With this week's death at the Capital Crescent Trail's Crosswalk, today's From the Archives, featuring a 1999 interview with then WABA executive director Ellen Jones (now Director of Infrastructure & Sustainability at the DowntownDC BID) is somewhat timely.
Arlington: My topic of conversation is near and dear to every bicyclist's heart: Stop Signs on bike paths...I know why the signs are there, and I admit that I feel a twinge of conscience whenever I simply slow down, see if a car is coming, and then blow through it -- but I still do....You're thoughts?
Jones: Safety involves cyclists, motorists and, on trails, all the other users of the trail.
Yes, there should be warning signs for motorists and trail users at intersections with trails.
Also timely is the intro on WABA's (failed) effort to close part of Beach Drive to motor vehicle traffic.
Bicyclists, runners, gardeners, equestrians, and all types of Rock Creek Park lovers are urging the National Park Service and the government of the District of Columbia to conduct a test weekday closure of the section of the Park (Beach Drive north of Brandywine) that is currently closed on weekends. This will help the decision-makers to find out what effect, if any, such a permanent closure would have on the surrounding neighborhoods, general traffic flow and the quality of the Park experience. You can help by urging Mayor Williams and Rock Creek Park Superintendent Adriene Coleman to conduct this test.
That never happened, but with the reconstruction of Beach Drive this year, it will; and for much longer than one day.
This question made me chuckle a little
Do you think stuffy workaday Washington is ready for cubicles that contain bike wheels as well as fax machines?
If only because you're much more likely to find a bike, and less likely to find a fax machine.
Interestingly, WABA's position on bicycle helmet laws seems much more accepting of them then than now; which is more interesting since a ~2008 photo on the cover of the Post of Jones without a helmet elicited some angry letters about how unsafe it was and how irresponsible the Post was being. But, of course, WABA is still the "parent organization" of the pro bicycle helmet law Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.
Jones: The main benefit of helmet laws is the educational effect that such a law has in a community.
She discusses the first purchase by MPD of 400 bicycles and Metro's then-recent decision to allow cyclists on trains outside of rush hour, without permits. And how to lock up to one of Metro's old bike racks.
bike racks at Metro stations are designed to be used with a padlock. If you can manuver your bike into one of those racks (not all bikes can be) using a padlock on the metal tongue located in the metal basket makes your bike almost impossible to steal.
And there is a question about bicycle commuter benefits about 9 years before they became a thing.
If you are a Federal employee the funds that your agency makes available for Metrocheck can be used to improve bicycle conditions at your worksite - parking, showers, lockers. The Federal Employee's Clean Air Incentives Act is a pretty straigtforward piece of legislation that spells this out.
Ellen, please tell us about progress on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. When will it be completed?
There is good news on Route 1. The Maryland State Highway Department has agreed to accommodate bicyclists on this important road. Accommodation will probably be a striped wider shoulder.
But I have no idea what the question about the Mt. Vernon ramps is about.
This is a pretty funny exchange
Bethesda: Ellen, do you feel that it is dangerous for me to ride my unicycle along 495 in the morning on the shoulder?
Jones: I think it could eliminate your commute altogether.
There are some usual question about scofflaw cyclists - though this are focused on couriers (ah, the olden days) - and sidewalk cycling. And from a cyclist who rides in the road only to have drivers yell at him to "ride on the path!". I'm glad that doesn't happen anymore. Also about bike racks on the Mall.
And Bob Levey makes a great prediction:
More and more people are sicker and sicker of gridlock. They will try commuting by bike, and by the thousands, they will grow to love it.