Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’
On Mon., Dec. 16, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a public roundtable on the city’s existing Bicycle Infrastructure Master Plan. The council invites members of the community to testify and provide public input about bicycling in the District of Columbia.
The Bicycle Master Plan, published in 2005, is the D.C. government’s plan for building a network of bike lanes, trails, and routes, thereby increasing the number of bicycle commuters and reducing the rate of crashes between bicyclists and drivers. Outlined in the master plan is a timeline to stripe miles of lanes, trail projects to be designed and built, education programs to create and expand, launching a bikesharing program and many other items. Significant projects in the plan are to be completed by 2015.
D.C. has striped over 60 miles of bike lanes, built the United States’ first major bikesharing system (which has been a resounding success), constructed a state-of-the-art bike parking station at Union Station, built protected lanes on L Street NW, 15th Street NW, Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and has begun construction on the M Street NW bike lane.
There is only one year left for DDOT to meet the goals of the master plan. Will it? This is the question the Committee on Transportation and the Environment is asking the public and DDOT. Despite the major gains described above, not all work is done. The deadline to finish the Metropolitan Branch Trail was 2007, but the trail is only half-built. Progress on the South Capitol Street Trail has languished. The Suitland Parkway Trail is desperately in need of attention, and the Oxon Cove Trail is stalled. The Rock Creek Park Trail is years behind schedule, and is crumbling and eroding into the creek as a result. Improvements for bicyclists to access the city’s bridges have seen little progress. D.C. is considerably behind on providing ample, safe, and convenient bike parking.
Please sign up to testify at the hearing if you have comments about D.C.’s progress on its Bicycle Master Plan. See below for tips on how to testify and details on WABA’s testimony-writing workshop on Dec. 11, during which we can help you craft your statement. WABA thanks Councilmember Mary Cheh and the members of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment for their leadership in making D.C. a world-class city for biking.
Date: Mon., Dec. 16, 2013
Time: 11 a.m.
Where: Room 500, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Click here for more information
- Sign up to testify.
- Be there at least 20 minutes before the hearing starts.
- You will be required to pass through security at the Wilson Building. Bring a state-issued ID.
- Bring at least 8 copies of your written testimony to submit for the record.
- You will be given three (and only three) minutes to testify. You don’t have to use all of the time! Make your point and be brief.
- Your written testimony and supporting documents can be longer than your testimony, so feel free to get into details in writing.
- The committee chair will bring up a panel of 3 to 4 people to testify in a row. You will all give your testimony and then stay at the table for questions.
- Be sure to thank the committee chair and any present councilmembers.
TESTIMONY WRITING WORKSHOP
When: Wed., Dec. 11, 2013, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: WABA Office
What: WABA will provide a testimony preparation workshop on Wed., Dec. 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 pm. No appointment is needed! Drop by and WABA staff will assist you in preparing testimony for the hearing. Our staff can help with your written testimony, explain the process of testifying and speaking in public, or just answer your questions. We want you to feel comfortable and prepared to testify, especially if you are new to it. If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
CAN’T ATTEND THE DEC. 16 HEARING?
If you are unable to testify in person, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted to Ms. Aukima Benjamin, staff assistant to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 108, Washington, D.C. 20004. They may also be e-mailed to email@example.com or faxed to (202) 724-8118. The record will close at the end of the business day on Dec. 30, 2013.
The Arlington Memorial Bridge, completed in 1932, represents a physical link between the U.S.’ acknowledged north and south—and connects the Lincoln Memorial and National Mall to Arlington National Cemetery. The video above is a newsreel from the bridge’s 1932 opening with President Herbert Hoover. Today, millions of visitors and commuters cross Arlington Memorial Bridge annually by foot, bike, and car. The National Park Service is currently planning a rehabilitation of the bridge.
The major focus of the rehabilitation are the bascule spans. “Bascule” is the technical term for the type of center drawbridge spans on the bridge, which are deteriorating rapidly and require a complete overhaul. Rehabilitating the bascules will maintain an important element in our nation’s history and in our modern transportation infrastructure. The National Park Service is seeking input from the public about the bridge rehab through an Environmental Assessment process. But the only alternatives presented are very technical and specific types of engineering solutions to replace or rehabilitate the span. Should NPS replace with bascule spans with “concrete box girders,” “steel plate girders,” or “concrete arches”? Or should they just rehab the current spans?
WABA is not an engineering firm. And we don’t expect the public to be able to tell NPS just which type of girder or span is the best to last another 70-plus years. Rather, we’d like to discuss if we can build a multi-modal bridge for the future.
The bridge is 90 feet wide with six car travel lanes and two 15-foot sidewalks. Pedestrians and bicyclists share the sidewalks. During busy tourist seasons, the sidewalks are full of visitors walking between the National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery. Sidewalk congestion is complicated by bicyclists and pedestrians sharing limited space. The speed limit for vehicles on the bridge is 30 miles per hour, but drivers often significantly exceed the legal limit. Commercial vehicles are prohibited from the bridge because it falls within the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
During construction, there will be either a full or partial closure of the bridge. Planning staff are considering the impacts on regional traffic of different traffic closure scenarios. With a complete closure, construction can be expedited and potentially less expensive. A partial closures requires phasing construction to allow some traffic to still use the bridge. After an initial study on regional traffic patterns, engineers determined a closure of one of the three lanes in each direction would only minimally impact traffic on other bridges that cross the Potomac River.
Bicycle and pedestrian travel is increasing regionally and we should plan for it. Locally, the National Mall is planning in the future to build a visitor center at the Vietnam War Memorial. There is expected to be an increase in travel between the Vietnam War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. The distance between the two locations is a short walk or ride and proximate to Capital Bikeshare.
If there is a minimal impact of closing a single lane of car traffic in each direction on the bridge during reconstruction, it should be repurposed entirely as a single travel lane for bicycle traffic. Below are images of the current street configuration of the bridge and a proposed new allocation of space. This road diet does not change the historic design of the sidewalk, curbs, or roadway space. The protected bike lanes could be achieved by painting a buffer between the bike lanes and car lanes, or with decorative brick pavers or colored concrete.
Access for pedestrians and bicyclists to the Mount Vernon Trail from the bridge requires crossing the GW Parkway’s high-speed traffic at grade. This has been the scene of many crashes over the past few years. The Park Service has made some improvements to the circle by modifying sightlines, moving crosswalks, piloting rapid flashing beacons at crosswalks, and installing better signage, among other changes. NPS staffers are pursuing safe and separated trail crossings across the GW Parkway to improve access to the bridge. They will begin an environmental assessment of the Memorial Circle in 2014.
The bridge will continue to connect many historically and culturally significant parks, places, and memorials. The inclusion of protected bicycle lanes in the Arlington Memorial Bridge EA could dovetail nicely into the Memorial Circle EA, resulting in a significantly improved connection between the District of Columbia and Virginia for residents and visitors to our Nation’s Capital.
The comment period ends next Monday, Dec. 2. Please take a moment and as the National Park Service to rebuild the Arlington Memorial Bridge with dedicated space for bicycles, pedestrians and cars.
It was standing room only last night for the city of Alexandria’s Traffic and Parking Board’s monthly meeting. The topic of discussion was the King Street bike lane and traffic calming project, which we wrote about yesterday. Sixty-two residents and representatives of local organizations took to the podium to express their opinion on the city’s newest proposal. Forty-two speakers spoke in support of the bike lane project, while 18 were opposed to the plan. The written comments to the board were three-to-one in favor of the bike lane project, according to city staff.
City traffic engineers originally proposed installing bike lanes the complete length of King Street from Russell Road to Janneys Lane, which would have required removing all 37 on-street public parking spaces (this stretch of King Street is a neighborhood street with plenty of off-street driveway parking). Last night, city staff presented a revised plan, which would retain 10 on-street parking spots on King Street and add 3 more on side streets based on the concerns of residents. Residents also requested more data from city staff. That data was presented last night and included an 85th-percentile speed for the street: 35 miles per hour, which is 10 miles over the legal speed limit.
After almost three hours of testimony, board members briefly discussed the topic and voted to defer for two months. The board voted in September to defer the vote for the first time and asked city staff to address residents’ concerns. Now Alexandria residents must wait another two months for a hearing. Which, unfortunately, also means they must wait for a safer King Street.
If you can’t wait two months, please send a message to the Alexandria mayor and city council expressing your support for the King Street bike lanes.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is the leading voice for bicycling in the region. WABA members and supporters enable us to advocate for better conditions for bicycling. Join or donate today to ensure that we can continue to represent you.
This morning, we emailed a version of the text below to our supporters in Alexandria. We’re posting it on our blog to encourage those who don’t subscribe to our action alerts but live in and around Del Ray to attend tonight’s hearing about the proposed King Street bike lanes, which are in danger of being killed in favor of parking spaces.
“We want people to be using bicycles and walking,” Alexandria Mayor Bil Euille has declared (as recently reported by the Del Ray Patch).
This winter, the city of Alexandria plans to expand the popular Capital Bikeshare system to Del Ray with five new stations. However, Bikeshare will falter without additional on-street bike lanes, routes, and trails. Alexandria is proposed to construct bike lanes on King Street from Russell Road to Janneys Lane. The western section of King Street is an uphill climb. The proposed lanes will provide a safe place for people on bikes to climb at their own pace, while keeping car traffic flowing smoothy and unimpeded. Neighbors report that drivers often speed on this stretch; bike lanes will calm this fast-moving car traffic. Pedestrains will benefit from a buffer from car traffic and a sidewalk clear of bike traffic. The King Street bike lanes are an unequivocal win for nearby residents, pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and bus riders.
Learn more about the King Street bike lane proposal on Alexandria’s website.
But there are a few vocal and well-connected neighbors opposing the bike lanes. Their main complaint is the loss of a small number of public parking spaces. The stretch of King Street in question is residential, with single-family homes and driveways. The ciy observed that about 95 percent of all street parking spaces were vacant over a three-month period this year. This empty public space should be used to make King Street safer for kids biking to school, residents walking to the Metro, and visitors using Capital Bikeshare to shop in Old Town.
There is a real chance that Alexandria’s Transportation and Parking Board will vote against the bike lanes in favor of these parking spaces. Please attend TONIGHT to testify in support of the King Street bike lane project and demand safer streets.
Transportation and Parking Board Hearing
Monday, Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m. (TONIGHT!)
Council Chambers, City Hall (Market Square, King Street at Royal Street)
More information: http://www.alexandriava.gov/TrafficParkingBoard
You must sign up to testify by 7:45 p.m.; download the speaker form (PDF)
Thank you for helping to make the streets of Alexandria safer.
This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.
Recently, we posed this question to the WABA staff: “What books have enriched your understanding of the power of bikes and your approach to bike advocacy?”
Here are some titles we heard in response. They’re a well-rounded look at planning and advocacy for the curious reader, and could make for great holiday gifts! That said, this list is in no way comprehensive. Do you have a favorite urban studies, planning, or bike-related book? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter (or leave a comment on this post).
Asphalt Nation, Jane Holtz Kay
City Cycling, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler
Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs
Edge City, Joel Garreau
Everyday Bicycling, Elly Blue
High Cost of Free Parking, Donald Shoup
Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler
Pedaling Revolution, Jeff Mapes
Sprawl, Robert Bruegmann
Stir it up, Rinku Sen
Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt
The Third Mode, Jeff Olson
Walkable Cities, Jeff Speck
Walking Home, Ken Greenberg
Women on Wheels, April Streeter
This post is authored by WABA supporter Brett Young, who hopes to see the Glen Echo Trolley Path fixed to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.
On Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Palisades Rec Center (5200 Sherier Place NW, Washington, D.C., 20016), the Palisades Citizens Association will be voting on a resolution requesting support for converting the old Glen Echo Trolley Path to a bike/recreation trail.
From 1902 until 1961, the trolley was used to transport residents from D.C. to Glen Echo Park. Since the demise of the trolley, the path has lain dormant. Weeds have grown over it and a few of the remaining bridges are derelict.
There have been several attempts over the years to reuse the path, each meeting with community resistance or indifference. We think the timing is now ripe for reuse of the trail, given the success of the Capital Crescent Trail and the overall increase in cycling usage through D.C.
We believe that there are now enough residents who share the same vision as us: That the old trolley right-of-way can be both an asset to the community and a useful resource for transportation and leisure.
The Palisades Neighborhood Trail, the name for the reused right-of-way, will begin to the north at Galena Street and end to the south at Georgetown University. It would then extend to Prospect and 37th streets NW (two blocks west of the Exorcist Steps).
If you’re interested in supporting the idea of the Palisades Neighborhood Trail, please come out to the Dec. 3 Palisades Citizens Association meeting.
To learn more about the trail and where it would go, see this map (the D.C. portion is shown in red). Here’s a video of the trail from Foxhall Road, finishing at the Capital Crescent Trail. And here are my photos of the Foundry Branch Bridge that connects Foxhall Drive to Georgetown University. I’m answering questions about the idea of the trail on the Washington Area Bike Forum. Feel free to submit questions or comments there.
I hope to see you on Dec. 3 at the Palisades Rec Center!
It’s been a few weeks since DDOT got started on the installation of the New Mexico Avenue NW bike lanes, but we’re happy to report that paint is on the ground and is being used effectively.
WABA and riders of New Mexico Avenue have been fighting for safety improvements along this stretch of road since early this spring. WABA members and supporters attended meeting after meeting to vocalize their desire for improvements to new Mexico Avenue. We’re proud of all the effort that went into making bicycling safer in Ward 3—even despite an eleventh-hour attempt to stop this particular project.
We’ve heard a number of positive stories about the lanes so far. Read this one, sent to us by ANC 3C resident and WABA member Leigh Ann:
“I came home on Monday and saw the New Mexico Avenue bike lanes start at 39th & Tunlaw. Exciting developments so I had to ride on to check out the progress up the hill. As I rode, I noticed an older woman riding on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. She was really fast and I realized she was on a power-assisted bike (!). We kept pace with each other for a block or so, and I called out to her “Look at our lovely new bike lanes! Aren’t they fantastic?” She doubled back, crossed the street, and joined me in the bike lane. As we rode together, I admired her set-up and she told me how much she loves her bike! She said that she’s glad for bike lanes like these because make it much safer to ride all over in the city. Of course, I agreed!”
WABA worked very closely with ANC commissioners from Ward 3, community members and DDOT staff to help bring this project to life. Many hours of staff and volunteer time was invested in this campaign and it’s our members and supporters who enable us to do this work. Join or donate today to ensure that we can continue to represent your interest as a bicyclist!
If you are interested in staying involved in WABA’s advocacy efforts, sign on as a supporter of better bicycling to receive email updates. Also, consider joining the Ward 3 bicycling Facebook group if you’re in the area.
Winter is coming, but regional bike advocacy opportunities are heating up!
November is packed with public meetings across the D.C. area that will impact bicycling. We’ve listed as many as we know about below. If you can attend, speak up for bicycling. Planners need to hear from you about the impact proposed projects could have on the bicycling community.
You can also bookmark our public Google advocacy calendar, which is full of public meetings, WABA advocacy trainings and other upcoming events. If you have items for the calendar, email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW
Tues., Nov. 5 , 6:30 p.m.
Methodist Home of D.C., 4901 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
DDOT is studying four alternatives for the rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW as part of an Environmental Assessment. The section of Broad Branch slated for rehabilitation is 1.5-mile length of roadway between Linnean Avenue and Beach Drive. Only one alternative would include any bicycle facility: Alternative 4 purposes a climbing bike lane on the uphill side and a shared-laned on the downhill side. The EA is being released for 30 days for public comments; please submit your comments to DDOT by Nov. 22, 2013. The complete EA is available for public review on the project website at broadbranchrdea.com.
Proposed Rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge Alternatives Meeting
Wed., Nov. 13, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
The Little Theater, Washington Lee High School, 1301 North Stafford St., Arlington, Va.
The George Washington Memorial Parkway is holding a public meeting to present alternatives for the proposed rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. All alternatives would resurface the road and repair the sidepath surface, which would be great improvement for commuters. However, no presented alternative improves the bridge’s greatest deficiency: access from the trails on both sides of the river. Any improvement of the bridge should address this major safety issue. There should be direct access to the bridge from the Mount Vernon Trail and trails on the National Mall. Comments may be submitted electronically on the project website at parkplanning.nps.gov/memorialbridgeea.
Community Meeting on the Rock Creek Trail Facility Plan
Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m.
Meadowbrook Park Activity Building, 7901 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase, Md.
Montgomery Parks invites the community to review renovation plans for the Rock Creek Trail, including proposed renovations to the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail, opportunities to enhance the natural environment along the trail, ways to reduce the frequency of trail maintenance, and ideas to improve safety, pavement conditions, drainage, and accessibility. For more information visit parkprojects.org.
Fairfax Countywide Dialogue on Transportation
Tues., Nov. 12, 7 p.m., Fairfax County Government Center
Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Forest Edge Elementary School
Fairfax County is seeking input on how to spend its new transportation funding from Virginia’s recently passed funding bill. How should $1.2 billion be spent over the next 6 years? And how much should be spent on bicycling? Show up to these two public meetings—the last regarding this transportation funding—and demand funding for bicycling be increased. Information about the meeting locations and time, and the entire planning process is online at fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/cdot/engage/meetings.htm
A giant panda cub in Woodley Park! A red panda in Adams Morgan! And now: Zebras on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Yesterday, DDOT installed a set of zebras—small physical traffic barriers—on the 1200 block of the Pennsylvania Avenue cycletrack. The plastic devices are intended to curb the high rates of illegal u-turns across the bike lanes.
Since the installation of the cycletrack in 2010, cars making u-turns across the lanes have caused many crashes with bicyclists. The zebras will provide some physical separation for bicyclists from car traffic.
These zebras are a pilot project, so DDOT only installed them on the 1200 block. Before installing barriers along the entire corridor (and potentially other cycletracks in the city), the agency wants to study the zebras’ effectiveness. The most important questions to answer are whether these new traffic control devices reduce the rate of u-turns across the bike lane and if that leads to a lower crash rate for cyclists. If the zebras are successful at reducing crashes and making the lanes safer, DDOT intends to install them along the entire bike lane.
The length of the study period is currently unknown.
This is the latest development on the Pennsylvania Avenue NW cycletrack. That zebras have been installed is a step in the right direction to make the lane safer for cyclists—one of WABA’s goals. Earlier this year, u-turns across the lanes were made illegal by emergency rulemaking by the D.C. Council, and there has been increased enforcement by MPD. Zebras comply with the strict historical nature and national significance of Pennsylvania Avenue. DDOT sought approval from the Commission on Fine Arts before installing them.
The zebras are produced by a Spanish company, Zicla. According to Zicla’s technical specifications, the zebras should be spaced no more than 8.2 feet (2.5 meters)
8.2 meters apart. It appears that DDOT installed the first row of zebras at a spacing of 12 feet. This will need to be corrected.
We’ll continue to follow the progress of improvements along Pennsylvania Avenue and insist that the cycletrack is safe and comfortable for all cyclists. See more photos of the zebras, taken yesterday morning, after the jump.
After we announced that WABA filed a FOIA request to learn more about the status of the M Street cycletrack—and after some press attention on the matter—the District Department of Transportation posted this update on its Facebook page:
In order for us to proceed with implementing the M Street cycletrack we need to complete the environmental review process. We are moving towards completion of this process, which will enable us to move quickly into construction. While our construction season is starting to wind down, we are hopeful that we can still complete the project this year. Actual construction will take an estimated three to five weeks to complete.
We realize that this project has been in the works for quite some time and that it was scheduled to be implemented this year. This project remains a priority for us and therefore we will continue to work hard to ensure it can be implemented as soon as possible.