Greater Greater Washington

M Street cycletrack loses a block

The planned M Street protected bike lane, often called a cycletrack, will now be an almost-cycletrack: under the latest plans, bicycle riders will be able to ride protected from adjacent traffic from Thomas Circle to Georgetown except on one block, between 15th and 16th Streets.


Looking down M from 15th. Photo from Google Maps.

Martin Di Caro reported that instead of a fully protected lane, there will just be one of the more common painted bike lanes on this block. This is the block that includes the Metropolitan AME church, whose members loudly protested a bike lane at meetings earlier this year, since it would reduce the amount of on-street parking for the church.

DDOT Associate Director Sam Zimbabwe said that the detailed plans would be available soon, but I was able to independently get a copy of the latest proposal:

Bicycle planners were already willing to work creatively to accommodate the church's needs, such as with one possible proposal to allow parking in the cycletrack on Sundays. However, as David Cranor reported back in May,

When asked if this was a done deal, Zimbabwe said it was and it wasn't. That there was going to be a cycle track on M, but what it would look like was still negotiable. ... When asked if the 1500 block could be left out of the plans, he said that it would have too negative an impact on people trying to bike the road.
Having a simple painted bike lane on this block is not having a cycle track, and much closer to leaving the block out. It will indeed have a strongly negative impact on people trying to bike the road, especially since this is the first block riders on the 15th Street north-south cycletrack will encounter as they turn onto M.
Support us: Monthly   Yearly   One time
Greatest supporter—$250/year
Greater supporter—$100/year
Great supporter—$50/year
Or pick your own amount: $/year
Greatest supporter—$250
Greater supporter—$100
Great supporter—$50
Supporter—$20
Or pick your own amount: $
Want to contribute by mail or another way? Instructions are here.
Contributions to Greater Greater Washington are not tax deductible.

David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

Comments

Add a comment »

Two bad decisions lately: the above and picking a developer who won't reconnect W street grid

by guest1 on Aug 15, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

I first mis-read this as saying the FULL cycletrack was going to just be paint. Either way, if that block does turn out to be just be paint (aka: lane for UPS parking, taxi drop off, etc), I will actively avoid using it. Are there any businesses there or is it just a church?

by Atlas on Aug 15, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

Instead of avoiding the lane, wouldn't very heavy usage, esp on Sunday AM be more effective in bringing change?

How about a whole bunch of cyclists bike to the front of the church, 10AM sunday, and have a pray in - focusing on Man's stewardship of the earth, the need to save all creatures including those endangered by global warming, etc. Do this like every Sunday. See what happens.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

Alternate headline: "Metropolitan AME Church Determined to Send Cyclists to Afterlife."

by Greg M on Aug 15, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

I don't get why we need to subsidize the parking of a church in the first place.

by ChrisB on Aug 15, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

What happened to separation of Church and state? Why does the government bow to their every demand?

365 days, 24/6 unsafe and uncomfortable situation, so these people get to park for 2 hours a week?

That goes for beyond the absurd.

by JJJJJJ on Aug 15, 2013 9:55 am • linkreport

This is unfortunate, but it's not the absolute worst thing in the world. A cycletrack on that block would have brought out the worst kind of bickering. Right now the far right lane is a traffic lane during rush hour, so making it a permanent parking lane along with a bike lane is a big improvement.

by Mony on Aug 15, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

Because if there is one thing that makes cycling (and driving) safer. It's inconsistency on what to expect block by block regarding how wide your lane is.

by drumz on Aug 15, 2013 9:59 am • linkreport

@ Greg M:"Metropolitan AME Church Determined to Send Cyclists to Afterlife."

You beat me to it.

To AME church members: Where exactly does the bible talk about the right to parking in front of your church? How does selfishness fit in with your faith? How does care for your community? Empathy? Inclusion?

@ Mony:A cycletrack on that block would have brought out the worst kind of bickering.

I prefer bickering for two hours a week over 168 hours of dangerous biking.

by Jasper on Aug 15, 2013 10:05 am • linkreport

The middle of a cycle track is not a good place to put a door-zone bike lane, because cycletrack users may let their guard down a bit. If they are really going to do this, then DDOT should narrow the left-side parking lane by two feet and restrict it to compact cars, to create more room for the bike lane. The bike lane should have a painted buffer on the left side, and door-zone markings on the right side.

by JimT on Aug 15, 2013 10:09 am • linkreport

Alternative headline:

Maryland Residents Drive DC Bicycle Policy

by William on Aug 15, 2013 10:09 am • linkreport

What happened to separation of Church and state? Why does the government bow to their every demand?

365 days, 24/6 unsafe and uncomfortable situation, so these people get to park for 2 hours a week?

The situation is made unsafe and uncomfortable by the drivers on M street, not the church patrons. The church does benefit, but ultimately the responsibility for keeping the road safe lies with the people who use the road on a regular basis - especially the drivers.

That being said, while the protected lane is ultimately the goal, the normal bike lane is far better than nothing at all.

by Scoot on Aug 15, 2013 10:11 am • linkreport

We can wail and complain all we want. One thing that ha been and will be true for the foreseeable future is that DC politicians do not cross the faith-based community. That is an immutable truth. Doing so is the surest way to electoral defeat as those affiliated with this community at least are perceived to show up for elections.

Perhaps someday this will change, but it will be a slow progression if it does. I would be very surprised if the kind folks at DDOT were not told in uncertain terms to placate the church. I would also be surprised if the call did not come directly from the Mayor or from one of his top aides.

Knowing this is the reality, I'm okay with the solution proposed.

by fongfong on Aug 15, 2013 10:19 am • linkreport

@Jasper: I'm talking about the ongoing, long-lasting bickering/bad optics involved when cyclists (read: white, yuppie, gentrifiers) challenge church-goers (read: black, older, pushed out). DDOT rightly decided not to fight this fight now, or jeopardize the whole cycletrack.

by Mony on Aug 15, 2013 10:21 am • linkreport

Does the church own a cemetery? And if so, can they at least offer free grave sites to any bicyclists killed in that block? Some religious institutions also own hospitals, so there's another opportunity for a win-win situation. I just feel like we really haven't done a very good job of negotiating. Don't we have any MBAs working on this?

by tdballo on Aug 15, 2013 10:27 am • linkreport

Thats a nice row of parked vehicles you have there. Be a shame if something were to happen to them every week during mass.

by JJJJJJ on Aug 15, 2013 10:27 am • linkreport

Can we ask the church in advance for free funeral services, in case any cyclist is killed on that segment?

We really need a bike advocacy org thats less straight laced then WABA.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

tdballo

JINX!

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

Mony,

Or DDOT (and they city council that oversees them) could realize that the optics are based on stereotypes of both groups and don't reflect reality at all and should instead make sure our streets have what's needed to help increase and protect cycling.

You don't fight stereotypes by giving into them.

by drumz on Aug 15, 2013 10:37 am • linkreport

I don't like being rolled by an organization that pays zero taxes and most of its parishioners live outside the city. This church is a relic. This "compromise" may stand now but it will fall down the road.

http://www.thewashcycle.com/2013/05/ddot-presents-the-m-street-cycle-track.html

by Tenley on Aug 15, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

I concur with FongFong, DDOT planning staff would be very unlikely to drop the cycletrack without the explicit order to do so from someone further up the chain. So while the planners had to come up with a workable decision, and will be on the front line to defend that decision in public, and take abuse from the cycling community for it, make no mistake that this is an executive decision. Direct your outrage accordingly to the Wilson building.

I've often thought that there is a real first amendment case that someone with good standing could bring with regard to all the special accommodations the city gives to churches. For this one, DDOT certainly has made a powerful safety case for why cycletracks are the preferred option when possible, and yet they back away from it for one block. The agency's own data and FOIA records would probably show exactly how this decision was made, and if there is undue preference for a religious institution involved.

Since people are suggesting clever protest moves, here's mine. This parking isn't specifically reserved for church, it's general parking. So anyone can park there. I suggest that a bunch of us with car2go memberships fill that parking lane with car2gos the night before, or the morning of Sunday services, or really as often as possible. If this upsets someone, they can just get a car2go membership and move all the cars elsewhere as they see fit.

by Staying Anon on Aug 15, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

Bowing to the demands of people who use the street one morning a week is ridiculous. What about the people who use the this street seven days a week? Just allow Sunday morning parking on this one block in the bike lane. Problem solved.

by aaa on Aug 15, 2013 10:49 am • linkreport

@ Staying Anon-

Your best case, in my eyes, in under the Administrative Procedures Act. The ACT provides that a court may set aside any governmental action that is arbitrary and capricious. It is a well-established tenet of law that it is arbitrary and capricious for a government agency to treat similarly situated parties in a divergent manner.

by Andy on Aug 15, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

@ Mony:I'm talking about the ongoing, long-lasting bickering/bad optics involved when cyclists (read: white, yuppie, gentrifiers) challenge church-goers (read: black, older, pushed out). DDOT rightly decided not to fight this fight now, or jeopardize the whole cycletrack.

Yeah, it's great when the government gives in to stereotypes. That's what we all want!

Also, the stereotypes are wrong, especially the 'push-out' part, because they are the ones getting their way. And yuppies don't bike, unless the requirement of being ridiculously rich is dropped from the yuppie definition.

But who cares. Parking in front of you church is a god-given right, apparently. I love it when Washingtonians show their true colors: Love of self, cars and religion. You know, real Republican values.

by Jasper on Aug 15, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

Bowing to the demands of people who use the street one morning a week is ridiculous.

This seems a bit dramatic, no?

The general sense was that the church community did not want any bike infrastructure at all.

Now that there is (tentatively) a bike lane in the plan, I'd file that as a "loss" for vocal church patrons, and a small "win" for the cycling community - who prior to this had no infrastructure at all.

And once the bike lane is in, it's politically difficult to remove it, and easier to convert it to a protected cycle-track in the future. Especially now that the churches have much less clout than they used to.

by Scoot on Aug 15, 2013 11:16 am • linkreport

"Especially now that the churches have much less clout than they used to."

I don't see this as the case. Can you please elaborate?

by Andy on Aug 15, 2013 11:22 am • linkreport

@William - Perfectly accurate.

@Staying Anon - Brilliant! I would love to be a part of this.

This really frustrates me. Why should an entity that doesn't contribute any taxes to the city get to unilaterally decide their out of state members convenient parking trumps cyclists' safety? I'm slightly disappointed WABA isn't doing more to oppose this.

by dcmike on Aug 15, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

I don't necessarily support the one-block bike lane, but sometimes compromise is necessary. I'm still thankful that we will soon have an east- and west-bound cycleway downtown that is mostly protected from vehicle lanes (I see slow recognition by drivers on how to negotiate the L Street turn lanes, though it will always be confusing to visitors).

This change now calls for regular and effective parking enforcement, especially on Sundays, to keep vehicles out of the bike lane, an issue that would not have been as critical with a curb-side cycletrack. Double-parking and sloppy parking on this block will become a major menace to cyclists out on a Sunday roll.

by CDL on Aug 15, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

scoot

yes and no. It looks like a compromise. But as others have noted, switching forms of infrastructure (such as cycle track to conventional bike lane to cycle track) can be problematic.

I tend to think that the cycling commumity should pocket the gain, but also find clever, funny, and ultimately sympathy drawing ways to protest the situation.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 11:31 am • linkreport

Yuppies=hipsters, same damn thing. It's all about perception; As þ@sharrowsDC smartly pointed out on Twitter, this WCP 2011 article from 2 years ago still holds true.

by Mony on Aug 15, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

Re: compromise,

It's well and good to compromise. But compromise like this could seriously degrade the entire project. I'd like to see if there are examples of other cities where a cycletrack contracts to a regular bike lane and back and what the effects are. Plus if it's just a stepping to stone back to the original plan then I don't see why it's prudent to waste time and money on an intermediary step.

by drumz on Aug 15, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

Add: besides, there were already compromises on the table as well.

by drumz on Aug 15, 2013 11:53 am • linkreport

Seems to me there's a couple of design alternatives that still need to be addressed by DDOT that would preserve parking for the church and maintain a separated bike facility (in descending order of what I'd prefer: Sunday parking in one of the two traffic lanes, curbside/curb-height bikelane with parked car separation, Sunday permit parking in a cycletrack).

seems that it's not strictly Church vs. bicyclists. Rather, there's room to satisfy both Church and bicyclists by putting other variables, like money and GP lane-space and slightly more ambitious experimental arrangements, into play. Wonder if/when there will be a public discussion of alternatives?

by darren on Aug 15, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

darren: I don't really understand what you're saying. Could you make a quick MSPaint diagram, or, better yet, a

by ImThat1Guy on Aug 15, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

Streetmix.net diagram. I don't know why this got cut off of my original post.

by ImThat1Guy on Aug 15, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

ImThat1Guy, I wish I could (no graphics skills/SW, and streetsmix doesn't work on my archaic workstation), maybe I'll try to blog it later. But I guess my bottom-line point is that there are other potential approaches (maybe beyond those I described), and before the separated lane gets bounced, I hope DDOT addresses alternatives and if/why they rejected them in favor of this clear loss to low-stress bicycling.

by darren on Aug 15, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

But as others have noted, switching forms of infrastructure (such as cycle track to conventional bike lane to cycle track) can be problematic.

I guess that just depends on one's view of "problematic". While a protected cycletrack is probably optimal compared to an unprotected lane, right now there is nothing there at all. So any kind of lane - protected or not - will be far from problematic, in fact it will be a big improvement.

Someone asked what precedent there is for actively switching between a protected lane (i.e. cycletrack) and unprotected lane, but the 15th St bike lanes already do that, particular near Meridian Hill Park.

I think the worst element of the unprotected lane is that it is prone to illegal parking by delivery vehicles, idling cars, etc. I can tell you that is my biggest pet peeve. But on the bright side, this whole blog post concerns 450 feet of pavement, less than 1/10th of a mile.

Ultimately what will dictate how safe the lane will be aren't the church patrons, but rather, those who drive on the road on a daily basis. And with the bike lane I hope and predict that they will drive more safely.

by Scoot on Aug 15, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

I'd be happy if they just paved the road between New Hampshire and Georgetown. That's been a slalom course of rough pavement, utility cuts and raised covers for over 10 years.

by crin on Aug 15, 2013 12:35 pm • linkreport

Am I reading this right? The church would rather have curb parking than parking as a buffer?

The church wants more parking, okay. What happened to the angled parking idea? That can dramatically increase the amount of space available, and I doubt M Street needs more than 1 lane on Sundays.

Basically, this doesn't feel like a compromise. If the goal is to maximize the utility of the lane and to maximize the number of spaces available for Sunday use, this fails on both counts.

by David Edmondson on Aug 15, 2013 1:06 pm • linkreport

@ImThat1Guy, an incredibly-awful MSPaint of the "curbside/curb-height bikelane with parked car separation" idea https://twitter.com/bikepedantic/status/368056426922385408/photo/1

by darren on Aug 15, 2013 1:16 pm • linkreport

One thing that ha been and will be true for the foreseeable future is that DC politicians do not cross the faith-based community.

Big business has been known to influence a politician or two as well. Where's the downtown BID on this issue? DDOT is right to give priority to people who are going to this block as a destination rather than just passing through but the church isn't the only organization on the block.

by Falls Church on Aug 15, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

I like the idea of a protest. I'm in if someone organizes it.

by David C on Aug 15, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

Where's the downtown BID on this issue?

Does it answer your question if I tell you that the Downtown BID's transportation director is a former WABA executive and the current Chair of the Bicycle Advisory Council?

by David C on Aug 15, 2013 1:21 pm • linkreport

Yeah..it seems like the BID's are actually quite eager to support cycling infra. It's DDOT and the Mayor's office that's lagging..despite protestations otherwise.

by thump on Aug 15, 2013 1:55 pm • linkreport

Where's the downtown BID on this issue?

Does it answer your question if I tell you that the Downtown BID's transportation director is a former WABA executive and the current Chair of the Bicycle Advisory Council?

Since that's the case, my next question is why isn't the BID doing something about this? They're supposed to be the group that organizes businesses to improve their district. The cycletrack is an improvement that was promised and this new design is a partial renege on that promise. If they don't speak up then their voice won't be heard.

by Falls Church on Aug 15, 2013 1:58 pm • linkreport

The building right next door to the Church has a parking garage that is open Monday - Saturday but not on Sundays. I don’t know why they choose to be open on Saturdays and not Sundays, but looking at it from an economic perspective, you could assume that the reason the garage is not open on Sundays is because there is not enough demand for parking on that day to make being open on Sundays profitable (who really knows though). What we do know is that if the Church really wants parking, there is space available right next door. If I was the owner of that parking garage, I would’ve been pissed off about the decision to allow back-in parking before, and I’d be pissed off all over again today after reading this (But again, who knows. Maybe there is another reason they’re not open on Sundays. Regardless….) They should not be reserving public space for private use, especially when that space costs a premium, there is a private entity available at that same location that meets their needs, and they’re giving it away for free while taking it away from the public and doing so at the expense of public safety.

by UrbanEngineer on Aug 15, 2013 1:59 pm • linkreport

Sounds like some people are jealous that non-cyclists can also organize themselves into an effective political force. Cry me a river.

by Greenwithenvy on Aug 15, 2013 2:04 pm • linkreport

Metropolitan AME church is a black church, and I agree with some of the other commenters that this is primarily a social/gentrification issue, rather than an issue of either religion or urban planning.

by Eric on Aug 15, 2013 2:10 pm • linkreport

Greenwithenvy, not me. I'm annoyed that good policy is losing out to good politics. And incredulous. But not envious.

by David C on Aug 15, 2013 2:11 pm • linkreport

this is primarily a social/gentrification issue,

One that is largely manufactured to keep political power entrenched with hundreds of counter examples all over the places.

That's the thing. It shouldn't be an issue like that. Because it's just bikes.

by drumz on Aug 15, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

green

Lots of people organize. I would say cylists dont organize all that much. I mean most don't.

Eric - how is the nature of transportation infrastructure NOT an urban planning issue? Of course most urban planning issues have political sides. How is it gentrification? The bike lane would not lead the church to move. And are the churh members mostly from the neighborhood? From the District even? Can we not use "gentrification" for every racial conflict?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 2:20 pm • linkreport

and is even a racial conflict oversimplifying? Unless that cycle track is different from other bike routes in the region, it certainly will attract african american cyclists.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 2:21 pm • linkreport

UrbanEngineer touched on this but in this particular case there should be some other solutions to the church's parking needs - in a lot of these conflicts there really are not good alternatives for church goers but that is not the case here at all.

I believe there are actually commercial parking garages accessible on each side of this street and beyond that this is almost exclusively a commercial area with very little residential parking demand - I used to work almost across the street and on the occasions when I would drive down on the weekends it was usually pretty easy to find parking on the street.

So this is not Logan Circle with all of its conflicts.

Also it is 2 blocks from the Farragut North Metro station.

Why doesn't someone contact National Geographic who is always touting its green policies and see if they could make their underground parking garage available on Sunday mornings in exchange for retaining this stretch of cycletrack?

This seems to me to be a particularly stupid and unnecessary compromise - really it is about having a few spaces available immediately in front of the church not any larger problems with parking accessibility around this church because it is not a difficult area in which to park on Sundays.

by TomQ on Aug 15, 2013 2:46 pm • linkreport

Don't worry, it's not like anyone will park in the new lane: http://whosblockinglsttoday.tumblr.com/

by JC on Aug 15, 2013 2:58 pm • linkreport

TomQ, if you look at my post on the M Street bike meeting from last May, you'll see a drawing for Alternative 3 for the parking. I think DDOT had 4 official alternatives and others that weren't drawn up.

by David C on Aug 15, 2013 3:06 pm • linkreport

Echoing the good idea above, there is no way M street needs two lanes of vehicle capacity on Sunday morning. If a handful of parking spaces are so important as to change a an otherwise contiguous design, let one of the travel lanes be additional temporary on-street parking for a few hours on Sunday (thinking MOU, managed, temporary bollars, etc.). Everyone wins. And it's a cheap solution. And when/if the Church moves, DDOT literally has to do no other changes.

by Kenneth on Aug 15, 2013 3:31 pm • linkreport

I really dislike that we are caving to the church's whim on this one. I understand that they probably never anticipated the changes to the city when they founded the church in that location back when people rode their pet stegosaurus to Sunday services, but it's 2013 now, and we have alternate interests to consider.

The fact that your building exists near a given road does not entitle you to have parking on that road, period. It just doesn't. Especially in a city like DC, where we build a dozen condo buildings every year that not only don't have parking adjacent to the building, but whose *taxpaying* residents are not even eligible for an RPP. Taxpayers! Who live here! They pay property taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes, and not only do they not get parking right in front of their building THAT THEY LIVE IN, they can't get a permit to park ANYWHERE!

So why, then, do we give a tax-exempt church greater rights and more privileges than we give to hundreds of tax-paying residents? We don't provide exemptions from parking laws and additional angled spaces for other social service agencies like Bread for the City - so why do we do it for a church? And more importantly, if I was a resident who was denied an RPP despite paying a truckload of money in taxes, I'd be furious that the city was denying me an RPP, and then making my ability to do without a car more difficult because they wanted to give preference to a non-resident who drives.

by ShawGuy on Aug 15, 2013 3:50 pm • linkreport

@Shawguy. Sorry but I must chime in here.

The fact that your building exists near a given road does not entitle you to have parking on that road, period. It just doesn't.

To be a devil's advocate here, no one is entitled to an undivided protected bike lane either.

Especially in a city like DC, where we build a dozen condo buildings every year that not only don't have parking adjacent to the building, but whose *taxpaying* residents are not even eligible for an RPP. Taxpayers! Who live here!

For one thing, that is a fairly new program. It is not something that the city has historically done. Secondly, those people voluntarily gave up their right to obtain an RPP.

So why, then, do we give a tax-exempt church greater rights and more privileges than we give to hundreds of tax-paying residents?

The church itself is actually not seeking any rights. We're talking about individual patrons who want certain privileges to park.

We don't provide exemptions from parking laws and additional angled spaces for other social service agencies like Bread for the City - so why do we do it for a church?

What exemptions? This newest bike lane proposal does not provide an exemption from any existing parking law.

I'd be furious that the city was denying me an RPP, and then making my ability to do without a car more difficult because they wanted to give preference to a non-resident who drives.

I'd be pretty furious too, but that's not what's happening here.

by Scoot on Aug 15, 2013 4:34 pm • linkreport

"To be a devil's advocate here, no one is entitled to an undivided protected bike lane either."

and of course most roads and streets in DC do not have protected bike lanes. M street however, has had one planned for several years, for very good reasons - its in a dense location where biking is important to DC's biking goals, and its a difficult place for biking without a protected lane. Which is why there is one going in the other direction on L Street. So while no one is "entitled" to this kind of facility, the equivalence you have drawn is false. Note that the carve out for this church interrupts the cycletrack, in ways that may be particularly dangerous.

"The church itself is actually not seeking any rights. We're talking about individual patrons who want certain privileges to park."

The church lobbied as organized group (in public, at the hearing, and presumably in private). To claim this is not about the privileges of this church is disingenous, even if no church owned vehicles are effected.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 4:44 pm • linkreport

"I'd be furious that the city was denying me an RPP, and then making my ability to do without a car more difficult because they wanted to give preference to a non-resident who drives.

I'd be pretty furious too, but that's not what's happening here."

thats not clear. By refusing to build an already planned, and sorely needed biking facility, they are making it harder to bike (and thus do without a car) then it needs to be. They are clearly doing to this to give preference to folks who drive (since the issue is parking - and in fact making it possible for people to park close). How many congregants are in fact DC residents and how many are suburbanites is not clear to me.

And yes, I confess I live in NoVa and do use cycle infrastructure in DC from time to time (y'all are invited to use the W&OD when you feel like it)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 4:47 pm • linkreport

I wish this article had concluded with the e-mail addresses and/or phone numbers of the 2-3 people that one should contact to express an opinion on this. Sam Zimbabwe? Mayor Gray? The head of the BID? Whatever councilperson chairs transportation?

by skeptic on Aug 15, 2013 5:12 pm • linkreport

I would feel more sympathetic to the church's argument if there weren't two parking decks in close proximity -- one across the street (which they're apparently using, according to their website) and one right next door (which is currently closed Sundays, but could open up).

It's perfectly acceptable for the city to provide accommodations to longstanding residents and institutions (secular or non-secular) if doing so averts an otherwise calamitous impact on their property. Hence, we grandfather in nonconforming uses; we put up "Deaf Child Area" or "Deaf Student Area" signs; and we even allow otherwise prohibited parking, as we do on Sundays around churches. But this, to me, is not one of those circumstances.

Balancing the equities, if the city has determined M Street is going to be a primary cycle track route, it doesn't make sense to exempt a block just to accommodate one-day-per-week parking -- especially when there are available public parking decks on that block. The city (and WABA) should really do a better job of engaging with Metropolitan's leadership and finding a better solution.

And on the naked politics point, if it's true that the majority of the church's membership are Marylanders, then the political ramifications of keeping the cycle track can only be so severe.

by Bradley Heard on Aug 15, 2013 5:15 pm • linkreport

@Awalker.

I don't recall that the church lobbied as an official tax-exempt entity. That seems to be what the above poster was arguing. Whether Some church patrons may have coalesced to attend the hearing together is kinda irrelevant.

What is sorely needed on M street is some sort of bike infrastructure. I would love a protected lane, but what is needed is a lane, period. I'm not sure that we would care very much about a 450-ft stretch of unprotected lane (in a 6,970-ft project) if it didn't have to do with the church parking. If the constraints were technical rather than political (or even racial), would it matter?

by Scoot on Aug 15, 2013 5:40 pm • linkreport

My full report is here: http://wamu.org/news/13/08/15/church_concerns_cause_delay_in_m_street_bike_lane

by Martin Di Caro on Aug 15, 2013 5:45 pm • linkreport

“That plan, we felt, would create a major traffic issue when we had special events like funerals and for our worship services and evening programs,” said Reverend Ronald Braxton, who said the compromise represents a “win-win situation” for churchgoers and cyclists.

by Martin Di Caro on Aug 15, 2013 5:52 pm • linkreport

"I don't recall that the church lobbied as an official tax-exempt entity. That seems to be what the above poster was arguing. Whether Some church patrons may have coalesced to attend the hearing together is kinda irrelevant."

http://www.thewashcycle.com/2013/05/ddot-presents-the-m-street-cycle-track.html

pastors and leaders attended. This does appear to have been organized opposition. Im not sure what it would mean to lobby "as" tax exempt entity.

"What is sorely needed on M street is some sort of bike infrastructure. I would love a protected lane, but what is needed is a lane, period."

Protected lanes are better at attracting cyclists, and have superior safety records. An unprotected bike lane is only white paint.

" I'm not sure that we would care very much about a 450-ft stretch of unprotected lane (in a 6,970-ft project) if it didn't have to do with the church parking. If the constraints were technical rather than political (or even racial), would it matter?"

I would suggest that to the biking community it certainly would. They are quote vociferous about poor infrastructure due to a planners mistake, or inadequate funding. If you mean a technical constraint as in this is physically the best that could be built, then obviously in that case there isnt much to debate. Isnt it clear that when something good is stopped because of politics, thats a reason to debate it (to exert counter political influence) while when something is not technically possible, its not?

And I dont know the racial point. There has been discussion here of bike lanes on New Mexico Avenue, of bike Share in oldtown, etc. Places where the opponents were mostly (or entirely) white. and of course many african americans bike. I really do think that introducing racial politics into biking is neither necessary nor desirable.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 5:53 pm • linkreport

Mr DiCaros quote would seem to confirm official church involvement.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 15, 2013 5:54 pm • linkreport

I'm not sure that we would care very much about a 450-ft stretch of unprotected lane (in a 6,970-ft project) if it didn't have to do with the church parking. If the constraints were technical rather than political (or even racial), would it matter?

I guess the car equivalent would be if that same block would be reduced to gravel. Imagine driving some road where one block is not nicely asphalted, but gravel, just because there's a bunch of green loonies living on that block that oppose asphalting roads as it does not fit in their world view.

by Jasper on Aug 15, 2013 8:55 pm • linkreport

I cannot believe how small-minded and selfish the majority of the commentors are. The church has no off-street parking. There are funeral services there frequently on weekdays. And the church is also a polling place. A curb lane without bollards is a compromise all should be able to live with. Cyclists: Your self-righteousness and sense of entitlement is something to behold. Get over yourselves.

by Throwaway Username on Aug 15, 2013 8:56 pm • linkreport

Well there have been options that have been pointed at that keep the parking and the full width bike lane.

Surely the church functioned before with with limited parking. Was there never a situation where there was a funeral while the road was being repaved or something? If there are services on weekdays surely the amount of car traffic is harder to deal with than cyclists.

Also, cyclists face a lot of danger just by choosing to ride their bike rather than drive. It's not self righteous to want what's been promised and what's seen as necessary to have a city that is bike friendly.

by Canaan on Aug 15, 2013 9:12 pm • linkreport

The church has no off-street parking.

I don't see how it's the city's job to remedy this. Besides they have access to off-street parking on weekends.

There are funeral services there frequently on weekdays. And the church is also a polling place.

So for a few hours a few times a year, they need some extra parking or some extra loading space. Lots of businesses fall into this same category. Some how they get by. Why is it that the church is different?

A curb lane without bollards is a compromise all should be able to live with.

In a compromise, both sides give something up. I don't see what the church is giving up.

by David C on Aug 15, 2013 9:42 pm • linkreport

I love it. Hipsters getting the smack down from the establishment. Don't go away mad however.

Just buy those impossible to remove stickers and slap them on the windshields of the double parked cars. Laws is laws.

by Grand poobah on Aug 15, 2013 11:26 pm • linkreport

"I love it. Hipsters getting the smack down from the establishment."

Lots of people cycle. What do "hipsters" have to do with it? Another attempt to split people based on race and age?

" Don't go away mad however."

We won't. We will find ways to fix this.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

Override the church's veto. All in favor?

by Lisa on Aug 16, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

I'm so tired of hearing the word "hipsters" brought by people who invariably oppose allocating resources to cyclists and cycling. I am 50 and live in the city. Biking to work and for errands and just to get around has improved my health, contributed in a small way to reducing pollution, and helped to reduce traffic.

I'm hardly a "hipster" but people like "Grand poobah" use the term because it suggests a type of individual disliked by many -- a self-entitled, narrow-minded, annoying young person who doesn't think about broader community needs. It's done to bolster a weak argument.

Well, that is not me, and I'd argue it's not the vast majority of cyclists.

Bike lanes and cycle tracks are being built for the cyclists we will have in 10, 20 and more years out because making it safer and easier will get many more people biking in the coming years. It will benefit everyone, not just those who bike.

To me, it's the church that is not thinking about the larger community here, only themselves (possibly because most of them don't live here any more). Having a few bikes ride by after their services (or even a funeral) is not the end of the world. They should deal with it since the alternative is to make cycling on that block more dangerous than it needs to be 24/7 for the rest of us.

by Kevin on Aug 16, 2013 10:20 am • linkreport

It's going to be awesome when people going to church park in the bike lane every day without enforcement, making this a lot less of a compromise and much more of a "suck it, bikes" scenario.

by worthing on Aug 16, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

@ Throwaway Username:I cannot believe how small-minded and selfish the majority of the commentors are.

Well, at least they have one thing in common with the AME Church members.

The church has no off-street parking.

So what? Since when is the lack of off-street parking a reason for claiming part of the public roads for your private use?

There are funeral services there frequently on weekdays.

And a funeral requires free parking for all attendants in front of the church?

And the church is also a polling place.

Yes... and? Does the voting rights act guarantee parking with in front of a poling place - even during the 364 days a year there is no election?

A curb lane without bollards is a compromise all should be able to live with.

Apparently not. The church is not giving up anything, so it is not compromising.

Cyclists: Your self-righteousness and sense of entitlement is something to behold.

Yeah, asking for a safe place on the road it self-righteous. Much more so than asking for a parking spot in front of your church.

Get over yourselves.

Not as long as I get regularly nearly driven of the road.

by Jasper on Aug 16, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

I guess the car equivalent would be if that same block would be reduced to gravel. Imagine driving some road where one block is not nicely asphalted, but gravel, just because there's a bunch of green loonies living on that block that oppose asphalting roads as it does not fit in their world view.

Huh? Could there be no better example than that? The church patrons don't not want to change the material that the road is made from. They just want to remove the bollards.

But of course I don't think the actual issue concerns the single unprotected block, or the safety issue.

Because we all know that if M Street were actually safe to ride on (with or without a protected lane) then the issue of the relative safety of the bollards would be kinda moot.

If people on M St did not illegally speed or drive recklessly, then I could feel safe in an unprotected lane.

This is an issue of politics, and of both sides wanting to get their way.

by Scoot on Aug 16, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

Maybe not gravel but imagine if political pressure decided that a three lane (one way ) road just didn't need lane markings for about a block. Obviously that happens a lot in DC already (we had a big post about it a while back).

And it's obviously better to have safer streets. The best way to do that is to get more cyclists and the best way to get more cyclists is to have dedicated cycling infrastructure.

Both sides obviously want to get their way. But why were the other compromises suggested (including the specific allowance of parking in the lane on Sundays!) insufficient?

by drumz on Aug 16, 2013 10:37 am • linkreport

Since people are suggesting clever protest moves, here's mine. This parking isn't specifically reserved for church, it's general parking. So anyone can park there. I suggest that a bunch of us with car2go memberships fill that parking lane with car2gos the night before, or the morning of Sunday services, or really as often as possible. If this upsets someone, they can just get a car2go membership and move all the cars elsewhere as they see fit.

I love this more than words can express. In, in, in. Just let me know when.

by dcd on Aug 16, 2013 10:37 am • linkreport

I'm guessing what happened here is that someone with political connections called the Mayor's office and the Mayor's office called DDOT and told them to make the church happy. DDOT took the easiest path and just scrapped the bike lane on this block. The best solution here would have been structuring this one block in a way that addresses the church's needs for 2 or so hours a week while keeping the bike lane in place the rest of the week. But, that would have involved more creative thinking than DDOT is generally capable of.

On another topic, the comments to the Post article on this are going a great job of playing up the worst stereotypes of cyclists and anti-cyclists.

by Potowmack on Aug 16, 2013 10:38 am • linkreport

Moreover, a policy that basically allows property owners to decide what they're street looks like block by block is a poor policy. It's inconsistent and not based in anything rational. Sudden lane changes disrupt drivers as much as they do cyclists. DDOT must consider the network effects.

by drumz on Aug 16, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

This is an issue of politics, and of both sides wanting to get their way.

Except that from 2005 until at least May of this year, DDOT (the experts on traffic, parking etc..) has been in agreement with cyclists that a cycle-track will help the city achieve it's transportation goals. And the 2005 bike plan, which was approved by the District Council, includes a cycletrack on M Street.

So what the Church wants is to ignore the Council-approved bike plan, the expert opinion of the transportation department and the agreed-upon transportation goals of the District and replace it with its own judgement. Cyclists merely want the previously agreed-upon process to continue without outside intervention.

So, it's a false equivalency.

by David C on Aug 16, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

I'm guessing what happened here is that someone with political connections called the Mayor's office and the Mayor's office called DDOT and told them to make the church happy.

From the Post article:

"Metropolitan, which . . . and counts among its members many influential folks including D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large)."

by dcd on Aug 16, 2013 10:49 am • linkreport

dcd

at least he lives in DC.

Now folks have a better idea of how to achieve change.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

Now folks have a better idea of how to achieve change.

I'm hoping no one posting on here is naive enough to be surprised by this.

It's just the nature of the beast of DC government. Having a Member of Council as a member of your group carries a lot of weight. Now, the question is whether the annoyance caused by this decision will outweigh the political influence that led to it. We've seen recently that it's quite possible to override the influence of politically connected groups (such as how Uber's popularity has led the District to back down from taxi company-sponsored attempts to strangle the service via onerous regulation)if the annoyed opposition can mobilize.

The church group here exercised old-school methods to get what they want. Even a decade ago, there would have been no easy way for a relatively diffuse group of cyclists to quickly organize and push back. But, as DC government is discovering, social media creates surprisingly effective tools for political organization.

by Potowmack on Aug 16, 2013 11:19 am • linkreport

Maybe not gravel but imagine if political pressure decided that a three lane (one way ) road just didn't need lane markings for about a block.

That's not a good example either because the current proposal does not actually remove the lane markings. You are proposing hypotheticals that actually make the block more dangerous -- but any way you slice the cake, adding a bike lane is safer than the status quo.

Our community regularly exerts political pressure to influence policy. As do the developers who build the kind of housing we advocate for.

a policy that basically allows property owners to decide what they're street looks like block by block is a poor policy.

Well, you just said that there is no policy, but rather a scheme of political pressure.

But even so, isn't that pretty much what ANCs do on a regular basis? Should we abolish them?

by Scoot on Aug 16, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

You're right, a bike lane is better than no bike lane. That doesn't mean that this still isn't a downgrade of what was promised.

If DDOT decides that political pressure like this does influence decisions then its a de facto policy. And a bad one.

ANC's are complicated and I'm not sure what analogy would be best. That's why I generally try to avoid them. I failed today but let's get back to this, why out of several compromises offered, is this one the best one?

by drumz on Aug 16, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

Potowmack

Good points - though what I meant was there is now an address for this issues - CM Orange. Change will be advanced by defeating him.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

Our community regularly exerts political pressure to influence policy. As do the developers who build the kind of housing we advocate for.

As David C. points out. The difference was when political pressure was exerted. This is DDOT coming after the process is wrapped up saying "we're doing this not for any technical reason but because its feared that some parking may be lost". On one hand you have years of process, studies and actual documents that say what the city will do. On the other you have fears of what "might" happen.

by drumz on Aug 16, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

But even so, isn't that pretty much what ANCs do on a regular basis? Should we abolish them?

ANC's were created by the legislature and elected. They're designed to be advocates for the neighborhood. So, that's different. If the Metropolitan AME (MAME) wants to work through their ANC to push this policy, that's fine. That is how it is supposed to work.

a downgrade of what was promised.Just a nitpick. It was planned by DDOT and approved by council. That's more than a promise.

by David C on Aug 16, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

That doesn't mean that this still isn't a downgrade of what was promised.

I think what was promise was a design process that accomodated a variety of stakeholders. To be honest I have not really followed the day to day drama of the M Street cycletrack so I don't know if the Council actually approved a particular technical drawing or merely a policy to implement a cycletrack.

why out of several compromises offered, is this one the best one?

I'm not sure it's the best one. Though, if it's a compromise that placates the church patrons but still provides benefits for cyclists, then it's workable and fortunately opens the door to a protected lane in the future.

Maybe we are upset that the church has Orange on its side to exert political pressure on the DDOT, and the best pro-cycling advocate we have is Cheh - and that ain't saying much.

Perhaps if we had a councilmember who could just tell the DDOT to ignore the concerns of the church patrons, then councilmembers exerting political pressure wouldn't be such a terrible de-facto policy!

by Scoot on Aug 16, 2013 12:16 pm • linkreport

http://www.voteresults.org/default1112.asp

Vincent Orange 38.8%

http://www.voteresults.org/?STATE=DC

Vincent Orange 40.39%

The way to change is clear.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

"Though, if it's a compromise that placates the church patrons but still provides benefits for cyclists, then it's workable and fortunately opens the door to a protected lane in the future."

So if there is a new highway planned on the route of an existing 2 lane undivided road, one adjacent property holder objects, and for one mile instead of the highway we make the 2 lane road THREE lanes, that would be a workable compromise. Because it leaves motorists better off than before?

You are getting too hung up on the bike lane being better than the status quo. The status quo is not a viable alternative - esp with a cycle track on either side of this one block. No one would suggest a cycle track, one block of unprotected bike lane, and then picking up the cycle track again in other cases - even where there might be say an additional cost to running the cycle track on a particular block. Its hard to imagine any other property owner getting this kind of deference. This happens to be a well connected church, with Vince Orange as a member. If its acceptable that this church have such outsized influence, than this is acceptable. The voters of DC will have to determine that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 12:35 pm • linkreport

"Perhaps if we had a councilmember who could just tell the DDOT to ignore the concerns of the church patrons,"

How about telling them to consider the concerns of church patrons, as part of the accepted planning process, rather than via backdoor influence.

Will the Council investigate DDOT for letting a CM throw his weight around?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 12:37 pm • linkreport

So if there is a new highway planned on the route of an existing 2 lane undivided road, one adjacent property holder objects, and for one mile instead of the highway we make the 2 lane road THREE lanes, that would be a workable compromise. Because it leaves motorists better off than before?

Huh? I'm not really sure what is with all these strange analogies that make no sense in relation to the existing proposal. Today is like analogy fail day here at GGW.

The reason I am getting hung up on the status quo is because I regularly uses these roads on a bicycle in their status quo. Unfortunately M St is a dangerous road for cyclists to be on in the first place.

Installing the protected lane would be ideal, but connecting the two sides of the cycletrack with an unprotected lane (as is done on the 15th st cycletrack) will undoubtedly make the road safer for those of us who use it.

We do have power to influence policy via our elected councilmembers, and we regularly exercise this power, just as the church does, in order to get what we want. We already do find it acceptable when a CM throws his weight around, so long it's for a cause that we agree with.

by Scoot on Aug 16, 2013 1:16 pm • linkreport

No, timing matters. There was already a public process for a specific piece of infrastructure that was based off of a master plan that the legislature already talked through and approved. On balance, it's always good to have an good and open public process rather than one that can at any moment be significantly modified at an apparent whim.

Moreover, there are other and better options on the table that preserve parking and the cycle track. That's on DDOT, not on the mysterious machinations of the church/illuminati/whatever. So those are somewhat separate but important issues.

by drumz on Aug 16, 2013 1:25 pm • linkreport

We already do find it acceptable when a CM throws his weight around, so long it's for a cause that we agree with.

For example?

I'd also point out that we don't know that Orange is responsible for this. That has not been my experience with DDOT. If I were a betting man - and I am - I'd put my money on the Mayor's office. DDOT listens to the Mayor much more than they do to a CM.

One last thing. Let me define what the status quo is (or until recently was). The status quo is the current design and plans to upgrade that with a protected cycletrack. A bike lane is step down from the status quo, not a step up.

by David C on Aug 16, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

"We do have power to influence policy via our elected councilmembers, and we regularly exercise this power, just as the church does, in order to get what we want. We already do find it acceptable when a CM throws his weight around, so long it's for a cause that we agree with."

perhaps I am not being clear. I am not referring to a CM exerting influence through council proceedings. I am referring to a CM (though perhaps it was the Mayor as DC says) overriding an established process, and changing a plan of several years standing.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

I was referring to the status quo of the street, not the status quo of the proposal.

For example?

I dunno, pretty much everything Tommy Wells does on a regular basis? LOL.

As has been noted frequently, the existing proposal is not final and may be subject to change once again.

My guess is that due to the backlash (which has now made itself to the WaPo) we could very well see some reversal, which overall would be a good thing.

What we do know is that the church patrons voiced their concerns through the established channel of the public meeting. Whatever happened later is (as you said) unknown to us.

Some people are complaining that the project has been in planning for a number of years and the church patrons are just now voicing their concerns; that may be, though fortunately there is no requirement for a specific duration of personal involvement in an issue for one's voice to be heard.

by Scoot on Aug 16, 2013 2:05 pm • linkreport

"I dunno, pretty much everything Tommy Wells does on a regular basis? LOL."

Are there examples where he went to a DC agency and got them to change an infrastructure project after the plan had been approved?

"What we do know is that the church patrons voiced their concerns through the established channel of the public meeting."

actually that meeting was to present the detailed plan and have a Q&A. It was not an established channel for these kinds of changes. That was back in 2011. When DDOT DID tal to church staff. Someone at that meeting said DDOT was lying, but they offered to share phone and email logs.

"Whatever happened later is (as you said) unknown to us."

Council could investigate what happened.

"Some people are complaining that the project has been in planning for a number of years and the church patrons are just now voicing their concerns; that may be, though fortunately there is no requirement for a specific duration of personal involvement in an issue for one's voice to be heard."

If you want a fair, transparent process, there needs to be. But I suppose no one has accused DC politics of being transparent. But it seems some people in DC want to move in that direction.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 2:13 pm • linkreport

I dunno, pretty much everything Tommy Wells does on a regular basis? LOL.

LOL indeed. If you're going to accuse people of hypocrisy, you really should have an actual example. Maybe you see it differently?

by David C on Aug 16, 2013 2:20 pm • linkreport

Are there examples where he went to a DC agency and got them to change an infrastructure project after the plan had been approved?

We don't know that this actually happened, so I can't say either way.

And I'm not quite sure how precisely the plan was approved back in May 2013. The DDOT frequently implied that the process continually evolves as the back-and-forth between competing interests plays out.

DDOT Associate Director Zimbabwe has been giving mixed signals - simultaneously saying that there would be no more discussion of the cycletrack while also saying that DDOT would find a way to accommodate the church parking, that the DDOT is not on a rushed timeline and that the design is still being negotiated.

Perhaps the council should investigate what happened, but I'm not sure I trust them.

by Scoot on Aug 16, 2013 2:30 pm • linkreport

If you're going to accuse people of hypocrisy, you really should have an actual example.

How about removing the "no peds no bikes" sign on Broad Branch Road? What do you think happened in the intervening week that the DDOT put it up and then took it down?

Maybe the Council should investigate.

Anyway, this is an interesting "us" versus "them" drama and I am quite interested to see how it all plays out!

by Scoot on Aug 16, 2013 2:39 pm • linkreport

"We don't know that this actually happened, so I can't say either way."

If you don't know what actually happened, how can you say Tommy Wells did the same thing?

DDOT was making minor changes, to incorporate learnings from the L Street track. Now we get a plan with the cycle track dropped and replaced by a white paint only bike lane for a block. If this was done purely at DDOTs initiative, DDOT needs to be investigated. I have a hard time believing some elected official was not involved though. If so, it would be good to know WHICH elected official, so that the voters can consider their response.

At this point since DDOT is an executive agency, I suppose Mayor Grey can be held responsible.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 2:44 pm • linkreport

"How about removing the "no peds no bikes" sign on Broad Branch Road? What do you think happened in the intervening week that the DDOT put it up and then took it down?"

its pretty clear - the blogosphere got hold of it, publicized how it contradicted complete streets policy, and DDOT took it down. No evidence of private CM intervention - since there was no official plan to have the signs, and no one arguing for them.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 2:51 pm • linkreport

"Anyway, this is an interesting "us" versus "them" drama and I am quite interested to see how it all plays out!"

in the sense that all political conflict is us vs them. If you mean to imply something else do so - but there are blacks who bike, old people who bike, and church goers who bike.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 2:52 pm • linkreport

What do you think happened in the intervening week that the DDOT put it up and then took it down?

I don't know. This is your accusation. It's your job to keep it from being baseless, not mine.

by David C on Aug 16, 2013 2:58 pm • linkreport

@AWalker.

Neither of us knows what happened. But to think that Tommy Wells could never throw his weight around in the manner Orange has been accused of? Or that Cheh could not either? Or that Jim Graham could not? Or that Gray could not? That takes a special amount of niavete.

Since you already stated that an elected official was probably involved in this then it's not exactly a stretch to consider that elected officials might also be involved in throwing their weight around on projects or proposals that happen to be favorable to our community.

If I could provide proof of each time this happened then I would either be a very good journalist (which sadly I don't get paid to do), or whomever is throwing their weight around would have to be pretty awful at covering it up. And I don't have unbridled access to the Wilson Building either.

@DavidC.

I don't know. This is your accusation. It's your job to keep it from being baseless, not mine.

Maybe, but there have been a lot of accusations on this thread, pretty much all of them baseless. You made an accusation that the Mayor was involved.

If he wasn't then, he probably is now.

by Scoot on Aug 16, 2013 3:09 pm • linkreport

You made an accusation that the Mayor was involved.

I said it was, IMO, the most likely explanation. I don't believe speculation is the same as an accusation.

but there have been a lot of accusations on this thread, pretty much all of them baseless.

I'm not aware of those, but since you have no examples to back up your own, are you willing to walk back your comment that "We already do find it acceptable when a CM throws his weight around, so long it's for a cause that we agree with." I think that would only be fair.

by David C on Aug 16, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

"Neither of us knows what happened. But to think that Tommy Wells could never throw his weight around in the manner Orange has been accused of? Or that Cheh could not either? Or that Jim Graham could not? Or that Gray could not? That takes a special amount of niavete."

whats relevant is not whether they could but whether they DID. The way to make sure that those who can, do not, is to do exactly what people are doing here - to call it out, and demand DDOT explain the rationale behind the change.

That attempt is not advanced by suggestions to "just live with it - this is already a compromise, and you are stirring up racial antagonisms" which is my reading of the posts attacking the cycling community for taking this issue up.

I am not clear what the reasons are for the cycling community to NOT take it up. Taking it up will not mean that no cycle track gets built. And I do not think that the broader black community (beyond this particular church) will see this as a racial attack - except for those whose minds are made up to hate "hipsters"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Aug 16, 2013 3:39 pm • linkreport

Solution: bike on the sidewalk as people are arriving for mass. Just back and forth, repeatedly.

Seriously, one block of on-street parking like that doesn't gain you many spaces anyway. But even the 'protected' L street bike lane is terrible. Cars don't pay attention when entering it to turn and will run you over!

by fredbiker on Aug 17, 2013 10:11 am • linkreport

Ass an in your face atheist, I have to disclose that I really really really really really hate churches of ALL faiths. Why do they get humongous tax breaks and we atheists nothing. I say tax them and kick them out if they fail to pay.

by NE John on Aug 17, 2013 6:04 pm • linkreport

Why do they get humongous tax breaks and we atheists nothing.

There is no special "church" tax exemption. Any organization that meets the requirements under IRS code 501(c)(3) is tax exempt. This applies to all manner of non-profit organizations including the American Atheists group.

http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/Exemption-Requirements-Section-501%28c%29%283%29-Organizations

by Falls Church on Aug 18, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or