Posts Tagged ‘DC’
We’re consistently asked by WABA members and community members when the Rock Creek Park trail will be repaved. The trail is a very popular, multi-use path in Rock Creek National Park that winds north from Georgetown into the park and connects to Beach Drive (which, on weekends, is closed to cars). It’s well-liked by runners, dog walkers, families, and bicyclists, but desperately in need of repair.
The current condition of the trail is rough, rooted, uneven, and too narrow for daily use. A ride on the trail is a bumpy one, due to tree roots cracking the asphalt. The edges of the trail have deteriorated, due to years of unattended grass and weed overgrowth. This has also reduced the usable width of the trail, which was insufficient to begin with: It was originally to be eight feet wide. In addition to the decline of the paved surface, the trail was built with 90-degree turns approaching bridges and a narrow sidewalk on the bridge near the tunnel. When the National Zoo closes its gates, trail users are forced to use the three-foot sidewalk in the tunnel. Many cyclists have chosen alternate routes because the condition of the Rock Creek Park trail has declined.
Plans to rehabilitate the trail have been in the plans since the late 1980s. Federal recreational trail funding for design and construction was established over 10 years ago. And the federal environmental assessment planning process has been ongoing for over seven years. So why don’t we have a finished trail?
During the initial planning and scoping for the project, talks between the District Department of Transportation and the National Park Service stalled over a core issue: trail width. DDOT, as the agency funding and constructing the trail, wanted the trail to be 10 feet wide. Rock Creek Park, as the agency with jurisdictional control and administrative authority over the land, rejected widening the trail for its entire length, citing negative impacts to the environment. The negotiations stalled for years.
After much intervention from WABA and the community, NPS and DDOT compromised to widen most of the trail to 10 feet, except for a few pinch points where the eight-foot width would remain. With middle ground reached, the environmental assessment process restarted. A draft EA was released in December 2011 with a 30-day period for public comment.
Under the draft environmental assessment (download the draft here), DDOT would completely repave the entire asphalt surface of the trail and new access trail spurs. The paving would take place on a 3.7-mile segment of the Rock Creek Park multi-use trail from Broad Branch Road to P Street NW; a 0.8 mile segment of the Piney Branch Parkway trail from Beach Drive to Arkansas Avenue NW; a 0.2 mile segment of social trail from Broad Branch Road to Peirce Mill (referred to as the Peirce Mill trail spur); and a 0.5 mile segment of the Rose Park trail from P Street NW to M Street NW. Also incorporated into the EA is construction of a new, wider bridge parallel to the car bridge that crosses Rock Creek immediately south of the zoo tunnel, and a reconfiguration of the tunnel to allow for a six-foot-wide sidewalk for use during hours that the zoo gate is closed.
With no outward progress on the environmental assessment, and therefore a slowing the implementation phases of design and construction, WABA requested a meeting with Rock Creek National Park Superintendent Tara Morrison and DDOT to discuss the current status and next steps to finishing this project. Currently, DDOT is completing the final EA, which will be released to the public in the late summer/early fall. Following the EA, Rock Creek National Park must issue the decision document called a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI—best acronym ever) for the project to move forward.
Superintendent Morrison and her staff expect the FONSI to be finished by the year’s end. Operating in parallel, DDOT has the trail project at 30 percent design but cannot get to a 100 percent complete design until the FONSI is released. In the bike/ped program’s obligation plan for federal transportation funding, DDOT has obligated to design and construction funds for fiscal year 2014/2015. DDOT is considering hiring a consultant under a design/build contract for this project, which would increase delivery but limit public input during the individual phases—especially between the design and construction phases.
WABA would like to thank DDOT and Rock Creek National Park for meeting with us and for their commitment to finishing this very important rehabilitation. We expect the two agencies to work quickly, efficiently, and effectively to deliver a completed project on time or early. The region has seen a recent renaissance of bicycling for transportation and demands on the infrastructure that support it need urgent attention to sustain that growth.
Ride with us in celebration of Mothers of the world and women who bike throughout the world. This Sunday our Women & Bicycles program is joining BikeArlington and Black Women Bike DC to commemorate Mother’s Day and CycloFemme, the global celebration of women bicycling.
The Mother’s Day Picnic Ride begins in three locations throughout the region and we’ll all meet up at Hains Point for celebratory laps and picnic snacks. To get a better look at the ride routes check out our event map. This is a family-friendly, co-ed “sun dress” ride. We’re inviting the whole family to share the bike love and for the men out there, we encourage you to show your support by wearing your favorite sun dress!
To learn more and share with friends, visit our event page.
Ride with the Marlyand group
Please join WABA at the Silver Spring Metro Station at 12pm. We’ll go for an hour-long leisure ride through the city and meet up at Hains Point. After the picnic, you’ll have the choice to take the Metro home, or return to Silver Spring around 3:30pm.
Ride with the DC group
Meet up with the Silver Spring convoy at 12:45pm at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza (14th St NW and Park St Nw)
Ride with the Virginia group
Please join BikeArlington at the Ballston Metro Station at 12pm. We’ll go for an hour-long ride on some of Arlington’s off street trails and bike lanes through the city, and we will end the ride at Hains point. After the picnic, you’ll have the choice to take the Metro home, or ride home with us.
New to bicycling?
Fantastic! We’re so glad you can join us. Group rides are great opportunities to hone your bike skills through experience and through conversation. We will start and end the ride with a quick skillshare on bicycling and city streets.
What to bring
Your bicycle and helmet are required for this ride. We also suggest bringing water, sunscreen, a picnic item to enjoy by yourself or share, clothing (your sun dress!) that will keep you comfortable depending on the weather, and bring your friends and family. We will have a bike pump, and basic repair tools at the start of all the rides.
What is Cyclofemme? They’re a socially-driven grass-roots celebration of women on bikes, “We are of a growing community, for a growing community, and 100% volunteer-based. Our annual Mother’s Day ride unites riders, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or bicycle preference to share in the joy of cycling.” CycloFemme is a day of action, a day to follow through with our pledge to get more women on bikes, and a day to hail the growth of the bicycle movement. In just one year CycloFemme has gone from 163 registered group rides throughout the world, to 227 rides, and we’re so happy to join in on the celebration. #WeRideTogether
Come learn about the much-anticipated cycletrack on M Street NW at our “Walk the Tracks” event next Mon., May 6 at 6:30 p.m. WABA staff, members, and supporters will walk the length of project, starting at Thomas Circle, and discuss the proposed bike lane. Staff from DDOT and the Golden Triangle and Downtown BIDs will be present. This event is a chance to have your questions answered about the project, its design, and the timeline for its construction.
The proposed one-way westbound cycletrack will extend from Thomas Circle at 14th Street NW to 28th Street NW in Georgetown. The cycletrack will be 1.3 miles in length. Last fall, DDOT constructed a one-way eastbound cycletrack on L Street NW. When complete, the L Street and M Street cycletracks will be parallel routes that establish a major east-west crosstown corridor for bikes—and add to the growing network of physically separated Green Lane Projects in our city.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Capital Bikeshare station on the west side of Thomas Circle. We will walk 1.3 miles west along M Street NW, ending in Georgetown. After the walk, those interested in enjoying a cold drink can do so at a local Georgetown business. If you are planning on attending our “Walk the Tracks” event, please RSVP here.
On April 9, DDOT’s Transportation Plan Advisory Committee held its second meeting on the District’s Multimodal Long Range Transportation Plan, called Move DC, following the first round of workshops held earlier this spring. The April 9 meeting built on opinions gathered from those workshops and thanks to WABA members’ particpation, bikes and pedestrians were well represented. “Bikes and Peds Everywhere” was at the top of the list as the most in-demand form of transportation, followed by Metrorail, more local transit, car capacity, and fast transit.
In this meeting, TPAC introduced a building block exercise as a tool to encourage dialogue about planning for the city’s transportation future. It works like a sliding tile puzzle of four blocks, where one block is given for day to day management and commitments, and you fill in the three remaining squares as a “choose your own transportation planning adventure.” Options included different modes of transportation as well as allocation of funds for things like “smarter systems” or “low-cost transit.”
Members of the public and TPAC split into groups to collaboratively build a vision of D.C.’s transportation future. What emerged is informative about attitudes towards transportation in the city and where bikes will fit in. There was restrained but passionate debate of cars versus bikes, agreement on the importance of low-cost public transit, and a general consensus for more local transit. No one wanted to take bikes off the chart, and the most widely supported initiative connected to cars was parking management (how to manage parking management is its own issue). Metro had few defenders; attendees were indifferent to taking it off the board when forced to make fast changes.
For both the TPAC group and the public, the top three agreed-upon priorities were “bikes and pedestrians everywhere,” “more local transit,” and “parking management and expansion.”
What wasn’t chosen is also illustrative—”accelerated good repair,” “sustainability and beauty,” and “fast transit.” Either most people feel these could be incorporated into other systems, or have given up on expecting them all together. More abstract concepts like “smarter systems” and connecting the grid didn’t win fans, either.
The final Move DC plan must address regional transit issues, like the 420,454 vehicle commuters coming into the District each day and the 100,000 people expected to move to the area in the next five years. Necessarily, the plan has to focus on how to get commuters out of their cars and onto other forms of transportation.
DDOT is still soliciting feedback during this initial phase, including the building block exercise. I encourage you to give your feedback and support bicycling if you have not already done so. The public input will help shape the alternatives that are developed going forward. DDOT will continue to accept input on this phase until Mon., April 22nd.
The next round of public Move DC workshops will be in early June. Sign up on the official moveDC list to stay in the loop. Please also sign up for the WABA Advocacy Hub email list for notifications on upcoming Move DC actions and other advocacy alerts.
This guest post is written by Christine Driscoll, an associate at Green Strategies and resident of Adams Morgan. She rides a blue Schwinn traveler and the T Street bike lane is her favorite.
In January, we reported that construction had stalled on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail bridge over the CSX tracks on the east side of the river. It appears construction activity has restarted at the bridge site with DDOT posting photos on their Facebook page of a large crane posting the bridge’s main span.
We took a field trip to the site and snapped the photo above to see the progress ourselves. The bridge’s main span is now in place. Final work will include the bridge decking and finishing the approach ramps. Take a minute and read the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative’s update on their project website explaining the progress, which says that a spring opening of the bridge is expected.
We want to thank DDOT for making the completion of this bridge a priority.
Today, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Transportation and Environment is holding a public oversight roundtable hearing on the 2013 Bicycle Safety Amendment Bill. The hearing is still streaming here. It will be available for download 24 after it concludes here.
Read testimony delivered by WABA Executive Director Shane Farthing below:
On Mon., March 25, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a public hearing on pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and safety. The committee will also hear public testimony on the proposed Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 (read the full text of B20-0140). The proposed legislation would amend and update sections of the D.C. municipal regulations as they relate to bicycling in the District of Columbia.
If passed, the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 would make the following updated or amendments:
- Bicyclists’ use of leading pedestrian intervals: Bicyclists could get the same head start as pedestrians at signalized intersections where pedestrians are given few extra seconds to start crossing a street. Allowing pedestrians and bicyclists the opportunity to get into the intersection before cars make them more visible to drivers.
- Bicycle and pedestrian detours: The mayor would be allowed to require permits obtained from the District Department of Transportation for projects that block sidewalks, bike lanes, or other pedestrian or bicycle paths to provide safe accommodatiosn for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Aligns bicyclists crash infractions with similar pedestrian one: The bill adds penalties “failure to yield” and “colliding with a bicyclist” infractions, similar to current pedestrian infractions. The penalty for “failing to yield” to the bicyclist would be three points points and a fine of $250. “Colliding with a person riding a bicycle” would be six points and a fine of $500.
- Ability to make an audible noise: The bill modifies the law that requires all bicycles to be equipped with a bell, instead requiring all bicycle riders to “be capable of making a warning noise either with a bell or mechanical device, or with his or her voice, audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet.” It also removes a section prohibiting bicyclists from a making a noise within the established quiet zones (Title 18 Section 1204.7)
Please sign up to testify in support of the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013. The outlined changes represent a series of minor but important changes to make bicycling safer and easier in the District of Columbia. As this bill moves forward, you can track the status of it through the DC Council’s online legislation tool. Thanks to Councilmembers Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells for their leadership in making DC a world class bicycle city.
Date: Mon., March 25, 2013
Time: 11 a.m.
Room 500, John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20004
Hearing announcement and details
- Sign up to testify.
- Show up at least 20 minutes before the hearing starts.
- You will be required to pass through security. 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 3-4 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.
Photo by Flickr user thisisbossi
Starting Mon., March 10th, WABA members get a 20 percent discount on single tickets to Studio Theatre’s 2013 season productions, including:
- The Motherf***er With The Hat (now through March 24)
- 4000 Miles (March 20 to April 28)
- The Real Thing (May 22 to June 30)
- Baby Universe (June 26 to July 21)
We’re particularly excited to offer this benefit for the upcoming production of 4000 Miles, a play with a long-distance cyclist as one of its two central characters. After cycling 4,000 miles across the country, 21-year-old Leo arrives unannounced at the Greenwich Village apartment of his octogenarian Jewish leftist grandmother. As an overnight couch-surf turns into an extended stay, 4000 Miles unearths a surprising commonality between the two generations.
Theater plus biking? How awesome is that? But wait, there’s more!
WABA and Studio Theatre are working together to ensure there is a place to park your bike when you roll up. Studio already offers indoor bike parking for its staff, but is working with WABA to get permanent racks installed outside for theatergoers. WABA will also be providing supplemental, temporary bike parking for the entire run of 4000 Miles.
Studio’s commitment to making 4000 Miles a bike-friendly experience is helped by the cyclists on staff. Its artistic director, David Muse, is an avid competitive cyclist. And marketing manager Scott Sanger has ridden his bike for the past 15 years as a member of Team Food & Friends, which rides to support those fighting AIDS.
Here are some important things to know about Studio’s discount for WABA members:
This discount is not valid for Saturday evening performances, in combination with any other discount offers, or on previous orders. Discounted tickets are subject to availability. There is no limit on the number of discounted tickets that can be ordered. To receive the discount, email email@example.com for the promotional code. The code can be used to order tickets online through Studio Theatre’s website or when calling or visiting its box office. WABA members may also present their membership card at the box office to receive the discount.
Photo courtesy of Studio Theatre
The D.C. Independent Film Festival’s screening of two bike-related documentaries, originally scheduled for Wednesday night, is on for tonight.
Bike Documentary Night at DCIFF
Wed., March 6, 6 p.m.
The New Woman: Annie “Londonderry” Kopchovsky and Ginger Ninjas, two bicycle-related documentaries, will screen on the opening night of the D.C. Independent Film Festival. The screenings will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Naval Heritage Center in Penn Quarter and will be followed by a Q&A and reception. The evening is cosponsored by Docs in Progress and WABA; $3 of every ticket will be donated to WABA. Find out more about your films and purchase tickets here.
Date: Mon., March 11
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Naval Heritage Center (Penn Quarter/Archives Metro Station)
On Monday, Councilmember Mary Cheh and the Committee on Transportation and the Environment held an oversight hearing on DDOT’s performance. This is the agency’s “annual review,” at which the public can comment.
WABA commented, laying out hard truths about the state of D.C.’s trails and the need for improvements. Our testimony specifically addressed the completion of the Metropolitan Branch Trail, the widening and repaving of the Rock Creek Trail, and the opening of the eastern railroad bridge on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
That said, we don’t want the good work DDOT has done in implementing bike infrastructure to go unnoticed. And as some residents testify or otherwise speak against the L Street cycletrack, we want our lawmakers to know that we appreciate protected cycletracks—so much so that we want the M Street cycletrack to be completed this spring, not delayed or postponed.
It is important to ensure that our elected officials know how much we, as bicyclists, appreciate separated facilities. Too often, the loudest voices can be opponents and complainers. Facilities can always be improved, but DDOT’s work to make the city safer for bicyclists should continue. Installation of the M Street cycletrack should remain a priority.