Pennsylvania Avenue Bike Lanes Provide Media Platform for Local AAA

4565824365_cbe2c2f0d6.jpgBike lanes are going in on Pennsylvania Avenue — and that makes some motorists mad. (Photo: Eric Gilliland via Flickr)

In the last couple of days, several of our Washington, D.C.-area contributors have been writing about anti-cycling rhetoric coming from the local AAA chapter.

AAA Mid-Atlantic has been obliging reporters looking for inflammatory quotes in response to new bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue, reports Greater Greater Washington — even as the national office for the automobile drivers’ association urges its member to share the road with cyclists, in honor of National Bike Month. Greater Greater Washington writes:

AAA Mid-Atlantic is, as usual, taking the reflexively anti-bicycle position without really backing it up. But they don’t need to to get in the paper; they’ve realized that if they just say pithy things, they get quoted. No need to actually argue whether the lanes will slow down drivers’ commutes, which DDOT says even the traffic models say won’t happen as Pennsylvania in this area is wider than it needs to be.

You’ll find much more coverage of the story from WashCycle here, here and here. DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner rounds up some of the research that shows the Pennsylvania Avenue lanes will likely not result in the dire congestion AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts.

It is perhaps not very surprising that the installation of bike lanes on one of the nation’s most iconic boulevards would make knee-jerk auto advocates angry. The same thing happened with the pedestrianization of Times Square. But as WashCycle points out, reporters for the mainstream media need to pick up the phone and call some other sources — like the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, whose spokespeople could articulate all the reasons that new bike lanes don’t mean the end of the world for drivers.

More from around the network: EcoVelo on the virtues of friction versus indexed shifting — the bike equivalent of stick versus automatic. UrbanCincy reports on Cincinnati’s goal to double the number of people riding bicycles by 2015. And Riding in Riverside wants the mainstream media to make the connection between our appetite for travel by automobile and all that oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

AAA Revives Offensive Against Safer D.C. Streets

|
AAA has been known, at times, to take positions in direct opposition to cyclists’ safety. Then when cyclists call AAA out on it, AAA starts backpedalingfast, assuring us all how much they love people who bike. But the organization is sticking with its ongoing battle against  safer streets for cycling in Washington, D.C. As David Alpert […]

Number of Protected Bike Lanes in America Nearly Doubled in 2012

|
They’re the Cadillac (or, should we say, the Colnago) of bike infrastructure: protected bike lanes. But on-street bikeways that give cyclists some measure of physical protection from traffic have been more or less unheard of in American cities — until recently. After New York City implemented a protected bike lane on Ninth Avenue in 2007, […]

The Debate About Bike Infrastructure Has Been Settled

|
For decades, cyclists bickered amongst themselves about the efficacy and safety of bike infrastructure. With the proliferation of protected bike lanes in recent years, however, everyone can see that predictions about bike lanes making streets more dangerous for cycling simply didn’t come to pass. Network blogger Elly Blue at Taking the Lane says the debate […]

When Opaque Bikeway Planning Leads to Missed Opportunities

|
Chouteau Avenue in St. Louis is finally getting a bike lane that’s been promised since 2009. But the finished product falls far short of what it could be, writes Alex Ihnen at NextSTL. The flaws in the Chouteau redesign say a lot about the city’s haphazard approach to bike planning, Ihnen says: It appears to be city […]