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Radar-enforced 15 mph speed limit on DC's capital cresent trail

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Radar-enforced 15 mph speed limit on DC's capital cresent trail

Old 06-01-08, 04:57 PM
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Radar-enforced 15 mph speed limit on DC's capital cresent trail

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...053102022.html

Apparently, in an effort get people off their bikes and back into cars the regional authorities are going to be imposing and enforcing a 15 mph speed limit on the primary bike commuting route from Bethesda to downtown DC.
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Old 06-01-08, 05:20 PM
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When many residential streets in my area now carry a 20mph speed limit to restrict cars on public roads, how can a 15mph limit on a multi-use park path be considered an attempt to "get people off their bikes and back into cars?".

Riding at 20mph or over (the kind of speed likely to incur a warning) on a park path seems excessively fast for a path not designed exclusively for the use of cyclists. I'm happy to maintain 15-20mph as my constant speed during my commute to work on public roads and cover the 6 mile commute (a similar distance to the stretch of path mentioned in the article) in around 25-30 minutes.

Aren't the regional authorities just trying to make the paths safer for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists who maintain a more average speed for a commuting cyclist?
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Old 06-01-08, 05:22 PM
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I would guess that the root of the "effort" is to bring in $$, but who knows, perhaps a DC councilmember was buzzed by a cyclist or something. I've ridden that path before and found it boring, so no real effort required to avoid it. Views are better on the streets.
 
Old 06-01-08, 05:27 PM
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Sounds like a good idea to me.
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Old 06-01-08, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Chaos View Post
Aren't the regional authorities just trying to make the paths safer for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists who maintain a more average speed for a commuting cyclist?
Yes, but if I remember correctly, the argument is that these people aren't typically out there during commute hours.

The money argument doesn't fly. They could make far more by enforcing the existing vehicle speed limits.

Some cyclist buzzed someone with some clout around town and the rest is history.
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Old 06-01-08, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by al-wagner View Post
Sounds like a good idea to me.
+1 If you need to go faster than 15mph, get off the MUP and use the road.
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Old 06-01-08, 05:39 PM
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If it does not apply to cyclists during commute hours then Maddraven's original argument that the speed limit will force cyclists back into cars doesn't make a great deal of sense. Outside of commute hours the need to cycle above 15mph on a multi-use path is non-existent.
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Old 06-01-08, 05:42 PM
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If memory serves, the southbound portion, from Bethesda to Arizona, was mostly downhill & therefore pretty fast. I doubt northbound riders would be moving much above 15mph anyway (except for the Ture day Frants riders).

I wouldn't guess that this gentleman is a heavy path user, so if he was buzzed, it wasn't by a bicyclist.

Last edited by robertlinthicum; 06-01-08 at 05:57 PM.
 
Old 06-01-08, 05:44 PM
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I agree it is not about money and likely is about someone with political clout being upset with bikes blowing by. Lots of commuters use the trail (slight downhill in the am, slight uphill in the pm). I'm one of the slower commuters 15-20 is my downhill speed in the morning and I am frequently passed. I don't mind being passed repeatedly by faster moving bikes (sometimes 30 or more bikes pass in 5 miles I am on the trail). I am not sure why joggers/walkers care either. I think the issue may be more fundamental: using the trail for bike commuting is simply inconsistent with the use of a double wide jogging stroller and a friend or two walking side-by-side. Those people need the use of the trail as a commuter trail to be discouraged.
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Old 06-01-08, 06:15 PM
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Trails are for walkers, old ladies on bikes, kids on bikes, people walking dogs, lovers, and such. They can and will be all over the trail, and 15 mph speed limit is reasonable. Ride the road.
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Old 06-01-08, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
+1 If you need to go faster than 15mph, get off the MUP and use the road.
Absolutely! It is after all a Multiple Use Path..high speeds on MUPs are stupid..
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Old 06-01-08, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
Trails are for walkers, old ladies on bikes, kids on bikes, people walking dogs, lovers, and such. They can and will be all over the trail, and 15 mph speed limit is reasonable. Ride the road.
When the roads, between 7-9am (and 6-8pm), are full of self-centered *******s who could give a **** if they run you over, these trails are a godsend. I ride the Custis and WOD each morning and evening, and the 2+ miles I spend off the trail at the office end of my commute are hellish enough that if they represented the entire 11 miles each way, I would stick to my car...MUP's serve a valuable purpose, as long as you don't act like an idiot.
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Old 06-01-08, 06:50 PM
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Heck, it's 10 MPH around here. I agree, sounds to me like they're saying get on the roads. I'd be happy to tell them that too; since they've imposed a 15 MPH speed limit, it's not a reasonable route for commuting anymore, it's now just a light recreational path, and anyone who's actually trying to get anywhere should be on the road. That's what that rule says to me.

Of course, we don't have any paths that go anywhere around here, just MUPs inside of parks that lead from a parking lot in a circle back to the parking lot.
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Old 06-01-08, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by knucklesandwich View Post
When the roads, between 7-9am (and 6-8pm), are full of self-centered *******s who could give a **** if they run you over
and that is different from anywhere else in the country how?
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Old 06-01-08, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
and that is different from anywhere else in the country how?
Not saying it is. But my morning commute (3mi road, 8mi MUP) sees about 5-10 peds/runners, max, and 15-20 bike commuters, with maybe a 50/50 balance on the way home. If some cop was out in the mornings capping my speed at 15mph, under threat of fines and tickets, it would make leaving the car at home a lot less attractive...the CCT, being downhill into DC, I would be sending my brake pad invoices into the city for reimbursement.

Bottom line is it appears to be a reactionary enforcement of a rule that could make MUP use even sparser than normal, while forcing the more enthusiastic advocates of bike commuting onto more roads that are, at this point, not all that suitable for bikes.

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Old 06-01-08, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
+1 If you need to go faster than 15mph, get off the MUP and use the road.
MUPs in the DC area probably aren't like what you and Maddyfish are used to in the Midwest - and I can tell you the roads aren't either. My local MUP is a 9-foot wide paved rail-trail, and it can easily support over 15 mph (in fact, I do so every day). Mine also gets overpasses that lets me skip 5 of the worst intersections on my commute, making it a lot faster and more fun.

Riding on road around here, on the other hand, ain't so fun. Avoiding our utterly dysfunctional roads is at least half the reason I started riding to work, and I suspect I'm not alone. EDIT: Yes, they're worse here. I grew up in the midwest/south. Traffic is far, far better there.

For the most part, users on our local trails know how to coexist. The only time you have to really slow down is when the weather is outrageously nice - and around here, that ain't often - because it brings out a lot of people who don't get out much.

I'm riding the same trails as knucklesandwich, and have basically the same experience. There are a lot of commutes that would be pure hell without the trails.
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Old 06-01-08, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by knucklesandwich View Post
Not saying it is. But my morning commute (3mi road, 8mi MUP) sees about 5-10 peds/runners, max, and 15-20 bike commuters, with maybe a 50/50 balance on the way home. If some cop was out in the mornings capping my speed at 15mph, under threat of fines and tickets, it would make leaving the car at home a lot less attractive...the CCT, being downhill into DC, I would be sending my brake pad invoices into the city for reimbursement.
But on the road there is no 15mph speed limit, so it seems that it's the MUP that makes your commute less attractive, if it isn't the traffic. My commute is 25 miles each way, all road (though I could take a MUP for at least 7 of it if I wanted), and sometimes 15mph is about as fast as I get.

I personally think the problem with drivers, cyclists and people in general is that we are in too darn much of a hurry all the time. But oh well, it is what it is I guess.
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Old 06-01-08, 07:19 PM
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Here arises a common theme in the commuting forum: Path-likers and people who prefer roads. It's a matter of taste and riding style. I like the roads and enjoy my daily commute from from Virginia to Maryland (through Washington DC); most path-riders would call that "hell".

I generally stick to roadways, even when paths are available as an alternate route.

Again, it's a matter of taste.
 
Old 06-01-08, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Underbridge View Post
MUPs in the DC area probably aren't like what you and Maddyfish are used to in the Midwest - and I can tell you the roads aren't either. My local MUP is a 9-foot wide paved rail-trail, and it can easily support over 15 mph (in fact, I do so every day). Mine also gets overpasses that lets me skip 5 of the worst intersections on my commute, making it a lot faster and more fun.

Riding on road around here, on the other hand, ain't so fun. Avoiding our utterly dysfunctional roads is at least half the reason I started riding to work, and I suspect I'm not alone. EDIT: Yes, they're worse here. I grew up in the midwest/south. Traffic is far, far better there.

For the most part, users on our local trails know how to coexist. The only time you have to really slow down is when the weather is outrageously nice - and around here, that ain't often - because it brings out a lot of people who don't get out much.

I'm riding the same trails as knucklesandwich, and have basically the same experience. There are a lot of commutes that would be pure hell without the trails.
I've ridden those MUPs and those roads. The MUPS are nice, but they are still MUPs, not bike freeways. The drivers and the roads are no worse than they are here...actually the roads themselves are nicer there than here. It's nice that you have those MUPS and don't have to deal with the traffic...but seriously, slow down, the problem with all you folks in that area is that you are in too much of a darned hurry all the time!
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Old 06-01-08, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
+1 If you need to go faster than 15mph, get off the MUP and use the road.
totally. it doesn't make sense to be late for work and also get jammed-up getting some warning (or worse) some sort of financial penalty. get out on the road, it's safer out there, anyway.
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Old 06-01-08, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by robertlinthicum View Post
Here arises a common theme in the commuting forum: Path-likers and people who prefer roads. It's a matter of taste and riding style. I like the roads and enjoy my daily commute from from Virginia to Maryland (through Washington DC); most path-riders would call that "hell".

I generally stick to roadways, even when paths are available as an alternate route.

Again, it's a matter of taste.
I don't have anything against paths or people that use them. But everything is a trade-off...if you want to use a MUP to be protected from traffic, you gotta accept a lower average operating speed. But I guess just like drivers hate to be inconvenienced by such things as speed limits, bikes and peds, cyclists hate to be inconvenienced by speed limits, cars and peds.
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Old 06-01-08, 08:13 PM
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Do the speed limit. Eventually the police will move onto more important things and it will return to normal.
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Old 06-01-08, 08:27 PM
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Have ridden some of the MUPs in DC on our tandem when visiting; my son lving there thought they were 'great'. . . . Yipes, darn right scary. Much better on the road with the cars!
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Old 06-01-08, 08:36 PM
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Stephen Kuperberg, 38, a lawyer with the firm Hogan & Hartson who uses the trail to commute from his home in Bethesda to his office downtown, said the issue isn't necessarily how fast people are going but whether they're paying attention.

"A cyclist going 5 miles per hour who's weaving in and out is a greater safety risk than a regular bike commuter traveling at a regular speed," he said.


Mary Bradford, director of the Montgomery County Parks Department, said the decision to post speed limits did not require a public hearing.

"These measures are not aimed just at cyclists, they're also designed to educate the joggers and walkers," Bradford said.
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Old 06-01-08, 08:44 PM
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Get out of my way1!!
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