The polite crowd reacted most strongly not to a candidate, but to a topic: bikes. An audience-generated question about what the candidates would do to encourage bicycle use in the city prompted cheers and a few sharp answers. Wells criticized the Gray administration for altering plans for a separated bike lane on M Street NW, changing the design in the 1500 block at the behest of Metropolitan AME Church. That comment incensed Orange — who left unspoken that he is a Metropolitan congregant — accusing Wells of divisive rhetoric: “Last time I checked, I don’t believe I saw a bike lane in front of National Cathedral over on Wisconsin Avenue,” he said. “You can’t be on both sides of the equation depending on what audience you talk to.” Shallal, meanwhile, won cheers and applause for questioning the city government’s push to install bike lanes. “Just painting a bike on the road doesn’t make it safe,” he said, adding, “I stopped biking in the city because it’s too damn dangerous. … We have to come up with a real understanding of what safety is before we start just painting lanes.”
I think ultimately, though, having ways in which people can get to where they want to get to because they have amenities and conveniences and work close to where they are instead of having to use vehicular transportation, is a good approach. Getting people more acclimated to using bicycles. Having more bicycle lanes.
We've got to get everybody adapted to the idea that bicycles are an increasingly important way of people getting around in the city. Not everybody has bought into that yet, and that's going to take time as well.
We now have the most robust bicycle program in America. We have well over 20,000 people who are part of our bikeshare program. Others are coming here now to learn about us so they can emulate the bikeshare program.
At the beginning of this month, Mayor Gray submitted a package of 11 bills as part of the Sustainable DC Act of 2013. Included in this is the Transit Benefit Establishment Act of 2013, which would require that employers with 50 or more workers provide their minimum wage-eligible staff with some form of transit benefit. [This] could include the bicycle commuter benefit, if the employer chooses to offer it.
While not perfect, that bill had a lot of promise. But that bill was withdrawn about a month after it was introduced. I've contacted the Mayor and members of the council to find out why, but no one has written me back. So that's disappointing.
On a related note, there are some other bills that are working their way through or have been approved that cyclists might be interested in.
There's the Smoking Restriction Amendment Act of 2013 which became law at the end of 2013. It prohibits smoking at or within 25 feet of any public recreational facility when another person is present (with an exception for smoking at residential property) and it defines a public recreational facility to include trails.
CaBi expansion in DC has been delayed, according to Mayor Gray's spokesperson Pedro Ribeiro "because of delays getting them from the supplier...but DDOT thinks in the next 6 weeks they will have all the stations in."
There's only one word for someone who parks in the L Street cycletrack - Fulparkerare
"There is a pot of $10.7 million for bike lanes and trails, which appears to be entirely new; formerly, there was no dedicated local bike money. The budget staff have promised to follow up to confirm this. Another $5.1 million will go to "bike-friendly streetscapes," which will be interesting to see in more detail."
The new Douglass Bridge gets fully funded.
A profile of locally-educated Alta Planning + Design president and bike-lover Mia Birk. It's interesting that in all the talk of how women are under-represented in biking, there are quite a few bike businesses operating in DC that are led by women (Alta, Toole Design, BikeStation, Capitol Hill Bikes, etc...)
"It is bike lanes. It is dog parks. It is about state-of-the-art swimming facilities. It is about recreation centers. Capital Bikeshare. Car2Go. Streetcars. It's about a way of life. Black folks want this stuff, they're just not as passionate about it.""
"This is the make or break year, so we know that we need additional revenue, the state needs additional revenue in the trust fund to actual build the Purple Line," said Madden. "So far we are optimistic, based on the discussions going on, that will happen."
Maryland has agreed to take responsibility for the portion of Maryland Route 410 in Takoma Park. "Before the council’s Feb. 19 vote to authorize the agreement, public comments included both support from residents who were glad to see responsibility for the road clarified, as well as concerns that if bike lanes were added — as allowed by the agreement — they could turn into a different type of lane, Acting City Manager Suzanne Ludlow said."
Mayor Gray's One City Action Plan calls for expanding bike share stations (by 87 by the end of the year which has already been reported) and bike lanes. Bike lanes would go from 56 now to 61 by 2014, which doesn't sound that aggressive compared to the Action Agenda from 2010 which aspired to have 80 miles by 2012. The One City Plan adds "DDOT will also add high visibility bike lanes with green paint beginning on L Street and in other high conflict areas. Lastly, additional pavement markers that help to better identify bike lanes will also be added to help increase bicycle safety."
WAMU is not finding as many abandoned bikes as I'd expect. Maybe next they can focus on something that impacts safety.
Ray LaHood "If accessibility advocates and biking and walking advocates make their voices heard in their state capitols and in their county and city councils, there's no reason to believe that the tremendous progress we've made in the last three years can't continue." Except that many state capitals are dominated by the kind of people who oppose spending money on biking.
Velib is 5 years old. 10% of Parisians are members, and car trips are down 25%. Velib has turned a profit the last 3 years.
Sec. 2. Bicycle safety enhancements for District-owned, heavy-duty vehicles. (a) The Mayor shall: (1) Equip all District-owned, heavy-duty vehicles with the following: (A) Blind-spot mirrors; (B) Reflective blind-spot warning stickers; and (C) Side-underrun guards to prevent bicyclists, other vehicles, or pedestrians from sliding under rear wheels. [WC: Section 4 notes that this will apply once funding is provided in an approved budget] (2) Require that operators of District-owned, heavy-duty vehicles receive bicycle and pedestrian safety training from a curriculum and instructors that are approved by the District Department of Transportation
So, I contacted the Department of Public Works, since they own and operate most of DC's heavy-duty vehicles to see how compliance was going. Below is their response
Blind spot mirrors: Blind spot mirrors are required on all new heavy duty vehicles purchased by the Department and are being installed on existing heavy duty vehicles maintained by the Department as they are brought in for repairs or routine maintenance.
Blind spot stickers: have been placed on all of the heavy vehicles
Side-underrun guards: The law only requires side-underrun guards to be installed if this is provided for in an approved budget. No such provision has been made. Also, side-underrun guards are not readily available for most of the heavy duty vehicles maintained by DPW, so they would have to be custom made. For these reasons, the Department has not installed any on the vehicles it maintains.
Safety Training: Bicycle and pedestrian safety is covered in the Defensive Driving for CDL Drivers course offered for those employees who drive commercial vehicles for the District (please note: in this context ‘commercial vehicles’ refers to large vehicles, not necessarily vehicles used in commerce). The District Department of Transportation's safety officer has agreed to participate when the course is offered in the future.
So, in general it's a positive development, though, I don't know how what percentage of vehicles have the blind-spot mirrors at this point.
It would be nice if the District could come up with a plan to provide money for side-underrun guards - or some reaonable alternative. It would be great if the law extended to all heavy-duty vehicles in the District, not just those owned by DC, even allowing for a more open requirement to simply remove blind spots - which would allow for blind-spot cameras, proximity sensors or other yet-to-be developed technology. But it's nice to see that the law was not passed and promptly ignored.
Mayor Gray wanted to redirect Performance Parking Funds from non-automotive transportation projects to WMATA. In the past PPF money has paid for bike racks and bikeshare docks among other things. The council pushed back on this and half the money over "baseline" will go to the buses. "The budget also takes steps to restore the pedestrian and bicycle enhancement fund, which pays for a number of smaller pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects."
"There’s plenty of bike parking around Nationals Park, including Capital Bikeshare stations and a bike valet in the garage on the northeast side of the stadium. "
The Patch has details on the College Park bike share stations. "According to the city's grant application, four of the College Park stations will be located on the UMd. campus: Regents Drive parking garage, Stamp Student Union, McKeldin Library and the Eppley Recreation Center. The remaining four will be installed at the College Park Metro Station, downtown near the Knox Road and U.S. Route 1 intersection, The Varsity student apartments and the Hollywood Shopping Center. A total of 64 bikes will be available, according to the grant application." It could be online within a year. Bicycle Bug asks if the stations are well placed.
Mike Madden argues that Gray, policy-wise, isn't that different from Fenty and that includes bike lanes. That may be true, but when I look at what Gabe Klein is doing in Chicago, I sure miss him (and that is not a slam on Terry Bellamy, who seems to be doing a fine job). DeBonis quotes Gray saying about car/bike conflicts "We've got to recognize we're changing the culture in this city, and we have to stick with it."