Paper: Quantifying CO2 savings of cycling

A recent paper tries to quantify how much increased cycling can reduce greenhouse gas production. 

This study shows that if levels of cycling in the EU-27 were equivalent to those found in Denmark, bicycle use would help achieve 12 to 26% of the 2050 target reduction set for the transport sector, depending on which transport mode the bicycle replaces.

Most if not all projections and scenarios conclude that measures focusing on improvement alone will fail to meet EU mid-term and long-term climate change objectives. Improvement measures are only estimated to deliver a 20% decrease in transport emission by 2050, using 1990 levels as the baseline.

In addition to technological developments and innovations, achieving the EU’s objectives will require ambitious plans which foresee an EU-wide modal shift away from individual motorized transport. Ordinary bicycles, pedelecs and bicycle-share schemes, on their own and in combination with mass transportation, all have the potential to further contribute to a much needed modal shift.

Above, where they mention "improvement measures" they mean improvement GHG efficiency within the transportation sector. Other strategies they see are avoiding, shifting and shortening.

Avoiding or reducing trips can for instance be done through integration of land use and transport planning.

Shifting is moving transportation from high GHG modes (like automobiles) to low ones (like biking and walking). Shortening is encouraging shorter trips. 

Cycling permits shorter trips, allowing a cyclist to cover a shorter distance yet still arrive at the same destination. Even when origin and destination are the same, the bicycle and, say, the car often take different routes, with the car trip being a few percentage points longer than a bicycle. This difference is because systems do not always have the same network density.

But cycling also and more importantly allows for shorter trips because of a destination switch: the concept of constant travel time budgets reveals that a change of travel time will be compensated for by a change of destination.

Reaching the EU's goals will likely require all of these strategies. In other words, fuel efficiency alone is going to get us there. 

 

R. Emmett Tyrrell and the persistent perseverance of wrongness

R. Emmett Tyrrell  is a magazine editor, book author and columnist and the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator. He has also spent his career being wrong about cycling, a fact made all the more surprising by the fact that he was college roommates with Steve Tesich, the screenwriter of both "Breaking Away" and "American Flyers". Of course he even found room to quibble with the film that won his friend an Oscar.

Of course, Hollywood had to tart up the "Breaking Away" story to conform with its own legends and bugaboos. The struggle of the downtrodden townies against the lordly college students never took place.

Though the bicycle race did take place, Stoyan's townies were actually members of our circle of friends, an eccentric bicycle rider of immense talent named Dave Blaze (sic) and several national champion swimmers, one quite rich. In the movie the putative townies from hillbilly families listened to opera and wore Italian paraphernalia such as ascots. That was the style, of course, of off-beat college students, not poor country boys. Only Hollywood would believe in hillbillies singing arias an d insist that rich and privileged (actually quite middle-class) students lose races to wretches of Dickensian pathos.

Tyrrell's record of anti-cyclist writing starts shortly after Breaking Away hit theaters. In 1980, writing in the Washington Post (below or here) he wrote in support of Mayor Koch's decision to remove the bike lanes he had installed a year earlier. He claimed the caused  congestion, endangered pedestrians and frightened dogs (for reals). He argued that NYC workers would be happier driving to work than they would be biking. He called bikes unstable and dangerous.

"Not only are bicycles dangerous, they are as antiquated a form of transportation as the rickshaw. In no advanced city on earth will you find civilized people cycling to work. The urban cyclist is generally a crank, either profoundly antisocial or hopelessly narcissistic and following the strenuous life in hopes of achieving immortality or a legendary sex life."

The piece earned him no friend's in the bicycling community and three years later he took to the Post's pages again, this time to attack "militant cyclists" because a writer, who was also a cyclist, was criticizing him. ["Liberals and the art of bicycle fanaticism", Jun 13, 1983] Militant cyclists don't ride for recreation or out of economic need, he wrote, but for the "ulterior motive of making moral or political statements." You know, those guys. Anyway, he continued to claim bikes are "unstable" despite the disagreement of physics. And repeated much of his 1980 article word for word - including the line about how the brakes of a Model T are better than that of a bike (I don't know either) and that they endanger pedestrians and dogs. He then goes on to call for urban cycling to be banned or curtailed.  But he never really explains how cycling connects to liberals.  

In the same article he predicted Margaret Thatcher's election would be 

If you thought he'd changed his mind as the world of urban cycling changed, you'd be wrong. In 2007 he wrote, in a bit of climate change denialism

We know environmentalists often ride bicycles and I can see why bicycles suit them. The bicyclist is the exalte' of the road. The bicyclist is neither a pedestrian nor a driver. He cycles where he damn well wants to, on the sidewalk or on the street. He flashes by with his posterior in the air. Neither stop signs nor speed limits impede him -- and he is environmentally beneficent. Automobiles have to give him a wide berth and pedestrians leap aside as he pedals past. Environmentalists adore bicycles.

So the bicycle seems to be the ultimate green vehicle. Doubtless you will be seeing more of them, despite their limited capacity for bearing bossy bumper stickers. In the present presidential campaign, do not be surprised the Democratic candidates eventually conduct their campaigns from a bicycle. Bill and Hillary will probably be seen on a bicycle built for two -- Hillary on the front seat, Bill on the back where his eyes will be free to wander.

[As one of the key people in the Arkansas Project (the "Vast right-wing conspiracy" of yore) he is contractually obligated to mention the Clinton's in all articles] By then he'd lost control of the Spectator as the result of an investigation into the Arkansas Project and Tyrrell's mismangement. 

But wait, there's more. In 2014 he sided with anti-King Street bike lane activist Frank Buckley by calling cyclists names

However, the nation’s angry bicycle riders, I fear, are going to be with us for a while. In a few years, President Obama might be back in Chicago as former President Barack Obama, organizing illegal aliens or whatever, and the gloomy riders will still be out there arrogating to themselves their “bike lanes.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton will be securely in retirement, all her dreams of presidential grandeur vanquished, and still the militant bicyclists will be riding down the middle of Main Street presuming to slow down traffic to a modest 10 miles an hour and making inscrutable hand signals to drivers in every direction.

This time around, unlike the late 1970s, their anger is seemingly unappeasable, and they have local government on their side, especially in blue-state constituencies.

Studies show that cyclists are happier than other commuters

These are not cyclists in pursuit of scenery and good health. If they were, they would be riding along the 35 miles of bike trails that the community has maintained for them.

They are angry, obsessive utopians who would make their anti-people campaign — their anti-freedom campaign — the first battle in an attempt to take over the way normal Americans live. They are a social indicator of unhappy times that, God willing, are about to end.

He predicted the bike lanes would not be built. He was wrong. As he has been his whole career on cycling. 

Tyrrell is now a Trump fan (Because Trump shares Reagan's distrust of the Soviet Union?) and he wrote recently about London's congestion charge and anti-pollution efforts

The present mayor, Sadiq Khan, is of the left and he shares the left's lust for power. Everything he does indicates his hankering for power. To me, a foreigner in these parts, I sense this lust in his treatment of the automobile. The mayor envisages London as a city abundant with bicycle riders and pedestrians. In his London of the future, the only automobiles will be the patrol cars of the police.

Because nothing satisfies a lust for hunger like bicycle-friendly road design. 

It's not easy to steadfastly hold wrong ideas in the face of mounting facts. That kind of wrongness takes real backbone. 

Bike Rout

North Branch Trail construction pushed back to 2021

Construction on a couple of segments of the North Branch Trail, a trail that will eventually extend along the North Branch of Rock Creek from the Rock Creek Valley Trail to Olney, was to begin this spring or last fall, but has been pushed out to 2021.

NBT

This project includes two segments (yellow on the map above) of the trail, and together with another bikeway project, will close two critical gaps in the trail.

The first segment will extend the Lake Bernard Frank Trail to two locations along Muncaster Mill Road. At the west location it will connect to the existing Muncaster Mill Bikeway and via that to the ICC Trail. There will also be a 15-car parking lot built there (at Meadowside Lane) and the old parking lots will be restored to a natural state. The other location is further east, where a separate project will build additional segments of bikeway along Muncaster Mill and Emory Lane to the existing bikeway along Emory Lane and via that to the ICC Trail. 

The trail along Lake Frank will follow the existing unpaved trail - itself built on a formerly paved WSSC access road until just south of Muncaster Mill Road. 

Just south of Muncaster Mill Road, the proposed trail alignment climbs the densely wooded slope and emerges in a clearing created by a former residential property, where the house has long been removed. The proposed trail alignment ends at this clearing

The second segment will connect the ICC Trail to a trail along the North Branch built as part of the Preserve at Rock Creek development. That segment - yellow in the image below - was completed around 2016.

Preserve at Rock Creek

UnderICC

The trailhead parking lot will be along Meadowside Lane.

Parking

Construction of the Muncaster Mill/Emory Lane bikeway is scheduled for this year.  That would close a small gap on the east side route.

image from www.montgomerycountymd.gov

Once these two projects were complete, it would leave only one gap between Tobaggan Lane and Bowie Mill Road, which is less than a mile, that would need to be closed to get all the way to the planned end at Olney Laytonsville Road. It would also create a continuous connection between the ICC Trail (as limited as it is now) and the Rock Creek Park Trail system (really the North Branch Trail is part of the Rock Creek Park Trail system). 

C&O Canal Towpath resurfacing project could improve more sections in Montgomery County

The National Park Service is currently a few years in to a multi-phase project to resurface parts of the C&O Canal path. Some of the repairs have already been in Montgomery County and more might be (there's a TBD element at play).  The repaving evolved out of a 2016 engineering study done with the assistance of the Allegheny Trail Alliance (ATA) that identified 80 miles of the towpath urgently in need of rehabilitation. Much of that was far from DC. Some of the problems identified include poor drainage, tree roots and a green strip of grass down the middle which inhibits drainage and full use of the path. 

Assessment

In the past six years, over 200 towpath injuries were reported, 71 percent of which involved towpath defects such as root exposure

In 2018, Maryland dedicated $3.45 million of TAP funding for the C&O Canal National Historical Park—including $1 million for “Towpath Rehabilitation."

According to NPS, the phases are 

  1. Phase One: Edwards Ferry (Mile 30) to Whites Ferry (Mile 35) and Brunswick (Mile 54) to Ferry Hill (Mile 72.5) COMPLETE
  2. Phase Two: Whites Ferry (Mile 35) to Brunswick (Mile 54) CURRENT
  3. Phase Three: Spring Gap (Mile 173) to Cumberland (Mile 184.5)
  4. Phase Four: TBD
  5. Phase Five: TBD

Meaning the first two phases were partly within northern Montgomery County. (This doesn't include this piece of towpath repair).

Edwards-Ferry-resurfaced-600x450

Resurface towpath near Edward's Ferry 

According to the Canal Trust, Phase Three will include Mile 16.8 (Swains Lock) to Mile 30.8 (Edwards Ferry); Mile 35.5 (Whites Ferry) to Mile 39.3 (Lock 26). They note that the order might not always be followed, but it means these sections closer to DC are also included in the long-term plan. It doesn't appear that any sections closer than Swains Lock are on the agenda, but this should still benefit DC area cyclists. 

It's time for a new Crystal Drive

Crystal City is going to be undergoing some radical changes and very soon.* Not only will HQ2 be coming to the area, but there are several large projects in the works including the redevelopment of 1900 Crystal Drive, 101 12th Street South and 223 23rd Street South. All these new buildings, and their new office space, are not only an opportunity to build the protected bike lane called for in the Bicycle Element of Arlington County's Transportation Plan but they almost require it. Improving bike lanes, sidewalks and transit are the only way to deal with all the additional trips. 

The two towers at 23rd Street promise to be bike commuter friendly. They'll include 1,850 square feet of bike storage with room for 276 bikes in one tower and a 1,000-square-foot bicycling parking area with room for 88 bike parking spaces in the other. "Building tenants, including cyclists, can expect to have access to 176 lockers and 12 showers." The Joyce street property, meanwhile, will sit at the southern end of the Long Bridge Park esplanade, offering direct access to the MVT and DC by bike once the new bicycle Bridge (which I'm calling the Lockwood Bridge until someone tells me otherwise) is built. 

But that makes this the time to upgrade Crystal Drive. It currently has discontinuous, narrow and unprotected bike lanes along it, interrupted at times by sharrows. The MTP calls for an upgrade

Upgrade the existing bicycle lanes on Potomac Ave and Crystal Drive through the Potomac Yard and Crystal City areas. Where feasible provide further separation or protection of bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic. Provide for a lower stress route to link the Four Mile Run Trail to Crystal City, Pentagon City and Long Bridge Park.

South of Potomac it calls for a parallel sidepath to the Four Mile Run Trail.

Let's get started on that NOW, so that it's ready when we need it. Construction is likely to result in cuts and pavement damage, so why not follow that by repairing and redesigning the key North-south route through Crystal City?

Crystal

*Or at least that was the plan last week. 

Update: There's some effort underway to do just this:

At the Transportation Commission meeting Thursday night, the Commission recommended that developer JBG Smith be required to turn the existing bicycle lanes into protected lanes while adding new protected bike lanes to 18th Street S.

“First the Commission recommended that the County Board require JBG Smith to build protected bike lanes on 18th Street either as part of their upcoming 1900 Crystal Drive development or as part of the already-approved Central District Retail development,” Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt said in a press release. “Furthermore the Commission recommended that the County Board direct staff to study an appropriate cross-section for Crystal Drive that would safeguard those on bikes and scooters and, if schedules permit, incorporate the results of that study into the public space designs for 1900 Crystal Drive and any other unbuilt development approved along the Crystal Drive corridor.”

The last recommendation from the Transportation Commission was that the County and JBG develop a temporary southbound protected bike lane on Crystal Drive if the public process isn’t completed in time to be incorporated into the 1900 Crystal Drive plans.

Alexandria's Vision Zero plan, 2 years in

Back in 2017, at the request of safe streets advocates, Alexandria adopted a vision zero action plan with a goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2028. 

In 2018 they added new Leading Pedestrian Interval lights at some intersections and restricted No Right Turn on Red at others (or maybe both at some). Then over the summer, they reduced the speed limit on Route 1 between Slaters Lane and Four Mile Run from 35 mph to 25 mph. But if they're still working on new projects in 2019 and 2020, they aren't advertising them. 

They put out a year one report for 2018, and it doesn't show much progress, which is expected since so many initiatives were still in work for at least part of the year; but it does create a baseline. 

2018AlexCrash

There were several dozen initiatives that they started or completed in 2018 (and a few they had not) and more for 2019. Some of the statewide initiatives - like a hands-free driving law - were out of their power, but might have found more receptive ears in the new state legislature.

The year one report also identified goals for 2019

• Establish crosswalk policy of when each type of crosswalk is called for, implement the policy with paving
• Upgrade 20 more crosswalks with high visibility crossings, where warranted
• Develop a concept design for at least one high crash location
• Install 10 no right on red restrictions near pedestrian crash locations or intersections with high pedestrian volumes and LPIs to correspond
• Upgrade 25 curb ramps to improve accessibility
• Install or upgrade 3 safe crossings for uncontrolled crossings or crossing locations, especially in neighborhoods of color and/or low-income areas.
• Implement or complete recommendations for safe routes to school improvements at 6 schools
• Examine and improve pedestrian signal timings at 10 intersections near senior facilities, parks, playgrounds, or daycare centers. Install 15 low-cost safety improvements, including road marking, signs, signal modifications, at intersections near affordable and/or public housing locations
• Implement one neighborhood slow zone, prioritizing areas with children, seniors, communities of color, and low-income areas.
• Install speed control measures in 5 locations that meet traffic calming criteria
• Close 8 sidewalk gaps in the City, especially near schools and parks
• Install left-turn traffic calming at one priority intersection as appropriate

It would be a shame if this effort peters out so quickly. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. Some see this as a foolish effort, especially in light of the contentious Seminary Road Complete Streets Project.  

The city has adopted this Vision Zero program as part of the attempt by city officials to remove automobiles from Alexandria’s streets.

One writer warns. 

The city’s last resort is to remove cars from the streets by making the congestion even worse so residents must find other modes of transportation, such as bikes, scooters or Dash buses. Or we can walk.

I'm not sure that removing cars from the street is how congestion works. 

Another writer adds that

the fundamental purpose of our roads: the efficient movement of people and goods to their intended destinations....our safety goals must be balanced against the imperative of an efficient flow of traffic. 

Safety is job #2 (or worse). I've said it before, but as long as people place convenience over safety, our roads won't be safe. 

Alexandria has a lot of work to do to set their Vision Zero goal. I hope they haven't lost steam. 

Connecticut Avenue Deckover will create 1 block of shared street - but not for a few years

Last summer DDOT completed the 30% designs for the Connecticut Avenue (CTA) deckover and streetscape project. That project will redesign CTA from Dupont Circle to California Street and build a plaza over top of the open hole above CTA right at Dupont Circle. While there are some safety improvements to CTA that will probably benefit everyone, and they call for new bike racks along the Avenue; the biggest part here for cyclists is the block immediately adjacent to the new plaza - which will become a curbless "shared" street. 

Curbless

SharedCTA

There's also talk of a "A location for a bike fix-it station". It'd be a whole lot better without parking, though it will eliminate 17 spaces. 

Design won't be completed until 2021, work would start late in the year, and it would take 2-3 years to complete. 

As for bike lanes:

bike lanes will not be installed as a part of this project. DDOT is looking at the feasibility of protected bike lanes along the whole Connecticut Avenue corridor through the Connecticut Avenue Reversible Lane Study. The current project does not preclude future accommodations of bike lanes once a feasibility determination has been made.

Speaking of that study....DDOT has known since 2003 that the reversible lanes on Connecticut Avenue in the Woodley Park area are dangerous, but only recently did they commit to studying them, with the possibility - however remote - that it would result in new bike infrastructure. That study is going slow and, despite the headline, I can't even confirm that it has started yet. 

In a 2003 transportation study of Connecticut Avenue, DDOT's consultants determined that "the reversible lane operation is a safety issue" and that "The high number of accidents on Connecticut Avenue can be attributed in part to the reversible lane operation, high volume of traffic and the relatively high speed at which vehicles travel on this roadway" which means the road is ripe for a redesign and road diet. But it also suggested fixing them with better signs and operations, not removing them

In 2018, local residents effectively advocated for DDOT to study the reversible lanes with an eye on removal. 

Now, the District Department of Transportation is studying the feasibility of removing the reversing lanes, as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024.

At the time they said we were about 15 months away from study results, which would be around the end of March. I don't expect that to happen, since in June they were saying the 9 month study wouldn't start until Fall 2019, and I can't determine if even that has started yet.

In the meantime, they've also announced short-term safety improvements at R and S Streets at CTA, which I suspect are complete(?)

Washington, the drop-frame and the Ladies Cycle Club

Sunday is International Women's Day!

As Washington cyclists we should celebrate our unique place in the world of women's cycling as it was here that the "women's bicycle" was invented and down Pennsylvania Avenue that women first publicly rode a true bicycle. To be clear, the inventor of the drop-frame is somewhat in dispute, but many ascribe it to one of two Washingtonians.

Screenshot 2020-02-26 at 1.10.22 AM

A photo of what is believed to be the first women's safety bicycle, invented in Washington, DC

Before the invention of the safety bicycle there was the ordinary bicycle, the bike with one large wheel in the front - aka a "penny farthing" of "high wheel", but it was exclusively used by men (some claim it was athleticism and balance, others clothing concerns and still others social stigma, that kept women off - but clearly women CAN ride them so the balance thing sounds like bunk). Women rode 3 or 4 wheeled cycles or rode on some form of tandem with a man, But the invention of the safety bicycle changed all of that. 

When the safety bicycle was invented in 1885, Washingtonian Herbert Sumner "Bert" Owen immediately saw value in it and had a pair imported to DC that year. They were among the first in America. A local bike builder by the name of William Elliot Smith was inspired. Smith and his family had emigrated from England in 1882 and it was there that he'd learned to build bikes. Smith and his brother, driven by their desire to share cycling with their five sisters, had been working on women's bikes since 1884 and had patented a few tandems based on the ordinary. He and his wife were well-known for riding around town together on one. But in the safety he saw a bike that women could ride on their own. When his wife tried to ride one, the crossbar got in the way of her skirt. So he came up with an idea for a drop frame bike that would serve ladies and with his partner Edward Baltzey they formed a company in DC to build them. It took them a year to perfect the design, but by January 1888 they had their first one. 

On February 4th, 1888 they staged a ride down Pennsylvania Avenue - the first public ride of women on bicycles. Smith rode a tandem with a drop bar front with Miss Genevieve Wise and Smith's wife Francis and Miss Ella Tageler rode standard ladies safety bikes. It became a national story. "A Spectacle" one paper reported. "I saw a woman go by on a bicycle! On a bicycle I repeat...There was a flutter of lace and a flash of skirt...I blushed and turned my face resolved to gaze on the sight no more....They were dressed in all respects in the ordinary street costume of a lady. One wore a jaunty hat and the other a bonnet." (sigh...helmet shaming already). Smith promoted the fact that the bicycles weighed about half as much as a tricycle and predicted they would be popular with women. He was right. And he said that Washington was the perfect place for them as it had smoother streets than other cities and was already home to 14,000 male cyclists. "So woman is completing her conquest of the world" one story went, "She rows. She smokes. She preaches. She shoots. And now she has lassoed the iron grasshopper." [The Iron Grasshopper sounds like a fancy cocktail, BTW]

Meanwhile Owen was working on his own ladies bike. Owen was a local bicycle enthusiast - perhaps the most enthusiast of them all - and a bicycle importer and manufacturer. He was one of the founders of the Capitol Bicycle Club in 1879, the first club in the District and only the second in the United States . He was known as the first man to bike down the Capitol steps and was called the "Father of bicycling in the District." He had made a tradition of hosting a long-distance ride on his birthday in early May, a tradition that continued even after he moved to New London to run his bicycle factory. The ride started during the days of the high wheel, which made the race particularly exciting and large crowds would turn out to watch the race end in a mile loop around the Capitol building. 

Owen drew up some designs and in 1887 he built about 25 drop-frame bikes in his shop located at 1400 New York Avenue NW, where the Bond Building currently stands. They were the first such bikes according to Owen and some historians*. He taught some women to ride them, only in private, before Smith's bikes were finished, but Owen didn't pull the trigger. He was worried about public sentiment so he wanted to make sure that his ladies were expert cyclists before they hit the streets and that they looked presentable. "Every detail of posture and costume was carefully supervised" he said. That winter he went to the Starley Brothers factory in England where they made the Psycho bike and shared his designs which eventually became the ladies Psycho, of which he ordered some as well as some tandem bikes with a drop frame in the front. Worried that women wouldn't feel comfortable riding alone, he thought lovers and brothers would use the tandem bikes to ride their sweethearts and sisters around, and maybe that would help to overcome the objections that he feared. As a result of Owen's designs, the Starley Brothers presented their ladies bikes to the world on January 28th, just one week before the Smith ride, but there was no public ride. 

Smith's bike - later called the Dart - was an immediate hit in DC and both he and Owen began selling their bikes to the women of Washington. By April the first women's bicycle club in the world, the Ladies Cycle Club of Washington, DC was formed. It started with 13 members but quickly grew to 50. It's leader was Harriet H. Mills. Mills was a woman of high social standing and by recruiting other women of society to ride, she made it socially acceptable for others to follow suit. New women cyclists were formed as fast as Smith and Owen could provide them bicycles. Though Owen's bikes were being made in England, English women did not take to them with the vigor the women of Washington did, and papers there predicted that women on bikes would be but a "passing craze."

It wasn't.

The bicycle has been credited with paving "the way for Women's Rights" and suffragists would later declare that "woman is riding to suffrage on the bicycle." Whether Owen or Smith (or someone else) was the real first inventor, the first public ride (just down the street, not to suffrage yet) was on Pennsylvania Avenue. And so DC has a small and odd, but real, place in not just women's cycling but in the history of women's rights and equality.

Screenshot 2020-02-23 at 7.01.39 PM

Both Owen and Smith were granted patents for their bikes in 1888, but Smith is more often considered the true inventor of the ladies bicycle, in part because his design was better. Unfortunately for Smith, he was a better designer than manufacturer and wasn't able to build bikes fast enough to make any money. In 1890 he went bankrupt and was bought out by Owen. Owen kept him on as the manager of Smith's old factory at 809 Water Street until his death in 1894. 

When Owen and his brother bought out Smith, he got control of all of Smith's patents. In fact Owen had briefly lent his first bike, pictured above, to the Smithsonian, but later needed it back for a patent lawsuit over one of Smith's patents. That patent dealing with the bottom bracket became critical to the automobile industry and made Owen a fortune. Owen moved to Connecticut, bough a big house and then lost his fortune during the aviation boom and bust. He died in 1931 in his stately home in Stonington, CT, nearly penniless.

Harriet Mills, a respected and beloved music teacher and singer, died in 1912. Her first husband had been a prominent lawyer and her second the executive clerk on the Senate. She was buried in New Hampshire. 

* They probably weren't the first. Others had already developed drop-frame bikes for older men, but not for women; or they had made drawings and gotten patents but never built anything. Dan Albone, inventor of the light farm tractor, actually built a drop-frame bike a year before Owen or Smith, which he intended to be used by women but it's unclear if any woman ever rode it. 

Screenshot 2020-02-26 at 11.43.32 PM

Park Service considers ways to make the GW Parkway safer

Roaddiet

The National Park Service (NPS) and Federal Highway Administration are studying the safety at intersections on the southern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The study is looking at potential ways to improve safety on the Parkway between the City of Alexandria and Mount Vernon. They had a meeting last summer where they presented current conditions and solicited input and another meeting in December where they presented alternatives they're considering. Because the Mt. Vernon Trail runs in the same corridor and in places crosses the road or the roads that connect to it, the project is of interest to cyclists. 

The parkway, they noted is not meant to be a high-speed commuter route and they'd like to slow traffic down (this is the same thing they've said about Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, but the constituency for the status quo is powerful). They heard a lot of ideas and have begun screening them for things they can do and what they think are appropriate. Pedestrian safety and bicycle safety were #1 and #7 on the list of concerns they heard about.

Some of the candidate alternatives that will matter to cyclists are:

  • A road diet (see above)
  • Roundabout usage (see below)
  • Intersection widening for median islands
  • Reduced speed limits
  • Speed tables
  • Marked and enhanced crosswalks (see below)
  • Manual and automatic speed enforcement as well as impaired and distracted driving enforcement
  • Adding Capital Bikeshare stations
  • Better intersection lighting
  • Education campaign
  • Upgrading signs to current standards

The public comment period ended last month, but they'll review the comments they've received and perform some more study and design before issuing a final report. They'll then make some final selections and seek funding. 

Roundabout

Crosswalk

Arboretum Bridge and Trail is still on track for 2022

Arboretum

The Arboretum Bridge comment period has concluded and late last month DDOT issued a report on the comments

The bridge, built across the Anacostia between the Arboretum and Kenilworth Gardens has been part of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail plan for ~20 years and is finally close to becoming a reality. Last May DDOT held a meeting in the midst to complaints from the boating community about the negative impacts they thought the bridge would have on their use of the river. Another meeting is planned for this spring with design to wrap this year and construction in 2021-2022. 

Most people support the bridge and there's not much new in the responses, but there are a few answers. 

What provisions will be made for access to the trail network on the west side of the Arboretum. The trail on the west side of the river is gated at the arboretum, which closes at 5 PM daily. Does this mean that access will be restricted when the arboretum is closed?

Yes, for now. As with many similar projects, the ART is being developed segmentally. For example, the trail terminated at Benning Road for several years while the next segment went through the requisite planning and development phases, and finally construction. On the east side of the river, the bridge will provide direct connection to Phase I of the existing ART, and in the future will also provide a connection to the Phase II realignment of the ART. On the west side of the river, connecting the trail through the Arboretum is another segment in the moveDC plan. Funding is available to develop this segment and it is currently in the planning stage. DDOT has met with NPS, the National Arboretum, Federal City Council, and others to develop this segment which shall connect the trail to Maryland Avenue NE and allow access regardless of the Arboretum’s hours.

The NPS recreational land on the immediate west bank of the Anacostia at the proposed bridge location will be accessible during regular park operating times. The project includes an additional 1,000 feet of paved trail construction on the western bank of the river and will connect with an existing gravel service road that connects the National Arboretum and NPS property. It should be noted that the park and all trails within it are currently closed after dark.

Further, the National Arboretum is a research institution managed by the US Department of Agriculture and is not a park, although it welcomes visitors during open hours much like a park. As such, any decision to extend the operating hours would be taken by the Arboretum.

Another DDOT project currently being examined, the New York Avenue NE Streetscape and Trail Concept, will improve pedestrian facilities, bicycle accommodations, and safety  along New York Avenue NE between Florida Avenue NE and Bladensburg Road NE, connecting with the Metropolitan Branch Trail at NoMa-Gallaudet Metro Station and the Arboretum.

Additionally, the Lincoln Connector Trail project is in the planning stage. This will provide a trail from Bladensburg Road NE, through the Fort Lincoln neighbourhood, and cross the Anacostia River to connect with the ART in the vicinity of the New York Avenue NE/US-50 bridge. Final feasibility study documents are due winter 2019/2020.

They address the concerns of boaters about build-up at the piers, the location choice, clearance and why a single span wasn't selected. They also respond to concerns about the environment and high-bicycle traffic rates in the Mayfair or Paradise neighborhoods. "We expect an increase as bicyclists and pedestrians use the new trail segment; however, the arboretum closes at 5 PM daily, so commuter volume after 5 PM should be what it is currently."

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City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009

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