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Shorter Bellamy:

"Look at all this fantastic stuff we did before Gray came into office! The critique that we've failed to reach this year's goal on bike infrastructure is completely unfair--we have plans to do things next year."

I understand getting peevish, but WABA's point is just objectively factual.

I think Bellamy's doing a pretty good job considering the political constraints (i.e. that a good portion of his boss' political base is reflexively against bike lanes). But I have to say characterizing the 15th Street cycletracks and Penn Ave as "low-hanging fruit" is a bit silly.

Ok, a lot silly.

Great post, David. You really cut to the essence of what he was saying with this: "But you can't argue that your "commitment has not changed" as you note that you are now going to be happy with smaller goals. That's the very definition of changing your commitment."

Fantastic stuff. I appreciated Director Bellamy's response yesterday, and I understood that as we build the "low-hanging fruit" that it gets more complicated, but this is exactly what I was thinking and hadn't quite figured out how to say.

I hope he sees this.

And relatedly, I wonder if he's actually read the 2005 master plan?

This is not a new complaint. If I recall, DDOT hasn't hit the 10 miles per year mark but maybe once since the plan was passed, despite other major cities averaging 10-50 a year. Despite the high commute numbers and success in bike share, DDOT has long been an under-performer when it comes to facility miles.

While I certainly applauded the Action Agenda, the 80 miles was always bit of a stretch, and seemed more about Klein's hopes than the reality of what the dept. could reasonably accomplish. I would have been happy with a benchmark of actually hitting the 10miles per year goal.

@oboe- 15th St and Penn Ave are most certainly low-hanging fruit. Both roads have excess space for their capacity levels and were redone with little more than some creative restriping (to the detriment of the safety of the facilities).

I think the lesson here is when the next bicycle master plan is written- or at least an update to the current one- that DDOT should not simply choose to do only the easy stuff first. There should be a better mix of high priority projects, even if it is at the cost of higher annual facility mileage. At this point the benchmark should be network connectivity and increased safe access to corridors not currently served by dedicated infrastructure regardless of the mileage.

As I think about this issue, I keep going back to the notion that a measurement of progress is, apparently, counting the miles of bike lanes built. Yet, when I actually take a look at the bike lanes, and use them, I wonder why. There are good bike lanes and bad ones, and there are ridiculous ones that are just plain unsafe to ride in. There are bike lanes that are rendered useless because motorists constantly use them for parking, and there are others that are so underused, I wonder why they were built to begin with. I'm just very frustrated by the notion that "progress" on bike-related issues seems to constantly go back to a simple metric like bike lane miles. I don't have an answer on what other measures should be considered, but I feel like somehow measuring how well the city is at cracking down at parking in bike lanes, or catching people for not using turn signals might be a lot more useful measurement of safety on the streets for cyclists.

@Chris - The LAB is partly to blame for that - lane-miles of bike lanes has become such a powerful metric that communities are perhaps more beholden to it than they should be.

Chris, if Bellamy had taken that position - that bike lane mileage was no longer a metric they cared about and instead they cared about some other more direct metric (Miles Biked Between Injuries - in other words reducing injuries and increasing miles biked, for example) that would be fine - as long as he could say what they were going to do to get where they wanted to go and that that was measurable. But that isn't the position he took.

To take things into perspective, it is entirely within DDOT's capability to build out all lanes/facilities in the bike master plan in a single year. The fact that they don't just do it, and phase it in over some quantity of years is partly to manage the workload and partly due to other responsibilities, but the further the number of miles slips behind the goal of 10 just shows how the priorities at the top have changed.

Also, just because DDOT is expanding bikeshare doesn't mean they get a pass on following through on their commitment to expand infrastructure. CaBi expansion actually means new infrastructure is even more necessary.

@oboe- 15th St and Penn Ave are most certainly low-hanging fruit. Both roads have excess space for their capacity levels and were redone with little more than some creative restriping (to the detriment of the safety of the facilities).

Maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but I remember the Penn Ave bike lanes were incredibly controversial when they were installed.

In fact, the reason they were restriped was not because they got it "wrong" but because they got it right the first time, but had to sub-optimize it because of political pressures.

Pretty much everything seems uncontroversial and "low-hanging" a year or two after it's implemented.

Yeah, Penn Avenue is different. It was in the bike plan, but was done without other Penn Ave street work for political reasons. It was then redesigned, over the objections of the engineers and designers who knew best, again for political reasons.

There are ALREADY bike lanes on part of I Street between 7th St. SW and New Jersey Ave. SE. It's great that they want to close the gap there, but why isn't the M St. SE/SW cycletrack lower-hanging fruit? Didn't the Capitol Riverfront BID already pay for the design of construction documents for that?

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