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Metro responds to high bike parking demand along Silver Line

From planitmetro:

By August, nearly all of the bike racks were full at McLean station.  Recognizing this need, Metro added space for 20 more bicycles (10 racks) at the station.  The new racks bring the total capacity for bikes to 72 on racks. Bike lockers are still available at McLean, too.

Is that going to be enough?

BTW: Today the blog turns 9 years old. You can read the first blog post here

Bike lanes to be added to Branch Avenue (in PG County)

Dr. Gridlock reports:

The work on Branch Avenue (MD route 5), between Curtis Drive and Southern Avenue, includes the construction of nearly two miles of sidewalk, improved medians and islands, upgrades to the drainage system and road widening to allow for bike lanes.

As part of the project, crews will widen parts of Branch Avenue and Naylor Road to create space for bicycle lanes and will add 9,200 linear feet of sidewalks and sidewalk ramps along both state roads to enhance pedestrian safety and access in the area.

So the bike lanes will end at the DC Boundary. This creates a great opportunity for DDOT to also add bike lanes to Branch Avenue, just like they planned to in the 2005 Bicycle Master Plan. I know it's difficult to co-ordinate plans between the two jurisdictions, but this bike lane should definitely move to the front of the 2015 list.

Memorial Circle Comment Period closes is 5 days

NPS is preparing to redesign Memorial Circle to help make it safer

The National Park Service (NPS) has initiated work on a Transportation Plan and Environmental Assessment (plan/EA) for the Memorial Circle area of the George Washington Memorial Parkway (the park). The purpose of the plan is to reduce conflicts between trail, walkway, and roadway users and to increase overall visitor safety, while maintaining the memorial character of the area and improving mobility for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles.

So far they've only put out a Public Scoping Newsletter and from my review it seems that they've identified the major issues in their project area. But anyone with comments on issue they miss or on solutions to consider should comment

Wilson Bridge Trail Expansion Joints to be Inspected.

By Jonathan Krall

It is the best of trails, it is the worst of trails. The Wilson Bridge Trail offers beautiful views, scenic rest areas with historic and educational markers. It provides a bike and pedestrian connection where previously there had not been one. It is enough of an attraction that many people walk it just to enjoy walking it. When they reach the end, they simply turn around.

For cyclists, however, there is a problem. Expansion joints, about ten of them, jolt cyclists at regular intervals over the length of the one mile bridge. Each has a gap of several inches where the trail surface drops by about 3 inches. The expansion joints extend across the entire width of the bridge, but have a different configuration in the motorized traffic lanes. Motorists, unlike cyclists, get a smooth ride.

In 2013, I wrote to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which maintains the trail, to thank them for plowing snow from the trail in winter and to ask about the expansion joints. I was told that upgrades to the bridge, if any, would come from the Maryland State Highway Administration. I recently followed up with the SHA and in an e-mail reply I was told that “in the past we have filled bridge joints with rubber seals that help prevent bike tires from falling into them. Perhaps this might help ease the bumps. The maintenance crew may also have other ideas.” In a follow-up phone call on Tuesday of this week, I was told that the expansion joints would be inspected within the next two weeks.

On my own daily commute, the Wilson Bridge expansion joints have damaged bicycle components and cargo. Front and rear lights, a cargo basket, a water bottle, and a laptop computer are among the casualties. I've replaced components and learned to pack more carefully (tip: sensitive electronics go on the rider, not the bike). However, after replacing several headlight mounts that snapped off in very cold weather, when the plastic becomes brittle, I now attach my front light to my bicycle only after I cross the bridge, even at night. This is hardly an ideal solution and is tolerable only because the trail has lighting. The expansion joints pack much less of a punch at speeds above 20 mph, but riding at such speeds is not recommended on this very popular trail, or on any multi-user trail.

People who wish to write to the Marland SHA about the Wilson Bridge Trail can do so using this online form: Request for Service

Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery bill hearing this Monday

There will be a hearing on the Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2014 this Monday and if you can go and testify in favor of it, you should. The bill would allow crashes between cyclists and drivers to be adjudicated on a Comparative Negligence Standard instead of the current Contributory Negligence standard. This is probably the most important bike law proposed in DC (or MD or VA) since this blog was started oh so many years ago. I haven't been writing about it very much lately, because so many other places have.

Here's GreaterGreaterWashington on it yesterday.

The DC Bicycle Advisory Council will be voicing their support, and so will WABA.

If you want to testify, you have to sign up by the end of today.

For those wishing to testify, please contact Nicole Goines at 724-7808. Include your name name, address, telephone number, and organizational affiliation, if any, by 5 pm Thursday, September 25, 2014.

And here are some old posts of mine on the subject (but there are more)

Back in 2008 - Contributory Negligence and Last Clear Chance

A wishlist item - CWL 2009 #12 Comparative

About Maryland's - Two Chances to Reform Contributory Negligence Doctrine in Maryland

And about Grosso's bill - Grosso introduces bill to change car-bike crashes from contributory negligence to comparative negligence

Arlington County to approve realignment of Washington Blvd Trail Phase II

Arlnow reports that the trail was moved to save some mature trees.

The trail is expected to cost about $1.7 million, according to county Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel, but it has not been put out to bid yet. The trail has been approved and in planning stages for years, but its initial path would have necessitated digging up hundreds of mature trees.

This Saturday, the Arlington County Board is likely to approve a realignment of the trail to put it closer to Towers Park and S. Rolfe Street, north of Columbia Pike. If approved, the county would pay $8,000 to the federal government to acquire the easement for the trail. The trail will then be put out to bid. Construction is expected to begin next year and end by summer 2015.

Here are images of phase I under work back in 2009.

Chicago's Metra Revises Bike Policy

A policy decision that others should follow

Chicagoland's Metra announced Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 that it is revising its "Bikes on Trains" policy to replace bans during exceptionally busy periods with "warning dates," in which bicycles will be allowed but owners will be cautioned that crowded conditions could prevent Metra from accommodating an initial or return trip.

This is not ending the rush hour ban, only black-out dates when special events were expected to generate additional ridership

Making Ward 5 Work by making it easier to bike

Ward5Ward 5 Works is an effort that came out of Mayoral Executive Order to established a task force to create a strategy for the modernization and adaptive use of industrial land in Ward 5. The Ward 5 Industrial Land Transformation Task Force, comprising residents, business owners and District agency representatives, and they have created the Ward 5 Industrial Land Transformation Study entitled Ward 5 Works.

From that report on current condition:

Ward 5 boasts one of the most popular bike trails in the District—the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT)—which runs along the Metrorail Red Line, connecting the NoMa neighborhood to Fort Totten. There are plans to expand this off-road trail from Fort Totten to Silver Spring, Maryland, which will further enhance its connections to neighborhoods. Regionally, the MBT will connect to other important trails, such as the Capital Crescent Trail, Anacostia Trails System, and be integrated into the East Coast Greenway. Another off-street bike trail has been built along South Dakota Avenue on the east side of the study area. This trail, however, lies only between New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, and is not connected to any designated bike lanes.

Other than the MBT, pedestrian and bicycle amenities are limited in both quality and quantity within the study area. The industrial character and reliance on vehicular transportation contribute to an environment that is generally not conducive to walking and biking other than on designated bicycle lanes. There are some bike lanes that have been built around the study area, such as 12th Street and 18th Street, but very few bike lanes penetrate. There are numerous Capital Bikeshare stations in Ward 5, but they tend to be concentrated along the MBT and in the center of adjacent neighborhoods. In general, the New York Avenue portions of the study area have few bicycle-friendly streets and few destinations to ride to.

Ward5proposedThe proposed improvements for biking are:

The District Department of Transportation and Office of Planning should plan and create new bicycle lanes and pedestrian connections from Ward 5 industrial locations to public transit and local business districts. New pedestrian connections should include South Dakota Avenue, Bladensburg Road and Rhode Island Avenue. Public realm improvements, including
sidewalks as shown in the map on page 107, should be provided along Queens Chapel Road, West Virginia Avenue, Montana Avenue, Adams Place and streets in the Ivy City neighborhood.

Additional Capital Bike stations should be considered at Union Market, Ivy City, Fort Totten Metrorail station and Rhode Island Avenue Metrorail station. Bike lanes and other enhancements should be encouraged where their inclusion would not negatively impact truck turning movements.

And to reduce reliance on automobiles

Some areas of Ward 5 are disconnected from convenient, non-automobile modes of transportation. Decreased car and bus use will, in turn, lessen emissions. Expanded neighborhood bicycling routes in areas such as Ivy City, Trinidad, Woodridge and Brookland, in combination with additional bicycle parking facilities, will encourage transit between isolated residential areas and retail, restaurant and grocery store sites.

They also call for a linear park (the "New York Strip") along the north side of New York Avenue with a bike/ped path. You can see it on the image below.

NYStrip

the bottom orange line coming in from the right is pointing at it. 

Bike lanes on West Virginia all the way to South Dakota Ave and then along South Dakota Avenue to the PG County Connector Trail, along with bike lanes running the length of Rhode Island Avenue and a new bike trail along the north side of New York Avenue would go a very long way toward making Ward 5 as bikeable as any other ward in the city, and would be useful to bike commuters coming in from PG County as well. 

Back when: Cyclists on the Mt Vernon Parkway

The photo below is from a 1973 issue of National Geographic, which means it predates the Mt. Vernon Trail. The article is entitled "Bicycles are Back - and Booming!"

National_Geographic_1973_Page681

"Cyclists claim two out of four lanes in the eight miles between Alexandria, Virginia, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.” Reads the caption.

I think this is the Mt. Vernon Parkway, but someone else thinks it's Route 1. 

The article also mentions Marie Birnbaum, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s bicycling-program officer at the time. I recogonized the name, because someone of the same name was on the board at WalkDC not too long ago, and I would guess still lives in the DC area. Same person? She also contributed, along with WABA staffer Cary Shaw, to this classic 1974 EPA document on Bicycle Transportation

You might be able to read the whole NG article here.

"And we at AAA will continue to fight to keep it that way"

This quote from a story on Car Free Day sounds both desperate and as argument for more multi-modal transportation planning in the region.

"We've got to remember we are one of the leaders in the nation for long distance commutes," said Lon Anderson at AAA MidAtlantic. "When you are in around the core, then there are many options, but the further away you get, the fewer options you have."

As most advocates argue, supporting bike facilities are about giving people options, not forcing them to bike. Right now, they're forced to drive - at least according to Lon Anderson. 

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