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Trading parking spots for bike lanes in Alexandria

Saturday - 12/21/2013, 7:33am  ET

WASHINGTON - After months of wrangling, bike lanes are coming to a stretch of King Street in Alexandria, Va.

Richard Baier, the city's director of Transportation and Environmental Services, is directing the agency to paint the bike lanes and remove 27 parking spaces along a three-quarter mile stretch of King Street west of the Metro and Amtrak stations.

The car lanes will be narrowed slightly, and a new sign will alert drivers to their speed.

Baier says it will make the road safer for everyone, including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians headed to the Metro or to T.C. Williams High School.

The Traffic and Parking Board had recently recommended waiting for a compromise between those who support the bike lanes and others who were concerned about having fewer on-street parking spaces near their homes.

Baier says there is no reason to wait for the changes on King Street between Russell Road and Janneys Lane.

The recently repaved stretch will get a five-foot bike lane on the westbound side, and a four-foot wide bike lane on the eastbound side. Part of the stretch will have shared lane markings, or sharrows, in order to leave some of the parking spots in place that otherwise would have been removed.

Crosswalks at Upland Place, and possibly later at Highland Place, will be upgraded.

The bike lanes should also offer a buffer for pedestrians on the sidewalk from cars speeding by; drivers will still be allowed to stop briefly to drop someone off or pick them up.

Baier hopes to make even more pedestrian improvements in surrounding neighborhoods in the near future after meeting with citizens' groups in the spring.

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