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Bike commuter rides to defense of D.C. bike lanes

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By Robert Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

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I am writing in support of installing more bike lanes in Washington and surrounding suburbs. I was dismayed at AAA's recent statement that the bike lanes would impede traffic in downtown D.C.

The city has done extensive research to find roads and avenues that had less traffic to install these bike lanes. In those streets where the bike lanes have been installed, I have not witnessed any difference in traffic density. If anything, it has forced drivers to slow down to posted speed limits, making the roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and even other drivers.

As a D.C. resident, I am tired of seeing vehicles with out-of-state tags driving recklessly in our streets merely to save a few minutes in their commutes. Thankfully, the District is starting to realize this. If drivers are not happy with their commutes, maybe it is time they looked at taking public transportation.

I commute daily by bicycle to downtown D.C. I also own three cars that I occasionally use on the weeknights and weekends. Though I am a AAA member and love cars, this kind of false claim from AAA was extremely disheartening, and I am considering canceling my membership.

Bottom line is that we need bicycles and we need bike paths. We need a network of paths that are linked throughout the region so that bicyclists of all levels can get around safely and efficiently.

Jim Sebastian, the District Department of Transportation bicycle program manager, is making D.C. a better place to live and work. But this work merely scratches the surface of what must be done. We need many, many more bike lanes. This small investment will only reduce the amount of cars on the streets.

Maybe D.C. should consider removing cars altogether and creating bus/pedestrian/bicycle only zones downtown.

-- Sebastien Guilmard, the District


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