Making Rock Creek Park safer for cyclists
By Bruce D. Levitt
Regarding the May 20 Metro article “Cyclists, drivers struggle to chart road rules”:
If Rock Creek Park’s beautiful but winding and narrow Beach Drive were made HOV southbound-only during morning rush hours, and HOV northbound-only during evening rush hours, with bicyclists restricted to the right lane, traffic would flow more quickly, and the roadway would be much safer for both motorists and 8bicyclists.
Requiring motorists using Beach Drive in rush hours to share their vehicles with other commuters would diminish the volume of vehicles not just on Beach Drive but on nearby roads as well. Drivers and their HOV passengers would be rewarded for commuting on Beach Drive in an environmentally friendlier way, saving gas and lessening air pollution, as they travel through one of our nation’s most beautiful national parks.
Perhaps most important, not only would the risk to bicyclists of being hit by cars be greatly diminished but the risk to drivers of head-on collisions as they attempt to pass more slowly traveling bicyclists by crossing into oncoming traffic — and of current frustrations as they follow a slower bicyclist in the same lane — would also be eliminated, since it would be easier and much safer to merge with traffic traveling in the same direction in the left lane.
Beach Drive could either be closed mid-day to motor vehicles, as it is now on weekends and federal holidays, thereby reclaiming Rock Creek Park for recreational use by bicyclists, walkers and skaters, or else used for two-way traffic mid-day and after the evening rush hour.
| May 26, 2010; 6:57 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, traffic, transportation
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