Expansion of the College Park Trail south to Hyattsville is already being investigated, and now the county is looking at expanding the trail about 0.6 miles north from Paducah Road to Route 1. The trolley used to run out to Laurel and much of the right of way still exists - perhaps someday the trail could run that far.
The county’s proposed improvements could include speed humps along
Rhode Island Avenue and upgrades to the existing hiker-bicyclist trail.
The trail could be extended along Rhode Island Avenue from Paducah Road
north to Route 1, according to an April 5 letter Upton wrote to the
The trail in this portion isn't really a trail but a set of bike lanes. The picture is of part of the proposed southern expansion, put together by Rethink College Park.
The Request for Proposal is finally out. Eight months after it was supposed to here. Six months after it was supposed to here. But still this is the next big step.
The one mile section of
trail will run adjacent to Metrorail’s Red Line from New York Avenue to
Franklin Street, NE. This section of the trail will connect to an
existing elevated trail at the New York Avenue/Florida Avenue/Gallaudet
The one mile section of new trail will provide a much-needed
crossing of New York Avenue and Florida Avenue to access the Metrorail
station from the Eckington neighborhood. The project includes an
asphalt trail, fencing, lighting, emergency call boxes, and
landscaping. After a contractor is hired, the design and construction
is estimated to last approximately one year.
The press release doesn't say how long it will take to hire a contractor, but assuming it will be less than three months, that puts an opening at next summer?
is there not something better to store and lock a bike up to than a sad metal hoop, concreted into the pavement?
The answer is yes. The Building Centre had an exhibit, and competition, to "redesign the bike shed" and the designs were downright cool. To some extent the competition focused on design and appearance, but there was also a focus on improving function, specifically two items 1) 100% theft-proof bike parking. 2) Complete protection from the elements.
'Hoops in the ground' take up very little space - but they don't provide any protection - from theft or the weather.
Of course the system should be reliable and easy too. Some of the ideas are cool, but probably unworkable, like placycle (pictured) which are floating inflatable pods tethered back to the ground by gas supply lines. The massed pods build up into a triffid-like assembly rising above the streetscape, the bike tree (different from this bike tree) or the HUB (which lifts bikes above the street with a conveyor belt). The most workable is probably the Clamp-On, which clamps a bike-locking hoop to existing lampposts.
I'd love to see the Building Museum host a similar exhibit for American cities, even if it were part of a larger "street furniture" display.
The coolest (and best) bike storage system mentioned in the article is the biceberg. It's being used in 5 locations in Spain. You roll up to an elevator sized structure(pictured) and open a space with a smart card. Your bike goes into a bike box (along with your helmet, shoes etc...) and then is lowered below ground into a rotating storage facility. When you want it back you swipe your card again and your box is brought up within 30 seconds. That's awesome. I wish there were some information on the costs. These facilities can park as many as 92 bikes. [The union station bike station will park 150 and cost $2 million - I wonder if this could be installed/operated for less].
A point the writer makes is that the biceburg could change bike rentals. You wouldn't need ugly, distinctive bikes to deter theft - because these stations would be theft proof. You could let bike renters ride glamorous $6,000 bikes if you wanted - much as zipcar lets you rent all the hip cars instead of just Honda civics.
Of course, such facilities as these should never preclude cyclists from being able to lock their bikes to inverted Us (IUs), street signs, parking meters, etc...It should just make for more security.
Speaking of IUs I've seen some poorly installed ones lately (no camera unfortunately). One was on 18th street NW just south of Mass. It was right up next to a street sign in such a way that you could only use one side of the IU and couldn't use the sign (without hanging your bike out into the street) so it took one parking space and turned it into one parking space. The other is at the Village at Shirlington in the alley off 28th Street South. Against the wall behind Johnny Rockets they installed two IUs. But they placed them up against the wall so that only one side is usable. Then they placed them head-to-toe (if you will) and so close together that if a bike is locked to one, using the other becomes almost impossible. Seriously, I should start a consulting business.
urban residents who walk or
ride bikes because of the installation of bike lanes gain an extra hour
of life for every hour of biking or on average biking culture can
increase the lifespan of a person from two to four years in Holland and
A fixed gear bicycle, or ‘‘fixie,” has the rear wheel and pedals
connected through a single, fixed gear. The mechanics of the bike make
it impossible to coast, unless the rider wants to taste asphalt. It’s
just like the original bicycle design: if your back wheel is moving,
your legs better be pedaling.
Yet fixies are more popular now than ever before in recent memory, with
an especially large, growing contingent in the Washington, D.C., metro
The reason is simplicity
‘‘The $150 department store bikes are pure evil,” Reighard said. ‘‘At
the same price they can put out an inexpensive bike without a
suspension or gears, and with much better quality throughout. But don’t
get me wrong, any bike is better than a car.”
It doesn’t get much simpler than a fixed gear bike. Without the added
weight of gears and suspension, a fixed gear bike can be whittled down
to less than 20 pounds, nearly 10 pounds less than most of its geared
counterparts. For people who use their fixies for commuting, a lighter,
more streamlined bike can make all the difference.
By now many of you have probably read this article from the Wall Street Journal (Building a Better Bike Lane) which isn't about building better bike lanes at all (I was actually disappointed) but about how Europe is embracing bicycle use in a way the US is not yet. In Europe...
Officials from London, Munich and Zurich (plus a handful from the U.S.)
have visited Amsterdam's transportation department for advice on
developing bicycle-friendly infrastructure and policies. Norway aims to
raise bicycle traffic to at least 8% of all travel by 2015 -- double
its current level -- while Sweden hopes to move from 12% to 16% by
2010. This summer, Paris will put thousands of low-cost rental bikes
throughout the city to cut traffic, reduce pollution and improve
The city of Copenhagen plans to double its spending on biking
infrastructure over the next three years, and Denmark is about to
unveil a plan to increase spending on bike lanes on 2,000 kilometers,
or 1,240 miles, of roads. Amsterdam is undertaking an ambitious
capital-improvement program that includes building a 10,000-bike
parking garage at the main train station (pictured) -- construction is expected to
start by the end of next year. The city is also trying to boost public
transportation usage, and plans to soon enforce stricter car-parking
fines and increase parking fees to discourage people from driving.
The policy goal is to have bicycle trips replace many short car trips,
which account for 6% of total emissions from cars, according to a
document adopted last month by the European Economic and Social
Committee, an organization of transportation ministers from EU member
countries. Another report published this year by the Dutch Cyclists'
Association found that if all trips shorter than 7.5 kilometers in the
Netherlands currently made by car were by bicycle, the country would
reduce its carbon-dioxide emissions by 2.4 million tons. That's about
one-eighth of the amount of emissions it would need to reduce to meet
the Kyoto Protocol.
Where as in the U.S.
bike commuters face more challenges, including strong opposition from
some small businesses, car owners and parking-garage owners to any
proposals to remove parking, shrink driving lanes or reduce speed
limits. Some argue that limiting car usage would hurt business. "We
haven't made the tough decisions yet," says Sam Adams, city
commissioner of Portland, Ore., who visited Amsterdam in 2005. There
has been some movement. Last month, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
announced a proposal to add a congestion charge on cars and increase
the number of bicycle paths in the city. It would also require
commercial buildings to have indoor parking facilities for bikes.
When I read this, I tried to imagine Congress members biking to work in a similar fashion...
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende sometimes rides to work, as
do ... members of parliament, often with empty children's seats in back.
But I was unable to (except the obvious two). An interesting component is this form of mandatory registration...
In 2003, the city created the Amsterdam Bicycle
Recovery Center, a large warehouse where illegally parked bikes are
taken. (Its acronym in Dutch is AFAC.) Every bike that goes through
AFAC is first checked against a list of stolen bikes. After three
months, unclaimed models are registered, engraved with a serial number
and sold to a second-hand shop. At any one time, the center has about
6,000 bikes neatly arranged by day of confiscation, out of an estimated
total of 600,000 bikes in the city.
How AFAC will encourage bike riding in Amsterdam is a
somewhat perverse logic, because it means some 200 bikes are
confiscated by city officials a day compared to a handful before it
existed. The thinking is that the more bikes that are confiscated, the
more bikes can be registered and the better the government can trace
stolen bikes. The less nervous people are that their bikes will be
stolen, the more likely they are to ride. "Is your bike gone? Check
AFAC first," is the center's slogan.
DC of course is working to remove the mandatory registration law. I'm actually not against "mandatory" registration (as long as the purpose is stolen bike recovery), but it's the methodology DC created that was so awful. [I think a better system would be to require that every bike sold in the District be registered - by the bike shop - but it would legal to own and/or use an unregistered bike. For those buying their bike elsewhere, registration would be optional, free and easy (online and/or at any bike shop when you take it in for repairs). When my fiancee bought her bike, Capitol Hill Bikes just registered it for her with the National Bike Registry for free. I don't even think they told her about it].
There's also a chart of bicycle friendly cities at the bottom. D.C. isn't on there, but Boulder, Colorado has 21% of its commuters go by bike. That's impressive.
According to Statastic, DC will need 5700 smart bikes in the city to have the bicycle rental density (bikes per capita) of Paris. (9.6 bikes per 1000 people). I'm not sure how many DDOT is planning to roll out this summer, but it won't be anywhere near that many. DC will probably have coverage closer to what they have in Vienna (Austria, not Virginia).
Katrina Wallace (20), a student at UEL’s Docklands Campus, said: “It’s
a great idea to have bikes for hire on campus. It’s cheaper than using
public transport and it means you can get plenty of exercise and fresh
It also has a link to London Transport's Cycling Page (by contrast biking doesn't show up on DDOT's front page). They have a much more reasonable system for allowing bikes on the Underground too (more reasonable than a wholesale rush hour ban).
Tom Cruise is crazy...crazy about riding his bike on the C&O Canal towpath.
Anyone see Mr. Couch Jumperpedaling along the C&O Canal trail with wifey Katie Holmes this weekend? The pair were joined by Redskins owner Dan Snyder and wife Tanya plus two beefy bodyguards, according to The Post. Their trip ended at the Georgetown waterfront (where Tom signed autographs).
Seriously..Katie Holmes was riding a bicycle and I didn't get to see that. It would be better than her shocking scene at the end of The Gift. Photos? Anyone?
There are more stories I missed from last week. DCist ran a promotional post. The comments included this remark - that usually follows a bike story and not always this politely.
there is need to remind the occasional users who will be out en masse
tomorrow that DC law prohibits bike riding on sidewalks in the Central
Business District (generally considered to be the downtown area south
of Mass Ave.), requires bike riders to ride in the streets in same
direction as traffic, and to obey all traffic regulations (Speed
limits, traffic lights, stop signs, etc.)
Bicyclists are reminded not to bike on the sidewalk. In downtown D.C., it's illegal.
"If you're riding on the street, you are much more visible to motor
vehicles. But when you're on the sidewalk and you come to an
intersection, for example, people just don't expect you to be there.
You're kind of like a fast pedestrian."
"You just have to remember your bike is a vehicle," says Eric
Gilliland, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist
"We (bicyclists) are subject to the same rights and
responsibilities as people in motor vehicles. We hope people in motor
vehicles will treat us with that kind of respect."
Eric also did a good job of tying drivers interests (reduced congestion) to those of cyclists.
“Every bike that you have on the road is really one car that you don’t have on the road,” said Gilliland
Charlie Strunk, Fairfax County’s bicycle program coordinator, said
less than 1 percent of people in the county walk or bike to work on a
given day. “We need to get it up over 1 percent,” he said. “It makes
sense. The roads are getting crowded with traffic. Our peak hour has
turned into a peak period, and it’s going to get longer as more cars
are added to the network.”
Of 68 metropolitan regions in the
country, the Washington area ranks third in traffic congestion and
fourth “in the amount of extra time needed for a trip during rush
hour,” according to WABA.
"We've been adding bike lanes, we've been adding bike racks," [Tangherlini]
said. As for a two-wheeled commute, he added: "You don't get quite the
same feeling in a car.
In the end,
fears such as being crushed under the wheels of a garbage truck proved
unfounded. And whatever the reasons — exercise, cost, environmental
friendliness — the small but dedicated number of folks who bike to work
really feel they're on to something. And maybe they are.
And there's audio too. Maybe you'll hear someone you know.
Finally, there was a story in the Gazette that focused on College Park.
Several said traffic isn’t usually a problem, particularly because of
the number of trails around the area. But two cyclists said cars almost
hit them at the intersection of the Paint Branch Trail and the Paint
The area is problematic because of a blind curve and lack of a traffic
light, said College Park resident Mark Shute, who bikes to work at the
REI outdoor store daily.
‘‘I swear, the car almost sped up,” he said. ‘‘It’s a blind curve, so they can’t see you until they’re on top of you.”
By participating in Bike to Work Day, College Park officials are trying
to make the city more bike-friendly, but still have work to do in that
regard, said Jeremy Lambson, a REI bike technician who was helping tune
bikes for free.
The city could be more proactive in installing bike lanes on roads that could be hazardous, Lambson said.
‘‘The city should be more proactive. It’s a college town, and there are
a lot of student jobs in the area,” he said. ‘‘To preserve the way
College Park looks, people should bike more.”