Archive for September, 2012
We love Park(ing) Day and the opportunity to think how our public space could be best used for mobility and community. In the spirit of Park(ing) Day, we’d like to share our idea to create a community space dedicated to teaching people to bike and walk safely. You may have seen clips of the Utrecht Traffic Garden. Why shouldn’t we have one here?
Heading out of town for the week(end), but not able or wanting to take your pooch along? Work long days, leaving your dog inside all day? Ever thought about a dog walker or pet sitter? Because we know just the one!
Brighter Days Collective is a DC-based dog walking and pet sitting agency whose employees travel by bike to walk or sit your pets. How cool is that? You know what’s even cooler? In addition to having employees who bike to and from your home, Brighter Days will actually pay you to join (or renew your membership with) WABA! That’s right. They will cover the cost of your WABA membership if you utilize their pet services.
Now that’s a member benefit!
This Saturday–in addition to being the date of WABA’s 50 States Ride–is Car Free Day in the region. On this day, everyone is encouraged to pledge to “eliminate or reduce driving.” But beyond just taking the pledge to drive less on Saturday, Car Free Day also provides a point to stop and think about our region’s transportation options. For many years in this region, it was pretty much assumed that people would drive and/or use public transit. Those of us who worked on biking were a fringe minority, and there weren’t many additional options. In parts of the region there still aren’t, and we need to acknowledge that fact and redouble our efforts to ensure that the level transportation choice that is becoming a selling point for the region isn’t leaving some communities behind.
But where providing options is profitable (or at least marketable), there is a level of transportation choice that could not have been imagined just 5 years ago. And many are working to expand the reach of these options.
Biking, Capital Bikeshare, pedicab. Zipcar, Car2Go, Uber, taxi. WMATA bus, RideOn, Connector, Call-A-Bus, Circulator. Slug Lines. Commuter buses. Metrorail, MARC, VRE, Amtrak.
In the Washington area, you probably have unprecedented access to alternatives to the private automobile. Car Free Day presents a good opportunity to reassess your options and ask, “Do I really need to drive where I’m going?”
This is not a blanket attempt to get people to get rid of their cars. In some cases, the car or truck is the right tool for the job. But it is a question worth asking with some regularity. As more alternatives arise, it is important to take a moment to re-assess whether that private vehicle is still the right tool for the job, or whether it’s simply the one we’ve become accustomed to using.
One of WABA’s main goals is to ensure that biking is a viable option for getting around the region for as many people as possible, and that biking is compatible with as many of those other available modes of transportation as possible. Whether people throughout the region are gaining the freedom not to rely on private automobiles is a good barometer of our success.
Consider using Car Free Day as a way to test whether that car is really still as necessary as it has been in the past, or whether new transportation options and new bike infrastructure has given you a better alternative for some or all of your trips. Pledge to go car-free or car-lite on the 22nd at: http://www.carfreemetrodc.com/pledge-to-car-free.php.
If you are clueless, we have classes available in DC, Arlington, and Bethesda to help with that. We’ve added classes and have many spots available. (If you aren’t sure if you’re clueless, ask an honest friend or fellow cyclist when you’re stopped at a red light. If the first time you stop at a red light is to ask that question, come on down and take the class.)
What if you aren’t clueless? What if you don’t buy into the hype of the “us” vs. “them” finger pointing and are simply a person making the transportation choice that suits your needs? Help us work on your behalf. That’s what we organize and work for here at WABA.
We don’t need to create “thems” and we don’t need to draw distinctions between bikeshare riders and other bicyclists. We need to work together as a broad community to make biking better in this region.
Perhaps one day the Examiner will publish the actual answer I gave when the reporter asked if I thought bikeshare riders were worse, then try to justify its headline. But I doubt it, so let’s stick with doing something productive.
There’s work to be done. If you want things to improve for biking in DC and the region, become a WABA member today. If you specifically want to see a cycletrack on M Street, SE/SW and kickstart the cycletrack effort in DC, print out a poster and join me tonight at the meeting.
Between now and that meeting I will be in Montgomery County pushing for a truly safe connection of the Capital Crescent Trail across Wisconsin Avenue, so I’ll leave any further responses to crazy media to someone else.
In a Washington Post column yesterday, Courtland Milloy quoted from an email I wrote stating WABA’s position on speed cameras, implying that we favored a more punitive automated enforcement system. That is a significant mischaracterization of the position stated.
Mr. Milloy’s column speaks for itself, so I will not respond to its points here. However, the full email from which he quotes is pasted below, typos and all.
Thanks for creating an opportunity for the public to comment on automated enforcement priorities. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, WABA strongly supports the expansion of automated enforcement. Understanding that there are both public safety and political considerations on the matter, we hope to see the automated enforcement program used in a manner to promote the greatest overall impact on roadway safety for vulnerable roadway users.In our view, that includes setting fines at a level that provides deterrence of unsafe behavior but not at such a punitive level that the continued placement of cameras is curtailed. Essentially, we would prefer broadly distributed automated enforcement designed to keep motorist speed within the safe and legal range. If lowering of fines so that they not seem punitive is necessary to the expansion of the program, we support such lowering up to the point the deterrent effects begin to erode.Additionally, we hope that a significant portion of the funds generated through automated enforcement will be designated improve roadway safety. Other jurisdictions have used funding from cameras in school zones to provide additional funds for Safe Routes to School programming. In DC, where SRTS funding is relatively strong, funding from such cameras could be used to bolster funding for traffic calming, road diets, retrofits of high-crash areas, or–in the most direct linkage–specifically for interventions to reduce design speeds of roadway segments in which data reveals that automated enforcement is failing to deter speeding.If additional detail would be helpful, please feel free to reach out on this issue any time. We completely support the program, with a primary goal of deterrence of unsafe behavior and–failing that–the use of funds derived from penalties to create safer conditions.Best,Shane
Come speak up in support of an improved M Street SE/SW. DDOT will be holding its third and final meeting on the M Street Southeast/Southwest Transportation Study. The study is evaluating proposed alternatives for multi-modal transportation improvements to the M St SW/SE corridor. Public comments will be taken during the meeting.
The study area is roughly 1.7 square miles along M Street SE/SW and the Southwest Waterfront from 12th Street, SE to 14th Street, SW and from the Southwest/Southeast Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel M St. This area is very significant to bicyclists in Washington, DC as it is the crossroads for major bicycling routes and trails including the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Also, there is access to two of the three bridges (South Capitol & 11th Street) in DC that cross the Anacostia River.
DDOT has held two previous public meetings, a very well attended January meeting and much smaller meeting in May. Public input was taken at both meetings and bicycling was overwhelming supported by attendees. Most attendees indentified bicycle lanes in the area and cycle tracks on M Street as a high priority.
The M St SW/SE corridor is rapidly developing into a major destination for employment and entertainment. DDOT has also identified M St in the DC Streetcar concept plan. Streetcars and on-street parking on M St should not come at the cost of bicycle access. Bicyclists should have safe and protected access not just to M St, but on M St!
Come to this final meaning and support bicycling in the SW/SE waterfront area Thursday night (September 13,2012)at 6:30pm at the Amidon Bowen Elementary School, 401 I Street, SW. Read the complete meeting announcement online. We have created a small poster (8.5″ x 11″) you can download, print and bring to the meeting show your support for Cycle Tracks on M St.
(To be clear, this is about M Street SE/SW, not M Street NW)