Old Georgetown Road in White Flint will have Bike Lanes!

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Some good news! Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has announced an agreement between the MCDOT and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) to reduce the number of car lanes on Old Georgetown Road. This will allow MCDOT to construct on-road bike lanes and an off-road shared use path between Hoya Street and Grand Park Avenue.

Last fall, we alerted our members and supported in Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) plans for Old Georgetown Road. Draft plans for street did not include bike lanes, in direct contrast to the White Flint Master Plan. The response was overwhelming and the County heard the call for change.

Thank you to County Executive Leggett for responding to the call for safe streets for biking. The White Flint Master Plan is an ambitious endeavor to build a walkable and bikeable community. WABA will continue to hold our elected officials accountable to this vision.

WABA’s advocacy is supported by your membership dollars. Join or donate to WABA today.

Councilmember Cheh Introduces Bill for Crash Victims

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Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced a bill in the D.C. Council to improve access to compensation for crash victims. Under current D.C. law, injured bicyclists and pedestrians can be completely denied compensation after a crash with a motor vehicle even if they were minimally negligent. In 2014,  Councilmember David Grosso (At-Large) introduced a similar bill, but it was ultimately tabled.

The Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2015 addresses the same underlying issue of inappropriate denial of compensation to minimally negligent bicyclists, but with slightly different mechanics. Under the proposed bill, contributory negligence could not be used to deny coverage to a bicyclist or pedestrian who was 50% or less responsible for his or her own injuries.

When the bill is available online, we’ll provide deeper analysis and a link to the draft language. For more background about the issue of contributory negligence for crash victims, you can learn more by reading our blog post responding to the 10 most common question.

The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers Charles Allen (Ward 6), Jack Evans (Ward 2), David Grosso (At-Large), Anita Bonds (At-Large) and co-sponsored by Yvette Alexander (Ward 7). The legislation was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5). The Committee must hold a public hearing on the bill and a public mark-up meeting. If the bill were to successfully make it out of committee, the full D.C. Council would then weigh in.

As the bill moves through the legislative process, we will provide updates here on the WABA Blog and our campaign page. You can also sign-up for email updates about this campaigns and we’ll be sure to alert you when action is needed.

Thank you to Councilmember Cheh and today’s co-sponsors and co-introducers for moving this important legislation.

DDOT Hosting Bike Lane Celebration Tomorrow

One of the new protected bike lane installed this year by DDOT on M St NE.

At a celebration and press event on Wednesday morning, the District Department of Transportation will celebrate a record breaking year of bike lane installation. In 2014, DDOT has installed nine miles of on-street bike lanes, including almost two miles of protected bike lanes. DDOT Director Matthew Brown and Associate Director Sam Zimbabwe will be in attendance with agency employees from planning, engineering and maintenance divisions.

The 2006 Bike Master Plan outlined a ten year plan to install a network of bike lanes city wide. The plan set an ambitious target of 10 miles of new bike lanes per year. Since 2006, DDOT has planned and painted 69 miles of marked bike lanes in all eight wards of the city. While DDOT hasn’t quite hit the lofty goal of 10 mile per year, the agency deserves a tremendous amount of credit for their hard work and commitment to improving biking so far. And the efforts have paid off; everyday bike commuting rates in DC have quadrupled in the last decade as our streets become safer and more enjoyable for biking.

The recently released Move DC plan and the accompanying two-year action agenda set a goal of 7.5 miles of new bike lanes, many of which will be protected bike lanes, for 2015 and 2016.

Bike Lane Event Details
WHEN:
  Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
WHERE: Southwest Corner of 4th and Independence Avenue, SW (Google Map)

Roll into work a little late tomorrow morning and thank DDOT for their hard work this year  — we hear there might be cool swag giveaways too.

All Aboard MARC

P1040312Starting this weekend, you can take your bike on select MARC trains running between Baltimore and  D.C. on the Penn Line. MARC outfitted two rehabilitated passenger cars to carry passengers and their full-size bicycles. The bike cars will run on weekends between D.C. and Baltimore, for now.

Bike cars will be easy to spot: they’ll have bike themed graphics on the outside of the train, including “THE BIKE CAR” in big letters. The train car provides roll-on / roll-off service: there is no need to box up or fold your bike. At some train stations the platforms are level which makes rolling your bike on fairly easy. At non-level stations, you will need to be able to carry your bike and personal belongings up the stairs to load your bike. No reservations are available—it’s first come, first served. If the bike car is full, folding bikes are still allowed per MARC’s current policy. Bike trailers are not allowed.

With additional state resources, MARC is purchasing new double-decker train cars to increase passenger capacity to meet the demand. With new cars going into service, MARC is rehabilitating their old rolling stock to provide the new bike service. The bike cars can currently carry 16 full-size bicycle, but can be modified to accommodate up to 26 bikes. The first two bike train cars are pilot designs. Launching weekend service allows MARC officials to evaluate the design and operation of the service with lighter passenger traffic.

With a refined train car design and operation kinks worked out, MARC will look to expand bike service to weekdays and other lines. Depending on customer demand, MARC might add a second bike car to service in 2015 (read: go use the service!). There is no definite timeline for expansion to weekday service at this point.

You can view the schedule here (pdf link).

A great big thank you to MARC for expanding service to passengers with their bikes. We would especially like to recognize Chief Mechancial Officer Eric Ekolig and his team for thoughtfully engaging with bicycling community. We look forward to a successful roll out of weekend bike service and future expansion.

Vote on Crash Victim Fairness Bill Postponed

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Today, the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety held a legislative mark-up session on a number of bills, including the Bill 20-884 “Vulnerable User Recovery Act of 2014″. The Committee voted to postpone mark-up until next Wednesday, November 12th to allow all involved parties one last opportunity to craft a bill that meets the needs of vulnerable roadway users and the concerns of other stakeholders in the legal community. Councilmembers Jack Evan, Mary Cheh, Anita Bonds, Tommy Wells and David Grosso (not a member of Judiciary Committee) were in attendance at this morning’s mark-up.

Councilmember Tommy Wells and David Gross with WABA and All Walks DC held a joint press conference and rally in support of the legislation before the DC Council. The bill, if passed, would move the District to a fairer negligence standard to enable crash victims to collect compensation from driver’s insurance.

Yesterday’s press conference was attended by dozens of local residents calling on the DC Council to move the bill forward to protect the most vulnerable road users. Following votes from next week’s mark-up, WABA will post the vote results and a legislative scorecard online. You can learn more about the scorecard here and more about WABA’s campaign to bring fairness for crash victims.

As we all wait until next week’s vote, take some time to read the press coverage from yesterday online here, here, here, here, here , here, here and here. Please also take a moment to contact your Councilmember to ask for their support of the bill.

Take Action: Ask DC Council to Support the Bill

Rally for Justice on Thursday at 10am

November 5th Update: Due to weather concerns, the location has change to Room 123 inside the Wilson Building. The press conference will still be held at 10 am.

Join DC Councilmember Tommy Wells, DC Councilmember David Grosso, WABA and All Walks DC on the front steps of the John A. Wilson Building for a press conference and rally in support of legislation to exempt bicyclists from the harsh and unfair contributory negligence standard. You can learn more about our campaign here and read more about this unfair law here, here and here. At the press conference, WABA will introduce our legislative scorecard for this bill ahead of mark-up on Friday. Learn more about the scorecard here.

What: Joint Press Conference and Rally
Who: DC Councilmember Tommy Wells, DC Councilmember David Grosso, Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), All Walks DC.
Date: Thursday, November 6, 2014
Time: 10:00am
Where: Front steps of the John A. Wilson Building, Room 123, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004

Sign up on Facebook that you are planning to attend.

Can’t make the press conference? Please email, visit or call your Councilmembers and ask them to support the Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Amendment Act of 2014 (B20-884).

Take Action: Ask DC Council to Support the Bill

Move DC is a Big Vision with a Slow Start

Shiny new protected bike lane on 6th St NE

Shiny new protected bike lane on 6th St NE (photo: Mike Goodno, DDOT)

DDOT released the final Move DC transportation plan last week. The District plans to make a significant investment in bicycling to support growth over the next 25 years. Along with the final plan, DDOT produced a two-year action agenda to get a jump start in implementation. The Move DC plan is giant step forward for bicycling in DC, but the document’s Action Agenda is a timid start.

The final plan is over 173 pages so we haven’t dug too much into the details yet. The final plan looks a lot like the draft plan from June. With the city projected to add 100,000 new residents in the coming years, DDOT  acknowleges that the District can’t accomodate that many new cars, and sets a 25% mode share for walking and bicycling.

To accomplish this growth, DDOT proposes to expand the bicycling network by more than 200 miles over the next 25 years. The complete network would be over 343 miles of dedicate bicycle infrastructure. Beyond trails and bike lanes, Move DC calls for a range of other initiatives including:

  • expanding bikesharing,
  • more public education,
  • increased coordination on enforcement,
  • and lots more policy recommendations beyond physical infrastructure.

Released alongside the Move DC plan, the Action Agenda is a two-year blueprint for the agency. Bike elements include:

  1. Complete Klingle and Kenilworth Anacostia Riverwalk Trail projects and advance Rock Creek and Metropolitan Branch Trail projects (Item 1.5)
  2. Install or upgrade 15 miles of on-street bicycle facilities (Item 1.6)
  3. Study east side of downtown bicycle facility improvements (Item 2.2)
  4. Determine East-West Crosstown Multimodal Study needs and identify solutions (Item 2.4)
  5. Complete review of existing bicycle laws and identify opportunities for changes (Item 3.1)
  6. Complete revisions to the Design and Engineering Manual (Item 3.40
  7. Create TravelSmart program to develop tailored transportation choices for District residents (Item 4.5)
  8. Fully train DDOT staff on multimodal design (item 6.4)

We are glad to see several long-planned trail projects moving forward (item 1), but it’s worth noting that they would likely follow a similar timeline in the absence of the Move DC plan.  Expectations for new on-street bike infrastructure (item 2), on the other hand, have been scaled down, from 10 new miles of bike lanes per year in the District’s 2005 Bicycle Master Plan to 7.5 miles per year in the Move DC Plan. This is a disappointment, but also a realistic average of what the agency has been able to get done over the past few years. That said, as you can see in the photo above, the new bike lanes are both better —more of them will be physically protected from car traffic— and harder to build, as the District has captured most of the low-hanging fruit, and many new bike lanes will require more comprehensive street redesigns that will involve reducing car lanes or parking spaces.

All told,  Move DC is a comprehensive, well vetted plan for improving and encouraging bicycling. DDOT began the public process 18 months ago and made extraordinary efforts to involve the community. Move DC represents a shared vision for transportation. We’re glad that the District has invested in developing such a robust plan, and we look forward to its implementation.

Also

The Bicycle Segment of this plan is good because bicyclists showed up and shared their thoughts at every step of the process. A huge WABA thank you to all of our members and supporters who submitted comments, testified at hearings, showed up at public meetings, and participated in the process!