There are many tidbits about the newly installed governments in the area and how they will support cycling.
Prince William County "supports additional state and regional transportation funding for highways, transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements." Loudoun County similarly "is also appealing for additional state and regional transportation funding for highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements." Hardly ringing endorsements but it's better than being left out. And while I've lost the links, Arlington reaffirmed it's desire to encourage cycling and expand CaBi.
But the real story is in DC, where bike lane-loving Adrian Fenty lost to dog park-hating Vince Gray (or so we've been told). Fenty was commended by the Post for adding 25 miles of bike lane, among other things, but now it is Gray's turn and figuring out what will happen on his watch is going to be hard to discern.
On the one hand he made a point in his inauguration speech to mention biking.
Whether we get around by car, bus, train, foot or bike...This is one city -- our city.
But on the other, Marc Fisher wrote
The idea that bike lanes and streetcars could be a racial issue would seem farfetched in most cities, but in Washington, that's exactly what has happened, and Gray, when I was with him during the campaign, straight out told people that the Fenty folks had gone way too far with dog parks, bike lanes and streetcars--which have become symbols of the growing white presence in the city to some black residents.
for those who believe that a city should be frozen in amber, those initiatives can seem like symbols of an alien invasion--especially, and here is where the Fenty administration failed most grandly, when bike lanes, dog parks and the like are added even as services to the needy are cut or frozen.
And the whole hullabaloo (are bike lanes and dog parks to be forever tied together in the public consciousness the way that shock and awe are?) led the Post to somewhat incorrectly write
The city's fiscal challenges and changing demographics regularly pit issues such as adding bike lanes and dog parks against providing day care, homeless shelters and job training for the needy.
I say somewhat because bike lane funding gets a lot of money from federal transportation sources and can't be spent on those other things (even though that is how it's perceived). This solicited a response from John Glad
This is a false opposition: Bike lanes involve a relatively small expense. We cyclists are waiting eagerly to see whether Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) will provide safe, dedicated bike lanes, and we firmly intend to vote accordingly.
The key word here is “dedicated”; painted strips on the pavement are pitiful, even dangerous, tokenism. To be effective, bike lanes have to be placed between the curb and parked cars, not between the parked cars and traffic, and they have to be physically staked off to prevent them from being ignored by drivers and regarded even by the city’s small army of parking enforcers as short-term parking.
Protected bike lanes are taken for granted in such European cities as Amsterdam and Munich. The dedicated bike lanes on 15th Street are the right approach, but what good are just a few blocks? Former mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), a cyclist himself, talked a good game, but he never attempted to deliver what drivers take for granted — an all-encompassing network.
As for the suburban commuters who in their road rage deafen us with their horns and shrieking brakes, clog our streets, pollute our air and regularly kill us, they vote elsewhere.
We cyclists represent a significant, activist constituency, so ignore us at your own peril.
I disagree with Mr. Glad on the utility of regular bike lanes; that Fenty's riding in triathlons is at all relevant (he also walks and drives); and that suburban commuters are all so awful or need to be ignored. But, I agree that Gray should continue the policies for increased bike mobility that Fenty and Williams have followed over the last 12 years.
At the District council level there is a lot of good news. Tommy Wells, one of the region's biggest supporters of cycling - and a bike commuter himself - was awarded oversight over the Committee on Public Works and Transportation. Graham was good for cyclists, but Wells might be even better. Equally good is that he hired Jonathon Kass to serve as the staff director for the committee. Mr. Kass is one of the few non-DDOT District employees who regularly attends the Bicycle Advisory Committee meetings, and he's played a key role in several laws and initiatives (such as the recently passed Bicycle Parking Amendment Act) over the last few years. He previously served as the Deputy Legislative Director for the committee. And Phil Mendelson will be holding a hearing on bike and pedestrian safey soon.
At the ANC level, the news is not as good.
"We expect to see some improvement east of the river," said Mary Cuthbert, a Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commission member from Congress Heights. "We want to see it be the same like everywhere else they built up.
"And we don't need no bicycle lanes," Cuthbert said.
Tell that to David Williams.
Here's hoping they all (even Mary Cuthbert) live up to Roger K. Lewis' resolution: "All city and suburban streets should safely work for cyclists, pedestrians, motorists and, in places, streetcars."