Action Alert: the MoveDC Draft Plan

Photo credit: BeyondDC

Just a few weeks ago, Mayor Gray cut the ribbon on DC’s newest protected bike lane on First St. NE. The brightly painted lane is physically separated from car traffic by a concrete or rubber curbs. Do you want a protected bike lane in your neighborhood? Now is your chance.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is now accepting public comments on a draft 20 year master transportation plan called MoveDC (review the draft plan). The bicycling element proposes an expansion of the bicycling network with over 200 new miles of bike lanes, protected bike lanes (cycle tracks) and trails. The finished network would be a whopping 343 miles of dedicated bicycle infrastructure! Read our blog post summary about the draft plan.

MoveDC is not done deal. DDOT accepting public comments on the draft plan until July 6th, 2014. There will be a DC Council public hearing on Friday, June 27th at 11am. Sign up to testify at the hearing online here. DDOT will compile comments and make edits to the draft plan. A final plan would need to adopted by DC Council. MoveDC needs your support.

Please, take five minutes to give your support and provide comments online now.

 

Thanks to the many WABA members and supporters who attended more than a dozen public meetings and spoke in support of bicycling over the past year during the MoveDC process. You all rock.

When the proposed bicycle network is fully built out, the majority of DC residents would be within a two minute ride of a protected bike lane or trail. Please help make this a reality!

Take Action

You Get a Cycle Track, You Get a Cycle Track

movedc-downtown-cycletracks-everywhere

The recommended downtown bike network in the draft Move DC plan. Every dashed white/pink line is a proposed protected bike lane (cycle track).

At Friday’s ribbon cutting for the First St. NE event, Mayor Gray announced the release the much anticipated Move DC draft Multimodal Long-Range Transportation Plan. The draft plan is a giant step forward for biking in the District of Columbia. It’s worth repeating, the expansion of bicycling as a mode of transportation for the next twenty years in Move DC are some of the most ambitious in the entire United States.

To get to the juicy details first, the Move DC draft plan proposed an expansion of the bicycling network with over 200 new miles of bike lanes, protected bike lanes (cycle tracks) and trails. The total envisioned bicycle network would be 136 miles of bike lanes, 72 miles of protected bike lanes (cycle tracks), and 135 miles of trails – the finished network would be a whopping 343 miles of dedicated bicycle infrastructure!!!

The entire draft plan with appendices is over 500 pages so there is still plenty of information, data, policies recommendations and plans to dig through. The bicycling element examines existing conditions, current policies and highlights the recent growth. Bicycling in DC is the fastest growing mode of transportation and it is in this context DDOT outlines a substantial growth in the bicycle network. DDOT planners hope to have a majority of city residents within a 2 minute bike ride of a protected bike lane or trail.

This plan represents a huge step forward for bicycling in DC. However, DDOT has set a less than ambitious goal for total bicycling increase in their Bicycle Element Performance measures. The goal over the 25 year period is an increase in bicycling to 12% of all trips that start and end in the District. According to the US Census most recent American Communities Survey (2012), DC’s bicycling commuting rate is 4.1% for work trips. Since 2005, the commuting rate has increase about 30% each year. Projecting the growth out 25 years to 2040 at a 30% growth rate would be an overall 12% bike commuting mode share but only for work trips.

The ACS data is notorious for under counting bike commuting and only considers work trips, not all trips. Estimates put work trips as only 1/6th of total trips made by a person. Non-work travel includes grocery shopping, going out to dinner, picking kids up at school, etc., which are generally shorter and closer to home. Biking makes up a larger portion of non-work trips for the very reason they are shorter. DDOT’s 12% goal for all trips in the city to be made by bike should be more ambitious.

Included in the draft plan is a thorough update and progress report on the 2005 Bicycle Master Plan (pdf).  DDOT gives updates on the 14 core recommendations outlines in the master plan. Many major initiatives have been finished or are nearing completion. Other projects such as the Met Branch Trail and Rock Creek Park Trail are years behind schedule. It’s worth reading the full progress update and see how much has been done, and how much is still left to do.

The public input process began last year in February with a major kick-off event and three rounds of public meetings. There were also online surveys, webinars, and a bimonthly advisory group meetings. WABA members and supporters tirelessly participated in the public input process. The Move DC plan is a big step forward for biking in the District, but we’re not done deal yet.

A plan of this scale has not be undertaken in recent DC history. From the beginning, WABA and other transportation advocates have asked does this plan process become the plan for the entire agency. The draft Multimodal Long-Range Transportation Plan is a detailed framework in which all future policies, funding, project planning, engineering and construction are decided within.  The process of adoption is now becoming clear but more complicated by other current policy and political discussions.

DC Council is a considering a reorganization of DDOT, and other transportation related agencies such as the DMV and Taxi Commission (full Council bill). DDOT would the primary agency responsible for implementing a future Move DC plan. The Council has also voted to reduce future streetcar funding, a primary transit mode in the Move DC plan. The additional developments complicated the overall discussion of Move DC but also highlight the issue of transportation a prime concern to be addressed in a growing DC.

There is now an open public comment period to provide feedback on draft plan. Comments are being now accepted online. On June 27th, the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a public hearing on the draft plan. After the comment period ends on July 6th, 2014, DDOT will compile comments and make edits to the draft plan. A final plan would go back to DC Council for a vote.

Please comment on the plan, especially the Bicycle section, and express your support for the plan. The next 25 years for bicycling in DC will be very excited if the Move DC plan becomes the vision we build.

Cutting ribbons, cutting cake (oh, and also 213 miles of new bike infrastructure proposed)

The 1st St cycle track in cake form.

The 1st St cycle track in cake form.

Several of us rode over to NoMa this morning to take part in the ribbon cutting on the new First St NE, which includes what is almost certainly the best designed cycle track in DC.

Check out our photos from the event here.

Mayor Gray used the opportunity to announce the release of the draft MoveDC plan. (This afternoon the moveDC website was running pretty slowly. You can view the Bicycle section on scribd here.)

There’s a lot to like and some room for improvement in this plan. Keep an eye out for a full analysis from our team soon. In the meantime, take a moment to celebrate this:

moveDC recommends 213 additional miles of bicycle infrastructure. The objective of the ultimate system is to provide a significant network so that bicycling is not a secondary mode, but a principal and preferred mode for travel.

This a big deal. It represents a major commitment from DDOT to make the district a better, safer place to bike. Thanks to all of you who participated in the MoveDC process by taking the surveys and showing up at meetings.

The public comment period on this draft is open through July 6.

Read the full report here.

Here’s Shane, talking about the cycle track
Shane takes the mic

And here’s our photo op with Mayor Gray
Photo Op

 

More photos on flickr.

Keep Our City Moving by Bike: Attend a MoveDC Meeting This Month

The U.S. Census just released data from its 2012 American Community Survey. One of the notable results? D.C. is biking a lot more.movedc-bikefacilities

The bicycle commuter rate jumped from 3.2 percent in 2011 to 4.1 percent in 2012. That’s a 28 percent increase in just one year. How did D.C. increase bike commuting by a full percentage point in such a short period of time? The city government made bicycling a transportation priority and followed through with it: There has been investment in 60-plus miles of bike lanes, a few miles cycle tracks, new trails, hundreds of bike racks, a full youth and adult education program, the launch of Capital Bikeshare, and much more. The 2005 Bicycle Master Plan set aggressive goals for the city, including an increase the rate of bicycle commuting from 1 percent in 2000 to 5 percent in 2015, as well as reducing crashes involving cars and bicycles.

Now we need to think bigger. The District Department of Transportation is currently planning the next 20 years of transportation investments through a process called MoveDC. MoveDC, which we’ve blogged about before, is a technical multi-modal study and public engagement process to set the course for D.C.’s transportation future. The process began with a kickoff event in February, followed by one round of public meetings in April and another in June. The final round of public meetings will be in October.

DDOT will present three general approaches to a future transportation system. The first approach is called “Stay the Course,” which focuses on incremental changes and prioritizes keeping the system in a state of good repair. There is no new funding associated with this plan, and it assumes that current funding levels will stay constant. In this plan, 70 miles of sidepaths and trails, 60 miles of bike lanes, and three miles of cycletracks would be constructed by 2040.

The second approach is dubbed “Get to the Center” and focuses on addressing downtown congestion for all modes: walking, biking, driving, and transit. “Get to the Center” assumes that if the issue of getting into and out of downtown is prioritized, congestion elsewhere in the city will ease. Under the “Get to the Center” plan, DDOT would build 46 miles of sidepaths and trails, 56 miles of cycletracks, and 57 miles of bike lanes by 2040.

The third approach DDOT is proposing is called “Connect the Neighborhoods.” In this plan, DDOT would focus on short-distance travel between neighborhoods with livability being primary driver of investment. The approach would work to increase connectivity, access, and efficiency of travel between neighborhoods and key destinations. For bicycling, DDOT proposes building 39 miles of sidepaths and trails, 74 miles of cycletracks, and 66 miles of bike lanes by 2040.

Which is the best for bicyclists? Clearly, “Stay the Course” will get us more of the same: incremental change such as new bike lanes when a repaving project happens, cycletracks that stop and start, trails that take years to finish. A new approach is needed. DDOT’s planning staff has presented two compelling ideas of how to tackle the transportation issues the city is facing. However, choosing between a focus on commuter traffic in and out of downtown or travel between neighborhoods is a false choice. D.C. has to address both issues while meeting the SustainableDC goal of 50 percent transit mode share and 25 percent walking and biking mode share.

DDOT planners should be commended for presented aggressive goals for new bicycling facility goals to encourage new bicyclists. The final plan must be a hybrid approach that combines the best of both ideas.

Get involved to make that kind of plan happen! There is one final round of public meetings in October to comment on these approaches. Please attend and express your support for bicycling. The dates for the meetings are below with links to RSVP with WABA. DDOT is also collecting feedback via an online survey tool called MetroQuest. Please take 10 minutes and submit your feedback online.

SESSION 1 (tentative)
Mon., Oct. 21, 2013
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Union Station
625 First St. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
Google Maps
RVSP for this meeting

SESSION 2
Tues., Oct. 22, 2013
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., presentation at 7 p.m.
Benning Neighborhood Library
3935 Benning Road NE
Washington, D.C. 20019
Google Maps
RVSP for this meeting

WEBINAR
Thurs., Oct. 24, 2013
Noon to 1 p.m.
Sign up via www.wemoveDC.org starting Oct. 10

SESSION 3
Sat., Oct. 26, 2013
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
DCUSA Retail Center
Second floor between Target and Best Buy (near escalator and elevator)
3100 14th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20010
Google Maps
RVSP for this meeting

SESSION 4
Wed., Oct. 30, 2013
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Presentation at 7 p.m.
Petworth Neighborhood Library
4200 Kansas Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20011
Google Maps
RSVP for this meeting

PARTICIPATE ONLINE, ANYTIME
Oct. 1, 2013 through Oct. 30, 2013
Online: Launch MetroQuest

Walking and Biking Rank #1 in First Round of Move DC Workshops

http://www.wemovedc.org/media/ideasthatbuild-buildingblocksdata.png

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.

 

Attend This Week’s MoveDC Ideas That Build Workshops

moveDC logo_RedAre you a D.C. resident? Do you have thoughts on how you’d like to get around the city over the next twenty years? It’s critical that you get involved with MoveDC, the District Department of Transportation’s long-range planning process for transportation in D.C. MoveDC kicked off with an “Idea Exchange” in early February. Attendees were asked to identify their priorities for transportation, map their routes, and share their desires for D.C.’s transportation future.

The MoveDC process is continuing with a series of public meetings throughout the city. Last week, the “Ideas That Build” workshops came to wards 7 and 8. This week, they’re coming to wards 6 and 1. We encourage you to attend the meetings, especially those closest to your home, to voice your interest in dedicated facilities for bicyclists.

More information can be found on our website and on MoveDC’s website. See a PDF of our suggested talking points here. Details on the workshops are listed below; if you can attend, please RSVP with us here.

Session 3 (Ward 6)
Tues., March 26
6-8 p.m.
Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School multi-purpose room
259 G St. NE

Session 4 (Ward 1)
Thurs., March 28
6-8 p.m.
Woodrow Wilson High School
3950 Chesapeake St. NW

Attend a MoveDC Ideas That Build Workshop in Your Neighborhood

moveDC logo_RedAre you a D.C. resident? Do you have thoughts on how you’d like to get around the city over the next twenty years? It’s critical that you get involved with MoveDC, the District Department of Transportation’s long-range planning process for transportation in D.C. MoveDC kicked off with an “Idea Exchange” in early February. Attendees were asked to identify their priorities for transportation, map their routes, and share their desires for D.C.’s transportation future.

The MoveDC process will continue with a series of public meetings in wards 3, 6, 7, and 8. We encourage you to attend the meetings, especially those closest to your home, to voice your interest in dedicated facilities for bicyclists. These meetings, called “Ideas That Build” workshops, begin next Wednesday.

More information can be found on our website and on MoveDC’s website. See a PDF of our suggested talking points here. The dates of the workshops are listed below the jump; if you can attend, please RSVP with us here.

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