Posts by Gregory Billing
|Gregory Billing is Outreach & Advocacy Coordinator at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.|
Over 1,800 bicyclists crossed the 14th Street bridge on Sept. 13th, 2011, and that number has no doubt increased by now, but the connection between the bridge and the 15th Street cycletrack simply does not accommodate the level of traffic that uses it.
Most cyclists riding on the bridge in the morning rush are coming from Virginia to major employment hubs: Federal Triangle, downtown DC, and Capitol Hill. Those "in the know" riders are conditioned to the fractured connection between the 14th Street bridge and the 15th Street cycletrack. That's not typically the case with new riders and visitors to the city don't know about, or can't find, this important connection.
Improving it would also allow cyclists from the bridge to easily access DC's growing network of protected bike lanes outside of 15th Street, including those on Pennsylvania Avenue, L Street NW, and, soon, M Street NW. Extending the 15th Street cycletrack would give cyclists access to downtown bike lanes and multi-use paths on the National Mall.
Three easy projects would help to better connect the 14th Street Bridge to the 15th Street cycletracks.
Extend the 15th cycletrack one block south, to Constitution Avenue
Currently, the cycletrack on 15th Street NW ends at Pennsylvania Avenue. Bicyclists headed south are dumped onto a wide street with many tour buses and fast-moving traffic. Less experienced riders often choose the sidewalk, which has heavy pedestrian traffic and is often filled with vendors selling T-shirts and hats. DDOT's original cycletrack plans included an extension one block south, but that was never built. So let's build it!
Sign the route
The National Mall is filled with multi-use sidewalks to view our national memorials. There is plenty of space on these paths that pedestrians and bicyclists can share. But new riders and tourists do not know the bike routes across the Mall. Wayfinding signs communication the bike route for those traveling between the 15th Street cycletrack to 14th Street Bridge should be installed.
Those signs should also tell pedestrians to be aware of the presence of bicyclists. Bicyclists who feel comfortable using the road can still do so, but signing the route would give an alternative to inexperienced riders.
Fix the path to the bridge and multi-use sidewalks around the Tidal Basin
The paved path from the Jefferson Memorial to the 14th Street bridge needs serious repair. The 8-foot width is insufficient, and DDOT long ago placed an interstate sign support directly in the path of trail users. The path needs to be widened to at least 12 feet, and the sign needs to be moved.
Also, the multi-use sidepaths around the Tidal Basin, between the bridge, need attention. There are a pinch points and issues with desired riding lines, especially at intersection of 15th Street SW and Maine Avenue SW. Fixing these small issues would go a long way for improving the riding experience.
The 14th Street Bridge is a major river crossing for area bicyclists coming to downtown from Virginia. Now is the time to finish the connection with a few immediate fixes.
Cross-posted at WABA Quick Release.
Building on the success of Capital Bikeshare in DC and Arlington County, Montgomery County is preparing to submit a grant application to the Maryland DOT to help fund bike sharing in the lower county region.
The plan for 400 bicycles at 50 stations was presented Tuesday night a public meeting at the County Executive offices in Rockville.
County planning and transportation officials presented proposed station plans for the urban areas of the county. Bike stations are proposed in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Friendship Heights, and other areas along both legs of the Red Line.
The additional stations will provide connections within those activity centers and to places in the District.
As a side note, in planning talks, DDOT has agreed to expand bike sharing stations north between the system core and the new clusters in Bethesda, Silver Spring & Takoma Park to help connect the entire system.
The new stations will be in addition to 20 stations being installed in a cluster around the Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stations. The Rockville stations were funded through a Job Access/Reverse Commute grant program.
Montgomery County DOT Director Art Holmes spoke briefly about the expansion of Bikeshare to the county. He told attendees, "we are very committed to this program". Officials cautioned that the bike sharing program is contingent on the awarding of the state grants and may need to be built in phases.
However, they feel very confident in their grant application. The Maryland grants are through Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds with a local match of 20% required.
Maps already showed some prospective station locations and attendees were asked to give additional ideas by placing stickers on the maps. If you couldn't attend the meeting, you can give your feedback using the Capital Bikeshare crowdsourcing map.
Of course, there are siting issues. Consultant to the county, Paul DeMaio of MetroBike, explained requirements for a station. Considerations include access to direct sun, enough space, ownership agreements, access to the station, proximity to bicycle infrastructure, and so on.
If Montgomery receives the grant, they expect to begin installing the Bikeshare stations in Fall/Winter of 2012.
WABA is excited to see bike sharing grow and to see the promotion of bicycle transportation in the region. We hope to see the needed infrastructure improvements, education offerings and necessary enforcement to make the system a success in the county as we have seen in DC and Arlington.
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- Want the urban lifestyle? DC's best corner is...
- More roads won't solve traffic on I-95 in Northern Virginia
- Can Metro add capacity without a downtown loop?
- See what Montgomery BRT could look like
- Can we build up around MARC stations?
- What's the oldest continuously named street in DC?