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It is a cost issue. Inital painting of a bike lane is cheap, then come the complaints - more lighting, snow-removal, re-paving, fixing, etc.

I do think the lighting on bike trails should be improved -- quite a bit -- but not sure how to get around the cost issue.

charlie, I think you're confusing two things. Repaving, lighting (and even painting) bike lanes is already paid for as part of maintaining roads. We don't add lights to a road with bike lanes.

What you're talking about is trails. And yes, as is true with everything else, construction is not 100% of the cost. You don't "get around" the maintenance cost issue. You commit to invest.

If the lighting isn't a crime deterrent, I don't see any particular need for it. Other trails in the area get plenty of use despite a lack of lighting and I haven't heard of any poor lighting-related crashes over the last few months. I agree that lighting is nice, but anyone riding at night should assume that they're going to be, you know, riding in the dark. Making exaggerated claims about DDOT's ineptitude doesn't help anyone.

I read the article as a complaint that DDOT was saying it wasn't there problem, but the vendor, yet no one was pressuring the vendor to honor their contract. That sounds like the ball is in DDOT's court. The lighting issue seems to me like a "broken windows" theory re crime. If the place looks ill maintained, it is more likely to attract crime.

MM, I do think lighting improves safety even if you haven't heard of low-lighting crashes (I know I was in one once), and they create a more inviting trail. Plus, you can go faster since you don't have to worry about outriding your headlamp, so it's better for commuters. But, the idea that it somehow drives away crime is debatable. Many crimes on the MBT have happened during the day.

Lighting creates a feeling of safety, I don't think that's debatable. I've never done or read the research saying that lighting measurably affects safety. I don't think you can compare the MBT to the MVT though. VERY different animals. MVT will never have lights unless NPS changes their policy on lights in their viewsheds.

What's actually kinda nice (& I don't remember them being there before) is now there's some streetlights on the MVT right as your going around the fenceline on the north end of the airport/south end of gravelly point. Without those lights it was kind of tough because southbound, you were looking right into car headlights heading up that little hill, which made it impossible to see if someone slower was right in front of you.

There are two different kinds of safety involved here. The first is the navigability of the trail. The MBT is not a twisty trail at all, so there's slight benefit here, but not that much. The second is the effect on crime. Studies have found all sorts of subtle effects; sometimes lighting moves crime from one place to another, sometimes it actually attracts crime. It rarely actually reduces overall crime, altho it can shift it around. Bright lighting outside houses doesn't do much against crime; it actually illuminates the area for miscreants to see where they're going without needing to use flashlights, which would be conspicuous. It also makes neighbors draw their blinds, so they're less likely to see anything amiss.

In any case, i'd say the effect on crime of lighting the MBT is pretty much unpredictable, and depends on a lot of things.

I think the things you covered through the post are quiet impressive, good job and great efforts. I found it very interesting and enjoyed reading all of it...keeps it up, lovely job.

David: There's a fatal flaw in your analysis - the assumption that I wrote my article without reaching out to Ms. Deutsch. In fact, I did, and her response to me was that she didn't want to talk to me, because she didn't know who I was. I won't quote her email to me here, but it was brusque and dismissive.

We can debate the utility of lighting the trail until the cows come home, but the fact is that the city doesn't really know who's in charge of the lighting of the trail. The underlying problem here is a lack of planning on the city's part, which you could apply to damn near anything in this town.

Well then, that's something that should be noted in the article. Usually such a fact is, so my assumption was based on the absence of such a statement.

Your right that there was a lack of planning wrt to the lighting, but going after Heather Deutsch isn't really going to fix that. There may be a lot of problems with biking in DC, but Heather isn't one of them. And it doesn't change the fact that characterizing her statement as "You're on your own" is completely false.

So I apologize for making a false assumption, but that's the most trivial part of my complaint.

David: I'm sorry you read it as an attack on Heather. That wasn't my intent. I included her quote to make sure people had some background.

Regarding the headline - it was a headline written to get people to pay attention to the story. Unfortunately, few are likely to read a story titled "There are burned out lights on a trail." Based on our discussion here, I'd say the headline succeeded.

I'll have a follow-up article soon.

it was a headline written to get people to pay attention to the story

Oh, I get the reason. That's why I called it Examineresque. The headline "Mayor Gray caught in coke-fueled Lafayette park love triangle with Lindsay Lohan and the horse from 'War Horse'" would probably get a lot of attention too.

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