the Southbound lane who I almost crashed. I was the guy on the orange bike with a 30lb back pack of groceries. Seems we should have dismounted and walked around.

    • justinbc

      “it really seems like they chose to inconvenience others rather than themselves”
      As almost anyone who’s ever had to move in this city has done / would do / will do at some point in time.

      • Yea, just looked at the aerial view. They probably have no alley access.

        Justinbc – So what are you suggesting? Are you disagreeing that they didn’t choose to incenvenience someone else rather than inconvenience themselves?

  • I think that all the cyclists complaining about this should be required to do their next move by bike only.

    • I ride a bicycle and yet I’ve somehow managed to move twice in this city without inconveniencing other people like this. You’re one person, your needs do not override however many people need to use the road.

  • I used an alley while moving into Mount Pleasant, and subsequently had to move the van about ten times to accommodate the people who were parked in the alley trying to get out. I was lucky that no one called the cops on me. So no, it is not really a viable option, especially if you’re paying movers by the hour. I agree that this sucks for the bikers, but tolerating minor inconveniences to help everyone get what they need is par for the course for living in a city. Most city buildings don’t have lots of convenient off-street parking to accommodate huge moving trucks. And most movers are just trying to do the best they can to get their stuff unloaded and get out of the way. Having been there, I’m not inclined to cast too many stones.

    • Hypocritical much?

      “but tolerating minor inconveniences to help everyone get what they need is par for the course for living in a city.”

      That can be applied to not parking in the bike lane and finding a further parking space for the truck.

  • What y’all need to understand is that “Parking Enforcement” is a euphemism in a city like DC. We can whine about how the city is responsible for promptly ticketing and towing parking violators, but the traffic cops have limited resources to work with. Not one of you honestly wants to live in a municipality where traffic enforcement is perfectly efficient – the budget has to come from somewhere, and everybody’s got better things to do than spend time in court disputing parking violations.
    You can complain that the mover had to pay $$ to get the permit/signs that the city evidently won’t enforce in the first place, and I sympathize with you. But the actual (unstated) purpose of the signs is so that if/when the officials eventually come across your illegally-parked moving truck, they know to go ticket the OTHER jerks who parked in your 80 feet (or whatever, but 95% of you vastly over-estimate the amount of space you need) of reserved curb space. The permits are an investment in covering your ass, not a guarantee that your moving experience will be free from inconvenience.

  • This is the most ridiculous gripe I’ve ever read. Ever. MAKE ADJUSTMENTS ON YOUR BIKE COMMUTE. Adapt. For one day. Out of your WHOLE life

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