The DC Council has been holding its annual oversight hearings for the District's departments, agencies, councils and other organizations, and WABA has been going to select meeting to testify.
At the DPW oversight hearing they focused on parking in bike lanes and DPR's role in enforcement of parking.
This is a problem with parking enforcement priorities. DPW is listed as a supporting agency in the Vision Zero Action Plan strategy to protect vulnerable users through “enhanced enforcement that focuses on . . . parking in [or] blocking bike lanes.” A central tenet of Vision Zero is that agencies prioritize safety over convenience. In general, the DPW enforcement data demonstrates a pervasive failure to do so. For example: combined tickets for blocking a bike lane, blocking a fire hydrant, or blocking a bus stop, all of which put people in actual danger, numbered just over 20,000 or 2.8% of total tickets. The District issued three times as many (or more than 60,000) tickets for residential parking permit violations, which are important, but ultimately a matter of convenience rather than safety.
WABA members have also reported a different barrier to effective bike lane parking enforcement: Currently, the city’s 311 system doesn’t have a clear way for residents to report blocked bike lanes.
At the DPR hearing they were interested in ways they can work with DPR to provide more bicycle programming and education.
In the past year, we have made numerous attempts to connect with DPR leadership at multiple levels, applied to their community partnership program, and offered to train their staff. We have received mixed messages at best, outright denials at worst. Truly, it should not be so difficult to connect the people of DC with services and opportunities they clearly want
And at the DDOT hearing they focused on "the agency’s progress on ensuring safe accommodations for bicyclists through construction work zones, and the pace at which bike infrastructure and other multi-modal safety projects are being implemented." WABA raised concerns with how permits are issued and how they're enforced, damningly noting that
In the past year, a single dedicated WABA member has reported to the public space office nearly one hundred safe accommodation violations along his commute. This individual’s near daily documentation of violations, more than anything, has revealed the shortcomings of the public space office’s ability to take in complaints, rapidly respond to those complaints, or create a process for ensuring that permit violators are in compliance before they are allowed to resume work.
and, or course, about the pace
The 2014 Move DC two year action plan called for 15 miles of new on-street bicycle infrastructure. We are nowhere close to that pace, and never have been, as we point out every year.
They note that the Florida Avenue project seems to prioritize moving cars, that the Rhode Island project doesn't adequately address bicycling in the corridor, and that the East Capitol Street Bridge rehab will "move forward with the same substandard sidewalk which is stressful and dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists", etc... Basically, everything is behind schedule or off the pace of plans and this is pretty much how it has been for 15 years. Either there is a problem in goal setting or in
we need a transportation agency that is clear about its goals and meeting them. We understand the projects are getting harder, require extensive public outreach and lengthy planning. This underscores the need for deeper buy-in and contribution from the full agency, and a powerful vision and approach that can galvanize citizen support for these projects
Meanwhile, the BAC testified at the MPD oversight hearing, bringing up issues of MPD involvement in the BAC, enforcement with respect to dangerous and distracted driving and bicycle theft.
Every year there are hundreds of reports of stolen bicycles and, since a 2014 study put the report rate at 35%, likely thousands more that are stolen and not reported. The same study found that about half of all cyclists will have a bicycle stolen in the next 10 years. So this is a serious problem and the BAC is interested in seeing more robust reporting of bicycle theft statistics, numbers which are hard or, in some cases impossible, to find. The recent Bicycle and Pedestrian safety bill had several provisions on reporting violation, crash, injury and fatality data on the premise that such reporting could shed a light on both problems and solutions. We believe the same is true of theft, and that reporting the numbers of bikes stolen, the number recovered and the clearance rate would serve the same utility. We’d like to know more about what MPD is doing to prevent bicycle theft and to recover and return stolen bikes.