The $54 billion plan received mixed reviews Friday at a City Council hearing, where some speakers praised the plan’s goals to widen access for pedestrians and bike users and others complained about the proposals to take away road space for bikes and transit lanes, reduce parking and impose tolls on drivers. Consensus among many speakers was that the plan failed to address how the city would implement the recommendations.
Greg Billing, advocacy coordinator with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, said already the city has made significant strides with new biking facilities that have encouraged more people to commute by bike. But there are still areas of the District where the lack of facilities remains a barrier for biking, he said. The plan would increase the bike access through the expansion of trails and bike lanes, he said.
But alas, the car parking enthusiasts are not convinced
Although pedestrian safety is a central component in the plan, some residents and church leaders said they were concerned about some recommendations to add bike lanes that would take away parking in some communities.
Transforming city owned land from car storage to transportation is probably a good way to improve transportation.
“MoveDC is forcing people to change,” said Larry Werner, who argued the plan was crafted without input from vehicle-owners.
The future Capital Crescent Trail/Purple Line will pass through this area.
The Montgomery County Planning Department will be hosting a community workshop for the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan onTuesday, July 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to identify existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges for the Plan Area.
The workshop will take place at the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Center (2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD) and all are invited to attend. RSVP's are encouraged, but not required.
As a follow-up to the successful relaunch meeting held in early May, the planning team would like to invite the public to give their feedback on preferences for the Plan Area which will help to contribute to the overall plan, which will form the foundation for transforming the heart of Greater Lyttonsville.
Details: What: Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Community Workshop
Who: Anyone focused on the future of Greater Lyttonsville When: Tuesday, July 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Where: Gwendolyn E. Coffield Center - 2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD
The [Senate Finance Committee] has posted 53 pages worth of amendments that could be voted on at today’s markup....Republicans have targeted some of their biggest traditional transportation pet peeves in their amendments, which include ones to let states opt out of the federal highway and transit programs, end spending on the Transportation Alternatives program that funds bike and pedestrian paths
As the Highway Trust Fund continues is slow slide toward insolvency, biking remains popular around the country, and more and more advocates are pushing for bike lanes and other infrastructure specifically for two-wheeled commuters. But that attention comes with a price — Republicans often point to bike lanes as a waste of federal dollars, and many want bikers to pay up. But nobody seems to have figured out a way to charge bikers in a fair and cost-efficient way. “I have no problem paying an extra nickel or quarter or dollar on a bike tire,” bow-tied biker Rep. Earl Blumenauer told MT. “I’m not opposed to it, but most of the systems I’ve seen actually cost almost as much as they collect.” Maybe the best strategy, even if the ideas so far are unfair, is for bikers to not immediately reject those efforts, even if just to get a seat at the table. “We probably will not benefit by being self-righteous or smug, even though the benefits of bicycle use are multi-faceted and significant,” said Tim Blumenthal, president of People for Bikes. My story in today’s POLITICO paper looks at the obstacles to a bike fee and why recent state efforts have failed: http://politico.pro/1nHyAHM
As a result, cities have to "rebalance" bikes by, well, truck. Someone must come along periodically and rearrange the supply to meet the shifting demand. This is a significant expense for bikeshare systems (not to mention an asterisk against their reputation for low-carbon transportation).
But rebalancing is not that big an asterisk. Capital Bikeshare in 2011-2012 had 3 Sprinter vans and some SUVs, which for Cabi's 2nd year [September 2011-September 2012] wracked up just above 320mi/day for rebalancing vehicles, or around 117,000 miles for the year (thanks to Josh Moskowitz for running the numbers for me, which I have been sitting on for nearly two years now). In addition they drove their tech vehicles about 30,000 miles for the year. The Sprinters get about 16 mpg (and the other vehicles probably better mileage) which means that CaBi burned about 9,187 gallons of gasoline in year two.
According to the EPA calculator, that's the equivalent amount of CO2 (81.2 metric tons) produced by 17.2 average passenger cars in a year. Meanwhile, CaBi reduced driving enough to cut 3.7 million pounds of CO2 (1678 metric tons). Meaning that the rebalancing only gives back about 5% of the savings.
Alternative fuel and even human-powered redistribution vehicles are deployed elsewhere, and especially if operations are used to substitute for additional capacity, it is important that CaBi ensure that it minimize its environmental impact....CaBi should purchase and operate a varied fleet of redistribution vehicles, with the goal of deploying the lowest impact vehicle necessary to adequately service a particular node of the system
After Alice Swanson was killed in a collision with a trash truck in 2008, DC passed the Bicycle Safety Enhancement Act of 2008. One requirement of that act was to "Equip all District-owned heavy duty vehicles with side-underrun guards to prevent bicyclists, other vehicles, or pedestrians from sliding under rear wheels"
But in the nearly 6 years since then none of the District's heavy duty vehicles have been so equipped. The primary reasons for this is that money has never been provided for it. (see update below) I've argued for some time that not only is the District putting cyclists and pedestrians at risk, but they've placed themselves in a legally risky position by saying that these safety devices are needed but haven't installed them. If, heaven forbid, someone were to be hurt, this could be evidence held against DC in a civil case (though my lawyer wife has told me that it might not be, since the courts would not want to disincentivize the city from discussing safety enhancements or planning for them).
Well, Systemic Failure recently reported that the NTSB has made a set of recommendations about safety and tractor-trailer trucks.
The NTSB proposed measures to reduce blind spots, and a requirements for side guards on new vehicles. The good news is that the NTSB has now officiallyadopted those safety measures.
The NHTSA has 90 days to respond to the NTSB safety recommendation.
the most common impact location among cyclist fatalities was the right side of the tractor-trailer (40 percent)
But it doesn't seem that the underride protection systems are being proposed with cyclists and pedestrians in mind, but rather passenger vehucle occupants. Still, if this requirement is adopted it should start to make trucks in the DC area safer.
It gets even better, as another requirement being proposed is for blind-spot cameras, which I've also advocated for; and in this case NTSB thinks they will directly relate to cyclists. NTSB writes
Specific technologies to alert drivers of tractor-trailers about other vehicles traveling in their blind spots are already on the market. The side view assistance system has sensors that monitor the blind spot in the adjacent lane and provides an audio warning if there is a vehicle in the blind spot after the driver signals an intention to change lanes. This technology has been reported to be particularly promising as a means of reducing truck/vehicle collisions. In addition, rear vision assistance systems, consisting of cameras and monitors, allow drivers to see pedestrians and passenger vehicles present in the rear blind spot while drivers are backing their vehicles.
The NTSB concludes that onboard systems and equipment that can allow tractor-trailer drivers to better detect passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists are available and that the use of such systems could prevent fatalities and injuries that occur in collisions involving tractor-trailers. The NTSB recommends that NHTSA require that newly manufactured truck-tractors with GVWRs over 26,000 pounds be equipped with visibility enhancement systems to improve the ability of drivers of tractor-trailers to detect passenger vehicles and vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
All of which is good news that should save lives.
Update: I got an email from someone at DPW and they informed me that starting at the beginning of this year all new vehicles purchased include guards. Existing vehicles are of two types: (1) trash packer vehicles and (2) other vehicles. The trash packers recently received a third axle (see image below) which prevents any person from getting under the truck and thus functions similar to an underrun guard. Other vehicles will be not be retrofitted, but will be replaced with vehicles with the underrun guards. Fantastic.
Update 2: Not content to wait for replacement, DPW is following the actions of Portland, OR and fabricating their own add-on guards in their shop and then installing them on the existing fleet truck-by-truck. Of the 162 trucks, 23 now have a guard installed, with more to follow.
VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations is hiring seasonal Bike Trip Leaders to lead groups on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. As a leader in the active travel industry for over 41 years, VBT is growing its family of Trip Leaders in Maryland.