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Posted at 7:03 PM ET, 09/ 1/2010

How D.C. can make ride-sharing easier

By editors

By Ken Kobetsky,
Fairfax Station

Regarding the Aug. 27 Metro story “D.C. seeks input on slug sites for ride sharers”:

Apparently, D.C. Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein has been too busy establishing bike lanes to understand the slug line concept. Encouraging the use of bikes is a good idea, but one bike takes one car off the street, while discouraging convenient pickup points for slug riders makes traffic congestion worse. It’s simple math: One slug pickup puts a minimum of two extra riders in the same car, which means two fewer vehicles on the streets.

Since 14th Street appears to be one of the major streets for picking up slugs and it also feeds directly into the Interstate 395 HOV lanes, the curb lane should be marked as a slug pickup lane (3 to 7 p.m.), similar to the bus-only lanes. This would mean that a lane that allows for picking 400 to 500 (or more) stops a day would translate to 800 to 1,000 vehicles (or more) taken off the streets.

The District should encourage the use of slug lines and make them as convenient as possible, as in the end we reduce the number of vehicles entering the city, plus get a reduction in air pollution. I would suggest Mr. Klein get a better understanding of how well the slug lines work.

By editors  | September 1, 2010; 7:03 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., DMV, HotTopic, Virginia, traffic, transportation  
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While I appreciate the author's concerns and completely agree with his premise I don't like his patronization of Gabe Klein and the proliferation of bike lanes. Bike Lanes (nor Mr. Klein's support for them) are not the cause of the slugging problem and its unfair to assume that(very much needed) bike infrastructure is coming at the expense of drivers and workers who choose to carpool.

Posted by: cmerchan | September 1, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the slam on bike lanes is uncalled for. And I also agree that slug lines are important for the region, although I think the writer fails to understand that any downside to slug lines (stemming mostly from the disruptions caused at pickup) are felt by the City, while the upside in decreased congestion is felt mostly in the nearby Virginia jurisdictions.

The City has been grudgingly accomodating to sluggers over the years, but has never put its seal of approval on the practice. That's not the fault of either Gabe Klein or the bicycle lane advocates.

Posted by: krickey7 | September 2, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm not aware of any bus-only lanes through downtown DC. There are markings for bus and bike only lanes, but I believe those are not supported by law and I've never heard of anyone receiving a citation for their improper use.

If that's the kind of slug lane you're suggesting, best wishes to you and get in line behind the bus and bicycle operators who have been patiently waiting for theirs for years now.

Posted by: darsal | September 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The author's math is faulty in that bike riders live closer to the city than sluggers. Cycling is a complement, not a competitor, to slugging.

Posted by: weiwentg | September 2, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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