Thanks to DDOT Director Bellamy for responding to WABA’s highlighting of the slowed progress in bike lane installations in 2011. We appreciate his direct response to our concerns. We stand by those concerns that the year’s progress on bike infrastructure was somewhat subpar, yet we agree with Director Bellamy that the District has taken major steps to make the District more bike-friendly for both experienced and novice cyclists.
Director Bellamy’s response does, however, point out the possible need for a new set of metrics for the District. Advocates and constituents need to know what DDOT is working to deliver. In his response, Director Bellamy cites expansion of bikesharing as a 2011 success. We agree. But we were counting other things, including bike lanes, because that is what DDOT committed, through the Bicycle Master Plan, to providing on a year-to-year basis.
Regardless, we need to catch up on the lost bike lane progress of 2011, and Director Bellamy’s response states a clear commitment to begin striping on several projects as soon as the weather allows. We appreciate that response and look forward to the results. But it is also time for cyclists, advocates, and officials to think about the next five to ten years and the projects and deliverables we want to see. Much has changed since 2005, and it is likely time for an update to the Bicycle Master Plan to reflect the growth and development of bicycling.
The existing Master Plan’s remaining goals and DDOT’s Action Agenda provide a strong starting point for infrastructure changes, but a new Master Plan also presents the opportunity to bring together other agencies with significant roles to play in providing a safer and more bike-friendly District, including the Office of Planning, Department of Motor Vehicles, Metropolitan Police Department, DC Public Schools, and others.
So again, thank you to Director Bellamy and DDOT for the straightforward response. We appreciate the work you have done and continue to do, and we look forward to continuing to work with DDOT to bring about improvements. Those who interpret our efforts to ensure accountability on these metrics as political misinterpret our motivations and goals. We highlight deficiencies to spur action, not to complain about the actors. We look forward to a 2012 of fast progress on the metrics of the existing Bicycle Master Plan and to working with Director Bellamy, under Mayor Gray’s leadership, to stay on track to meet its goals while developing the next Master Plan and setting goals for an even better bicycling future.
Here’s to early Spring and early progress on those ready-to-install bike lanes in 2012.