Success: King Street Bike Lanes Will Go Forward

Success! The City of Alexandria will install bike lanes on King Street in 2014.

The City of Alexandria will move forward with plans to install bike lanes on King Street east of the Metro station. In a letter to residents of King Street, Director of Transportation and Environmental Services Rich Brier will direct City staff to implemented the compromise proposal in the new year.

66 speakers testified at the TPB hearing on Nov. 25. 48 spoke in favor of the bike lanes, and 18 were opposed. City residents who spoke in favor of the bike lanes included a high-school teacher, two vision-impaired riders who ride with sighted riders on tandem bicycles, parents, students, and other residents. WABA worked to mobilize the support of Alexandria bicyclists and gave testimony on behalf of our Alexandria members and supporters.

In the four page letter to residents Director Rich Brier writes, “As a professional engineer tasked with ensuring the safety for all users of our street system and after reviewing the data and researching alternative proposals, I believe that the modified plan is the best plan to achieve the common goals of improving safety and balancing the needs of multiple users of King Street.” Read the letter in its entirely on the City of Alexandria’s website.

Learn more about the City’s proposal for King Street online including their original proposal and the late compromise solution. City staff initially proposed removing all 37 on-street parking spaces but late presented a revised proposal that retained 10 on-street spaces.

The City of Alexandria has made an important step towards towards making the streets safer for all roadway users. Please take a moment now and send a note of thanks to the City Mayor and Council. Click this link to send an email of appreciation.

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 blog post was update to include a link to the full letter from Transportation Director Rich Brier.

Thursday is the Last Chance to Comment on M St SW/SE Cycle Tracks

Download, print and bring this poster to the meeting to show your support for Cycle Tracks on M St

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)

WABA Testifies in Support of Prince George’s Council Bill CB-2-2012

End of the Sidewalk

End of the Sidewalk by M.V. Jantzen, on Flickr

As you’re riding along a side path or walking along a sidewalk of a busy suburban road, the path mysteriously ends. There is nowhere to go except onto the busy street, a grassy shoulder, or a narrow dirt path. Suburban bicyclists and pedestrians know this situation all too well.

WABA testified in support of Prince George’s Co. Council Bill CB-2-2012 titled “Adequate Public Pedestrian and Bikeway Facilities in Centers and Corridors” at the February 15th, 2012 meeting of the Planning, Zoning, Economic and Development Committee. Co-sponsored by Eric Olson (District 3) and Mel Franklin (District 9), CB-2-2012 would require new developments to fill in the missing links in walking and biking facilities from the neighborhoods to the new development.

WABA strongly supports this bill and the leadership of Councilmembers Olson and Franklin in creating safe bicycling and pedestrian connections in Prince George’s Co. During the hearing there was discussion about the proposed financial limits for developers, the maximum required distances of the connection and how “adequate” connections should be measured. We believe these are important points of discussion but should be made in the regulation process and not through legislation. The full text of the bill can be downloaded here.

Where Did All the Bike Lanes Go?

2011 was not the year for bike lanes in the District.  Since 2006, DDOT has  installed on-street bike lanes at a rate of four to eight additional miles per year. Less than one mile of new bike lanes was installed in 2011.

As DDOT nears the end of the timeframe laid out in 2005’s Bicycle Master Plan, the target for miles of bike lanes installed per year gets fuzzy. On average, the Master Plan calls for 10 miles of new bike lanes per year. The more recently adopted 2010 DDOT Action Agenda sets a goal of 80 miles, total, of bike lanes and protected cycle tracks by 2012.  As of today, the District has about 50.

DDOT had planned to install about 6.5 miles in 2011.  Of that 6.5 miles, approximately 4.25 miles are studied, designed and ready for installation.  But these have not been installed due to internal delays at DDOT.  The bike planners seemingly have done their part, but 2011 will end without these lanes installed, as it is now too cold for road striping.

The other 2.25 miles of that 6.5 that were slated for installation but have been put on hold for various reasons including a lack of ANC approval or a delay in necessary roadwork and signal work.

The map below shows on-street bike projects we expect in the next year.

  • Red indicates projects slated for 2011 that are planned, designed, and ready–but not installed.
  • Orange indicates projects slated for 2011 but pending additional work (ANC approval / additional roadwork) before they are ready for installation.
  • Purple highlights projects slated for 2012.

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After installing less than a mile of bike lanes in 2011, DDOT needs to dramatically improve its performance just to meet the 10 mile per year average of the Bike Master Plan, much less the 80 mile goal of the Action Agenda.  This year’s performance is unacceptable, and signifies broken promises to the District’s cycling community.

Director Bellamy and, ultimately, Mayor Gray need to recognize that this year’s performance is unacceptable, and that major improvements are needed in 2012.

WABA Proposal for Alabama Ave., SE Health Impact Assessment Clears First Funding Hurdle

(For a description of the HIA project, CLICK HERE.)

On July 1, WABA received the exciting news that we have been chosen to move forward to the next round of the Pew Trust/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Impact Project.  Out of nearly 250 applications nationwide, only 40 were asked to submit a full proposal.   If chosen, this grant will fund a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment on WABA’s push to add an on-road bike facility on Alabama Avenue SE, from Martin Luther King Avenue to the Suitland Parkway.  Ultimately, the Pew Trust and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will choose and fund just ten HIA proposals for this coming year.

The HIA is another piece of our outreach efforts in Wards 7 and 8, an area of the city underserved by bicycling infrastructure.  WABA assisted in the completion of a “rapid” HIA with our partner Dr. Keshia Pollack at Johns Hopkins University and her HIA graduate students this spring, and those results formed the base of our Pew trust HIA proposal. The graduate students’ work provided a tantalizing glimpse into what could be discovered if a full HIA can be completed. More research to fully inform future bicycle policies and plans for Wards 7 and 8 is desperately needed.

This past weekend a teen bicyclist was struck and critically injured by a hit-and-run driver while attempting to cross Alabama Avenue in the immediate HIA area of study. With more cyclists taking to the streets daily, our road infrastructure has to do a better job of protecting them, throughout the city and in every ward.

Our full proposal is due to the Pew Trust on September 15th and they plan to announce the winning projects by the end of the year. If chosen, we will begin work immediately in January of 2012.

ANC 1C Tables Vote on Columbia Road Bike Lanes

Street striping plans for the Columbia Rd., NW bike lanes (click to download PDF version)

Last night at the July meeting of the DC Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C tabled its vote on the  proposed Columbia Rd., NW bike lanes.  These proposed bike lanes would extend from Connecticut Ave. NW to Harvard Rd. NW.

This 1 mile section of bike lanes creates a continuous on-street bicycle facility through Adams Morgan and it connect various disconnected sections of bike lanes along Columbia Rd.  Furthermore, the Columbia Rd. bike lanes would complete the connection to bike lanes / sharrows on Adams Mill Rd to Woodley Park and the sharrow bike route on the new 18th Street (once the Adams Morgan Streetscape Project is completed).

Representatives from the DDOT bicycle program were on hand for the meeting with the most up-to-date street striping plans (pdf) for the Columbia Rd., NW bike lanes.  The plans reflect multiple, minor changes after two meetings with the ANC’s Planning, Zoning and Transportation subcommittee over the past few months.

Kristen Barden, Executive Director of the Adams Morgan Partnership, voiced support for bicycling by mentioning the Partnership’s sponsorship of a Bike to Work Day pit stop.  However, this support was tempered over concerns of lost of parking spaces–especially in the 1700 block of Columbia Rd in front of Safeway–and the inconvenience and disruption of traffic for the construction of the bike lanes.

Some parking space (total exact number unknown, best guess was near four) will need to be removed to create loading zones for delivery trucks on the 1700 block of Columbia Rd. for Safeway.  Currently, delivery trucks illegally park in the center median.  To legally accommodate trucks, the new loading zone must be created which require the removal of parking spots.  The connection of a loss of business with the loss of car parking was made many times.  However according to DDOT, bike counts on Columbia Rd. often exceed 150 bikes per hour making one of the busiest bike corridors in the city which brings high numbers of customers to Adams Morgan’s businesses.

The other major concern of the bike lane project was centered around the inconvenience of the construction while the 18th St. streetscape project is underway.  DDOT estimates the 1 mile section of bike lane striping will take only a few days.  They have an outside contractor lined up for the work with a larger crew than the city’s striping crew.   The inconvenience should be minimal.

ANC1C’s subcommittee on Planning, Zoning and Transportation will most likely discuss the bike lane project at their August 1st meeting at 7 p.m. at the Kalorama Recreation Center.

WABA will continue to track this project and keep you up-to-date on it’s progress. But please remember that WABA’s presence at community meetings is not a full substitute for the cycling community’s presence.

(And in the interest of full disclosure: Yes, this bike lane would run past our office.  And our office is located where it is largely because of the high concentration of cyclists in the area.)


View Larger Map

Security Planning, Like Construction Planning, Must Consider Bicyclists

From Greater Greater Washington:

Event planners need to be mindful of common bikeway access points when setting up street closures. It is not appropriate to use a one-size-fits-all security approach anymore where people are treated as cars or non-cars. Fine, close off the Mall. Set up a perimeter. But take into consideration those of us who bike and go about our daily lives as residents of this city.

There is no need to close off bike access on 15th Street. This is how cyclists, including many tourist cyclists, access some of the area’s best trails. Moreover, there is no security interest that is being protected by closing this street.

When setting up a security perimeter, please look closely at these locations instead of blankly eyeing a map and setting up roadblocks. There are freeways and overpasses in this area not just a flat street grid. Many of these roads are dangerous for pedestrians and bikers, both of whom will be forced to use these areas when left with no choice but to wait in a security line.

WABA is attempting to work with Park Police on a number cycling-related issues including clarity of signage, authority for bicycle prohibition/access on NPS property, and treatment of cyclists post-crash.  We will also specifically focus on bicycle access during periods of heightened security.

Did others experience similar access issues at any other locations over the holiday weekend?  Let us know in the comments so that we can adequately express the detailed areas of concern.