On Thursday, April 28th, the District Department of Transportation hosted an open house as part of its Rock Creek East II Livability Study. The study is still in its earliest stages and is somewhat vague in purpose -- essentially, this meeting was meant to begin the process of gathering ideas for ways to improve transportation in the study area, including things like bike lanes, protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, narrower streets, and various possible small changes in the neighborhood that could improve the quality of life for people here. It's the latest in a long series of such studies (see also the Crosstown Multimodal Study, also happening now, and probably of greater interest to cyclists).
The study area includes Petworth, 16th Street Heights, and Crestwood, bordered by Spring Road to the south, Military Road / Missouri Ave to the north, Beach Drive to the west, and Rock Creek Church Road / North Capitol Street to the east (you can see a map of the study area here). As a bike commuter who lives in Petworth, I am actually much more concerned about areas further south (things like eliminating the gaps in the 11th street and 14th street bike lanes, enforcement of taxis and delivery trucks in bike lanes, etc). This far north, I think things are a bit quieter and in less dire need of changes. For example, we don't have any good east/west bike lanes in the study area beyond a few blocks on Upshur street, but most east/west streets here are quiet enough that I feel comfortable biking on them without a lane. However, frustrations about the scope of the project aside, I think DDOT is clearly eager to hear ideas for improvement and I appreciate the work they are doing.
There were plenty of staff from DDOT there to answer questions, as well as staff from the consulting group working with DDOT on the project. (There were also at least two ANC 4C commissioners in attendance). I spent most of my time talking to Darren Buck of the DDOT bike team. He explained that the big projects to look forward to in this area in the next few years include a bike lane on Piney Branch Parkway to make it easier for cyclists to connect with Rock Creek Park; a protected bike lane on New Hampshire avenue from Park all the way out to the Maryland boundaryr; and the long overdue National Park Service repairs to the Rock Creek trail. Looking outside the study area, I also asked about the status of the possible protected bike lane in Shaw that was the subject of so much controversy at the end of 2015. He said they hope to announce which option they have selected (either one of the four plans for a bike lane or the no-build option) in the next month or two.
For the most part the event was meant to get ideas and concerns from residents, things like streets that need traffic calming, areas where a lack of sidewalks deters or endangers pedestrians, and ways to improve bike safety. If you weren't able to make it to the meeting you can still provide suggestions using the interactive map on the study website, and see what sorts of concerns other residents have.
DDOT staff emphasized that this is just the beginning of the process, which will include more meetings over the next few months, held all around the study area. They also emphasized that the purpose of the study is only to provide suggestions and recommendations to DDOT, which will eventually decide which ideas, if any, to pursue. I encourage you to add your ideas to the DDOT map, and hope to see you at the next workshop sometime in June.
DDOT will be hosting a public workshop on the Rock Creek East II Livability Study on Thursday, April 28, from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Petworth Neighborhood Library, Large Meeting Room, 4200 Kansas Avenue NW, Washington DC 20011
The purpose of this study is to identify opportunities for safer travel for residents and visitors to the neighborhoods of Petworth, Crestwood, Brightwood Park, and 16th Street Heights. The goals of the study are to enhance the community quality of life through improvements to transportation safety, connections to destinations, green infrastructure, and sustainability.
DDOT will work with members of the community and key stakeholders to Identify specific opportunities to improve accommodations for people walking, biking, riding the bus, driving, and making deliveries. At the end of the study, DDOT will provide recommendations such as:
· Enhanced pedestrian crossings
· More accessible bus stops
· Intersection safety
· Increased green spaces
· Attractive streetscapes
· Signage for better driver information
· Updates to traffic signal times, or
· Speed controls in sensitive areas
DDOT will introduce the project and provide opportunities to hear your ideas for improving the neighborhood through interactive activities.
I don't know if this press release was sent out early by mistake or what, because it's not up at the DDOT newsroom website and the project website isn't live yet as it is reportedly still undergoing some final edits, but I believe the meeting time and place is set..
The study area i consists of the communities of 16th Street Heights, Brightwood Park, Crestwood, and Petworth.
The major bike facilities here are the Rock Creek Park Trail, 14th Street bike lanes, Kansas Avenue bike lanes. There are a lot of north-south options, but fewer east-west ones. Better bike connections to the area's only Metro Station (Georgia Ave/Petworth) and a bikeway on Missouri/Military would be my top priorities.
When Jim Sebastian was hired as the bicycle coordinator for DDOT in 2001, a position which had been empty for a decade at the time, one of the first things he did was to get to work on a new Bicycle Master Plan. The previous plan - the only one DC had ever had - was written in 1976.
The 1976 Bicycle Plan called for approximately 16 miles of bike lanes, 17 miles of trails, and 38 miles of signed bike routes.
As the 2005 plan notes, some of these bikeways were completed in the 1980s, but even this unambitious plan was never fully implemented. [[FIll in with year that there were that many miles of bike lanes]]
The 2005 plan laid out, in Table 3, specific recommendations for the next 10 years. These recommendations have always been treated as goals ,as I understand it, so I'm treating them as such. Now that it's 2016, we can look at how well DDOT has achieved these goals.
Goal 1.1: 150 miles of Signed Bicycle Routes - DDOT has only installed about 12-15 miles of signed bike routes. But to be fair, this doesn't seem to be something people are clamoring for. I don't recall anyone complaining about this, so DDOT is probably wise to redirect the efforts elsewhere.
Goal 1.2: 60 miles of bicycle lanes - By the end of 2015, DDOT had installed 73 miles of bike lane, included some protected bike lanes, which probably seemed impossible in 2005. In addition they've installed 17.7 miles of shared lanes (sharrows).
Goal 1.3 part 1: Complete the Metropolitan Branch Trail by 2007 - Well, let's just say it was harder than perhaps thought at the time. It's possible this could be completed by the end of 2017.
Goal 1.3 part 2: Complete the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail by 2008 - Also, not easy. There are about 7 of the 19 segments still left to complete, and it will still be many years - perhaps a decade - before they're all completed.
Goal 1.4: Make improvements at 6 bridges from a list of 9 (map 5) - DDOT can count the Roosevelt and the 11th Street Bridges, but I can think of any others. I don't think they got anywhere close to 6.
Goal 1.5: Install 2000 bicycle parking spaces - Ignoring whatever loss of bike parking resulted from the mass removal of parking meters, DDOT estimates that it has installed at least 2500 racks (for 5000 spaces) since 2005.
Goal 1.6: All parking garages and other off-street parking facilities in compliance with bicycle parking regulations by 2014 - I don't think they have a mechanism for tracking this, beyond complaints, but I'd be surprised if we were at 100% compliance now.
Goal 2.1:Update of DC planning, laws and regulations - This involves a series of goals such as updating several planning documents, modifying DC regulations and laws and modifying zoning and other such regulations. These weren't all finished in the first three years, but if my memory is correct they've all been done.
Goal 2.2 :Train District staff and consultants about the bike plan, bike planning and bike facility design - This has been done.
Goal 2.3:Review all District of Columbia projects to ensure they provide bicycle accommodation. - I know of a few that got past them, and so there are likely a few I don't know about too. But they didn't budget much money for this so ALL may be a bar too high to reach, at least in the early years
Goal 3.1: Educate motorists about safe operating behavior around bicyclists - Money has been spent on this - through programs such as street smart and bicycle education classes - but I don't know of any effort to actually measure the effects. It would be great to have a trend of motorist "bicycle IQ" over the last decade, to see if there is a Schwinn Effect, but one doesn't exist
Goal 3.2: Educate bicyclists about safe bicycling - Ditto.
Goal 3.3: Enforce traffic laws related to bicycling.- This is done every year as part of Street Smart. So...Hooray??
Goal 3.4: Establish a Youth Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Program. - I don't know if they were hitting the annual goals by number of schools, but in 2015 they started universal bicycle education for 2nd Graders in all DC Schools. That's ahead of the goal of 20 schools by 2015.
Goal 3.5: Distribute the District of Columbia Bicycle Map to a wide audience. - Done.
I'm not going to give them a grade, but you're welcome to. I will point out that over that 10 years they've also managed to build the bike station, set up Capital Bikeshare, break ground on the Klingle Trail, and rehabilitate the Watts Branch (now Marvin Gaye Park) Trail - none of which were specific goals. You could argue that their goals were not ambitious enough, but mostly they've achieved them
DDOT hosted the first meeting of the Crosstown Multimodal Traffic Study earlier this week. The presentation and boards are all available at the project website. There's not much in the way of breathtaking images or data here, beyond some existing conditions.
The Vision Zero Board shows a lot of the crowd-sourced information, including the areas where cyclists have issues. There's no explanation on the board for each of these, but I agree with what I see. Irving and Michigan are terrible near the hospital. I think the info is pulled from the interactive map.
The analysis scored transportation plans to help determine which projects warrant limited state funds, part of a newly required process under Virginia law. The Commonwealth Transportation Board has the final say over which projects should receive funding.
All of the raw scores are relative to the other projects that need funding.
After hundreds of Virginia Department of Transportation staff and consultants spent months analyzing the projects, staff presented recommendations Tuesday for the projects that should be funded during the next six years.
In Northern Virginia, staff recommended funding for projects that will bring toll lanes to I-66 outside the Beltway, widen Va. 28 in Fairfax County, widen U.S. 1 and Telegraph Road in Prince William County and add a second entrance to the Ballston Metro Station that would promote more development there.
Staff also suggested funding new park-and-ride lots and a new bridge to carry Interstate 95 over the Rappahannock River.
The $500 million worth of Northern Virginia projects recommended for funding, the bulk of which is tied to I-66, received an overall 3.7 benefit-to-cost ratio.
Though not called out in the WTOP article, all three bike/ped projects have been recommended - and in fact they're among the highest rated projects in the state. The Falls Church projects were both ranked in the top 10 statewide. The Downtown planning area project ranked 2nd and the Pedestrian Crossing project was ranked 8th - out of 287.
The first application includes funding for pedestrian crossings along Route 7 (W Broad St and Oak St, E Broad St and Fairfax St, and E Broad St and Berry St). The second application includes funding for sidewalk and streetscape improvements in the downtown planning opportunity area (N Maple Ave and Little Falls St, between Park Ave and W Broad St).
Meanwhile, the Old Cameron Run Trail project placed 78th among state priorities, which placed it well above some of the other funded projects like the Route 1 widening (#234) or Route 28 widening (#164).
Old Cameron Run Trail: $6 million requested to increase pedestrian and bicycle connectivity in an area of the City where new development and population growth is occurring. The project would construct a shared-use path between Eisenhower Avenue near Telegraph Road to on-road bicycle facilities that link to the Mount Vernon Trail, addressing a major gap in the City’s trail system.
There are surely other bike/ped projects that were recommended, the only one that jumped out at me was the Virginia Central Railway Trail Bridge in Fredericksburg, which ranked #6 statewide.
The [Commonwealth Transportation Board] can still alter the fiscal 2017 recommended Six Year Improvement Program before voting on the final plan in June.
What does the future look like in the National Capital Region when it comes to biking and walking? The National Capital Region Chapter of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) invites you to a panel discussion withthe region’s city and county bicycle and pedestrian planners. We'll ask the panelists to provide a glimpse into the daily work of building out the region’s bike/ped network and discuss the trends that are on the horizon in their jurisdictions.
Time will be provided for audience questions. This event is FREE and space is limited-REGISTER HERE. Participants can also submit questions for the panelists at the registration link.
The discussion begins at 6:00 p.m., followed by a reception at 7:30.. The venue (HON showroom, 1101 Connecticut Ave NW) is an unusual event space located near the Farragut North metro stop (take the “L St.” exit from the metro).
Moderator: Andy Clarke, Director of Strategy, Toole Design Group
• David Anspacher, Montgomery County • Kevin Belanger, City of Rockville • Karyn McAlister, Prince George’s County DPWT • Hillary Orr, City of Alexandria • Erkin Ozberk, Takoma Park • Jim Sebastian, Washington, D.C. • Ritch Viola, Arlington County
It's like the Avengers or the Travelling Wilburys, if either of those groups were bike/ped planners.
VaDOT is working on an update to the 2003 NOVA Regional Bikeway and Trail Network Study, and they released a draft version of that update last month. After studying how much latent demand there was, what level of service cyclists were receiving and what the public expressed as priorities, they've created a draft of a new network that is " more extensive than that of 2003 and reflects the region’s progress in improving bicycle connectivity through on-road and off-road bicycle infrastructure."
20% of the bike network (108 miles in total) identified in 2003 has since been added in the region.
The 2015 Network includes 367 miles of off-road shared-use paths and trails, 61 miles of on-road bicycle lanes, 72 miles of “other notable existing” facilities, and 530 miles of proposed regional corridors.
Most of the places they've identified with latent demand are urban and already bike-friendly.
The study of bicycle level of service found that only 19% of Virginia's Regional Roadway Network was "generally considered comfortable bicycle facilities".
These comfortable cycling facilities are typically characterized by low-volume neighborhood streets or roadways with parallel shared use paths. Patrick Henry Drive (Arlington County), below, is a great example of a BLOS “A” facility, as it is predominately residential and equipped with bidirectional bicycle lanes.
58% is considered "tolerable" and the remaining 23% is "uncomfortable."
The study recommends 34 additions to the Regional Bikeway and Trails Network, with several of those being in the Alexandria and Arlington area. Many of these facilities already exist and are just being added to the map.
In Alexandria, the study recommends adding facilities to Edsall Road between I-395 and Pickett Street and to Eisenhower Avenue from S. Van Dorn Street to Holmes Run as "proposed" in the 2015 Eisenhower West Small Area Plan.
It also "adds" the existing sharrows on Braddock Road from W. Windsor Avenue (end of existing bike lanes) to King Street.
On Janneys Lane / Seminary Road / N. Pickett Street / N. Pegram Road the study adds the existing bike lanes as "on-road" and the "proposed" ones from N. Quaker Road to N. Pickett Street and then continuing on N. Pickett and N. Pegram Road.; and then connecting this "proposed segment" with the existing bike lanes on N. Pegram Road, which ultimately connect to the Holmes Run Trail.
On Braddock Road from Commonwealth Avenue to Mount Vernon Avenue it "adds" the existing sharrows.
Alexandria and Arlington
Valley Drive/Preston Road/Martha Custis Drive - Add as "other notable existing" along W. Glebe Road, Valley Drive, and Preston Road. Existing shared lane markings. Also add "other notable existing" along Martha Custis Drive/ Shirlington Bridge/ Quincy Street to the Four Mile Run Trail
Army-Navy Driver from Memorial Drive to S. Glebe Drive at the Four Mile Run Trail - Add as "proposed", connecting the existing Army Navy Drive bike lanes to S. Glebe Drive via S. Adams Street and 26th Road
Boundary Channel Drive from S. Washington Boulevard to the Mount Vernon Trail via LBJ Park - Add connection in Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Park as "other notable existing" and add connection from LBJ Park to S. Washington Boulevard as "proposed"
Key Boulevard from N. Veitch Street to Kirkwood Road - Add as "other notable existing" since Key Boulevard operates as a bike boulevard, with various traffic calming measures (bulb outs, chokers, and traffic circles). Connect to Kirkwood Road on the west end via N. Jackson Street and 13th Street
S. Washington Boulevard from US 50 (Arlington Boulevard) to Columbia Pike (Towers Park) - Add as "on-road, existing" from US 50 to S. Courthouse Road and as "proposed" from S. Courthouse Road to S. Quinn Street / Columbia Pike
S. Abingdon Street/ 34th / S. Stafford / 33rd from 31st Street to N. Quaker Lane - Add as "on-road, existing" from 31st Street to N. Quaker Lane (existing bike lanes). Recommend that S. Wakefield Street become a signed bicycle route
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
The scope includes total reconstruction of the roadway pavement, curbs, gutters and the widening of the sidewalks. Additional improvements include new ADA compliantwheelchair ramps, driveway entrances, utility systems including water and storm drain systems, street lights, traffic signals, roadway signage, pavement markings and Low Impact Development.
Better pavement, lighting and sidewalks are nice for cyclists, but there is no mention of any bike improvements. No bike lanes, no additional bike parking.
During the Great Streets project outreach in 2009 there was to be "space for bike racks" from Ames to Grant (this project starts south of Ames and ends before getting to Grant) and there still may be. In the 2005 bike plan, Minnesota Avenue was supposed to get a bike path along the side of it from East Capitol to Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue where it could connect to the Marvin Gaye Park Trail, but in 2009
when they looked at fitting everything in that they needed, "bicycles were the one thing that wouldn't fit."
They also decided not to include bike lanes. They decided to investigate alternate routes for cyclists, and said they had one mapped, but I've not heard what that route is.
In the MoveDC plan, there are no facilities on Minnesota Ave, and the only parallel bike route is an on-street bike route from the end of the Anacostia Rail Trail to the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station.