Transportation Alternatives is the consolidated program in the latest federal transportation law, MAP-21, that funds expanded travel choices like bicycling and walking, or that make other enhancements like mitigating the environmental impacts of transportation facilities. The Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is the entity tasked with allotting this money in the DC Region. Last month they made their selections. Of the 15 projects selected a few will aid cyclists
In the District of Columbia, the National Park Service will use Transportation Alternatives funds to widen and repave the bicycle and pedestrian trail that connects the 14th Street Bridge with East Basin Drive in front of the Jefferson Memorial. The park service will also install safety rails and add new signage to help tourists and commuters find their way to key destinations. The project will add safety enhancements, increase the width of crosswalk ramps,
relocate utilities and signage from within the trail alignment.
The City of Takoma Park, in Maryland, will receive funding to widen sidewalks, add bike lanes, and install new pedestrian lighting along MD 410 near the intersection with New Hampshire Avenue.
Improvements to the Mount
Vernon Trail at Theodore
Roosevelt Island Trailhead. Realign and widen the northern terminus of the Mount Vernon Trail,
resurface the trailhead parking lot; separate the trail from the parking lot with a grade
separation; and install bike racks, directional and interpretive signage, and water
fountains. The goal of the project is to improve trail user safety through improvements to
the Mount Vernon Trail trailhead, which is the convergence of several significant regional
Fairfax County will receive funding to install bike stations and operating hardware to support the expansion of Capital Bikeshare to Reston, which the County hopes will give people more options for accessing Metrorail stations along the planned Silver Line.
Fairfax Mason to Metro
Bicycle Route. Develop a backbone bicycle route through the City and into Fairfax County to connect
George Mason University with the Vienna Metrorail Station. The project aims to increase
and improve bicycle and pedestrian travel between major hubs of activity in the City of
Fairfax, Fairfax County, and George Mason University.
Pickett Road Trail
Underpass. Install a 12 foot wide concrete trail under the existing Pickett Road bridge over Accotink
Creek, and construct asphalt trail segments to connect the underpass to the existing City
of Fairfax trail system. Install two culverts to convey existing storm drainage outfalls
under the proposed trail, and install wayfinding signage.
Cross County Trail - Lorton. The proposed section of the Cross County Trail in Lorton will traverse the Lorton Arts
Foundation property and connect Occoquan Regional Park and the Laurel Hill Greenway
Town of Haymarket Route
55 Washington Street
Enhancement Project. The project will provide 5-foot on-street bike lanes and 5-foot brick sidewalks on each
side of the road. The project extends the bike lanes and brick sidewalks that are already
available in the center of Town out toward the housing developments on the east side of
Next in the Great Cycletrack Battle of 2013 (last update here), DDOT speaks and WABA asks to talk to the Mayor.
DDOT had a post on their blog d.ish - which in itself is something of an oddity - in which they laid out their reasons for putting the cycletrack on a diet.
During the design process, it became clear that the original cycle track design would have had an impact on church operations that take place within the block and limit the ability to accommodate special events at the church along with routine activities. Metropolitan AME has a large congregation and has been an important institution on this block since 1925. In addition to an existing arrangement for angled parking for Sunday morning services, the church frequently hosts special events throughout the day and the week, such as funerals, that occupy several lanes to manage large numbers of vehicles. The street on this block is narrower than those west of Connecticut Avenue which limits flexibility in the allocation of space for the competing uses.
If this block used the same design [as the rest of M Street], then the church would not be able to have diagonal parking on Sundays, or much on-street parking at all for weekday funerals.
Then they went on to discuss the four options as District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Associate Director for Policy, Planning, and Sustainability Sam Zimbabwe sees it (Reduce church use of M Street at all times, reduce church use of M Street on weekdays, cycletrack becomes a bike lane, or cycletrack is moved to sidewalk level).
Meanwhile WABA is asking the Mayor to talk to them, but it's pretty clear they don't like the change.
From a transportation standpoint, this decision is wrong: Data—and common sense—indicates that removing the bollards will make cyclists less safe and decrease ridership. From a planning standpoint, it’s wrong, too: It undercuts the entire purpose of the M Street cycletrack, which is to provide a safe crosstown connection and encourage bicycle ridership. Additionally, the M Street cycletrack will help achieve Mayor Vince Gray’s Sustainable DC goals. By changing the design of the cycletrack, DDOT has intentionally compromised the safety of cyclists with no reasonable justification.
DDOT has also reversed previous public statements made to us and to the community, without the opportunity for further input. Since 2005, WABA has attended numerous public meetings about the M Street cycletrack, from those about its planning stages to those about its actual design. At no point—until now—has DDOT proposed compromising the safety of bicyclists by removing bollards.
For the city’s transportation agency to make such an egregious change is irresponsible. The design of the M Street cycletrack is unacceptable.
Breaking DDOTs argument down leads to the following points.
The original cycle track design would have had an impact on church operations
Metropolitan AME has a large congregation and has been an important institution on this block since 1925
I don't know how much weight to give item 2. I suppose it has more weight than "Metropolitan AME has a small congregation and has been an unimportant institution on this block since 2005," but how much more? Whether or not we should give greater weight to institutions that have a long history or just them all the same is probably another conversation (though, back in Texas, I used to roll my eyes whenever someone would start a comment with "My family has been Texans for 5 generations and ..." or whatever, as though that somehow gave their statement greater weight - so I don't see much of a difference here). And the claim of "importance" might have more value if someone would say how they're important. Are they running a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter? If so, they've been admirably modest about it.
So, they're large and they've been around for a long time. Value that how you will. It's a very good reason to not take their church with eminent domain. Less so for not restricting their use of on-street parking.
As for how it would impact their church operations. It sounds like we're talking about Sunday parking and weekday double parking for special events.
Sunday parking could be accommodated many different ways running the gamut from letting them park in the cycletrack on Sundays to letting them use only 2 out of 3 lanes for church parking (instead of 3 out of 4).
For funerals and other events, it would seem the church would be able to get by with the space in front of their church. Make that a restricted parking area and have the church not schedule events during rush hour.
Will that work? I don't know, because DDOT hasn't really been very specific about what the impacts are. They've been very clear and public about the alternatives that have been considered and dismissed for dealing with the cycletrack, but there has been NO talk about what alternatives were considered and dismissed for dealing with the church's needs. Were they asked about other parking? I don't know.
Nor has there been any discussion about whether addressing the church's needs in this way actually serves the goals of the city.
The church leadership keeps describing this as a win-win. But this is not a win-win. The church is getting to keep the status quo. Cyclists are having to settle for less than they've planned for. I don't think this is a zero-sum game - I do think everyone can win - but I do think THIS solution is a negative-sum one.
With the new section of the MBT open, that means that the entirety of the planned trail from Union Station to Bates Road, with the exception of the ramp at L Street, is open. There is a cycletrack being installed on 1st Street NE, but that is more of an upgrade than an initial section. Still, I really wish we'd gotten the tunnel under Monroe Street as orignally proposed.
Maryland has a new Secretary of Transportation, James T. Smith Jr.. The Post interviews several transportation advocates about him starting with AAA's Lon Anderson, only one mentions biking "Michele Whelley, head of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, said business leaders in her group want more commuter train service, as well as road improvements around Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Meade. They also want to see new sidewalks and bike lanes to better link Fort Meade with two commuter rail stations." I'm guessing they didn't interview Shane Farthing of WABA or Carol Silldorff of Bike Maryland.
Several years ago, Fairfax County cancelled a program by which citizens could report bad drivers who then got letters asking them to be good drivers. It was cancelled due to cost but the chief of police thinks that part of the reason was "people didn’t like getting these letters." Still, Hunter McCleary of FABB has a suggestion for where the money to continue the program could be found. "This month Fairfax County launched a program to rid many roadsides of illegally placed advertising."
It often asserted that cyclists don't belong on the road because they don't pay the gas tax, or that they should start to pay for it like drivers do. Frequent commenter SJE points out that the Maryland DOT 2014 budget overview shows - again - how wrong this is.
In 2012, gas tax brought in $734M, out of the total $2,830M revenue. MDOT spent $2,864M. So the 2012 gas tax covered 25.6% of MDOT expenditures. Barely a quarter. Its certainly not a golden good funding other activities, as some assert.
Does it even cover roads? Lets take out aviation, ports and WMATA costs (bikes are so small they don't even make it) which account for 31% of MDOT costs (see page 13). Lets say 33%. So, 25.6% of in the income divided by 66% of the costs: Gas tax therefore covers about 39% of road-related costs paid by MDOT.
Where does the money come from then? Top source was "corporate income, registration, misc MVA fees" ($795M). "Titling taxes" were $632M. So the state is already not collecting most of its transportation income as a user fee (gas tax) but through various other taxes on other activities. You do far more to pay for the roads when you buy a car than through the gas tax.
Estimates for 2103 put the gas tax at 18% of MDOT revenue, and so the rise in gas tax is still not covering a whole lot of MDOT budget.
Car owners do cover the majority of the budget for MDOT, but as is often noted - most cyclists are also car owners. In fact the more a car owner users their bike instead of their car, the more the subsidize everyone else. And even non-car owning cyclists pitch in through other taxes (enough to cover their share of the road I suspect).
According to my neighborhood listserv, some bike thieves were caught after trying to steal a locked bike - they had bolt cutters. FYI.
Shane Farthing, executive directory of WABA explains how DDOT is organized and how that organization stiffles bike/ped projects. "DDOT needs to bring individuals with the necessary expertise to IPMA and, once that expertise is in-house, leave prioritization of project timing to PPSA planners."
More on the CaBi employee protest. “We know you have the power to do the right thing,” John Farmer, a current employee, said to Gilliland.“We’ll make it work,” Gilliland replied.
Bring your bikes (or tricycles) to American Way between Fleet Street and St. George Boulevard at National Harbor for the fourth annual National Children’s Museum CycleFest 2013. The free block party-esque event, culminating in a ride to the National Harbor via the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail will be on Saturday, June 22
In short, one should not take training rides at high speed on multi-use trails. But I don't know why we need to differentiate those who do so as another species.
"Montgomery County’s original plan for park trails called for trails the parks department could not deliver, so planners are crafting a new, more usable framework for building out the network and are asking for resident input.... the new plan will view trails as a strategic park investment, and will focus on shorter “loops and links” that are consistent with population density, community demand and feasibility....Montgomery County Department of Parks is scheduled to hold two public meetings; the first scheduled for Monday at the agency’s Shady Grove Training Room, 16641 Crabbs Branch Way, Gaithersburg and the second Tuesday at the agency’s Montgomery Regional Office at 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. Both meetings will run from 7 to 9 p.m."
"Christoph Strasser, a 30-year-old former bike messenger broke the long-standing record in the Race Across America. He'd finished the race in 7 days, 22 hours and 11 minutes. The course has varied from year to year, but since 2006 it has begun in Oceanside, Calif., and ended at Annapolis Harbor.Earlier in the afternoon, RAAM managers, members of Strasser's crew and a handful of die-hard fans waited at the Mount Airy Bike Shop in Carroll County, the 52nd of 54 timing stations riders must pass through."
"Democrat Doris Matsui and Republican David Joyce will introduce complete streets legislation today to coincide with an EESI briefing on the issue." And "The bill encourages safer streets through Complete Streets policy adoption at the state and regional-levels—mirroring an approach already being used in more than 490 regional and local jurisdictions, 28 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A federal provision will ensure consistency in policies and funding needed to support these local efforts and ensure safe streets in every community."
Images of the 11th Street Bridge, Anacostia Trail and Overlooks. New ramps on that opened today "Work also continues on the pedestrian and bicycle path and two scenic overlooks that will extend out from the shared path offering beautiful views of Anacostia, the Navy Yard and the Nationals Park."
New Montgomery County zoning regulations "New buildings would also have to accommodate alternate modes of transportation by providing bike parking. Larger buildings will have to include space for car sharing, while developers would be able to swap out car parking spaces for carpool spaces, bikeshare stations or changing facilities."
Consultants recommend not putting bike lanes on Maple Avenue in Vienna and instead "using side streets to feed cyclists onto the corridor, where bike parking would be made available."
"A $250,000 surge of cash from [Montgomery County's] fiscal 2014's budget will go in part towards a study of where bicycle docks will be located, Roshdieh said, to determine where new lanes, markings or signs need to be placed."
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority recently announced the list of proposed transportation projects to be funded under the Commonwealth's new transportation bill. They'll have an open house on that list on June 20th beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Council Chambers at City Hall in the City of Fairfax, 10455 Armstrong Street, Fairfax, VA. The Open House will be followed by a presentation and the Public Hearing.
Projects of interest to those who bike in Northern Virginia include, but are not limited to
Columbia Pike Multimodal Street Improvements – FY14 Construction Start
Boundary Channel Drive Interchange – FY14 Construction Start
Crystal City Multi-Modal Center – FY14 Design Complete/Construction Start
Pedestrian Access to Transit (Falls Church) - FY14 Design Complete
Pedestrian Bridge at Van Buren Street (Falls Church) - FY14 Design Complete [Not sure what this is - a bridge over Van Buren at Four Mile Run?]
W&OD Trail Lighting connecting to East Falls Church Metro Station – FY14 Design Complete/Construction Start
That's out of 33 projects. There are only 3 that are specifically bike/ped related, but that's 3 too many for some people, because last week Virginia House Delegate Jim LeMunyon (R-Farifax) said that "funding for bus shelters, pedestrian bridge and lighting on a trail. That’s not why I voted to raise taxes."
FABB notes that the list is based on the TransAction2040 report (which contains many other projects too) so if anyone thought it ran afoul of the vision for transportation then they weren't paying attention to what the official vision was. And did LeMunyon really vote on a transportation bill that he thought wouldn't include bicycle and pedestrian projects?
In contrast, at the same meeting,
Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada jumped in with “a word in support of trails,” saying that “in densely populated areas, our bike lanes and trails become increasingly critical.” He cited Arlington bike counts that are “off the charts – thousands and thousands, especially in warmer months.” He says his county will continue to focus on trails and lighting which are “important in urban setting. Imagine all those thousands of people in cars.”
the National Building Museum's Intelligent Cities Initiative..notes that the reduced use of autos in DC has resulted in $128,275,000 being retained in the local economy each year. In Portland, Oregon, residents drive 20% less than other US cities which adds up to $1.1 billion of savings each year equalling 1.5% of the total personal income earned in the region, which is then spent mainly on local recreation, entertainment, food and drink.
the BOS and FCDOT will need to devote what looks like a disproportionately large amount of money to bicycle and pedestrian projects and staff because there will be no other funding from the state, while copious funds for roads projects will be forthcoming from "the 70%" that the NVTA will distribute for regional projects that "reduce congestion and increase capacity.
Arlington County, VA – just across the Potomac from Washington, DC – is quietly emerging as a leader in the innovative use of technology to create a more bicycle friendly community. Arlington was quick to recognize the value of bike sharing and was thus a leader in the effort to bring Capital Bikeshare, the country’s largest bike sharing system, to the Washington, DC area. But, it’s the adoption of a less visible technological innovation that has made them a technological leader.
Based on the theory that “what gets counted, counts,” Arlington County, VA has built a bicycle counter…
WABA is calling on cyclists to attend the ANC 3D meeting on May 1st to support bike lanes on New Mexico Avenue. "The bike lanes will be about 1 mile in length from Nebraska Ave NW, continuing south to Tunlaw Rd. NW."
There's a planning meeting tommorrow night on the Rosslyn Plaza project (site plan below) that includes a bicycle and pedestrian bridge would extend over I-66 and the GW Parkway from an esplanade to the Mount Vernon Trail. "Its feasibility has not been determined and will be discussed during the review of the PDSP."
One man puts Potholepalloza to the test. "Over the next four weeks, I will be biking all over DC to find and report as many potholes as possible. I will track all of the requests to see if and how quickly the potholes get filled, and how well." Is he a hero or just a man who hates potholes? Perhaps the answer is both.
LAB on Mayor Foxx. "Under his leadership, Charlotte has invested in light rail, a bikeway network, and a bikesharing system. The city’s Complete Streets approach to building a transportation system that serves all users is a model for the nation."