Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’
Yesterday, Tues., March 5, our Advocacy Coordinator, Greg Billing, delivered to D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s a petition you and over 2,400 others signed, asking for improvements to the Rock Creek Park Trail. A lack of any attempt to improve the trail’s well-known egregious conditions drove WABA to demand immediate action from the National Park Service and District Department of Transportation last month. Del. Norton is now asking those agencies for a progress report.
We are grateful for Congresswomen Norton’s support of the campaign to fix the Rock Creek Park Trail. Read the full press release from her office below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
On Friday, I will be testifying on behalf of WABA at the Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety’s annual oversight hearing on the efforts of the Metropolitan Police Department. On Monday, I will be testifying at the Transportation & Environment Committee’s oversight hearing on the efforts of the District Department of Transportation.
It’s time for me to say something different on behalf of the District’s bicyclists, and I need you to say it with me.
I sat down yesterday to write my testimony for these important hearings, and I realized that these agencies simply are not making the progress they need to make. They are not keeping up with the growth of bicycling in the District and region.
I’m not going to go back into those hearings again—for a third year—and say the same things: the Rock Creek Park Trail isn’t done; the Met Branch Trail isn’t done; protected bike lanes take forever to design, then are downgraded to simple bike lanes when someone objects; police don’t interview bicyclists when they’re involved in crashes; and the police department refuses to enforce the three-foot passing law and other safety laws.
All those things are still true.
But saying them last year didn’t get us anywhere, and saying them again this year won’t either. We need to try a new approach.
Let’s think bigger.
Recently, several big U.S. cities like New York and Chicago, as well as that often-cited bike utopia Portland, have publicly adopted “Vision Zero” policies, dedicated to ensuring that no one is killed on city streets. “Vision Zero” means that there will be zero deaths or significant injuries due to traffic crashes. D.C. pays lip service to this goal with a little-known website stating it, but has done virtually nothing to make it happen.
Let’s make it happen.
For D.C. to truly embrace “Vision Zero,” it can’t just put up a website and call it a day. Key agencies like DDOT and MPD need serious restructuring designed around that goal. Planners need to talk to engineers at all stages of project development. Officers need to be assigned to focus on traffic crime. Budgets need to focus on projects that protect pedestrians and bicyclists. Good designs need to be constructed rather than watered down at the first whisper of pushback. Public employees need to be trained on the importance of bicycling and walking, and how to protect the safety of those who bike and walk.
Vision Zero is more than a slogan. It is more than just a goal. It is a philosophy of prioritizing the protection of the people who use our streets, trails, and sidewalks and organizing the activities of our local government in a manner consistent with that level of priority.
We can do this. The District can be a leader in creating safe streets, trails, sidewalks, and public spaces. The demand is there. People want safer streets. But we need our government leaders to do something bigger than complete a single bike lane or pass a single law. We need them to change their priorities and govern accordingly.
Help change the conversation.
In my testimony before these committees, I will push for precisely this prioritization of people, and the implementation of a Vision Zero policy. I want you do to the same.
Tonight, there is a mayoral debate featuring all the major candidates and the public can submit questions. Let’s hold the candidates accountable to prioritizing safe streets and ask them how they plan to do so. Click here to submit your question to be asked at the debate.
Don’t forget that residents are always welcome at council oversight hearings to discuss the work of District agencies.
- The MPD hearing is this Friday, Feb. 28, at 10 a.m., and you can sign up to testify by calling 202.724.7808.
- The DDOT hearing is Mon., March 1 at 11 a.m., and you can sign up to testify by calling 202.724.8062.
Dan Mehaffey and Jim Durham are City of Alexandria residents and local advocates for safer streets for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Richard Baier, Alexandria Transportation and Environmental Services Director, presented on Monday a plan to meet the direction of City Council and calm traffic on King Street. The plan is the outcome of professional work by City Staff, numerous community meetings, and a compromise to keep as much parking as possible on King Street. The meeting went into the early hours of Tuesday when the Traffic and Parking Board voted 5-2 to recommend delay in implementing the plan, a change from a similar November 25th vote of 6-0 recommending delay. Board members Greg Cota and Kevin Posey voted against further delay after listening to Mr. Baier’s presentation and public comments, in which a majority of speakers, all Alexandria residents, spoke in favor of the City’s plan.
The flashpoint in the plan is the 27 parking spaces on King Street between West Cedar and Highland, where the majority of houses face North Terrace View, not King Street. Chairman Thomas “Jay” Johnson, Jr. heard testimony about the parking usage by City Staff. In 20 random samplings of the 27 spaces, the average count was 1.2 cars. At most, five cars were parked in the 27 spaces. The 27 spaces do not include the 10 spaces west of Highland which were kept as parking spaces as part of a compromise that also added three additional spaces to the street parking on the other side of King Street.
Mr. Baier’s expert testimony focused on how the traffic calming measure before the board would re-allocate the use of public right-of way to create a safer King Street in a section that is heavily used by pedestrians to access the King Street transit hub. The Alexandria Transportation Commission, the Environmental Policy Commission, the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and the Park and Recreation Commission submitted letters of support for the plan.
The board also heard from Alexandria residents including residents of the affected neighborhood who favor the city’s plan and want the safety measures afforded by the city plan. The safety measures include pedestrian crossings, separation of use for walkers, bikers, and motorists, and a compliant lane narrowing shown by the Highway Capacity Manual to reduce speeds by between 1.9 and 6.6 miles per hour. The King Street speed limit is 25 miles per hour in the section, but motorist speeds are well in excess of the limit. Opponents of the plan also cited safety as a reason for their opposition to the plan described as safe by not only the professional planners on city staff but also in an independent review by a professional engineering firm.
The traffic calming plan now goes to City Council for a March 15th hearing with the Traffic and Parking Board’s recommendation.
A clarification, from the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee: “Although the original parking information was technically correct, parking needs are based on peak usage not average usage. In an effort to be as clear as possible, we have updated the numbers to stress the peak usage for all parking in the stretch (six cars for 37 spaces) instead of the average usage for the 27 spaces that will be removed (just over 1 car).”
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The District Department of Transportation has released its proposal of bike lanes to install in 2014. You can view the proposed facilities on a full map of the city or on a one-page spreadsheet, both on DDOT’s website.
At the top of the list are several 2013 projects, such as the M Street cycletrack and contraflow bike lanes on G and I streets NE. The 1st Street cycletrack between M and K Street will ostensibly be finished this spring; this will be a critical on-street connection between the Met Branch Trail and Union Station.
Other facilities to get excited about include bike lanes on 14th Street NW from Florida Avenue to Columbia Road, a connection of the 4th Street SW bike lanes across the National Mall to Pennsylvania Avenue, and climbing lanes on Malcolm X Avenue SE and Rock Creek Church Road NW.
If you don’t see a project you desire on the 2014 list, check out the proposed Move DC bike facilities plan. Move DC is DDOT’s 20-year multi-modal plan for all the District’s transportation modes. A draft plan for public review and comment is expected this spring, with a final version to be released over the summer. Once the Move DC plan is adopted, DDOT will begin planning and implementing projects from it. D.C.’s bike network is planned to grow to over 74 miles of cycletracks, 122 miles of bike lanes, and 133 miles of multi-use plans.
While what DDOT has released is merely a list of proposed bike lanes for 2014, we hope that the agency will meet its required goal of installing 10 miles of lanes per year. Go get ‘em, DDOT!
Tonight, the City of Alexandria Traffic and Parking Board will hear public testimony for the King Street Traffic Calming project at 7:30 pm at City Hall. Will you attend tonight’s hearing and show your support for safer streets in Alexandria?
The City of Alexandria is proposing to calm traffic and improve conditions for pedestrians, transit riders and bicyclists by constructing bike lanes on King St from Russell Road to Janneys Lane and by adding and upgrading crosswalks. Neighbors have long complained of safety issues on this street caused by drivers frequently speeding and rolling through stop signs. This project will address these safety issues. The City’s proposal will also make the street safer for pedestrians creating a safe space on the street for bicyclists, removing them from the sidewalks. Learn more about the City of Alexandria’s proposal online on the City’s website. This proposal directly benefits pedestrians, residents, bicyclists, bus riders and drivers.
The Traffic and Parking Board already heard the public testimony about this project in November. The overwhelming majority spoke in favor of the project but they deferred the vote. Do not let them defer safe streets tonight.
There are a few vocal and well connected neighbors opposing this project because of a loss of a small number of public parking spaces. This stretch of King Street is a neighborhood street with mostly single family homes with driveways. The City of Alexandria observed about 95% of the parking spaces were vacant over a three month period this year. This unused public space should be utilized to make our streets safer for all. Kids should be able to bike to school, residents should be safe walking to the Metro station, and visitors should feel comfortable riding Capital Bikeshare to shop in Old Town.
There is a definite possibility that the vote will go against the bike lanes or be delayed. The opposition is vocal and motivated. Please attend the public meeting and support King Street Traffic Calming!
Transportation and Parking Board Hearing
Monday, February 24th, 7:30 pm (Tonight)
Council Chambers, City Hall (Market Square, King St at Royal St)
You must sign up to testify by 7:45 p.m. – download the speaker form (pdf)
After tonight’s hearing, the Alexandria City Council will hold a public hearing in March and vote on this project. A favorable vote from the Traffic and Parking Board tonight will go along way to a vote to proceed from City Council. Tonight’s vote is important.
Share with the City of Alexandria your personal experience biking, walking or driving on this stretch of King Street. If you cannot make tonight’s hearing, send an email to the Traffic and Parking Board in support of the King Street Traffic Calming.
After we told you that we would no longer stand for the deplorable condition of the Rock Creek Park Trail, over 2,400 people signed our petition to fix the Rock Creek Park Trail.
That incredible action did not go unnoticed. Major regional news outlets covered the demand for a better Rock Creek Park Trail: Read the WAMU story here. Washingtonian, Fox 5 News, NBC 4 and Active Life DC also covered the egregious state of the trail.
An official from Rock Creek Park was quoted in the WAMU story as saying, “The current status is a [environmental] decision will be issued in the near future, this calendar year. And DDOT has budgeted for a trail reconstruction in fiscal year 2015.”
WABA will meet with officials from DDOT and Rock Creek Park in early March to discuss the details of this project. We will hold both public agencies to the timelines to which they have committed, and will continue to advocate for much-needed repairs to the Rock Creek Park Trail. Keep reading our blog for updates on this project.
The Rock Creek Park Foundation will host an open house from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m at Mon., March 3, 2014 at St. John’s College High School in Vaghi Dining Room at 2607 Military Road NW, Washington, D.C. This is a great opportunity to be engaged with the park on this issue and other issues related to it. You can learn more about the open house on the NPS website here.
Image via Flickr user TrailVoice
How did you get to work today?
Without a cleared bike trail, did you drive to work? Did you take a crowded bus? Or, did you squeeze onto a full Metro train?
Snowstorms highlight a government’s true prioritization of transportation means. In Arlington, major roads and highways get plowed first. Secondary and neighborhood streets are next to have snow removed. When all else is finished, the trails and bike lanes might be cleared—often days after snowfall, if at all. Evidently, clearing a cul-de-sac before the Custis Trail reflects Arlington’s transportation priorities.
Data from Arlington County’s trail counters show trail traffic drops to close to zero for days after snowfall. Cold weather doesn’t discourage riders, but snow-covered trails are unbikeable.
Arlington County should prioritize snow removal from main commuting trails and give cyclists the option to commute by bike in the days following a snowstorm. County board members have expressed concerns over the effectiveness, environmental impacts, and resources related to clearing such trails. While these are all understandable issues that need to be addressed, they have not even directed the County Manager to try to do so.
Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Communities build great networks of bike lanes and trails — and then maintain them. Keeping trails reliably cleared throughout the winter sustains mobility for bicyclists.
Tell the Arlington County Board to direct the County Manager to develop and prepare a snow-clearing plan for the county’s bike trail network and to provide the resources to test and implement that plan in a predictable manner.
Thank you for helping to create a community where bicycling is a year-round transportation option.
The Maryland State Highway Administration is moving forward with a new sidewalk and crosswalk proposal for Wisconsin Avenue’s “green mile.”
This is the partially sidewalk-less, crosswalk-less road that connects Bethesda to Friendship Heights, where bicyclist and pedestrian safety has been an issue for years due to lack of decent infrastructure. Many spoke up in support of this project at a meeting about a year ago, and now you have the chance to see the results of that action.
On Wed., Feb. 19, the SHA will be presenting its final project plans and construction schedule for Wisconsin Avenue. Attend to learn about the timeline and thank the SHA for accommodating bikes and pedestrians.
Wed., Feb. 19, 7:00 p.m.
Chevy Chase Village Hall
5906 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase, Md. 20815
Google Bike Directions
As a refresher, SHA’s plans call for the installation of a $1.2 million six-foot-wide sidewalk along 0.7 miles of the east side of Wisconsin Avenue, which borders the golf course at Chevy Chase Club. Despite there being three bus stops between Grafton Street and Bradley Lane, there is currently no sidewalk along this stretch of the road. It is a hazard for anyone with limited mobility, and unpleasant for all pedestrians hoping to walk this section of the busy, six-lane Wisconsin Ave. The new sidewalk will address these concerns and provide a respite for less confident bicyclists who do not feel safe commuting on the street. Read the coverage from the Bethesda Now blog in 2013. SHA’s plans also include several crosswalks, equipped with pedestrian-activated flashing lights over the road, to be built across Wisconsin Ave. to further improve biking and pedestrian safety. A summary of this specific piece of the project can be seen here.
Thank you to everyone who has spoken up in support of this issue over the years. Any additional relevant information about the meeting will be posted here.
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 today or make a tax-deductible donation to ensure that we can continue to represent you.
The Rock Creek Park Trail is, literally, falling into the creek.
In fall 2013, the National Park Service had to put up a fence along a section of the Rock Creek Park Trail to keep its users from slipping into Rock Creek. Repaving, rehabilitating, and upgrading the trail—as WABA has called for NPS and the District Department of Transportation to make moves to do—could have prevented this. But NPS and DDOT have moved extraordinarily slowly on matters related to Rock Creek.
In June 2013, we posted an extensive progress report on the project’s status to the WABA blog. There has been no public movement on the Rock Creek Park Trail since December 2011. We are still waiting for a Final Environmental Assessment to be released, more than two years since the last public meeting regarding the trail. Enough is enough.
WABA is calling on its members and supporters, along with community members and leaders, to sign a petition to fix the trail. We have waited too long for the Rock Creek Park Trail to be repaved and upgraded.
The spring riding season is almost upon us. It’s unfortunate and the fault of NPS and DDOT that the region’s riders will go another year of biking in the nation’s capital with a crumbling, inadequate, and unsafe Rock Creek Park Trail.
The Virginia state legislature is about halfway through its 2014 legislative session. There are a number of bills related to bicycling that are working through the Senate and House of Delegates. We posted a quick rundown of bills WABA is watching on the blog a couple of weeks ago.
Both Senate bills (SB 225 and SB 97) have passed a full Senate vote and will now go to the House. On the House side, two bills failed to report (which means that they failed to be passed out of committee) from the Transportation Committee: Both bills (HB277 and HB320) sought to clarify the law for drivers stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks or passing another car that has stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. One bill (HB 82) passed a full House vote and will go to the Senate.
You can see how your elected representatives voted below. If you don’t know who your state representatives are, use our easy legislator look-up tool to find out.