King Street Bicycle Lanes

Page updated on Nov 20, 2015 at 3:39 PM

What's New (Nov. 20, 2015)

The goals of the King Street project, as supported by the Complete Streets Policy, were to:

  • Provide facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers
  • Improve the safety and convenience for all street users
  • Implement City Council adopted plans and policies

As with all major projects, the City collects "before" and "after" data to monitor the impacts of the project.  Speed and crash data were collected to determine if safety was improved for all roadway users.  Both speeds and crashes decreased after this project was installed.  With the implementation of on street bicycle lanes, new and upgraded pedestrian crosswalks, sidewalk improvements, countdown signals and a new traffic signal.   A memo detailing the data collection has been provided to City Council.

Project Overview

The portion of King Street from Russell Road to Janney's Lane was resurfaced in October 2013. The City had received a number of requests from residents and civic associations for traffic calming along King Street. Throughout the outreach process for this project, it became very clear that safety improvements were needed along this roadway. The project is intended to slow vehicle speeds and provide a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Bicycle facilities are recommended for King Street in the City's Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan which involved an extensive public outreach process in the development of the Plan's recommendations. These bicycle lanes provide a connection from the King Street Metrorail Station to the newly installed bicycle facilities on Janney's Lane. 


Project Implementation

Implementation of the project will occur in phases, and work is dependent on weather conditions.  Data including traffic speed, volume, pedestrian and bicycle counts will be conducted before and after the project is implemented.   

 Phase I - Complete  

  •  Street surface repair work  
  •  Concrete work, such as sidewalk repair and handicapped accessible ramp installation  

Phase II - Complete 

  • Striping of crosswalks, bicycle lanes that include green paint to increase visibility, and installation neighborhood and other signs  
  • Install speed board(s) for eastbound and westbound vehicles. Speed boards indicate at what speed motor vehicles are traveling in comparison to the speed limit 

Phase III - Complete  

  • Ordinance to remove King Street as a designated truck route east of Quaker Lane will be brought to City Council for approval  

Phase IV - Complete 

  • Install traffic signal at the intersection of King Street and Upland Place 
  • Remove Through Truck Route from City map if approved by City Council   


Implementation Update: The project is complete!

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Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved use by the City of Alexandria of green colored pavement markings in marked bike lanes under Section 1A.10 in the 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways and FHWA Interim Approval Memorandum.    

CITY COUNCIL ACTION, MARCH 15, 2014: At its regular public hearing on March 15 City Council voted 7-0 to approve the installation of bike lanes and additional safety improvements and receive a staff report on impacts and usage.  Council requested that staff, along with neighborhood input, examine and include the following modifications in the decision-making process: 

  • Inclusion of neighborhood signage designating the residential area and notifying that the speed limit is strictly enforced (west of Janney's Lane and King Street); 
  • Inclusion of a traffic signal at Upland Place; 
  • Inclusion of a crosswalk at Park Road or Carlisle Drive; 
  • Installation of east/west speed board; 
  • Inclusion of additional 25 mile per hour static speed limit signs along (work with the community for location). 
  • Inclusion of buffers/markings to draw visual cues to the new markings for the bike lanes; 
  • Separate truck route action as an ordinance to be approved by Council; 
  • Additional pedestrian crossing at Upland Place/King Street to be designed by staff; 
  • Inclusion of pedestrian crossing of Park Road at King Street; 
  • Examine the feasibility of including parking at the dead end of Walnut Street and/or  examine  
  • Continue working with the owners of the Masonic Temple on the feasibility of using the trail near it; and 
  • Staff will work on collecting local data about the project for the 18 months from the completion of the project 

March 15, 2014 City Council meeting minutes can be viewed here.

TRAFFIC AND PARKING BOARD ACTION, FEBRUARY 24, 2014:  On a motion by Mr. Ruggiero, seconded by Mr. Schuyler, the Traffic and Parking Board voted to reject the Director's decision to install bicycle lanes on King Street, for safety reasons, and to defer for 60 days to allow proponents and opponents of the plan time to develop a compromise solution.  The motion carried on a vote of five to two with Mr. Schuyler, Mr. Ruggiero, Mr. Johnson, Ms. White and Mr. Lewis voting for the motion and Mr. Cota and Mr. Posey voting against the motion.   The Traffic and Parking Board Docket can be found here.  The recommendation was heard by City Council at its March 15, 2014, meeting.


Project Components

  • Install a 5' bike lane in the westbound direction and a 4' bike lane in the eastbound direction with shared lanes shown in yellow below
  • Provide a wide edge line from Janney's Lane to Highland Place on the south side of the street to provide a buffer for the sidewalk in the stretch where there are no bike lanes to buffer the sidewalk
  • Provide a safer pedestrian crossing at Upland Place and King Street by installing a signal.  The crosswalk at this intersection has been upgraded to high visibility for improved safety.
  • Install, as feasible, pedestrian improvements to Highland Place at King Street which could include pedestrian signals and push buttons for crossing King Street.
  • Install "YOUR SPEED IS" signs in both directions along King Street to help reduce speeding.   


Public Outreach


Commission and Committee Letters of Support

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does City monitor the success of these improvements? 

A. The City collects data to compare speeds, volumes, crashes and travel times to the same data that was collected before the project was implemented.  The City observes the behavior of motorists, pedestrians and cyclist to determine if the new facilities are being used as intended. 

 Q. How do emergency vehicles operate with these changes? 

A.  They are allowed to stop in bike lanes, and drivers can pull into bike lanes to let the emergency vehicles pass. Removing on-street parking spaces makes it easier for all traffic to yield to emergency vehicles, and make it easier for emergency vehicles to access homes along King Street.

Q. How are moving vans accommodated?  

A.  They can use driveways or apply for a permit to park on the street, including sections of the street that have bike lanes.

Q. What if someone needs to stop on the side of the road for a delivery, carpool, drop off, etc? 

A.  The bike lane on the north side of the street is 5' wide so a vehicle that needs to quickly stop will mostly be out of the travel lane.  The average vehicle is 6 feet wide.  Cars in the travel lane are able to pass the stopped vehicle without crossing the double yellow line.  The City installed "No Standing" signs so it will not be illegal to briefly pull to the curb.

Q. Do bike lanes slow speeds on the street? 

A. The travel lanes were narrowed with the installation of bike lanes.  This tends to reduce speeds by a few miles per hour.  Narrowing travel lanes, especially in an urban area, is a widely used tool for traffic calming. 

Q. The sidewalks on King Street are narrow - What did you do to improve pedestrian safety? 

A. The bike lanes provide a buffer on both sides of the street and move cars away from the sidewalk.  They also help keep cyclists on the street and reduce pedestrian/cyclists conflicts on the sidewalk.  The City also upgraded crosswalks in October 2013 along King Street, and improved the crossing at Upland Place with the installation of a rapid flash beacon.  In addition, the City installed a variable speed sign on King Street to slow speeds and improve pedestrian safety. City staff continues to work with the community to help identify additional safety measures that can be implemented.  

Q.  The bike lanes end prior to the intersection of King Street, Callahan Drive and Russell Road.  How are you providing a connection to the Metro? 

A. The City has been awarded a federal grant to provide pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements to the intersection of King Street, Callahan Drive and Russell Road.  City staff is working with the community for review and comments once concept plans are complete.  With all roadway projects, phasing in implementation occurs.  The resurfacing project on King Street provided the opportunity to make roadway marking improvements along the roadway that will connect to the future pedestrian and bicycle improvements at the intersection of King Street, Callahan Drive, and Russell Road.   For information on the King Street, Callahan Drive, and Russell Road project, visit the Project Website.