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I wonder if any folks who go to these churches drive down my street to get there. Because by this logic, I could argue that my street should not be available to them to pass through to get where they are going, as they will not be stopping on my block. Or my street. Right? RIGHT?!

Just to note: In Fairfax County, churches have worked with FABB on outreach to poor (mostly hispanic) bike riders. This is really a DC issue, and an issue of DC black churches, with their particular geography, demographics (lots of older folks, lots of folks who have moved.) I cannot say what the best way to deal with it is (though a 6th street bike lane is of lesser importance to the region, and I would imagine to DC, than the M Street Cycle track is, so for those who beleive in picking their battles, there's that)

Polarizing bigoted hyperbolized headline here and on GGW.

United House of Prayer, First Rising Mt Zion Baptist Church, Springfield Baptist Church are also on 6th St NW btwn Fla and PennAve, neither they or the MCC, Third Baptist Church, Hemingway AME (on 5th St NW, just east of 6th St) have fought expanding bike facilities.

Most of these churches, work in and with the community on a number of fronts. They don't hate cyclists because they realize pedalers are people and most churches, synagogues, mosques and temples exist to serve the diverse needs of God's people.

Picking on one person, a person of faith, and a black person to create some controversy that only exists in the minds of a few is intellectually dishonest and exaggerating it to the ridiculous isn't even good blogging, much less good journalism.

Shiloh Baptist Church on 9th St NW, just had more bike racks installed in front of its church to accommodate pedalers:

First Rising Mt Zion on 6th & N St NW, which owns Gibson Plaza Apartments, had secure indoor and outdoor bike racks installed in front of that residential building realizing that its lower income and market rate residents are cyclists:

The church on NY Ave NW and Asbury United Methodist Church didn't block the bike lanes on the streets adjacent to their streets. But Asbury worked with DDOT to ensure that the bike lane was relaxed on Sundays so that everyone could be accommodated fairly well.

You headline should have read:

"Dr. Mertyl Bowen doesn't like bike lanes"

You should correct it unless you want to perpetuate idiotic division and burn bridges instead of supporting diverse coalitions to build bridges (and bike lanes). "Dr" Bowen has probably already done an admirable job of poisoning the minds of her followers with equally divisive demagogic hogwash, without realizing that many pedalers are also parishoners. Us v Them arguments are the folly of fools.

You'd be better off targeting the elected officials of ANC6E, and its triathlete Chairman Rachelle Nigro, which has done little to nothing to expend bike facilities for its residents on 6th St when its ANC members aren't stoking the flames of division themselves.

The problem with a bike lane on 7th St NW (one block from the largest grocery store in the city at CityMarket at O) is that 7th St narrows between N St NW and NY Ave, making biking hazardous for most pedalers who must compete with big buses and trucks and cars motorists that regularly cross the double yellow lines:

(DDOT still needs to hand out more $100 fines for automobilists blocking NYAve Bike lanes:


Bigoted? Against whom. I don't think race has anything to do with this, which is why I didn't mention it. YOU are the only person to mention it. These four churches don't want a bike lane. I stand behind the title, it's at least as accurate as your title (which ignores the other three congregations that stood with Dr. Bowen).

Bigotry isn't solely about race as you probably understand. I would have written racist if that was my intent. This nation was founded in part to protect people from anti-religious bigotry.

List the other congregations. I know some of the pastors in my hood and I'll go have a chat if necessary.

"there was one speaker who came not to ask why DDOT hadn't built the facilities it laid out in the bike plan but to ask that they not build one facility at all "

Re: "But Asbury worked with DDOT to ensure that the bike lane was relaxed on Sundays so that everyone could be accommodated fairly well."

I don't understand why church goers can ignore the painted lines but people driving to Downtown cannot. There are larger buildings Downtown with more people needing to get to them. Why can't driver simply park diagonally Downtown? I don't see the difference.

Additionally, bikers still use the bike lanes on Sunday mornings/afternoons. If churches want to encourage people to drive, they should either build a parking lot or make a deal with a private garage, not steal city resources and endanger the lives of city citizens.

Kudos to those congregations which do not fight bike lanes and try to embrace all modes of transportation.

"Not only are their churches old but so are their members. Many are in their 80's, 90's and 100's and they - we are told - can not ride bikes. Therefore, she surmises, bike lanes on 6th are not needed. And why is she against a bike lane on 6th Street NW? The usual..."

Yes, these people will be dead soon, so why should our long-term planning reflect their preferences?

Bigotry isn't solely about race

Which is why I asked against whom? So you think this is anti-Christian or anti-religious bigotry. How so? That's ridiculous. Turn your sensitive dial down a few notches. There are four churches that banded together to oppose this bike lane. I think that making this about churches against bike lanes is pretty accurate.

But you did bring up how I picked a fight with a "black person" so that's why I mentioned racism. If you weren't accusing me of racism why mention that?

List the other congregations.

I did. Read the article.

"Yes, these people will be dead soon, so why should our long-term planning reflect their preferences?"

We're talking striping a bike lane with white paint, not building a cycle track (at least on 6th street). It would be easy to wait and stripe the lane in 5 or 10 years. One church is being replaced by a new development off H Street NE, and apparently one on 9th in Shaw is dealing with developers now. It may take longer for 6th, but eventually they will likely depart. I'm not sure this is worth getting that upset over (even if the "arguments" they make are infuriating).

This argument is largely about access to power -- i.e., the people in DC government who are beholden, for whatever reason, to the congregation leaders who oppose any change. It's the NIMBY effect but instead of their backyard, it is a street that should provide access to all who need it, in whatever mode they choose to travel. Why did DC gov't say one thing, plan one thing, dedicate funds for that thing, and then cave? db is right -- should we all just park on the diagonal outside the Air & Space Museum on a Sunday? Judging from the crowds, that's where many tourists worship. Other entities have to use parking garages (Kennedy Center, Convention Centers, etc.), so if the churches have a parking problem they need to solve it in some other way than privilege and patronage.


There's much less motor vehicle traffic on Sundays, so pedalers can have safer access to all lanes (which we all have legal access to) that we can't have on weekdays and during rush hours when we need bike lanes the most.

Talking about your opponents dying off is not only inaccurate it is pretty subhuman and dumb

Also, United House of Prayer (UHOP) at 6th&MStNW has a very active cycling club who either were not represented or were misrepresented at this hearing.

I know they like bike lanes because I have biked with them on several occasions.

You should do a post on them.

"parishiners that are part of those various congregations that may live in Washington DC that drive in."

Do such mythical creatures exist? 99.999% of the license plates are from MD. I look forward to the far distant future when DC government policy is largely directed by DC voters rather than folks who live in Maryland.


We are all going do die some day. I will. You will. That necessarily effects the future of institutions. To the extent that it (combined with changes of residence) leads these institutions to move in the future, I would suggest that folks calm down, make compromises, and trust to the acturial tables. I am confused - do you disagree with my recommendation that my fellow cycling advocates chill on this one?

Oboe - I would assume that some folks who have moved out of central DC and who still return to pray have moved to places like Queens Chapel or Fort Totten, and not all have gone to Maryland, but I really don't know.

I think I'll just take an extra cup of that egg-nog.

Amen! Lord knows they ain't no churches on 9th Street NW.

That's it! Blacks are no longer a majority in DC; so let's stick it to them where they worship.
Dr. Bowen has street cred' but what's that compared to our argument-without-compromise approach. She has to learn there's a new marshal in town.

There's no parking in heaven.

Dr. Bowen is an architectural engineer with many years of experience and chief of the Master Planning division for the United States Army at the Joint Base Myer - Henderson Hall, Directorate of Public Works in Arlington, Virginia

As a former resident of Ft Myer dorms,I hereby invalidate anything the good Dr has to say. When I got back to the area in '05,I was amazed that they had finally figured out to open the gate between Ft M and H Hall. They still don't have curb cuts on all sidewalks at intersections,and only just the other year installed one where the bike/walk trail meets Marshall Dr. And one of these days,I hope to actually be able to use the bike rack at the Commissary(they like to stack pallets right up against it). I don't want anyone who has anything to do with that place having a say in our roads in DC.

Blacks are no longer a majority in DC; so let's stick it to them where they worship.

I don't understand why you're injecting race into this. This has nothing to do with race - or religion even. It has to do with whether or not streets space should be set aside for free parking or to encourage healthy, clean and sustainable transportation like biking.

our argument-without-compromise approach

I'd be willing to compromise. Put in the bike lanes and they can park in them on Sundays between 9am and 1pm.

@shawingtontimes, You wrote:

"Picking on one person, a person of faith, and a black person to create some controversy that only exists in the minds of a few is intellectually dishonest and exaggerating it to the ridiculous isn't even good blogging, much less good journalism."

Just to be clear, if a black person of faith testifies at a government hearing that building a bike lane is a bad idea, and she is the only one to do so, its poor blogging and bad journalism to criticize her arguments?

I can not imagine Dr. Bowen would agree with your logic.

I think Shawington Times reaction to the title is as understandable as our reaction to a title that said "Cyclists still don't stop at stop signs."

the lack of an article makes it unclear if that is meant is all, most, many, some or a few.

I blame the English language

If people don't stand up to the churches' political power, they will continue to do whatever they want. The whole diaganal parking came in because they chose to do it and then made DDOT bend to their will.

I mean, c'mon, Dr. Bowen is ok with some of her parishoners taking Metro, but none would dare bike. As if Metro is some bundlement of joy! Those poor people would be safer riding bicycles.

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