Numerous cities, counties, states, and regions throughout the country have taken a stand to state formally that their transportation dollars should be spent in a manner that serves communities as a whole, accounts for the needs of all, and does not advantage one mode of travel to the detriment of others. The District has not.
These Complete Streets policies are varied in their nature and legal authority, but all share the common goal of enabling safe access and operation for all users. That means appropriate accommodation of our children, our elderly, our disabled neighbors, our cyclists and pedestrians, as well as our motorists.
Despite its world-class Metro system, its renowned L’Enfant streetgrid, its forward-thinking transportation leadership, the District of Columbia has no such policy. In the District, there is no law, rule, or even publicly stated commitment to ensuring that our roadways and streetscapes—our most basic public spaces—serve all users.
Maryland has a Complete Streets policy statement. Virginia has a Department of Transportation policy. Yet, the closest thing to such a commitment from the District is the statement from DDOT’s 2010 Action Agenda that the agency would: “Adopt an implementable Complete Streets policy to provide safe accommodation for all modes on all streets.”
To date, this action remains unfulfilled. And as new leadership comes to the District and we continue in our daily travels to see dangerous intersections, near-misses, and disconnected sidewalks and bike lanes, we need to show DDOT and the District’s leadership that while we appreciate the individual projects and upgrades, we believe this holistic change in approach is important and that public space should be serve the entire public—not just motorists or just cyclists or just the able-bodied. Everyone.
That is why we at WABA are launching a campaign for Complete Streets in DC, and we want your support from the outset. Below, you will find a link to a petition supporting Complete Streets in DC. This is an initial petition that we intend to use to show elected officials in DC the level of support for such a policy, as we know that there is some resistance. But, we believe that is because our elected officials have not yet understood the importance of this policy to the 600,000 residents of the District and the many more who travel our streets daily.
If you drive, walk, bike, or use public transit in the District, a robust Complete Streets policy impacts you by ensuring that the various travel modes in competition for space can be tempered with design that accommodates all and encourages systemic cooperation.
Please take a moment to sign the petition, and please help us to circulate it to as many users of District streets as possible. While WABA is willing to start the movement, this is not just a bike issue. We need the support of advocates for transportation improvements, urbanism, public safety, public space, and safety for the young, the old, and the disabled.
Complete Streets benefit all. Join the campaign and help us by signing and circulating the online petition.