From the Palisades Citizens Association newsletter ("Palisades News") sent out this week:
About a year ago. the Capital Crescent Trails Historic Arizona Avenue Train Trestle was struck by a truck with an extraordinarily tall load that damaged the underside of the bridge. After months of efforts with the culprit company, its representatives, and the completion of necessary planning, repair work was set to begin in late March, according to Daniel Copenhaver, Chief of Preservation and Project Management Division (NTS) of the C&O Canal Historic Park. In a recent email, Copenhaver reported that " the expected completion date is the first part of June." The Federal Highway Administration, which has jurisdiction over the safety of the train trestle, will be managing the repair effort. The Park Service has reported that a temporary bridge will be constructed alongside the trestle to accommodate CCT traffic, and has promised that, except for two periods at the beginning and end of the project, when the concrete deck of the trestle is removed and again when it is replaced, CCT traffic will not be significantly affected.
In other news about the CCT, Kevin Brandt, the Superintendent of the C&O Canal Historic Park, which has "ownership" of the DC portion of the Capital Crescent Trail, and DDOT (DC Department of Transportation) are working on a partnership/memorandum of understanding to provide cooperation on semi-annual maintenance of the Trail, as well as a possible resurfacing project. The Superintendent shares a desire to have the CCT resurfaced as soon as possible. The DC Mayor's Recreational Trail Advisory Committee (RTAC) has asked DDOT Director Terry Bellamy to allocate up to $1.5 million of DC's federal recreational trails' monies to be used for the resurfacing effort. Plans and specifications will be developed by the NPS Denver Service Center to resurface the trail which has not been touched since it was completed in the mid-1990s. Last year the RTAC allocated about $50,000 of DC's Rec Trails funds for the purchase of a ToolKat 5600, a machine to be used for mowing. sweeping, and pruning along all of the trails in Washington, DC. That machine should be put to use for the first time on the CCT later this year.
CaBi expansion in DC has been delayed, according to Mayor Gray's spokesperson Pedro Ribeiro "because of delays getting them from the supplier...but DDOT thinks in the next 6 weeks they will have all the stations in."
There's only one word for someone who parks in the L Street cycletrack - Fulparkerare
"There is a pot of $10.7 million for bike lanes and trails, which appears to be entirely new; formerly, there was no dedicated local bike money. The budget staff have promised to follow up to confirm this. Another $5.1 million will go to "bike-friendly streetscapes," which will be interesting to see in more detail."
The new Douglass Bridge gets fully funded.
A profile of locally-educated Alta Planning + Design president and bike-lover Mia Birk. It's interesting that in all the talk of how women are under-represented in biking, there are quite a few bike businesses operating in DC that are led by women (Alta, Toole Design, BikeStation, Capitol Hill Bikes, etc...)
"It is bike lanes. It is dog parks. It is about state-of-the-art swimming facilities. It is about recreation centers. Capital Bikeshare. Car2Go. Streetcars. It's about a way of life. Black folks want this stuff, they're just not as passionate about it.""
"This is the make or break year, so we know that we need additional revenue, the state needs additional revenue in the trust fund to actual build the Purple Line," said Madden. "So far we are optimistic, based on the discussions going on, that will happen."
Do not use the trail alone; ride in pairs and “be aware”
MPD will not patrol using cars (leaving policing only up to bike officers)
The trail has “bad lighting” and fences are in disrepair (cut open by ne’er do well criminals)
Holes in the fence will not be repaired, as criminals will only cut them open again
"Not using the trail alone" is almost equivalent to "don't bike commute" since most bike commuters ride alone, but it if safety is a concern than numbers help.
Much of the post linked to is concerned about the "criminals" cutting the fence. Based on observations done before the MBT was built, I suspect most of the fence cutting is actually done by people who are looking for a direct route to the Metro station. This is yet more reason why the bridge connection is needed, though I suspect some people will still prefer the on-ground route so this problem won't entirely go away. But the only criminal behaviors the fence cutters are likely involved in are the fence cutting itself and tresspassing.
CSX has some federal financial incentives to reduce rail deaths (I don't recall what those are, but I read an article about it once) and so they're interested in reducing tresspassing, but endlessly repairing a fence is probably not appealing. They could hire a security guard and put him on a lifeguard stand right at the spot where the Metro station is, but that's probably not worth it either.
There is also some concern that MPD is saying "you're on your own" which I'm not reading either. Leaving cars off the trail is a good idea. But that doesn't mean there is no patroling. MPD later writes
We actively patrol the MBT, and we have done so for at least two years. We patrol it with mountain bikes, segways, and occasionally, cars (we don’t do this often, given the size of the Trail).
We are committed to having it be a safe place for all riders, runners, walkers, baby-stroller pushers, and so on. We encourage people to use the Trail, because the more people who use it, the safer it will be.
We have been very aggressive in trying to make this a safe environment, and I think the near-absence of crime along the Trail speaks to the success of our efforts.
We do tell people, at every meeting we go to, that if you can walk, bike, run, or push baby strollers in pairs or groups, you will probably be less likely to be the target of any criminal activity than if you do so alone, and I think this is where Sgt. Queen may have been misinterpreted. This is true across the city and it’s something that all cops tell all residents: don’t walk alone, especially at night, if you can walk with a buddy or in a group.
Please, use the Trail, and feel good about being there.
When people are motivated, fences just can't keep them out. I propose a moat filled with sharks with friggin' laser beams on their heads.
As part of the organized Rock Creek Deer Hunt, "roads in the park will be closed between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. over the four nights of the hunt, officials said. They are: Beach Drive north of Broad Branch Road, Ross Drive, Wise Road, Grant Road, Sherrill Drive, Joyce Road, Morrow Drive and Bingham Drive NW." They should bring back wolves - y'know and avoid all the controversy. BTW, I startled a fox during my run along the Anacostia yesterday. That's only the second time that I've seen one in DC.
Jameel Alsalam of the DC Bicycle Advisory Council, is trying to guage interest in a guerilla bike counting project using this handy little device currently looking for funding at kickstarter.com. If interested contact him at jalsalam(at)gmail(dot)com.
I missed this obit until recently "Alex Moulton, a British automotive engineer who created a small-wheeled bicycle that fired a trend in the 1960s and became the forerunner of the collapsible, portable bikes of today, died on Dec. 9 in Bath, England...His idea was to create a more efficient, all-purpose vehicle, suitable for errands and commuting at least as much as for recreation. He wanted it to have substantial carrying capacity, to be maneuverable in traffic, to roll smoothly and to be pedaled easily."
Arlington: The first of what will likely be many CaBi expansion in Arlington stories. "Most of them are going into the Columbia Pike and Shirlington areas. We did a lot of public outreach, and that's what people were saying, that's where they wanted to see Bikeshare go next in Arlington," Eatough said...Expanding Capital Bikeshare is also helping local businesses boost sales. At Fresh Bikes in Arlington, more and more new customers are coming in." You can see the video below the bump.
Alexandriawants to expand too, from 8 to 16 stations by fall and into Carlyle and Del Ray. "In the next 10 years, she said, the city hopes to add between 25 and 30 stations throughout the West End and near Arlandria. By 2017 they think membership revenue will cover operating expenses. "Though usage has dipped through the winter months, Marks said ridership has exceeded expectations. Officials originally hoped to see 30 percent of the program’s operating costs recovered during Bikeshare’s inaugural year; projections are surpassing that figure. And with summer around the corner, even more residents and visitors are anticipated to use the ubiquitous red bicycles to get around town."
"Alexandria’s libraries are on the hit list, while at the same time, the Capital Bikeshare program expands to the tune of $600,000 — on top of $360,000 already spent." But spending that money on libraries was not an option as "The pilot program, beginning in Old Town, will be implemented with Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality/Regional Surface Transportation Program (CMAQ/RSTP) grant funds." I'm not sure where the new round of spending comes from, but I suspect Federal Transportation funding as well.
"Just think, though, with $600,000 you could buy everyone in Alexandria a bike." With 147,000 residents, I'm not sure where you can find $4 bikes. Ironically, with CaBi, you really can buy everyone a bike - if they're willing to share.
"Additionally, while Alexandria’s libraries are city-owned and operated, Bikeshare is a private, for-profit organization selling its program worldwide." CaBi is owned by the cities that participate in it. It is a non-profit, government run organization.
"Two large bicycle-friendly cities welcomed Bikeshare but without taxpayers’ dollars:" No but they did give up taxpayer owned land and advertising rights. It ain't free.
"So if Bikeshare wants to expand in Alexandria, let the parent company, Alta Bicycle Share Inc., use some of its profits and reinvest, which is what corporations are expected to do." Again, Alta doesn't own CaBi.
"Alexandria’s libraries serve many; Bikeshare is for a few." Actually, the models are almost identical, except that bikeshare charges a nominal fee. But since CaBi is used by tourists and libraries usually aren't. I'm not sure which is for few and which is for many. Still, it's not a fair criticism.
Baltimore, Howard County and Columbia, MD - "The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is requesting a total of $922,000 in federal funds for the implementation of a Baltimore City bikeshare program and a feasibility study of a similar program in Howard County....Charm City Bikeshare plans include placing stations in a variety of areas, including low-income neighborhoods near downtown, with initially 425 bicycles at 44 stations....Evans said Baltimore City was seeking approval from MDOT and the State Highway Administration to begin contract talks with the bicycle-sharing company Alta, which operates the very successful and ever-expanding Capital Bikeshare program in Washington, D.C...In Howard County and Columbia, preliminary demand analysis indicates a strong likelihood for success, according to the BRTB" Maybe it will also be Capital Bikeshare?
Bike commuting was down a little in NYC from April to October 2012, "But the city’s Transportation Department pointed to the bike ridership from December of last year through February, when the figures suggest an increase of 23 percent over the previous year, as evidence that cycling in the city had continued to grow." Bike sharing can't come soon enough? "Expanding cycling, he said, was now largely incumbent on the Police Department, which has faced persistent criticism from advocates over its inconsistent enforcement of traffic laws."
Meanwhile, will the gains in NYC even be maintained? There is some concern that a new mayor could roll back the gains. "John C. Liu, the city’s comptroller and a likely Democratic candidate for mayor, said in a phone interview that removing existing lanes would be “a likely scenario in some parts of the city,” particularly in Brooklyn and Queens, if he succeeded Mr. Bloomberg."
Howard Wolfson, a deputy mayor, also suggested on Thursday that any mayoral hopeful would be unwise to reignite a settled debate, saying, “The great bike war is over, and the opponents lost.”