Tomorrow, Tour D.C.’s Cycletracks and Learn About Advocacy, Too

Green Lanes Planner/Engineer Tour

Join WABA tomorrow night for an advocacy-focused tour of D.C.’s Green Lane Project-style dedicated bike infrastructure. We’ll meet at the Foggy Bottom Metro stop  and the ride will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Helmets are required.

We hosted a similar tour last week for regional planners and engineers. While that tour was intended to show off D.C.’s infrastructure and help regional planners understand how similar designs could work in their own jurisdictions, this tour will address the advocacy necessary to getting bike lanes planned, installed, and operating successfully.

Sign up for tomorrow’s advocacy tour of D.C.’s cycletracks here.

A Tour of D.C.’s Green Lanes, in Photos

Green Lanes Planner/Engineer Tour

Last week, WABA took planners and engineers from neighboring jurisdictions on a tour of D.C.’s “green lanes.” Green lanes are any dedicated, physically demarcated bike infrastructure. D.C. has a few bike lanes like this: The 15th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and L Street cycletracks are notable examples. WABA has received funding from the Green Lane Project to promote and analyze existing green lanes, as well as advocate for more.

Green Lanes Planner/Engineer Tour

Representatives of the city of Alexandria and Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Arlington, and Fairfax counties attended our green lanes tour, which showed off the aforementioned cycletracks as well as sharrows and painted bike lanes. Advocacy coordinator Greg Billing was joined by DDOT staffers Heather Deutsch, Mike Goodno, and Jim Sebastian to explain how the lanes work and answer any questions.

Green Lanes Planner/Engineer Tour

We’ve received much positive feedback and were proud to show off examples of D.C.’s bike-focused traffic planning. We hope that attendees found the tour useful and are able to take back to their offices some ideas on dedicated bike infrastructure. Many thanks to the Green Lane Project for making events like this possible.

Green Lanes Planner/Engineer Tour

See the route below the jump. For more photos, see our Flickr page. Did you attend the ride? Upload your photos to our Flickr group!

Help The D.C. Bike Ambassadors Survey L Street

L Street Cycle Track Project

You’re likely familiar with the L Street cycletrack, D.C.’s eastbound, physically separated bike lane. The L Street cycletrack is one of a few bike lanes in D.C. that emulates the kind of infrastructure BikesBelongs’ Green Lane Project is trying to encourage across the country.

Next week (Tuesday and Thursday), the D.C. bike ambassadors will be teaming up with the District Department of Transportation and Portland State University to conduct a bicyclist survey that will indicate the effectiveness of the L Street cycletrack. We need volunteers! This is a great opportunity to get directly involved with the future of D.C.’s bike lanes. Data from this survey will be used to make the case for more L Street-style bike lanes in D.C. Read on for more information and for details on volunteering.

Overview
The Neighborhood Street Study is a national study of separated bike lanes (“cycletracks”) funded by the Green Lanes Project and the National Institute for Transportation and Communities. Researchers at Portland State University are carrying out the study in six cities across the United States, including D.C. The goals for the project are to find out how well the cycle tracks are working, how they are impacting neighborhoods, what people’s experiences are with them, and what needs to be improved. Results and findings will be shared with each city and will help improve transportation in your neighborhood and with others around the United States.

Our role in this study is to help survey the people bicycling on D.C.’s cycle tracks, specifically, L Street. We will be handing out postcards to bicyclists at two locations on the L Street cycle track, with information about the survey and instructions directing them to an online web address where they can find the survey. each postcard has a unique code so we can be confident that the respondent actually received a postcard. It’s important that actual users have their voices heard!

Next week, on Tues., June 11 and Thurs., June 13, bike ambassadors will be help DDOT conduct this survey. We will provide more detailed information upon sign-up.

Feel free to sign up for any and all dates you can help out. You won’t be out there by yourself, so don’t fret. We need folks at the following times:

  • Tuesday, June 11th from 7:30am – 10:00am
  • Tuesday, June 11th from 11:00am – 1:00pm
  • Tuesday, June 11th from 3:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Tuesday, June 11th from 5:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Thursday, June 13th from 7:30am – 10:00am
  • Thursday, June 13th from 11:00am – 1:00pm
  • Thursday, June 13th from 3:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Thursday, June 13th from 5:00pm – 7:00pm

To sign up, use this form. We appreciate your continued efforts to help make bicycling in DC more awesome each day!

For more information on the Neighborhood Street Study, check out its website. Please feel free to contact the D.C. bike ambassador, Megan McCarty (megan.mccarty@waba.org), for more information or to answer any questions.

Photo via Flickr user DDOTDC

Update from the Mayor’s Office on Pennsylvania Avenue

Pennsylvania Avenue Bike Lanes

Remember the bollards?

Yesterday, long-simmering displeasure with the pattern of illegal u-turns across the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes netted considerable media attention from NBC4. Reporter Mark Segraves was most interested in a video by Bill Walsh of a police officer actually pulling someone over for u-turning. However, this is far from standard; more often, drivers u-turn with impunity.

It has been difficult for WABA to get information about Pennsylvania Avenue. We know that the bollards that once lined the cycletrack would be removed for the winter, due to the threat of snow as well as plans for the inauguration. We know that DDOT was working on ideas for better, and perhaps more, bollards. But as to why the bollards have been left in a pile and not been reinstalled? We’re as perplexed as everyone else. Additionally, we haven’t gotten a clear description of exactly what sort of enforcement MPD has done since it and DMV agreed that u-turns were illegal.

After Justin Antos counted and documented thirty U-turns in thirty minutes on Pennsylvania Avenue, I forwarded his photos to Mayor Vince Gray’s office with a request for explanation and assistance. I received the following response:

MPD and DDOT have been working to improve enforcement and protection. It’s my understanding that flexposts are on the way to replace the ones that have come down, and that DDOT is working with the Federal Highway Administration, the Planning Commission, and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts to find a suitable perimeter divider. We’re hopeful that the divider we’ve presented to them will be accepted. If they are, we will move quickly to install.

As of today, MPD has written approximately 62 improper turn citations and approximately 70 warnings.  Prior to yesterday, we were doing targeted enforcement during selected rush hours and special events.  Today’s AM Officer observed no violations and wrote zero citations during the scheduled enforcement. It should be noted that yesterday was a special situation because of the sinkhole at 14th and Pennsylvania. Our resources were deployed to direct traffic around this traffic blockage.  Moreover, some where cars were allowed to turn around on PA Avenue to mitigate what was a significant traffic/public safety incident.

As you are aware, Pennsylvania Avenue is a special case because of the intersecting jurisdictions. But, we remain committed to expanding cycling in the District and making our streets safe for those who use bicycles.

We now know that the new flexposts are on the way and that DDOT is engaged with the federal planning and fine arts entities that have a say in what happens on Pennsylvania Avenue. We hope that these conversations—especially those involving the Commission on Fine Arts—will be open to the local, affected public. If they aren’t, we’ll find other ways to ensure the CFA understands that its decisions could place the community in physical danger.

We also know that MPD is doing enforcement. I think we can all agree that when a guy with a camera can document thirty instances of unlawful behavior in thirty minutes—and repeat the exercise daily—that enforcement mechanism is failing. But enforcement exists. That said, we want to see it improved, and we want to better understand its timing and method so that we are better able to communicate to the bicycling community what is being done.

From a policy standpoint, the worst possible result would bicyclists losing so much confidence in the safety of biking facilities like Pennsylvania Avenue that those facilities fail to enable more people to bike safely. We are on the verge of that with Pennsylvania Avenue’s bike lanes, and we need prompt improvements to both the infrastructure and enforcement mechanisms. Either alone won’t be good enough.

In the meantime, we need DDOT to rush the procurement of those new flexposts, or put the old ones back until the new ones arrive. Installing a flexpost isn’t  a big job. It’s OK to do it twice to prevent crashes and save lives.

Image via DDOT on Flickr

Model for a Green Lane Project Photoshoot on Fri., June 7

WABA has recently teamed up with the Green Lane Project, part of Bikes Belong, to increase the number of dedicated cycletracks in D.C. Also affiliated with Bikes Belong is People for Bikes, which is working to develop stock images of cities involved in the Green Lane Project, including D.C.

Here’s how People for Bikes describes the shoot:

National bike nonprofit PeopleForBikes.org is conducting a photoshoot in Washington, DC on June 7th. We’re looking for local bike lovers to model for us! The objective of the shoot is to capture beautiful images of people riding a bike for everyday purposes. We’ll pay $50 for each 2-hour session you work.

These images will be used by a bicycling nonprofit that is working to make bicycling safer and better in Washington, DC and around the country! So, even though the pay isn’t amazing, it’s a very good cause. We’re looking for people of all ages, looks, and ethnicities—singles, couples, families, business professionals, kids, etc.

Are you interested and available on June 7? Sign up with People for Bikes today.

Comment on DDOT’S M Street Cycletrack Plans Tonight

Walk the Tracks

Soon, a cycletrack

If you came to our Walk the Tracks event a few weeks ago, or if you’re interested in seeing the installation of the M Street cycletrack come to completion, please consider attending DDOT’s public meeting on the cycletrack tonight. The agency will present and take comments on the proposed cycletrack, which will provide an eastbound pairing for the existing L Street cycletrack.

The meeting is tonight, Wed., May 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the West End Library, 1101 24th St. NW.

More information can be found here.

Walk the Tracks, in Photos

On Monday night, WABA hosted “Walk the Tracks,” in which District Department of Transportation staffers showed off to interested parties—from casual cyclists to ANC commissioners to councilmembers—how the forthcoming M Street cycletrack will work.

As an affiliate of Bikes Belong’s Green Lane Project, WABA is able to make its already strong, consistent push for dedicated bike infrastructure even more aggressive. Events like “Walk the Tracks” demonstrate that D.C.’s cyclists, elected officials, and agency staffers are on board with better, safer accommodations for bikes.

The M Street cycletrack, which will provide a westbound pair to the L Street cycletrack, is projected to arrive in August.

In addition to a number of elected officials, like councilmembers Jack Evans and Tommy Wells, DCist, Washingtonian, and WAMU covered “Walk the Tracks.” WAMU has plenty of details about how the cycletrack will look:

The M Street bike lane will share a similar design to its predecessor on L, but officials said it will be safer. For starters, the new bike lane will lie between the sidewalk and parked cars. On L Street, the bike lane is partially wedged between two traffic lanes.

“You will have the three foot separation that provides a little more comfort plus the parking lane adjacent to it. So actually the moving traffic will be 11 feet away from you in the cycle track and it will feel more like a trail,” said Mike Goodno, a bike planner at the District Department of Transportation.

According to DCist, Wells called the M Street cycletrack a “crucial artery.” We at WABA couldn’t agree more, and we look forward to its installation.

See photos of Walk the Tracks below, and check out our Flickr set for even more shots. Did you take pictures at “Walk the Tracks”? Add them to our Flickr pool!

Walk the Tracks

Walk the Tracks

Walk the Tracks

Walk the Tracks