Wednesday, September 02, 2009

New Bike Wayfinding Signs To Arlandria... and a Pitch For a Bit More Bikeability

While biking and walking around town in the last couple of weeks, I've noticed a few new bike wayfinding signs. I had an e-mail discussion with Yon Lambert, the City's Bike and Pedestrian planner, earlier this summer and he told me, "the on-street bike signage we use will be the NEW national standard in the [Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices]". He's referring to the reflective white text on green background design. Indeed, in the weeks following the discussion, I began to notice more and more of these signs. The nearly completed Alexandria Wayfinding Design Guidelines will include information about standard bike signage.

The sign to the right just popped up near the Mt. Vernon Commons construction site on southbound Commonwealth Ave. The arrow to Arlandria has you go to the corner of Mt. Vernon Ave and hang a right. It doesn't include distances as some other signs do, but it's an improvement over limited to no wayfinding in the Arlandria area.

The second sign I snapped a photo of is on northbound Commonwealth Ave all the way down in Rosemont. It points you to Four Mile Run instead of Arlandria, but since the bike lane terminates at the trail in Four Mile Run Park, this probably makes the most sense. The distance markers are a nice touch.

Additional bike wayfinding is necessary for the area, but signs like these are a good start in getting to and from Arlandria on the Commonwealth Ave bike lanes. The next thing we need is a safe east-west route to get between Potomac Yard and points throughout the neighborhoods of the North End. Glebe seems the obvious choice, but there may be limitations with the width of the road in some spots. A combination of bike lanes and "sharrows" might be the best we'll get there.

To understand how we might be able to get a bike lane onto the 4-lane to 2-lane to 4-lane to 2-lane schizophrenic W Glebe Rd, see a previous post on our proposed Mt. Vernon and W Glebe Rd diets. This would give an off-street recreational option (Four Mile Run Park Trail), a north-south option that connects to Metro (Commonwealth Ave), and an east-west option that goes from Beverly Hills/Lennox Place at Sunnyside all the way to Potomac Yard (E/W Glebe). That, plus good wayfinding on all routes, would be a nice boon to Arlandria's bikeability. Considering Alexandria's new Transportation Master Plan and its emphasis on multi-modal streets, the main thing holding us back is simply the availability of the green stuff (money, not reflective signs).

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