“These New Parking Spots are Extra Roomy…”

by Prince Of Petworth November 29, 2010 at 11:30 am 68 Comments

“Dear PoP,

Walking home from work on Wed. afternoon, saw this at the 15th ST NW bike lane just north of Mass. and immediately remembered why I make fun of Va/Md drivers.”

I guess since these bike lanes are relatively new I can forgive the driver…if they are very old. Otherwise this is a pretty frustrating sight. Have others seen folks parking in the bike lanes?

  • ehg

    I have seen police parked in those lanes! Also, taxis……and people going to the Episcopal church on 15th and Church St. I always say something to the offenders but it doesn’t ever seem to go over well.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think that the no parking on Tuesdays (or whenever) sign helps. To the uninitiated, I can see how this would imply that you can park at other times.

  • GDopplerXT

    “and immediately remembered why I make fun of Va/Md drivers”

    Uh, because DC drivers never pull crap like this? I don’t get it…what am I missing here?

    • Cap Hill

      Seriously, some of the people on this blog need to get over themselves. Just because we live in DC does not mean we’re inherently better than people who live in VA or MD.

      • EPF

        Or, we might be a bit more sensitive to “other modes” than the VA MD bunch.

      • RefugeefromVA

        No, but perhaps choosing to live in a city rather than Reston or Fairfax County does say something about one’s values.

        • Anonymous

          Such as wanting one’s kids to go to good schools?

          Or wanting a little more removed from crime?

          Or wanting to be close to work (despite contrary belief not everyone can find jobs in the city itself)?

          Or not wanting to spend their entire paycheck on rent, so that one day maybe they can buy a place in DC?

        • C

          I live in VA out of a sense of duty to be near my elderly and recently widowed mother-in-law. Y’all might imagine I’m out here because I have an affinity for McMansions, or big box retailers, or sitting in gridlock half the day, or whatever else suburban residents are supposed to value… but that couldn’t be further from the truth!!

        • propeller

          does it? i’ve never found that to be true.

        • Clarissa

          Or perhaps not, RefugeefromVA. What your comment says is that you’re a bit smug, and prone to passing judgment on strangers based on nothing concrete.

  • Jack5

    Good ole’ DC… Implementing random stuff and not informing the public. I bet they gave that guy a ticket also. I think they should focus on expanding the sidewalks to include bike lanes instead of cutting down on space on DC roads for bike lanes. This also does nothing to address the point that bicyclists will still have problems at intersections as long as they don’t obey traffic signals and signs. You can’t make several different rules for bike lanes, and this is all going to prove to be hell when snow comes into play. Prepared to have your car plowed this winter if you park there. We’re not Holland nor China for crying out loud.

    • K

      1. If you park somewhere you shouldn’t you get a parking ticket. It’s nothing new.
      2. Everyone knows that bike lanes are for bikes and not for parking. It’s not new.
      3. If we expand sidewalks to include bike lanes wont that just increase the likely hood of a pedestrian/ bike collision?
      4. How would expanding sidewalks not reduce the size of the car lanes?
      5. Many studies have shown that increasing bike lanes and making streets safer/ more accessible to bikes and pedestrians makes roads better for everyone (cars, bikes, pedestrians).

      I’m not saying we don’t need more education. Because we do. Bike/ car interaction is a fact of life and a basic driving skill. If both cyclists and drivers acted smarter we would all benefit.

      • Anon

        Bicycle extremists really piss me off. The bike lanes being curbside, with the parking between the bike lane and traffic is really confusing to people that dont read GGW.

        If my grandma drives into the city, she is going to think thats a legal parking spot.

        Also, whats with the hate for MD/VA drivers? What I find especially hilarious is when someone from Columbus, OH moves here and within 3 years thinks that somehow the MD/Va drivers are the foreigners.

        • Cap Hill

          Ha! I agree completely. At the risk of might blowing a few people’s minds, I think it’s worth mentioning that a lot of us have moved back and forth between DC and the suburbs before finally settling on one or the other.

        • K

          Bicycle extremists? Glen Beck much?

          • Anonymous

            Point proven. :)

  • anon.

    Not exactly on topic, but does anyone know if the street cleaning has been suspended yet for winter?.

    • Yes, it was suspended the Friday before Halloween.

      • costumemonkey

        This is totally off topic so apologies, but if there is no street cleaning in the winter, can I disregard signs? I got up early to move my car to the other side of the street this morning to avoid a street sweeping ticket.

        • My Reply

          You don’t have to move your car for street sweeping while it is suspended. I did it all last winter before I realized.

          • jcm

            This is only sometimes true, I think. If it’s a street with rush hour restrictions you still have to switch sides.

          • victoria

            Don’t switch sides for street sweeping in winter when it is suspended – especially if you’re on a rush-hour street. Most of the time they don’t ticket, but they absolutely can and will now and then.

            I’ve begged & pleaded with DC gov. through all possible channels for years that they simply change/amend the parking signs to include the dates. “Street cleaning -no parking Wed. March 1 – Oct. 31.” But no one has any sense.

            So don’t have a fire or heart attack on Wed. in winter because your firetruck or ambulance will be stuck for 5 min. trying to get down Irving Street.

  • Andy(2)

    What they need at the intersections are the big colored stripes that start ten feet before the intersection and extend ten feet after – it reminds cars that there are bikes. Seattle has it – http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2010/09/28/when-you-wake-up-wednesday-morning-capitol-hill-will-have-the-citys-first-bike-box
    I suggest that DC incorporate this into its bicycle path masterplan

    • The AMT

      I’m all for painting all (or a lot) of the bike lanes in the city another color. I know in some cities, they use green for bike lanes and brown for bus/taxi only lanes. I think the color cue can be a good reminder that these spaces are different than “normal” road space.

  • John

    I get frustrated when I am enjoying a bike lane and come upon a car using it as parking/loading zone.

    Perhaps DC needs some of these clowns?

    • DCster

      Me too. I don’t see long-term parked cars as much as temporarily double-parked cars, or taxis, and sometimes even trucks, regardless of DC/VA/MD tags. It’s not easy swerving into the traffic lane safely to get around them!

  • There is a forum for this kind of thing. http://dc.mybikelane.com/ It’s maddening because cyclists reduce the volume of traffic on the roads, and these auto scofflaws choose to inhibit those who are helping them instead of those who make driving worse! It’s also preposterous that people of this intelligence level are permitted to guide 4000 pound missiles through residential neighborhoods!

  • Anon
  • Jim

    After much consideration, I’ve recently started going with the big, phlegmy loogy right in the middle of the bike lane-blocking vehicle’s front windshield as I bike past. The colder weather means I have ample supply, and I’m pretty sure windshield wipers will smear cold phlegm like nothing else. Seems like an appropriate scale response?

    Also, yes, I fully realize that this is going to get me killed when I eventually hit the wrong car with occupant still inside.

  • It’s The Law

    Maybe drivers will start obeying the laws and respecting the bike lanes when bikers actually start obeying the laws themselves.

    • Anon


    • Sleepy

      Ok. Sit at some intersection around the city, and then answer these questions:
      How many cars have run a red light? Blocke dthe intersection? Turned left when there’s a large No Left Turn sign? Sped?
      Cars are two tons of steel going 35 miles an hour. That’s over 100,00 punds of force on impact. About 40,000 people a year are killed by drivers. So, point being, cars kill people. Bikes don’t. So spare me your anti-bike bullshit and your excuses for drivers not obeying the law.

      • It’s The Law

        I wonder how many of the bikers were killed because the biker ran a red light or made a sudden turn and ended up in front of a car — you know, the two tons of steel — that didn’t have time to avoid him…

        • It IS the law

          The arrogance of people who drive cars is nothing short of astounding.

          Your attitude that you don’t have to do anything as long as your perception of others makes you feel justified is very self-centered and extremely close-minded.

          How about we hold everyone accountable to the law, including you–one of the only people with the gall to suggest that they’re justified in breaking the law as long as the world does not conform to their rosy-colored windshield-perspective fantasyland.

          We know your type. Get your hatred in check, buddy. We’re all trying hard to prevent monsters like you from harassing us all.

          • davidj

            I normally round the northeast corner of Stanton Square on a bike, waiting with the car traffic for the green light.
            Late one evening I was there in a car, stopped for the red. The light turned green and I shifted my foot to the gas pedal. As I started to press it there was the merest of flickers on the edge of my visual field, and pure reflex — it happened far too quickly for any conscious thought — flipped my foot back onto the brake. Then a young biker, lightless, in dark clothing, popped out of the Square at great speed, passing right where and when I would have been in an accelerating automobile if my peripheral vision or reflexes had been a little poorer, or if the streetlights had been a little more obscured by shrubbery, or if I had happened to be glancing slightly to the right instead of straight ahead.
            I guess the biker was lucky my astounding arrogance as a car driver made up for his astounding stupidity as a bike rider.

          • Anon

            Is there a law that says reckless nighttime bikers have to be dressed entirely in black? ;)

        • brad

          It’s actually pretty hard to find good studies on bike-car accidents, but here’s an excerpt I just came across:

          “The most common type of crash in this study involved a motorist entering an intersection and either failing to stop properly or proceeding before it was safe to do so. The second most common crash type involved a motorist overtaking unsafely. The third involved a motorist opening a door onto an oncoming cyclist…. several [other] studies … concluded that cyclists were strictly culpable for less than 10 per cent of bike-car accidents.”

          I’ve dug around for stuff like this before, and always find the same sort of results. I’ve never seen any empirical data that bikes are a menace to cars, or that their disobedience of traffic laws contributes significantly to collision rates.

          • Park View Drew


            I don’t doubt that in a car-bike collision, the car is usually at fault, but I don’t think that statistic captures the issue.

            The issue has more to do with drivers and pedestrians that have to alter their (legal) behavior to accommodate cyclists engaged in illegal behavior.

            A typical case is that I can’t make a right turn on red because there is a cyclist in front of me doing figure 8’s in the crosswalk waiting for a chance to dart across the street.

            Does this result in a crash? No. Is it an annoyance that I shouldn’t have to deal with? I think so.

            That said, bike lanes are good for everyone. Don’t block them.

      • Dr Pangloss

        Ok. Sit at some intersection around the city, and then answer these questions:
        How many cars have run a red light? Blocke dthe intersection? Turned left when there’s a large No Left Turn sign? Sped?

        No. I’m pretty sure folks like “It’s The Law” (Great Name BTW!!) are right, and once every single person who gets on a bike obeys every single traffic law every single time, *then* drivers will actually pull their fucking heads out of their asses and drive at or below the speed limit, come to a full stop before turning right on red, or driving through a stop sign, etc, etc…

        God knows, not a single one of them does so now, so the only explanation is they must be waiting for the cyclists to do it first.

        • Anon

          While I agree with your general sentiment, you really can’t say that not a single driver obeys the traffic laws. We only notice the few that don’t and not the many that do. The same is true for bikers.

          • Dr Pangloss

            Disregard for speed limits is effectively universal. Compliance rate for stop signs is roughly the same unless there’s another car to contest right-of-way.


          • Anon

            I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.

  • Jim

    Yeah, I’m sure this person’s thought process was: “Hmmm, I saw a biker pull a rolling stop on T Street yesterday that was just a bit too rolling for my taste. Therefore I shall obey no bike-specific traffic laws for the ensuing fortnight.”

    Orrrr this car’s owner wasn’t thinking/just doesn’t give a shit.

    • It’s The Law

      Yeah, it was sarcastic, but since you said something…”rolling stop”? Come on. Try not stopping at all! I haven’t seen a bike stopped at a stop sign EVER, and only very rarely see a bike stop at a red light at all, let alone for the duration of the light.

      • Dr Pangloss

        I’ve never seen a car stop at a stop sign unless there was clearly another car waiting to go through. Every one of them rolls through (at varying speeds). Not a single car obeys the speed limit–every single one of them treats it as a minimum speed limit unless they’re forced to slow down by congestion. Hardly any drivers come to a full stop before turning right on red unless there’s oncoming traffic. There’s a hundred million dollar industry in America that’s solely concerned with identifying and ticketing drivers who blow through red lights.

        But, y’know, tsk-tsk folks on bikes cause I saw a homeless guy on a 15 year old mountain bike riding the wrong way without a light the other day.

        • I think it’s a BIT far-fetched to say that no one stops at stop signs, stays under the speed limit, and stops before turning on red.

          I, for one, have probably drifted over the speed limit on occasion but am generally make a concentrated effort to stay well below. I always wait for my speed to hit zero before considering a right turn on red or continuing on after a stop sign. So I guess I’m not one of the many drivers you’re been monitoring from your bell tower.

          • Dr Pangloss

            You’re the proverbial unicorn in the haystack, then. 99.99% of drivers exceed the speed limit. Inevitably when you call them on it, the honest one’s admit that their definition of “driving the speed limit” means between the speed limit and five miles an hour over the speed limit.

            Here’s an experiment: set your cruise control to the speed limit sometime.

            You say you always wait for your speed to hit zero before continuing on after a stop sign. Does the incessant sound of honking from the other drivers get on your nerves, or do you just tune that out after a while?

          • The honking doesn’t happen THAT often. Geez. Maybe you should try driving around here sometime– it’s not quite as bad as you think.

          • A Far More Sane Explaination

            Inevitably when you call them on it, the honest one’s admit that their definition of “driving the speed limit” means between the speed limit and five miles an hour over the speed limit.

            It’s called a speed limit. I think most drivers understand that they’re not supposed to exceed it. I don’t think people are deliberately going 5mph over the limit– why risk getting a ticket for that?

            If you’ve ever driven you’ll know that sometimes you aren’t aware of what the speed limit is supposed to be, or you’ll zone out for a second and are not realize how fast you’re going. The responsible drivers will try to prevent these situations by trying to be more aware and by driving more slowly in general.

  • Anonymous

    Better than parking in front of a hydrant, or double parking, or blocking an entrance or driveway. Sometimes people park illegally– either because they need to make a very quick stop and don’t want to circle the area for 20 minutes looking for a space, or because they just don’t care if they get a ticket. This is a lot better than other illegal parking options they might persue.

    • lou

      That’s no excuse. I saw someone actually *driving* on a bike path the other day.

      As a pedestrian, I see both drivers and cyclists violating stop signs. But the cars are the more dangerous. One time a woman was so busy yakking on her cell phone she nearly hit me as she rolled through the stop sign. Another time nearly hit me as I was crossing 2nd St NE at E only a couple of weeks ago. He didn’t even slow down — acted as though there were no stop sign. At Union Station and Columbus Circle, cars blow through the stop signs without hesitation all the time. I guess they assume it’s a private stop sign so it’s optional.

      And cars speed most of the time. Stroll down Maryland Ave NE sometime when they have the speed alert sign up. maybe one car out of 10 goes at the speed limit of 25 mph. Most are going 40. There are a lot of young children in that neighborhood.

      • A Far More Sane Explaination

        At Union Station and Columbus Circle, cars blow through the stop signs without hesitation all the time.

        Those circles are confusing and there’s a lot to watch out for. In those cases I think drivers are not doing it deliberately– they just don’t realize a stop sign is intended for them. It’s awfully arrogant to assume they’re intentionally doing it.

        • lou

          Including cab drivers, who are extremely guilty of this?

          A lot of the folks are SEC employees, too, I’m willing to bet. I can’t imagine a clueless tourist driving through it at 7 a.m. And who’s calling whom arrogant?

  • Anonymous

    Daaayum! Bikers are vicious! Can’t one make an honest mistake and pay an honest parking ticket around here?

    • Anonymous

      My thoughts too. At least the biker in this situation can GO AROUND the car, whereas when a driver is stuck behind a biker that’s riding down the middle of the lane he can’t do anything about it.

      • K

        It’s actually legal (and encouraged) in DC to bike in the lane if their is no safe alternative option. Yes some bikers needlessly ride in the middle of the road when they don’t need to but I’d say a pretty large amount don’t. It’s safer for everyone involved if a cyclist takes a lane instead of swerving around parked in and out of traffic just to allow drivers to go 5 miles and hour faster. Call me a ‘bike extremist’ but I’m pretty strongly in favor of reduced traffic accidents.

        • Anonymous

          Understood, but my point is that it was a fairly minor inconvenience for the biker. Yet instead of waiting a few seconds until it was safe to go around the parked car, he/she decided to pull out a camera or phone, take a picture, transfer the picture, and send the picture to a sympathetic blog with accompanying “witty” commentary. Really, is this anything more than an excuse to make fun of suburbanites who, in all likelihood, are simply not familiar with bike lane protocol (since it’s not something they encounter everyday)? No wonder DC residents have a reputation for having sticks up their you-know-whats.

          • GDopplerXT

            The person who submitted the photo actually stated that they were *walking* home, so it’s really more about making fun of suburbanites I’m guessing.

          • Anonymous

            Oops, I missed the part about walking. That makes the situation even more absurd!

      • Anonymous

        Cyclists don’t block traffic; they are traffic…

  • Anon

    What drives me nuts is bikers who ride in the middle of the lane when traffic is moving, but then go to the edge to pass cars when it’s slowing or stopped, so you have to pass the same biker multiple times.

    • Anonymous

      Another argument for making more and respecting existing bike lanes.

    • Dr Pangloss

      What drives me nuts is bikers who ride in the middle of the lane when traffic is moving, but then go to the edge to pass cars when it’s slowing or stopped, so you have to pass the same biker multiple times.

      Just curious: why the fuck are you passing the biker then? I mean, if on average he’s going faster than you are?

      I’m sure he’s thinking, “What drives me nuts is cars who almost kill themselves passing me with oncoming traffic when traffic is moving, only to get stuck in some traffic jam a half block ahead, so you have to pass the same car multiple times.”

      • Anonymous

        Cars can’t kill themselves, Doctor.

        • Dr Pangloss

          Cars can’t kill themselves, Doctor.

          This is true, but the dangers to cyclists are certainly overblown. We lose, what, a cyclist every year or two? Compared with twice that many pedestrians. Probably equivalent to the number of drivers killed on surface streets. Cycling in DC is probably one of the safest ways one can travel.

          It just ain’t that dangerous. I just find the behavior of drivers (e.g. honking, yelling, and otherwise infantile tantrums) rude and irritating. Boo hoo. We get it, you’ve got diaper rash. Now turn on the radio, have a sip of your coffee, and take a deep breath. Yelling at random strangers, be they on foot, on bike, or on a Segway isn’t going to make your drive any less shitty.

          • Anon

            Hey, don’t generalize– that behavior is not characteristic of most drivers, just a few! Unfortunately, the road ragers make the experience worse for everyone. I’m nervous to stop at yellow lights now, after a guy once got out of his car to walk up to mine and scream the most horrible things at me for doing it.

      • Anon

        Um, because I’d have made the light if I didn’t have to wait so long to get around the biker who then passes me when I’m stopped at the light, which I’m only stopped at because he wouldn’t let me go around him…and so on.


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