Here’s what we learned:The Capital Crescent Trail is a bicycle superhighway.
- We all know it, but the numbers back up our instinct: The CCT is a bicycle superhighway. On this year’s peak day (Labor Day), more than 3,700 people rode under the Aqueduct Bridge at the southern end of the Capital Crescent Trail. That’s a boatload of folks on two wheels. In fact, if the Capital Crescent Trail traffic was measured like a road, it would be equivalent to a collector street! We must serve bicyclists better when they enter the on-road network.
- Riding with car traffic along K/Water Street is not for the faint of heart. But the concept plan includes a two-way protected bike lane on the south side of K/Water Street. By providing protected infrastructure for bicyclists, it’s clear where to ride (away from cars) and allows many more people to access the corridor by bike.
- By providing protected infrastructure for bicyclists, there is a clear directive of where to ride. This will reduce the number of bicyclists within Georgetown Waterfront Park. Many ride through the Park because the on-street traffic is so unpredictable (read: dangerous).
- The trail adjacent to K/Water Street is a fantastic connector, but is not all the way connected, and some would argue is better suited for pedestrians.
- Additionally, the concept plan includes widening sidewalks on both sides of the street, meaning more room in front of Malmaison to drink your coffee, more space in front of Gypsy Sally’s to meet your friends before a show, and more room to simply WALK.
- The plan includes other enhancements that will make car traffic flow smoother, too, like the addition of a left turn lane for eastbound cars turning onto Wisconsin Avenue, and reducing the attractive nuisance of free parking spaces at the dead-end of the road, which causes significant traffic congestion.
- Tour buses will also get a central drop off location on lower Wisconsin Avenue along with locations within a mile of Georgetown where they can reliably park and lay over.
- If/when the Streetcar makes it to Georgetown, or when additional boathouses are developed near the aqueduct by the National Park Service, the road and lane configuration can change to accommodate it. In the interim, using attractive planters as physical separation for bikes will create a cycling environment unlike anywhere else in the city.
- To connect to Rock Creek Park Trail, bicyclists would still need to squish onto a seven-foot sidewalk below an overpass, shared with pedestrians, and lacking safe sightlines. A temporary scaffolding bridge over Rock Creek where there is already a DDOT freeway overpass could be a temporary solution as NPS and others plan for a permanent bridge at the corridor’s east end. This area is nearly impossible to see from the road, but would be a vital solution for both walkers and bicyclists, and an innovative alternative to the too-narrow sidewalk that currently connects K St. walkers and bikers to the Rock Creek Park Trail.
- The corridor is included in the 2005 DDOT Bicycle Master Plan, and is some of the lowest hanging fruit at this time.
- Part of the corridor was also identified by National Park Service as one of 18 priority projects in their recently released Paved Trails Study (It’s project C1.1: Closure of Gap on Water Street NW b/w 30th and 31st St. NW.)
- The community around this area is clamoring for improvements! The existing conditions are undesirable, and stakeholders from all different interest groups are eager to rally together to support a way forward.
- This can be a great example of a public/private partnership. MWCOG, Georgetown BID, and DDOT have already shown a remarkable degree of cooperation in developing the concept plan, and the BID (a private entity) has stepped forward to offer various maintenance and implementation support that could make this streetscape the gold standard for a commercial area.
Low-Stress Bike NetworkTrails Master Plan (still in draft form), identifies how Prince George’s County intends to build and manage nearly 400 miles of new trails. The plan takes the mileage of primary trails (trails that are mostly paved, with high-quality design features, a park-like experience, and used for both recreation and transportation) from 65 to 293 miles, and secondary trails (connectors, along roads, or within neighborhoods) from 110 to nearly 400 miles. Current Status: The public comment period for the draft plan has closed, but we will provide further opportunities for engagement as the process moves forward. A united community demanding action can make this happen. Action to Take: The Prince George’s Acton Committee meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Hyattsville Municipal Building (4310 Gallatin St. Hyattsville) at 7:30 pm. Click here for more information and to sign the petition. April 2015 update, and find more information on the NPS project website. Action to Take: National Park Service is hosting a public information meeting on August 18 at the Petworth Neighborhood Library at 6:30 pm. Join us and learn more about this exciting project! quick survey and share your ideas with us. blog post to sign up for updates. discussion draft, and a set of policy alternatives, on the M-NCPPC website. Current Status: WABA supporters submitted a strong showing of public comments on the proposed rules during the comment period. Additional public meetings will likely be scheduled in the fall. Action to Take: Click here to send an email to M-NCPPC to make sure that trails stay open when people need them, that parents can haul their kids to school on them, and that no one gets ticketed for riding their bicycle at a reasonable speed. Montgomery County Council sent a letter to Maryland Governor Hogan, Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn and Maryland State Highway Administrator Greg Johnson requesting immediate prioritization of trail crossing improvements. The letter calls out the current dangerous conditions and the need for immediate action. On July 29th, the delegation from Maryland’s 19th District sent a letter to Maryland State Highway Administrator Greg Johnson requesting immediate corrective action at the Matthew Henson Trail crossing of Veirs Mill Road. Action to Take: Maryland residents: write or call Governor Hogan, Transportation Secretary Rahn, and MD State Highway Administrator Johnson, as well as your state delegates and county representatives. Tell them that the status quo is not working and demand effective solutions. here. Action to take: Avoid hassle and delays by biking! here. Action to Take: The comment period for the current concept plans has closed, but another community meeting will be scheduled in September. Project updates and timelines will be posted here. here. Current Status: A recent community meeting held to explore DDOT’s 30% design plans for the project turned acrimonious. While meant to be a chance for residents and neighbors to get a detailed look at the design for the street and offer constructive feedback to improve the project, the packed library meeting rooms were instead filled with heated concerns about parking. We’ve seen this movie before. Action to Take: The DDOT employees responsible for this project are George Branyan and Ali Shakeri (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com). If you live, work, or bike around the project area, please send them an email letting them know you support this project and want to see it move forward.
Bike LawsMotor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2015 as part of the consent agenda. This vote is a huge step towards final passage of the bill, and is the result of years of organizing efforts. In spite of roadblocks, delay, and concerted opposition from AAA and the insurance lobby, we’re the closest we’ve ever been to changing the unfair doctrine of contributory negligence for vulnerable road users. Current Status: The bill has now cleared a major obstacle to passage. The Council will vote on the bill a second time in late September / early October, after which it will require a signature by Mayor Bowser, (who sent a congratulatory tweet to Councilmember Cheh after the successful first vote) and will undergo a 30 day Congressional review. Action to Take: We aren’t taking anything for granted. We will stay vigilant through the final stages of the process to ensure there are no surprises, and keep you updated along the way. Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Amendment Act of 2016 (B21-335). Mayor Bowser signed the bill in late July. The legislation is the culmination of the efforts of the Bicycle Pedestrian Working Group convened by Councilmember Cheh last summer, on which our Executive Director Greg Billing served. It contains all kinds of good stuff, including open source crash data, bicycle and pedestrian priority areas, and codifying Complete Streets. Current Status: The Act will become DC law at the end of August after 30 day period of Congressional review. Hyattsville Municipal Building 4310 Gallatin St. Hyattsville, MD. Action to Take: Register for the training!
SB 117 requires drivers to wait for a reasonable opportunity to open vehicle doors on the side adjacent to moving traffic. A violation constitutes a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $50. Getting “doored” is an all too common cause of crashes between bikes and cars, often resulting in severe injury to the bicyclist. Current Status: Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of Virginia residents, advocates, and legislators, SB 117, the “dooring” bill, passed both the Virginia House and Senate. On April 1, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the bill into law.
Funding for Complete Streets in AlexandriaBrief Explanation: Alexandria’s Complete Streets program is key to the city’s strategic objectives — protecting the safety of residents, building a multi-modal transportation network, enhancing the health of citizens, and supporting the wellbeing of our youth and children. Last year, the program delivered nearly $1.5 M in safety fixes for intersections, schools and neighborhood streets. But if the city’s proposed budget is enacted as-is, funding for the Complete Streets program will be reduced to about 1/3 of it’s current budget in FY17. This will have direct negative impacts to the safety and well-being of Alexandria residents and visitors. Current Status: After years of neglect, the city is to be commended for more than doubling the Street Reconstruction (Paving) budget, from $2.6M in FY14 to $5.6M in FY16 and proposed for $5.3M in FY17. But by not providing commensurate funds for Complete Streets, the city is prioritizing the convenience of motorists over the safety of people who walk and bike. WABA members and supporters have weighed in on this issue and we will have more updates after we see the final budget.
Update Arlington’s Bike PlanBrief Explanation: Arlington’s bike plan is obsolete. It was written in 2007, when sharrows were the most exciting development in bike infrastructure. It predates protected bike lanes, Capital Bikeshare and Vision Zero. Implementation of many of the projects called for in the plan have faced significant citizen opposition, because the plan lacked the robust, inclusive public process that is needed to generate consensus and support. Current Status: Earlier this month, hundreds of Arlington residents sent in comments asking that the County update the Transportation Master Plan’s Bicycle element in the coming fiscal year. While specific funding was not identified in the 2017 budget, the County Board did make updating the plan a clear priority for staff in the coming year. We will continue pushing for robust public engagement as staff approach the planning process.
MARYLANDWith the dense mix of transit, offices, entertainment, shops and homes, Silver Spring should be a paradise for walking and biking. But it’s not. Due to high speed traffic and a lack of dedicated space for bikes on the busy streets in downtown Silver Spring, most residents don’t feel safe biking in the road. The Silver Spring Circle would trade excess road space for protected bike lanes, creating a connected, low-stress bike network in downtown Silver Spring. Actions to Take: Come to the Campaign kickoff May 14th. Sign the petition to create the Silver Spring Circle.
Washington D.C.Contributory Negligence is an antiquated legal doctrine that limits bicyclists access to justice and compensation after a crash with a motor vehicle. The District of Columbia is a national outlier, as it is one of only five states that still use contributory negligence to allocate fault. The vast majority of states have updated their negligence standard to a fairer system. Current Status: On April 21st, the Judiciary Committee voted 3-0 to move the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act out of committee and recommended it for consideration by the full D.C. Council. The bill will now be considered by the full DC Council when it meets as the Committee of the Whole sometime before summer recess. It needs seven votes to pass the Council, and the Mayor’s signature to become law. Action to Take: Sign up to receive action alerts about opportunities for further public comment and testimony as they arise. We’ll need everyone’s involvement to get this across the finish line. The L Street protected bike lane is a key part of the city’s transportation infrastructure. Following its completion in 2013, bike ridership on L Street exploded, increasing 65 percent within the lane’s first year of installation. The 1500 block section is a particularly important piece of the network because it intersects with the protected bike lanes on 15th Street and M Street. Current Status: A permit issued to Carr Properties for the old Washington Post building site construction completely eliminates the protected bike lane and the sidewalk on the north side of the street, while leaving two vehicle lanes open. For more than two years, the publicly accessible portions of L Street will consist of a 13 foot motor vehicle lane (with sharrows) an 11 foot motor vehicle lane (formerly used for parking) and the southern sidewalk. Action to Take: Report suspected violations of the Safe Accommodations Act to District Department of Transportation (DDOT) staff at the Public Space Regulation Administration. They will ask for information on the location, entity occupying public space (e.g. Pepco, Ft. Myer, etc.), and a brief description of what you encountered. Photos of the location are especially helpful. Thanks to some hard work by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and a bit of prodding by WABA, navigating past the White House on the 15th Street bikeway just got a little easier. DDOT, in collaboration with the National Park Service (which oversees the property) and the Secret Service (which is in charge of security for the area), installed new paint and curb ramps at the intersection of H St NW and Madison Pl NW.
The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail—Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens SegmentBrief Explanation: Construction of the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Segment is in full swing, and expected to be completed by this fall. This 4-mile segment fills a gap from Benning Road to Bladensburg Waterfront completing an almost 70-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian trails on the Anacostia River and its tributaries. It includes boardwalk sections that meander around trees and wetlands in the Aquatic Gardens and other National Park lands. As it passes through the Mayfair and Parkside communities, the trail travels on widened sidewalks and protected bike lanes, linking these neighborhoods to more than 40 miles of trail, numerous schools, businesses, libraries, museums, shopping centers and transit stations. Current Status: The protected bike lane is one of the first to be developed in Ward 7, and it is nearly completed. Extensive public outreach was done during the years of planning from 2004 to 2014. Unfortunately, some neighbors of the project have complained about the loss of the parking in front of their townhouses and are asking the city to remove the protected bike lane on Hayes St. Action to take: Residents of Ward 7 who want more safe places to walk and bike in their neighborhoods should contact their government officials at DDOT and the City Council to speak up in favor this and future projects. WABA has been working for more than two decades on making the vision of a seamless trail from Georgetown to Silver Spring a reality. The Purple Line will make substantial improvements to a portion of that route, transforming the Georgetown Branch Trail segment into a safe, viable transportation and recreation connection between two of the county’s hubs of activity (Bethesda and Silver Spring). Current Status: Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved a contract for a team of companies to build, operate and maintain the Purple Line, a 16-mile transit line that will link the Red, Green, and Orange lines in the Maryland suburbs. We will continue to track progress on the development of the trail, and will keep you informed along the way. When completed, the MBT will be a 8-mile multi use trail from Union Station in the District to Silver Spring, MD. The finished segment we have today is the result of more than 25 years of steadfast effort from committed residents, advocates, and planners through a lengthy public process. But we aren’t there quite yet. Current Status: There are two segments that MCDOT is currently engaged in. From the Maryland line to the Silver Spring Transit Center, the designs look good, with one exception: the B&O train station just off of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. Montgomery Preservation Inc (MPI), the nonprofit that controls this site, has spent years resisting proposed solutions, rejecting compromise design alternatives, and declining the County’s attempts to compensate them for the space the trail requires. Action to Take: Sign up to receive updates and action alerts from WABA about the Met Branch Trail.
Rock Creek Park TrailBrief Explanation: The Rock Creek Park Trail is in deplorable condition. Since 2014 when 2,500 WABA members and supporters signed a petition demanding action to rehabilitate the trial, a lot of work has been done. Over the next three years, the trail and beach drive will be completely reconstructed and improved. Current Status: The funding is allocated, the engineering designs are complete and construction contracts are issued. We anticipate construction starting any day now. Beach Drive will be fully rebuilt and repaved over the next two years. It will be a long construction project but the road will a last another 50 years. Stay tuned for a more comprehensive update on this trail in coming weeks. Extending the WB&A trail to the ART at the Maryland/Washington DC border would provide analogous trail connectivity for a large area of central Prince George’s County serving residents and visitors.
Meet Advocates in Your NeighborhoodAll across the region great people are working to fix our streets to make biking safe and popular. They meet each month to share ideas and work together for better places and more reason to bike. Whether you’re looking for a fun group, a new cause, or a wonky policy discussion, our Action Committees have it covered. Click here to see what we’re doing in your community and join us for the next meeting. We’re fine tuning the way this monthly(ish) update works, so if you have thoughts on how to make this information more useful, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Construction will close the trail temporarily.During construction, FHWA will close both Beach Drive and the Rock Creek Park Trail. This is not ideal, but keeping access open during construction is not feasible. Drivers and trail users will be detoured. We are working to ensure that the trail detour is a reasonable one that minimizes busy roads and the steep climbs out of the park. During construction, trail users should plan alternate routes. We hope the complete trail closure will speed up construction. The full 3.7 mile trail rehabilitation will not be complete when FHWA finishes their work next summer. DDOT is responsible for all trail sections across the creek from Beach Drive and along Rock Creek Parkway (south from Beach Drive), along with the new spur trail along Piney Branch Parkway. DDOT intends to complete design phase for their trail sections by August 2016 and begin construction in the fall of 2016. The agency plans to finish the entire trail reconstruction in 2017. Last year, WABA lead a petition effort to push the trail rehabilitation project forward. Over 2500 residents signed the petition asking the National Park Service and District Department of Transportation rebuild the trail. After a yearlong delay. DDOT finalized the EA last summer, allowing final design and construction to begin. If everything goes according to plan, residents and visitors will be enjoying newly rebuilt trail sections next year and a fully rebuilt trail by 2017. Thank you to the National Park Service, DDOT, FHWA and everyone else involved in bring this project to completion.
- expanding bikesharing,
- more public education,
- increased coordination on enforcement,
- and lots more policy recommendations beyond physical infrastructure.
- Complete Klingle and Kenilworth Anacostia Riverwalk Trail projects and advance Rock Creek and Metropolitan Branch Trail projects (Item 1.5)
- Install or upgrade 15 miles of on-street bicycle facilities (Item 1.6)
- Study east side of downtown bicycle facility improvements (Item 2.2)
- Determine East-West Crosstown Multimodal Study needs and identify solutions (Item 2.4)
- Complete review of existing bicycle laws and identify opportunities for changes (Item 3.1)
- Complete revisions to the Design and Engineering Manual (Item 3.40
- Create TravelSmart program to develop tailored transportation choices for District residents (Item 4.5)
- Fully train DDOT staff on multimodal design (item 6.4)
AlsoThe Bicycle Segment of this plan is good because bicyclists showed up and shared their thoughts at every step of the process. A huge WABA thank you to all of our members and supporters who submitted comments, testified at hearings, showed up at public meetings, and participated in the process!
In a letter Norton released today, Tara Morrison, Superintendent of Rock Creek Park, says an Environmental Assessment (EA) is currently with the Federal Highway Administration for approval. A Finding of No Significant Impact (or, delightfully, FONSI) document is expected to be signed by FHWA in the “near future” and NPS is currently drafting their own, which will also be reviewed by the District Department of Transportation. “Construction could begin on the project as early as Fiscal Year 2015,” the letter states. While any movement is welcome news, Greg Billing from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association says the pace thus far has been frustrating.Read NPS’ full response here and the press release from Norton’s office below the jump. Continue reading
Yesterday, Tues., March 5, our Advocacy Coordinator, Greg Billing, delivered to D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s a petition you and over 2,400 others signed, asking for improvements to the Rock Creek Park Trail. A lack of any attempt to improve the trail’s well-known egregious conditions drove WABA to demand immediate action from the National Park Service and District Department of Transportation last month. Del. Norton is now asking those agencies for a progress report.
We are grateful for Congresswomen Norton’s support of the campaign to fix the Rock Creek Park Trail. Read the full press release from her office below the jump. Continue reading