Reality: Bike commuting increased from 0.5% in 2008 to 1% in 2013
Goal: All schools counting bike use and 5% biking to school by 2011
Reality: Only 4 schools are reporting, and only 1% are commuting by bike as of 2014
Goal: Keep number of bicycle-car crashes at 14 per year or lower trhough 2011
Reality: 19 average crashes over last 10 years, and 16 in 2014
Goal: Proposed bike network 50% complete by 2011
Reality: 27% complete in 2014
Goal: City will begin a log of maintenance requests related to its bikeways network, post the log online for public viewing, and seek to reduce its maintenance backlog by a number to be determined
Reality: City collects maintenance requests via the Call.Click.Connect, which is available for public viewing. The City has not developed a tracking system for maintenance requests, but is proposing to include a tracking system as part of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan Update.
Goal: Add 500 new bike racks by 2009
Reality: City has added 150 bike racks
Goal: City-sponsored special events and public recreational facilities will supply plentiful bicycle parking
Reality: Most events occur near existing bike parking and the Parks Department added 35 bike racks to parks and schools in 2014 alone.
Goal: More than 50% of elementary aged school children will receive bicycle safety education by 2010.
Reality: 9 ACSP schools received bicycle safety education in 2014 as part of a grant-sponsored bicycle rodeo. In the 2015-2016 school year ACPS will begin using Virginia’s revised physical education curriculum which includes pedestrian and bicycle safety education.
There have been a couple of full successes though
Goal: Add 1 bicycle parking space for every 10 car spaces in new developments
Reality: City has adopted bicycle parking standards that exceed the above goal, resulting in over 500 new bike parking spaces.
Goal: Bi-annual special events in spring and fall will encourage bicycle use.
Reality: City participates in the Commuter Challenge in April, Bike to Work Day in May, Car Free Day in September and a bike light giveaway and maintenance event in October
Prior to last month's Performance Oversight Hearing for DDOT, DDOT was asked to provide written responses to council questions. Within these responses was a lot of news of interest to cyclists.
Capital Crescent Trail repaving
DDOT has identified funds for the resurfacing of the Capital Crescent Trail. They're awaiting some basic design information from the National Park Service in order to obligate the federal funding. The trail surface dates back to the 1990's, and resurfacing has been requested by the Rec Trails Committee for some time now.
There was also some infrastructure that DDOT reported completing that has not been talked about much. The bike facilities and traffic calming along Sheriff Road NE was finished and bicycle boulevards on Jenifer Street and 41st Street NW, first discussed in 2013, have been completed as well.
Pennsylvania Ave and 15th Street protected bike lanes may be expanded
As has been widely reported DDOT plans to install 6.85 miles of bike lanes, protected bike lanes (PBL), sharrows, climbing lanes and contraflow lanes. And they plan to study another 4.43 miles of facilities including PBL on the east side of downtown, on Pennsylvania Ave west of the White House and on 15th south of Pennsylvania Ave. In addition, DDOT notes that
Some facilities not listed here may be installed if planning, engagement, and design can be completed.
Though they don't list those projects in the response, at a recent BAC meeting they presented another 17+ miles of on-road bike facilities and 8.47 miles of off-street facilities that are somewhere between "awaiting final approval" and "a twinkle in Mike Goodno's eye."
Protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Louisiana Ave NW and Brentwood Parkway
The largest projects on this list include a bike lane on M and L NW connecting the east end of the existing M & L protected bike lanes to the Metropolitan Branch Trail; a protected bike lane on Pennsylvania Avenue SE from the Capitol to Barney Circle; a bike lane on Ridge Road SE from East Capitol to Burns Street; a 4 mile long side path along 16th Street NW from Spring Road to the Maryland boundary and another 3.5 mile side path along Massachusetts Avenue NW from Sheridan Circle to the Maryland boundary. Other PBLs would be on Louisiana from Union Station to the Mall, and a continuation of the 6th Street NE PBL along Brentwood Parkway to 9th.
In addition, in 2015-2016 DDOT plans to improve 10 intersections and add bike signals along the existing PBLs on Pennsylvania Ave and 15th Street NW.
DDOT to conduct a Feasibility study for Gateway segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
While DDOT was not asked about, and did not report on, all trail projects, they did give an update on some. As previously reported, DDOT has begun preliminary engineering for the northern extension of the Metropolitan Branch Trail from Brookland to Maryland. Preliminary engineering should be completed by early 2016. DDOT has completed the 30% design of the Rock Creek Park Trail, and is currently procuring a consultant for the completion of the design. Final design is expected by the end of 2015 with construction in 2016 or 2017. The Gateway Segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, which would connect the Fort Lincoln neighborhood to the Kenilworth Segment near New York Avenue, is not funded for planning, design, or construction at this time, but DDOT will explore this segment by conducting a feasibility study. Construction of the Kenilworth Segment of the trail is currently on track to be completed in the spring of 2016.
Bike parking and CaBi expansion
DDOT has been trying to keep up with bicycle parking and bikeshare demands. They learned of 4 damaged racks in 2014 while installing roughly 300 racks, for a net increase of 296 racks. This is in addition to several hundred racks installed by some of the Business Improvement Districts. They plan to add up to 40 additional CaBi stations, depending on the availability of equipment
Bicycle collisions up 32% in 2014 compared to prior years
DDOT also provided data on bicycle and pedestrian collisions.
The number of cyclists involved in collisions, as well as pedestrians and total collisions are all up substantially in 2014. It's hard to know how much of that is due to more exposure and how much is due to other factors like better reporting or the unintended consequences of Obamacare.
Also, I get how there can be more cyclists in collisions than cyclist collisions (driver hits three cyclists) as there were in 2014, but not how the opposite can be true, as there were in the two earlier years. Not unless a cyclists is crashing into multiple cars and people and those are each counted as a separate crash.
DC is a slaughterhouse for young trees
A mostly unrelated, but shocking-if-true fact included in this report was about tree plantings:
In FY13 the survival rate of newly planted trees was 2.03% and in FY 2014 it was 2.79%.
That's insanely low. I think you had a better chance of surviving the Hiroshima bombing. Did they accidentally report the mortality rate? According to a study in New York City
Prior analyses of street trees planted by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation between 1999 and 2003 (n=45,094) found 91.3% of those trees were alive after two years and 8.7% were either standing dead or missing completely. Using a site assessment tool, a randomly selected sample of 13,405 of these trees was surveyed throughout the City of New York during the summers of 2006 and 2007. Overall, 74.3% of the sample trees were alive when surveyed and the remainder were either standing dead or missing.
Thanks to the update, all new or rehabilitated residential buildings of 8 units or more are now required to provide 1 bicycle parking space for every 3 units; but existing building will only be required to provide the lessor of 1 space for every 3 units or enough parking to meet demand - and then only at the request of a tenant. In all cases there are hardship exceptions, but even in those cases bike parking has to be provided for employees.
It goes on to define the nature of parking required. Parking should, for example, be indoors; but if not possible, then be in a secure, covered area adjacent to the building. The rules define how much space there needs to be, the clearance, lighting, accessibility, signage, etc...
Failure to comply can result in fines. So if you live in a building with below-standard parking, you now have a legal recourse to force them to add more and/or better parking.
The final rules extend the 1 to 3 ratio requirement to all rehabilitated building.
They now specify that bicycle parking has to be added only for "bicycles in operable condition"
There is an added section allowing DDOT to mediate a dispute between the building management and residents and to make a decision about parking if the parties can't agree.
It no longer defines a bicycle room as having walls or floor to ceiling fencing and doors that are always locked.
In the proposed rulemaking vertical spaces could only make up 50% of all spaces, but now there just has to be at least one horizontal space.
Gone also is a redundant section allowing a building owner to seek a hardship waiver from these requirements. They can still seek an exemption.
There are other, more trivial changes as well.
This nearly completes the changes called for by the 2007 law, which had several parts. The first part called on DDOT to set standards, with guidance from the law, for what would be acceptable bike parking, which they have done in this rulemaking and in 2005. The second called for more parking at the Wilson Building, which was installed in 2008 and included interior parking. The third part was for a study of bike parking at Government Buildings, and that was completed in March 2010. (spoiler: there wasn't enough parking). And now, a month before Wells leaves office, the most important part is now law.
There is still one last loose end. As originally proposed and passed out of committee, the 2007 bill mandated a doubling of bicycling parking for office, retail and service uses from 5% as much bike parking as there was car parking to 10%. But before being passed into law, this was watered down (primarily due to opposition of then CM Phil Mendelsohn) to make the mandate for 5% of car spaces unless "the utilization of the minimum number of bicycle parking spaces is reaching 90% or higher during peak usage period." In which case, "the owner of a building with office, retail, or service use shall provide bicycle parking spaces at least equal to 10% of the number of automobile parking spaces provided for the building." This has effectively neutered that part of the law, since it has never become part of the DC Code and never will. Instead DDOT will wait for the Title 11 zoning update to happen, which will make this part of the law obsolete by tying bike parking at these locations to square footage instead of automobile parking spaces.
*Promptly may not be the right word. The 2007 law said that the rules should have been completed 90 days after the law went into effect. But funding issues, flaws with the law that had to be fixed in 2010 and the sense that the zoning rewrite would make the new rules obsolete conspired to delay the rules by a few thousand days. In the end there was a sense that we were in the middle of a condo building boom, so it was better to push these rules through now while they could still do a lot of good rather than wait for the eternally delayed zoning update. Unlike with the existing commercial parking requirement, there was no existing requirement for residential bike parking until last week, though many buildings were installing it anyway. The new rules will also help with existing buildings.
When the Humpback Bridge was rebuilt back in 2010-11, it not only widened and straightened the Mount Vernon Trail it also included two underpasses for trail users. One goes to the Marina and LBJ memorial and the other dead ends about 100 yards after going under the MVT.
But thanks to new regional transportation project funding that dead end will soon connect to Boundary Channel Drive creating a critical new connection between Arlington and the Mt. Vernon Trail. As part of the 2015 Q1 funding, the Boundary Channel exchange project will get $4.335M to "Constructs two roundabouts at the terminus of the ramps from I-395 to Boundary Channel Drive, which eliminate redundant traffic ramps to/from I-395. In addition, the project will create multi-modal connections to/from the District of Columbia that will promote alternate modes of commuting into and out of the district(sic)."
But wait, there's more.
Funding will go towards the Crystal City Multi-modal center that will, among other things, add bicycle parking.
Columbia Pike between Fairfax County and Four Mile Run will be reconfigured for multi-modal travel.
A Belmont Ridge Road project in Loudoun County will include a structure to carry the W&OD trail over the road (Which should help these ladies)
Route 1 and Route 28 in Prince William County will get multi-use trails along side them.
By August, nearly all of the bike racks were full at McLean station. Recognizing this need, Metro added space for 20 more bicycles (10 racks) at the station. The new racks bring the total capacity for bikes to 72 on racks. Bike lockers are still available at McLean, too.
Is that going to be enough?
BTW: Today the blog turns 9 years old. You can read the first blog post here.
"We’re dubious that even a fraction of those spaces will find themselves filled on any given day, once the new school is constructed. Cut out (or print out) this item and save it for 2013 or 2014, when the new school will be up and running. We’ll see how this prediction turns out."
Anyway, I asked for photos and it looks like, so far, I'm wrong and the Sun Gazette is right. Admittedly, these photos are not from Bike to School day.
the first mobile bike valet business in the country. The company’s motto is “We rack up events!” And since its launch in D.C. in December, Two Wheel Valet has already handled six, including the recent Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival. (Weidman estimates he and his team checked 400 bikes in and out of their secure perimeter that day.)