The pending King Street bike lane controversy in Alexandria has a lot of people hopping mad on both sides of the argument. Bike lanes have already been added to many of the city's main thoroughfares and bike parking racks have been installed throughout the city. Curbside bike rentals have been recently put up all over town, which — in some cases — crowd sidewalks for pedestrian traffic. Generally, the city has catered to the growing interest in cycling. As a cyclist myself, I am pleased to see a more bike-friendly environment.
However, some cyclists feel these measures do not go far enough. They now insist that the city add bike lanes to King Street. King is the main artery that feeds into the heart of Old Town from the west. It is already heavily congested with automobile, taxi, and bus traffic. Parking downtown is nearly impossible on weekdays, and even worse on weekends. So, banning parking on King St. to make room for bike lanes is not the answer. As much as I advocate reduction of motorized vehicle emissions and advocate the cycling lifestyle, in this particular case adding bike lanes to the equation would be disastrous. Cyclists can navigate the city via side streets, many of which already have established bike lanes. If anything, expand the bike lanes on these avenues, but not on King.
Thus, my cartoon commentary in this week's issue of the Alexandria Gazette Packet. I'm sure my rendering will raise the ire of many of my fellow cyclers. But, hey... the way I see it, unless you can take to the air, leave King Street as it is.
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