Ask your DC Councilmembers to support the Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane

The DC Council will soon vote on emergency legislation to complete the 9th Street NW protected bike lane between Florida Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. For more than four years, this project has been in limbo with no recent sign of progress, yet serious crashes involving people walking and biking continue on 9th St. Fixing this is urgent!

Call and email your councilmembers to ask for their vote on this important emergency legislation. It only takes a few minutes! 

This is a critical vote to decide the future of 9th St. NW and a key opportunity to expand our bike network in DC! 

Note: Our calling tool will only connect if you live in DC. If you live outside of the District but would like to add your voice, please call Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s office at (202) 724-8032. Make sure to explain why this project is important to you even though you don’t live in DC.

Update 12/5: This vote was originally scheduled for Tuesday 12/3, but at the last minute, several councilmembers indicated that they had concerns with the bill, and it was pulled from the agenda. We later learned that a stakeholder meeting that needed to happen before this vote didn’t happen. 

We are working with several councilmembers to make sure this stakeholder meeting happens before the Council’s next regular legislative session on January 7th. We’ll be at the table when it does.  Despite the setback, we are confident that if members of the Council hear from you, this bill will pass. So please contact them.

Background

In 2015, the District Department of Transportation began studying options for a protected bike lane to run north/south between Shaw and Chinatown to fill a substantial gap between 15th St NW and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. After an exhaustive, and heated, public process which included two public meetings, more than 2,500 comments and dozens of meetings with stakeholders in the corridor, DDOT identified 6th and 9th St. NW as the best candidates. And in the February 2017 final report, DDOT determined that more detailed design and analysis were needed before choosing a street to fully design and build.

Yet, since then we have been left in the dark on this project. The project page’s last update was in 2017. For two years, DDOT’s director has been unable to provide any updates or timeline to the DC Council when asked directly. And the Mayor has answered direct questions with only vague answers about making sure it is safe. While we wait, at least 21 people walking and 11 people biking have been hit by cars on 9th Street since February 2017.

Make sure the Council knows you support Vision Zero legislation.

Last week, more than 60 people showed up to testify in favor of legislation to make our streets safer. Thank you to everyone who took the time to testify. The personal stories people shared during testimonies were moving, and sent a strong message that we need to change our streets now. Plans don’t save lives. 

The Council heard from us. DDOT heard from us. But we still have work to do—the Mayor’s office does not support a number of important provisions of these bills. In order to get them fully funded in next year’s budget, we need the DC Council to hold a vote before the year is out.

That means the council needs to hear from you. 

You have until November 7th to submit testimony for the record. You can submit testimony by emailing abenjamin@dccouncil.us. Don’t forget to CC advocacy@waba.org, too.

In case you missed it, here is a copy of our testimony writing template and slides from our webinar. 

We are so close to truly transforming our city and making it safer for all modes of transportation. Let’s continue to push make Vision Zero a reality. 

A real, urgent opportunity.

btwd 2015

This is our moment. 

Over the last year, together, we’ve made a lot of noise about the urgent need for safer streets. Right now, we have an opportunity to use that energy to push the DC Council to pass truly transformative legislation.

In the spring, you sent more than 5,000 messages to DC Councilmembers asking them to act. They heard you.

On October 24th at 11:30am, the DC Council will hold a hearing on the following bills:

  • B23-242, the Bicycle Advisory Council Expansion Amendment Act of 2019;
  • B23-257, the Mandatory Protected Cycling Lane Amendment Act of 2019;
  • B23-288, the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019;
  • B23-292, the Curb Extensions Act of 2019; and
  • B23-293, the Cyclist Safety Campaign Amendment Act of 2019

While we support all of these bills, our central focus for the upcoming hearing will be on the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019. 

So what’s in this bill, you ask? Well, let’s take a look at some of the key highlights: 

  • Limits speed limits to 25 mph on most minor arterial roads and 20 mph on local roads
  • Requires DDOT to certify plans for private developments that include new sidewalks, marking unmarked crosswalks, and adding protected bike lanes that are in the Transportation Plan
  • Requires new developments of 10 or more units plan for ride-share and deliveries that do not block the right-of-way of sidewalks or bicycle lanes
  • Requires sidewalks on both sides of all streets and connections be made to any existing sidewalks within .1 of a mile
  • Requires annual progress report on all projects or recommended projects in the Transportation plan, including explaining recommended projects were not advanced.
  • Bans right-on-red turns in the District of Columbia
  • Clarifies the Mayor can impound cars parked illegally in crosswalks and bicycle lanes and allows parking enforcement staff to mail tickets when a driver leaves before receiving the ticket
  • Requires all applicants for a new or renewal driver’s license to take a written test
  • Levies a $10,000 daily fine on contractors who do not restore crosswalks and bicycle lanes within 24 hours of completing work
  • Allows parking enforcement to target repeat reckless drivers by impounding parked cars with five speeding violations at 31+ mph over the speed limit or violations for passing a stopped car yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk
  • A plan to get to 50% of commutes by public transit and an additional 25% by bike/ped by 2032, in line with goals set by the landmark Clean Energy DC law
  • Identify areas in need of improved transit access
  • A list of one street or one bus line in each ward that will get a dedicated transit lane
  • Allows the Council to direct additional elements for the next plan in an approval resolution
  • Adds requirement for DDOT to aggregate crash and speed data in one publicly-accessible site

And there is more! If you want to learn more about all of the above bills before the October 24th hearing then join us for our community webinar! 

During the webinar you will have an opportunity to learn more about the bills and ask any burning questions you may have about the bills. You can sign up for the webinar here

Sign up for the webinar

Also, if you need support in crafting your testimony for the hearing, we will have a community testimony writing workshop on October 15th.  At the workshop, you will get support and assistance to craft an impactful testimony for the hearing! There will also be pizza! You can sign up here.

Let’s seize on the progress we have made and continue to transform our transportation system to make it more sustainable and equitable for all.