A buffered bike lane is similar to a normal bike lane (lanes that are reserved exclusively for bicyclists and are marked by a solid white line) that is commonly found on Arlington’s streets, with the addition of a marked buffer between the right travel lane and the bike lane.
Buffered bike lanes provide additional protection and separation for cyclists from motor vehicle traffic as compared to conventional bike lanes by providing ‘shy’ or buffered zones on either side of the cyclist.
The buffered bike lane, with the added shy zones, offers a more comfortable riding environment that is consistent with Arlington’s “complete streets” policy of maximizing the utility and safety of our streets for all road users. The addition of buffered bike lanes is part of Arlington’s ongoing commitment to make the County a bike-friendly community where cycling is a safe, convenient and enjoyable form of transportation and recreation. Visit BikeArlington to learn more about bicycling in Arlington.
There isn’t much of a change for drivers; they still need to watch carefully for cyclists when turning across the bike lane to enter cross streets or driveways, and when parking. To parallel park, simply position yourself as you normally would outside of the parking area to pull in to the space. It’s okay to make those maneuvers within the buffered bike lane area.
Arlington County plans to install a new type of on-street bicycle facility on Clarendon Blvd. between N. Garfield St. and N. Adams St. called a buffered bike lane. While this is the County’s first buffered bike lane, it is expected to be the first of several such facilities to be installed in the near future.
The Wilson Blvd.-Clarendon Blvd. corridor is North Arlington’s main street for bicycle travel. When a segment of Clarendon Blvd. was scheduled to be resurfaced in the summer of 2012, it gave Arlington County the opportunity to update the lane channelization and upgrade the bike lane from a minimal width to a more protected facility without compromising capacity for other vehicles. In order to make a connection of a meaningful length, some blocks that have not yet been resurfaced will have their pavement markings updated to match the new design.
There will be no changes to the number of lanes available for vehicle traffic. These changes are coming out of extra space on the roadway that contributed to excessively wide lanes. Since the existing lanes are up to 15 feet wide and will be narrowed to between 11 and 12 feet wide, it is likely that traffic on Clarendon Blvd. will be slowed down closer to the speed limit of 25 mph. Lower traffic speeds can have multiple benefits including fewer collisions, decreased severity of collisions, and increased safety for cyclists and pedestrians.