“Simply put, the flying experience in the United States would be forever changed for the worse if voice calls are allowed on flights,” added Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.)
Whatever you might think about that*, it does seem odd that their is a panic about banning phone calls by passengers on airplanes, but no urgency for banning phone calls by drivers of cars. Someone pointed out that traffic laws are not in the federal perview the same way that transcontinental flights are. Fair enough - though congress did use a pretty big stick to get states to raise their drinking age and they could do the same here. But now we have local officials weighing in on this.
[Vincent] Orange found time to introduce a resolution that would discourage using cell phones in planes while in the air. It is very appropriately titled "Sense Of The Council Discouraging In-flight Cell Phone Calls Resolution Of 2013."
So, banning in-flight phone calls for reasons of comfort is important, but banning phone calls by drivers is not. Because we all know what is really important.
*Personally, I think this is stupid. You're allowed to use your cell phone on the train, but we don't end up with a train full of people talking on their cellphones such that riding the train is hellish. And I've never sat next to someone carrying on a five hour phone coversation on their phone. So the fear is totally unfounded.
And you could just as easily end up sitting next to two people "jabbering" for a long flight. Are we going to ban non-cell phone coversations too? I was once seated on a plane behind Kirsten Dunst and her "entourage" and had to listen to them drone on about Halloween party planning and which shoes are best to wear while shopping, but I never thought "This is disturbing my flight and it should be illegal!" People should be courteous and we really don't need a law to enforce that. If so, can we start with when it is and is not appropriate to lean your seat all the way back?
What about someone who is not jabbering for 5 hours, but is making an important 5 minute phone call for work or to a spouse or their kids. Isn't that a more likely type of phone conversation on a plane and thus the kind that we'll actually be banning?
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is initiating a planning study to examine opportunities for transportation safety improvements on Canal Road NW, between Chain Bridge and M Street, and will host the first public meeting on the study.
The study will address safety, traffic operations, drainage, erosion and slope stability issues to ensure a safe and protected roadway. The public meeting will include an overview presentation, displays of the study area and the opportunity for residents to provide their input.
What: Preliminary Study of Canal Road between Chain Bridge and M Street – First Public Meeting
When: Wednesday, December 11, 2013; 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: The Lab School of Washington; 4759 Reservoir Road NW
Although previous research has shown that bike lanes reduce the number of bike-motor vehicle accidents, “our findings show that bike lanes or paved shoulders by themselves do not significantly reduce the severity of injuries sustained by cyclists when they crash with motor vehicles,”
Key factors affecting severity of injury are:
alcohol use by either the cyclist or the motor vehicle driver
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."
The studies indicated that speed limits along N. Meade Street, Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd could be decreased from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. The N. Sycamore Street/N. Roosevelt Street studies indicated the speed limit could be lowered from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour.
The only cost involved will be approximately $5,000 for signage, county staff say. The public hearing is slated for Sept. 21.
"If you were to review news reporting about trails (shared use paths, used by bicyclists and pedestrians) in the DC area over the course of a year, for multiple years, you would see an increase in crimes reported every Spring."
The DC Council gave preliminary approval of the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013. I watched the proceedings on the intertubes and it was rather uncontroversial. WAMU kind of has the bill wrong it does not "allow cyclists to cross at pedestrian intersections" as that is already allowed. It allows cyclists to cross when the pedestrian light is green, even if the traffic light is red, which means where there is a PLI that allows peds to start early, cyclists can get a jump as well.
The bill does the following
Requires an applicant for an operator’s permit to demonstrate knowledge of safely sharing roadways with pedestrians and bicyclists,
Allows bicyclists to use pedestrian traffic control devices to cross an intersection unless otherwise indicated
Establishes a requirement that public space permit holders blocking a sidewalk, bicycle lane, or other pedestrian or bicycle path provide a safe accommodation for pedestrians and bicyclists
Establishes driving record points and civil fines for failure to yield the right-of-way to a bicycle and colliding with a bicycle,
Removes the requirement for bicycles to have an audible warning device, and where it can be used.
DDOT is preparing to advertise the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail for construction bids by contractors with construction expected to start in Fall 2013.
Arlington County Board will hold a hearing this week on a proposal to lower the speed limit on four roads in the county. "The proposed amendment to the county code would would lower speed limits to 25 mph from the current 30 mph on four streets: Two key routes between Rosslyn and Clarendon (Wilson Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and Route 110 and Clarendon Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and N. Oak Street), a stretch near the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn (North Meade Street between Arlington Boulevard and Marshall Drive) and a road near the East Falls Church Metro station...the county believes the lower speeds will improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists." Hearing is on July 13th at 8:30 a.m. at 2100 Clarendon Blvd., in the boardroom on the 3rd floor. Follow the link for maps.
Wall Street Journal discovers that there really is a bike lobby (and video). Next week's headling could look like this. The reason people made fun of Rabinowiz is not that she said there was a bike lobby, but that she called it all-powerful. If that were so, America might look more like this.
I did the Arlington Loop for the first time in a long time. I love the new bike signage along the Custis Trail and all the bike-specific lights. It really is harder to run one of those than a regular light. But the first ramp on the MVT at the airport (going south) is looking pretty bad in the south direction. Also, one of the crosswalks on the Bluemont trail isn't marked on the road, but probably should be.
Washington Times is in favor of Congress intervening to end DC's use of speed cameras, although they don't really give a reason to oppose them other than that the tickets go to the owner of the car instead of the drive and some sense of 'greed'. "An apoplectic Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s delegate in Congress, rallied the usual crowd of the green bicycle-riding elites, who hate every car but their own, with an unusual personal attack on her colleague, which hardly befits a congresswoman with neither a vote nor a sense of congressional collegiality. “If either Representative Bentivolio or his staff has received such a ticket, then they should pay it, unless he thinks that members of Congress who by law are already exempt from most ticket violations here should be excused,” she says."
New pedicab rules take effect next week in NYC. In a sense this is a sign of success. Pedicabs have been prevalent enough and in operation long enough to catch the eye of the government. And there are probably some good, common-sense regulations that can help make the business stronger in the long run.