The biggest thing to happen at the Bicycle Advisory Council meeting last night, was that Ward 3 CM and new Chairman of the Transportation Committee Mary Cheh showed up. The last time a Council Member attended was the first meeting in 2000 when Sharon Ambrose swore the members in. Tommy Wells never came to one, and Gabe Klein never came to one. So, CM Cheh is certainly signaling interest in biking at an unprecedented level. And she didn't just sit there, she asked questions and added comments. She said it was her aim to make sure we have safe and connected bike lanes, and she appreciates the frustration we have in dealing with federal government entities. She hopes to work with the BAC to make cycling better in DC.
Broad Branch Road - In the early 1990's DDOT and NPS decided to rebuild Broad Branch Road, which runs from Nevada Avenue to Beach Drive in upper NW. At that time, it was decided there was room to add a bike lane on the uphill side (aka a climbing lane) which would make it easier for cyclists and drivers. Going downhill it was hoped that cyclists would more or less move at the speed of cars. The road is entirely owned by DDOT, but it does border NPS land most of the way. Unfortunately, the two adjacent ANCs opposed changing the road, so DDOT decided to do nothing until the road collapsed. That day has come. The BAC suggested that the road be redesigned such that it accommodates drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. But the road is so narrow (between a hill and Broad Branch), that it may require a one-way, one-lane road (downhill) with a contraflow bike lane (uphill) and a sidewalk. BAC would be fine with that, ANC's....well I have my guess. The Broad Branch meeting was going on concurrently with the BAC meeting so I don't know how that went.
L&M Cycletracks - They are not dead, but they are on hold. DDOT has to dedicate a lot of time and effort into analyzing the existing cycletracks on 15th and Penn, as well as designing the L&M tracks. They're busy doing data collection like counts and making videos. They hope the study will give them an idea of what to avoid and replicate, even though L&M are different since they'll only be one way. DDOT also plans to do stakeholder outreach, starting with a meeting with downtown businesses before September. Then they hope to have a wider public meeting in Sept/Oct. They'll install in the spring. After that they'll probably move on to 9th street. Update: Tommy Wells heard something similar "according to DDOT we should be able to move forward on M St NW cycle track after community and BID meetings. L St needs more work"
E Street - BAC will write a letter supporting the opening of E Street south of the White House.
Met Branch Trail - The Final Version of the EA has been completed for the Ft. Totten section. It will be coming out any day now.
Comparative negligence statute - The legislative committee met with the Trial Lawyer's Association, and they're strongly opposed to changing DC from a contributory negligence state to a comparative one. They fear that opening the door to these changes could result in an end to joint and several liability because that is usually the case. But they don't have to be locked together, so WABA and the BAC want to see if they can be decoupled in DC. Another alternative would be to allow for comparative negligence in smaller cases or ones with vulnerable road users.
Since many bike crashes that go to court are below $10,000 another suggestion was to make no-fault insurance mandatory as is done in New York. I'm unclear as to how this would work.
Crash recovery - WABA, with the help of the Trial Lawyers Association, is writing a "how to take your bike case to court" brochure. WABA is also adding a "what to do when you've been struck" section to their law booklet. They hope to make that into an iPhone App that steps one through one to do if they, or someone they come upon, is hit by a car. Things like take photos, find witnesses etc....
They also want to emulate a CPR Smartphone app that contacts people trained in CPR if they are near someone who needs it. The idea would be to contact volunteers near a bike crash to come and make sure that the police investigation isn't one-sided.
WABA also heard from the Office of Police Complaints after the Council's safety hearing earlier this year. One thing they want to do is to create better crash forms, like ones that don't just show a picture of a car and ask the police to show where on the car the crash occurred, for example.
Bike plan update - The bike plan is now 6 years old. While one option is to replace it, there is a push within DDOT to create an agency-wide multi-modal plan similar to what Arlington County does. Right now there is no funding, but Mary Cheh asked what is needed to get it rolling. The last transportation plan, btw, was done in 1997.