I just got a mass email from Christopher Ziemann with DDOT about the 15th Street Redesign. As you may recall DDOT came up with four possible designs for the street that would put it on a road diet and give more space to cyclists. WABA supported Alternative 3 (pictured), which turned the one-way street into a two-way street with bike lanes in each direction.
There was a solicitation of opinion that created a statistical dead heat the way DDOT calculated it. They allowed people at the meeting to rank each alternative and then scored them 1-5 with the lowest score being deemed best. But then they got emails and mail responses that only ranked their favorite. So they had to combine a range voting system with a single vote system. Reversing out the numbers, alternative 3 was a strong winner by my count. It was ranked a 2.9 by the 40 people at the meeting and was named 'best solution' by 20 of the 66 people who wrote in, or approximately 27 of 106 people deemed it the best of the five options (no build was also an option, and came in 2nd with about 21).
This is not how DDOT saw it and they didn't feel they had the enough of a mandate to move forward with any of them.
So they came out with alternative 5. It leaves 15th a one-way street and narrows it to three lanes with two bike lanes. The contraflow bike lane is placed outside the parked cars. Again, comments were solicited. 15 people favored it. 2 opposed it and 52 people's opinions were not counted. DDOT called these 52 "unrelated (such as preferring a different alternative, two-way traffic in general, etc)." How is wanting one of the other alternatives, or a two-way street "unrelated"? I think that is an overwhelming voice against Alternative 5. That's like voting "none of the above" at least.
DDOT should release all the numbers they have. Not just how each alternative scored in the first round, but how many people preferred which with what kind of score. All 3's is not necessarily as good as half 1's and half 5's. And which alternative did those 52 people prefer? If all 52 wanted two-way traffic, wouldn't that indicate that two-way traffic is preferred?
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions DDOT included.
1. Will DPW be able to clean a bike lane only 5’ wide?
Yes, DDOT has coordinated with the street cleaning crew and
they have assured us that they are able to clean it?
2. Will the impact on traffic in the afternoon be significant?
No, motor vehicle level of service would remain virtually
the same and exceed District’s standards for all intersections.
4. Is a one-foot buffer sufficient to separate vehicles from bicycles?
Maybe, there seem to be two opinions in the bicycle
community. A door is usually two feet long, so an open door would
(theoretically) enter a foot into the bicycle lane. This should (theoretically)
leave enough room for bicycles, however this will be an evaluation criterion.
In any case, drivers in parked cars will be facing bicyclists so the risk of
dooring will be lower than with a conventional bike lane.
5. Would church double parking simply block the northbound bicycle lane?
Yes, however traffic flows on Sundays are minimal and do not
pose a great threat to bicyclists in mixed traffic.
6. Can we work in bulbouts for pedestrian safety?
Maybe, DDOT is working right now to finalize the details of intersection crossings, alley crossings, etc. to increase the safety and reduce the likelihood of crashes. These may include bulb-outs.