On Wednesday night Rails-to-Trails with help from WABA and input from DDOT hosted an Active Transportation Town Hall Meeting.
Keith Laughlin, President of RTC spoke first. He talked about RTC and all they've accomplished - 15,000 miles of rail to trail conversions since 1986, help in getting Transportation Enhancements in the Transportation bill, and the addition of $100 million in active transportation for 4 pilot programs in 4 cities. Their goal in the upcoming transportation bill is to double federal investment in trail,s biking and walking to $9 billion over the next six years.
They would like to expand the active transportation program to 48 cities including D.C. with the goal in D.C. being to have every resident live within a mile of a trail.
Their plan would:
Avoid 70-200 billion miles of driving
Use billions fewer gallons of fuel
Avoid tens of billions of tons of CO2
Save tens of billions of dollars
Increase public health
They included the graph at the right that showed the correlation between increases infacilities and increases in bicycle use.
They had a poll of how Americans would allot funding (37% Roads, 41% Transit and 22% bike/ped) and what really happens (79% roads, 20% transit, 1% bike/ped).
They talked about synergies between bikes and ped with traffic - almost all of DC is in the bicycle 'catch basin' for metro (what Richard Layman calls the bikeshed).
All in all a good little case for more funding.
Jim Sebastian of DDOT talked next about what DDOT would do if they had more money. He showed plans for 2010-16 now as compared to what they would try to do if they got the extra money.
Without (Skipping ped only projects)
Metropolitan Branch Trail
Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
Rock Creek Trail rebuild
50 miles of bike lanes
150 miles of signed bike routes
M Street SW/SE cycletrack
15th Street NW cycletrack
100 racks a year
Expand to 50 SmartBike stations with 600 bikes
Bike education for 5000 students at 8 schools per year
Two week enforcement waves per year
$100,000 for Smart Streets advertising
With (in addition to everything above)
South Capital Street Trail
Oxon Run Trail rebuild
Fort Circle Trail
50 more miles of bike lanes
50 outdoor maps
10 miles of cycletrack and other innovative street designs
100 more bike racks a year
Workplace parking and showers
Another bike station
Double the SmartBike program listed above (Full build out as planned now)
Double the Bike Education listed above
Hire DDOT traffic control officers to enforce bike/ped violations (by all users) full time
Another $100,000 for StreetSmart with DC specific ads
In addition he mentioned the projects they're trying to get stimulus funding for - Met Branch Trail, Rhode Island Avenue Bridge, SmartBike and more sidewalks (DC has 100 miles of sidewalk gap apparantly).
Here's the presentation (pdf)
This was followed by a Q&A where people mostly asked Jim Sebastian and new Acting DDOT Director Gabe Klein - who showed up as well - questions.
Some highlights. Director Klein was open to the idea of a DC Summer Streets program. Jim Sebastian was reluctant to give any specifics on SmartBike (they met with ClearChannel yesterday) but said expansion should happen this year. The bike station should be finished by the end of March, but no idea on when it will be available for use. The next section of the Met Branch should break ground in March. The intersection of Columbia and 18th should be redesigned soon - and when Eric Gilliland mentioned closing 18th in Adams Morgan on weekend nights it got a big applause. Gabe Klein likes the idea of congestion tolling, but it may be restricted by the Home Rule agreement. DDOT is working on a regional tolling plan which should be more palatable to our overlords in Congress.
So, that's a lot to take in. I hope I didn't miss anything.