This post was an April Fool's Day entry.The building pictured is a technology campus in Spain focused on sustainable development. I thought the palm trees would give me away.
From a DDOT press release
Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty
and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Gabe Klein announced plans to build a new DDOT office building dedicated to cycling on the corner of H St and 11the St NW on land that used to house the old Convention Center. Called the Bike Haus, the 80,000 s.f. building will hold offices for DDOT's bike and pedestrian programs as well as office space for the League of American Bicyclists, Bikes Belong, the Rails to Trails Conservancy, the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, America Bikes and the Alliance for Biking and Walking.
In addition, the mixed-use project will include the largest and most sophisticated bike commuter facility in the world; the first REI in Washington, DC; a restaurant; a bar and other retail.
The bike commuter facility will be unlike anything else in the world. "It will be the kind of innovative design we hope the rest of the world will emulate", said Mayor Fenty.
Cyclists who join the commuter facility will use an RFID membership card to "park" their bike using an automatic bike parking and retrieval system that has been in use in Japan for years. The facility can park over a thousand bicycles. From a control screen, members can schedule bike repairs or maintenance. While they're at work or running errands, mechanics at REI will retrieve the bike through a separate portal, repair it, charge the member's account and return it to the underground parking facility. The member even gets a text when the bike is removed and returned.
On the ground floor, cyclists will find a full locker room with showers and towel service. Lockers - of which there will be over 1500 - open with the same id card. Lockers are connected to an integrated dehumidification system that will be able to dry clothes and shoes, even after a snow or rain, within 7 hours.
After dressing, members can put dirty bike clothes in provided laundry bags and drop them into a receiving bin. With another swipe of their ID card the clothes are tied to their account and locker. The clothes will be cleaned by a laundry service in the building, folded and returned to their locker by the end of the work day. After work, they can repeat the process with their work clothes which will be returned at the end of the next work day. Laundry is also charged to the members account.
glass-louvered and steel building is being designed by noted Hungarian
architect Rial Ofpol. It will strive to be LEED Platinum certified.
In the lobby, members will find a DDOT kiosk that allows them to report potholes, downed trees and other road and trail hazards; and an underground walkway that will connect the building one block to the Metro Center Metro station.
“This new architecturally
striking facility serves as a symbol that bicycling is a legitimate form
of transportation,” said DDOT Director Klein. “DDOT continues to be
committed to all modes of transportation understanding each ones
importance to a healthy transportation system.”
The building will also feature a bicycle themed restaurant, OTB Bicycle Cafe, which currently has a location in Pittsburgh; a New Belgium Bar and Grill, which features the bicycle themed Fat Tire amber ale; and, as required by law, a Starbucks.
"This is a big F***ing deal" said Vice President Joe Biden.
At last night's open house, DDOT's Chris Holben told me they were really happy with the way Bike Station was going and that they were looking at adding more secure parking (possibly card activated) downtown. If not at least covered.
The Action Agenda that DDOT released this week is the most positive new document to come out of DDOT since the Master Bike Plan. It includes initiatives
that should help make streets safer for cyclists like (emphasis mine). It features five Core Values each with several polices. Under the Sustainable Living, the first Core Value is to "Make walking the mode of choice for trips of less than one mile and biking the mode of choice for trips of less than three miles." Implementing the recommendations of the Bicycle Master Plan and Pedestrian Master Plan are only part of the plan to get there. They also want to
• Transform the DC bike-share system into a substantive transit option with 100 stations and 1,000 bicycles.
• Set aside 5% of the capital budget each year as a core program for pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
• Quadruple the lane miles of separated cycle facilities.
• Formally adopt bike boxes for bicyclist safety at intersections into
DC standards and implement them in at least 100 locations.
• Repurpose on-street parking spaces for bicycle parking in at least 25 locations.
• Add four more bike stations.
• Increase marketing and private sector promotion of non-motorized modes. • Improve the District travel-demand model to capture non-motorized trips. • Update and expand the Bicycle Master Plan for the next decade. • Support non-vehicular travel and unique place-making in the public space.
Yes. That just happened. Turns out that the goal is to more than double bicycle mode share by 2012 from levels in 2009 (2.3% to 5%).* And by 2012 they aspire to double bike lane mileage to 80 miles, have 0 bike fatalities and reduce crashes from 335 to 250.
But on-street facilities are only part of the solution. The fourth policy is to "encourage development projects that promote and support non-auto mobility"
• Partner with developers to ensure private sector implementation of transportation demand management (TDM) strategies. • Require convenient, covered, and secure bicycle parking in new development; require building owners to allow bicycle access. • Support zoning code updates that expand bicycle parking and amenity requirements and implement vehicle parking maximums where feasible. • Meet the challenges of a 21st century urban DOT by incorporating a new administration—the Progressive Transportation Services Administration—that will focus on non-auto mobility.
In the 6th Policy they suggest moving toward fourth generation bike sharing - one card gets you on Metro, bike sharing, car sharing and pays for parking meters. [Factoid: DDOT’s bike-sharing program has 1,200 members who use the system for an average of 90 trips per day. The average rental time is 27 minutes.] In the Firm Foundation section they mention regional bike sharing.
But wait, there's more. Many other policies would make the roads safer or more fun for cyclists, like (emphasis mine)
-- Train bus and taxi drivers on pedestrian and bicycle laws and safety. -- Pursue legislation requiring that new drivers receive bicycle and pedestrian education before obtaining a driver's license. -- Develop and expand the annual Feet in the Street event, whereby the city closes select streets to vehicle traffic and allows full bicycle, pedestrian, and retail use. -- Expand the enforcement powers of traffic control officers and school crossing guards. -- Consider lowering speed limits on local roads. -- Reduce speeding on local and collector streets. Ensure appropriate traffic speeds on all roads. Pilot lowering speeds below 25 mph on select local streets. -- Implement traffic calming studies citywide. -- Continue and build upon regional campaigns such as Smooth Operator, the annual effort to curb aggressive driving. -- Improve safety at the top 50 high-crash intersections. -- Expand mobile photo enforcement to work zones.
If they pull half of this off, it'll start to look a lot like Portland around here. Very exciting stuff. It's like our DMV has grown up into a real Transportation Department.
About two percent of District workers bike to work, and
there were 257 crashes involving bicyclists in 2008 and one fatality –
up slightly from the previous two years.
There are 64 miles of signed
bike routes in the District, 44.7 miles of designated bike lanes, and
55 miles of bicycle trails. More than 1,200 bike racks have been
installed since 2002.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Crashes Reduced
average, 265 bicycle and 600 pedestrian crashes are reported to the
Metropolitan Police Department each year in DC. While DDOT is pleased
to report annual decreases in crashes, the District government
recognizes the importance of a continued commitment to improve bicycle
and pedestrian safety. DDOT is also committed to increase the amount of
bicycling and walking in the city, and has completed several different
initiatives to improve safety and bike and pedestrian accessability[sic].
Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities and injuries continue to decrease, according to Metropolitan Police reports.
Bicycle Master Plan Work Completed
the Bicycle Master Plan, DDOT has continued to work towards providing
safe and convenient bicycle access throughout the city through the
creation of a network of interconnected trails. These include the
Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, the Marvin Gaye Park Trail, the Metropolitan
Branch Trail, the Recreational Trails Program, and the Garfield Park -
Canal Park Connection. DDOT anticipates that the completion of these
trails, along with other bicycle initiatives, will continue to
encourage an increase in biking in the District of Columbia. The goal?
The District of Columbia will be a world-class bicycling city that
offers a safe and convenient network of bikeways for all types of trips
Bike Station at Union Station Opened
bike transit facility at the west end of Union Station is the first of
its kind on the East Coast. The new facility offers bicycle parking,
rentals, repairs and accessories and holds approximately 133 bikes of
all types. It boasts a hybrid natural and mechanical venting system to
minimize power use. The design also allows for rainwater runoff to be
used for irrigation. A portion of the runoff from both the bike station
as well as the plaza will be channeled to nearby planters for use as
irrigation and to take advantage of the bio-retentive qualities of the
planting beds. The project was funded by the Federal Highway
Administration and DDOT. It’s one of many DDOT projects to promote
sustainable transportation within the District.
176 new bike racks were installed in 2009.
Car Sharing and Bike Sharing Encouraged
available are SmartBikes, a self-service, point-to-point bike program
available at stations throughout the District. DDOT works to support
Washington, DC as a cyclist-friendly city for visitors and commuters
Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) Continued
MBT will run from Silver Spring to Union Station, connecting the
Capital Crescent Trail, the Anacostia Tributaries Trail System, and the
National Mall. It will be part of the East Coast Greenway. The
recreation and transportation route will provide direct access to seven
of Metro’s Red Line stations. MBT is named after the “Metropolitan
Branch,” the first rail line built through the corridor by the B&O
Railroad. The corridor is now home to Amtrak and Metro as well as
freight lines. It is anchored by two significant railroad landmarks,
Union Station and the old B&O Railroad station in Silver Spring.
Since trail planning began in the 1990s, three segments are currently
in place; New York Avenue to Union Station, 1st Street NE, and John
As well as information about Safe Routes to School, Street Smarts, Feet in the Street and the Inauguration bike valet.
report on bike parking at
District-owned buildings such as government office buildings,
recreation centers, public schools and libraries. The report will
include information on: 1) the number of existing bicycle and car
spaces currently provided at all District buildings; 2) a strategic
plan to bring the ratio of bike to car parking up to at least 10% and
to provide additional bicycle parking above the minimum at those
buildings where demand is higher; 3) an evaluation of bicycle travel
lanes leading riders to and from District facilities and parks; 4) a
detailed report on the bicycle parking plan for the new baseball park
in Southeast DC.
That report was to be done within 90 days, but it was just finished last month. WABA was, I think, paid to do the report (maybe after asking about it for the 100th time?). The legislative committee was also concerned about another part of the law that requires residential buildings to add bike parking (1 for every 10 auto spaces - double the current zoning requirement set in the 80s) and the fact that it isn't being enforced. There is ongoing discussions between DDOT and DCOZ as to who should enforce this law.
Finally, they're working on a letter to DDOT Director Klein to ask about DDOT's decision to rescind more CMAQ, TE and Recreational Trails money than was required. They also plan to ask about underfunding in both the Highway Safety Improvement Program (10%) and the State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program, both of which can be used for bicycle programs (infrastructure, education, enforcement, research etc...)
Facilities Committee - There was a discussion about the loss of parking meters and the impact this has had on bike parking. It was reported that 3800 parking meters have been removed so far as part of the transition to multi-space meters. DDOT does not necessarily put racks in as they remove meters - as the two are under separate contracts. They do try to follow a meter removal with a rack installation. There will be no multi-space meters going in this year, and so that should give DDOT a chance to catch up. DDOT admits there is a backlog, but they're working hard to fill it. Part of the problem is getting racks from their supplier, though they just received 300 racks which they started installing yesterday. The Downtown and Golden Triangle BIDs have done a good job installing hundreds of racks and that helps.
The system for rack installation is request driven. Someone requests a rack online or by calling 311 and DDOT's bike parking team eventually inspects the location and if they decide it is suitable for bike parking then a rack is installed. There is not some larger plan (as it would be too expensive/time consuming).
Metropolitan Branch Trail - Good news. As someone said in the comments, WMATA has issued DDOT the necessary permit for the New York Avenue to R Street section. Work should begin as soon as next week. the entire New York Avenue to Franklin section will be done by April, which will really mean everything from Union Station to Franklin will be done (the stairs at L are temporary, but let's not quibble). In addition, DDOT has created a list of places where they expect to need access to WMATA land in the future. This will be given to WMATA so that when the time comes to build on that section the permit(s) will be ready and work can continue without delay.
South Capitol Street Trail - DDOT is still working on this plan, but an interim route to the Wilson Bridge may be signed.
Bike Lanes - DC paved 6.2 miles of bike lane in 2009 (not including sharrows). They're also aggressively working to build bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave NE NW between 3rd and 15th.
Bike Sharing - No change. They're still waiting on Arlington County to finalize their contract, which DDOT will then review to see if they can get in under similar terms. They may know something by the end of this month with bikes up and running by summer. If they switch providers, there will be no gap in service.
Cycletracks - The K Street NW FONSI did not include bike facilities. But as a result of the stack of comments asking for them, DDOT is working to add cycletracks in the greater downtown area soon. I Street and/or L Street NW are being investigated as replacements for K. Ironically, K Street is dependent on winning the TIGER grant, but a cycletrack on I or L is a pretty good bet whether DC wins the grant or not. Also being looked at is extending 15th Street's cycletrack south and adding cycletracks to 7th and 9th around Mt. Vernon Square (and sotuth).
Bike Station - At last count they had 111 members (out of a maximum ~250). Though not planning a second bike station, they are talking with Metro about adding bike parking at Metro stations using a smaller facility available from BikeStation.
His list of 10 mistakes: 1. Being Unprepared, 2. Failing To Get Help, 3. Not Having Any Witnesses, 4. Not Having Any Evidence, 5. Not Contacting The Authorities, 6. Failing To Follow Up, 7. Not Having "Show & Tell", 8. Failing To Document, 9. Talking Too Much, and 10. Losing Track Of Time.
Our solution was a vertical bike rack mounted to the side of each passenger coach. The bike storage area would be separated from the rest of the car by a partition. Our design was tested at the Federal Railroad Administration’s facility in Colorado. However, since it would have meant the loss of two rows of seats in each car we ultimately decided not to proceed. Adding a dedicated car for bikes is not an option for us because we are short on mid-day and overnight storage space.
I can see taking seats out as an issue, but I've seen other trains (NJ Transit) that allow bikes on without special racks.
ACT has published an article in their latest newsletter criticizing Montgomery County for being "hostile to transit riders and pedestrians" Among the specific claims are
If you got really excited about yesterday's list of things to expect next year, let this temper it: off of last year's list only five out of fourteen items listed happened as expected, and one of those (the Union Station Bike Station) was about 4 months late.You could call that 5.9 as most of the Met Branch Trail's NY Ave to Franklin section is open, but that too is several months late. The Bicycle Commuter Benefit went into effect, but no one is getting it due to rules issues.
So 2009 wasn't as big a year as we'd hoped, but there were still several big stories. Everyone else is doing top 10transportation stories, most of which have nothing to do with biking and those that do (Wilson Bridge, ICC and Fairfax Parkway) don't mention it really, so I'll put together my list of the top 10 Biking Stories of 2009.
10. The Tweed Ride - A couple of hundred people show up in costume and ride for a few miles. Then they drink for a few hours. Press loves it.
9. Work begins on the Metropolitan Branch Trail's key section - The long-delayed project finally got some traction this year as work began on the NY Avenue to Franklin section, some of which is now open and most of which is built.
8. Matthew Henson Trail's west section opens - With the opening of this section, the whole trail is now complete.
7. Shirlington Underpass opens - this long-desired connection makes for a much simpler route across I-395.
5. The Alice Swanson Ghost Bike saga - DPW coldly removes Alice Swanson's ghost bike. Local artist replaces it with 22 otehrs. DPW removes those too. (FYI, the ghost bike was shown in a B-roll shot during the premiere of The Real World DC. Not that I watch that show).
4. Ridegate - Mayor Fenty and his bike team ride with a police escort and kind of break laws, including one that was only recently, and some what secretly, changed. People freak out.
3. 15th Street Contraflow Bike Lane - The Shirlington Underpass opened with hardly a single story in the local MSM, but this new bike lane was covered by everyone. Go figure.
I could add the story that wasn't - for the first time since 2006 there were no bike fatalities in DC. Of course, DC only averages about 1.2 a year so that isn't a huge diversion from the norm, but zero is the goal and with cycling on the rise, it's a good sign. There was unfortunately one fatality in each of Arlington, Prince William, Montgomery and Prince George's County in 2009. Three out of four of those were at night, btw.
Another story that didn't make the cut was Capitol Hill Bikes Closing. Now it's not much of a story because it won't stay closed for
long, but at the time it meant the loss of the only bike shop in DC
outside of NW.
Other stories include the start of the Casey Trees water By-Cycle, construction of phase I of the Washington Boulevard Trail, work started on the Rock Creek Trail's Viers Mill Overpass, Design starting on the Klingle Valley Trail and Secretary Chu making an appearance at Bike to Work Day. The number of bikes reported stolen in DC in 2009, btw, was 550.