AT LAST: Rock Creek Park Trail reconstruction starts this fall

A new trail bridge is coming to the Rock Creek Park Trail at the zoo tunnel. Photo credit: M.V. Jantzen

Construction is coming to the Rock Creek Park Trail this fall. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will rebuild the trail along Beach Drive.  The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will finish the trail work in late 2016/early 2017. For a community that has been waiting for over a decade, construction on the trail will be a welcomed sight.

The Environmental Assessment plans for 3.7 miles of trail rehabilitation from P St. NW to Broad Branch Road. FHWA will construct roughly two miles of trails from the Rock Creek Park Trail to Broad Branch Road. FHWA will also modify the road within the zoo tunnel to accommodate a narrow trail. Construction crews will build a new trail bridge over Rock Creek near the tunnel. Where possible, the trail will be widened. The trail surface will be completely repaved.

FHWA will issue bids this summer and plans to begin construction this fall. The trail will be reconstructed in conjunction with a complete rebuild of  Beach Drive from the Rock Creek Parkway to the Maryland border. The smooth pavement will be a great improvement to weekend rides.

Project managers combined the trail and road project. They seek to limit construction impacts and speed up implementation of both projects. The Beach Drive project will happen in five phases—the trail reconstruction will occur during first two phases. Trail construction in this section should be complete by summer 2016.

Construction will close the trail temporarily.

During construction, FHWA will close both Beach Drive and the Rock Creek Park Trail. This is not ideal, but keeping access open during construction is not feasible. Drivers and trail users will be detoured. We are working to ensure that the trail detour is a reasonable one that minimizes busy roads and the steep climbs out of the park. During construction, trail users should plan alternate routes. We hope the complete trail closure will speed up construction.

The full 3.7 mile trail rehabilitation will not be complete when FHWA finishes their work next summer. DDOT is responsible for all trail sections across the creek from Beach Drive and along Rock Creek Parkway (south from Beach Drive), along with the new spur trail along Piney Branch Parkway. DDOT intends to complete design phase for their trail sections by August 2016 and begin construction in the fall of 2016. The agency plans to finish the entire trail reconstruction in 2017.

Last year, WABA lead a petition effort to push the trail rehabilitation project forward. Over 2500 residents signed the petition asking the National Park Service and District Department of Transportation rebuild the trail. After a yearlong delay. DDOT finalized the EA last summer, allowing final design and construction to begin.

If everything goes according to plan, residents and visitors will be enjoying newly rebuilt trail sections next year and a fully rebuilt trail by 2017. Thank you to the National Park Service, DDOT, FHWA and everyone else involved in bring this project to completion.

Mayor Bowser Commits to Implementing Vision Zero

Last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser stated her committment to Vision Zero in the District of Columbia. The announcement came at last Friday’s press conference with Secretary Foxx of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Vision Zero is a system-wide effort to end traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries for all road users.

The Mayor also announced that she will be joining Secretary Foxx’s Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets. The Secretary is challenging Mayors to take action to improve safety for people walking and biking. D.C. is a leader for improving street safety, and adopting a Vision Zero goal raises the bar.

On average more than 40 people die each year walking, biking or driving on our city streets. Traffic-related fatalities have declined in recent years, but crashes causing injury (rather than death) are on the rise, especially among those who walk or bike. Traffic deaths and injuries are preventable. Vision Zero makes it everyone’s job—from policymakers to traffic engineers to law enforcement officials—to prevent them completely.

“We are taking our first step towards realizing a ‘Vision Zero’ where no lives are lost on our streets or at our intersections,” says Mayor Bowser in an official press release.

Mayor Bowser committed to adopting a Vision Zero goal and strategy during her campaign. Two weeks ago, WABA sent a letter asking her to fulfill this promise. Friday’s announcement is an important first step.

We will track the progress of next steps over the coming weeks and months. The core element of Vision Zero is a commitment to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries within a specific amount of time. New York City committed to ending traffic deaths within 20 years. San Francisco’s goal is by 2024.

A clear and coordinated cross-governmental strategy will be required to meet this goal. The Mayor will need to pull together all relevant public agencies. Accountability is key. We expect regular updates detailing efforts undertaken, results and progress towards the goal.

A strong community values human life, and we should do our best to protect it. Vision Zero is a commitment to making our streets safer for everyone, including those who bike. We are very encouraged by Mayor Bowser’s first step toward this goal.

 

Photo Recap Of The Coldest-est Day Of The Year Ride

As biking becomes a more popular, more safe, and more normal form of transportation in our region, more people are giving winter commuting a try.

To encourage and celebrate more year-round biking our Women & Bicycles program partnered up with The Bike House to host the Coldest-est Day of The Year Ride.

Thanks to all who joined us, the marshals, the sunshine, and thanks Paul L. for documenting the coldest-est fun!

 

 

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.

This Sunday’s Third-Annual Hains Point 100!

7115887If you haven’t attempted to bike 33 continuous laps around Hains Point, then the Hains Point 100 is the best time to try!

Click here for information and to register.

If biking 100 miles isn’t tempting, then divide 100 miles among your friends, bike 100km, try 100 minutes, or maybe you just want to come out and cheer on the 200+ riders.

Whatever you decide,  there’s something for everyone at this event: a community potluck, photo booth, playground, an unbelievable pile of raffle prizes, and a few surprises! Plus all the proceeds go to our Women & Bicycles program.

Registration is an encouraged donation of anywhere between $10 and $1,000. Donate what you can to help fund next year’s Women & Bicycles program.

Thanks so much to organizer, Megan Jones and to all the support from the event sponsors.

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.

Contributory Negligence Bill Tabled for 2014

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Today, D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety tabled a proposed bill to improve access to compensation for crash victim–effectively killing it for this legislative session. Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced the motion to table. Councilmember Evans (Ward 2) and Chairman Mendelson voted to table the bill. Councilmember Wells (Ward 6) voted against the motion.

The “Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Amendment Act of 2014” (Bill 20-844) was introduced by Councilmember Grosso, Wells and Cheh in July to provide relief to vulnerable roadway users whose claims are inappropriately denied by insurers, and who cannot secure representation in the courts due to the economic effect of the liability standard.

We are deeply disappointed that the economic concerns of the insurance industry and the D.C. Trial Lawyers Association derailed progress on a bill that would have meaningfully helped hundreds of crash victims receive the recovery they are fairly due for injuries resulting from another party’s negligence. We will continue to work to resolve this systemic problem.

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