Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Wells wants to "complete" M Street SE/SW with cycle tracks

At the public meeting on M Street SE/SW, the subject that CouncilMember Tommy Wells wanted to discuss most was change: a changing neighborhood, a changing population, a changing idea of transportation in the city and most of all a changed M Street.


Image from Jacqueline Dupree.

While many people were enthusiastic about the proposal, ANC commissioners and leaders of other neighborhood groups were the most likely to express fear about the impact on traffic and parking.

The proposal, by Toole Design, would create separated bike lanes the length of M Street, with bus stops on the left side of the bike lane. Cyclists would cross with the pedestrian signals.

A narrow, concrete median would give crossing pedestrians some refuge, where now they have none. M Street would retain left turn lanes. The project could happen within one year, for under $300,000, and paid for with revenue from the performance parking pilot program.

Concept sketch for M Street. Photo by volcrano of diagram by Toole Design.

The current M Street is a six-lane roadway that serves about 10,000 cars per day on the east side of South Capitol and 20,000 on the west side. According to DDOT, it only takes two lanes to carry 10,000, and four lanes to carry 25,000, so the road is overbuilt. An overbuilt road invites speeding. In addition, a road that wide is harder to safely cross. Instead of being a highway, M street should be a neighborhood street.

Wells suggested taking the extra capacity and converting it into something more useful, and more beneficial, before the expected 25,000 new employees and 10,000 new residents move into the area over the next several years.If things don't change, they'll expect parking and traffic lanes instead of high-quality transit, sidewalks, bike lanes and negotiable street crossings.

Wells calls Near SE/SW the most multi-modal neighborhood in America. Within blocks you can find Metro, Metrobus, Circulator, major roads, a water taxi dock, a helipad, carriage horses (stabled under the freeway), and more. What's missing is high-quality infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.

The groundwork is already laid on the edges of Southwest. People are biking over the 14th Street and Case bridges to and from the District, and they need a way to connect to Southwest and Southeast. Down the road, the Nationals ballpark has the highest transit ridership of any baseball stadium in the country. A streetcar is coming, and adding bike lanes now will get people used to the idea of fewer lanes. Fewer lanes will make the road safer and more friendly.

Adam Goldberg of AARP said they support complete streets for an aging community because they help create livable communities. Older adults are over-represented in all road fatalities, but especially among pedestrian fatalities, where they make up 19% of pedestrian deaths. America is getting older, and older people walk more, bike more and drive less.

According to Goldberg, surveys have shown than many paratransit riders would prefer to ride fixed-route transit but find it difficult because their bus-stops, sidewalks and neighborhoods are not accessible. It costs roughly $38,000 per year to provide paratransit service to someone, but only $8,000 to fix the accessibility of a bus stop.

Supportive members of the audience referred to experiences in Europe or the success with 8th Street SE, which lost a lane but is more walkable and successful as a result without backing up traffic. One cyclist who hates riding on M Street spoke of the signed bike route that instructs cyclists to use the sidewalk, where they mix with pedestrians.

Younger people generally supported the new design. One woman said she sold her car when she moved to DC because she could. Another person talked of how South Capital separates neighborhoods and how this project could connect them.

But, as with any plan to reduce road capacity, many people, especially ANC commissioners, were concerned about traffic. "You will cause M St SW to lose all hope of moving cars for hours and hours and hours," said one attendee. Wells pointed out that when Constitution Avenue ended one-way rush hour operation traffic did not back up to Maryland as some claimed it would. If you remove lanes, Wells argued, traffic will go away as drivers find other ways to move around.

One commissioner was concerned that slowing down traffic will also slow down bus transit. "If this appears to be a conspiracy to slow down traffic, it is. Traffic is slower on Barracks Row, but it isn't gridlock", Wells said. There is rampant speeding on M Street, so the goal is not to make traffic crawl, but to go the speed limit. A safer street will serve bus riders as well. One commissioner thought that complete streets are great "in a perfect world", but what about when there are crashes or an evacuation.

Some expressed concern that there isn't enough parking in the area and this will only make it worse, even though Wells pointed out that it wouldn't remove any parking. "Why not build central parking garages?" Wells noted that there is more parking in new buildings and that even though the new Arena Stage won't add any parking, it will be sharing parking with those buildings. The area actually has more surface parking than most.

One ANC commissioner was not opposed to a complete street design on M, but only if it came after a more through traffic study of the area.

Then there were the people who just don't like cyclists. One particularly angry woman asked "Who are these bike lanes for? Who uses a bike to drop off their kids at school? Who brings home groceries for a family of four on a bicycle?" But after each question several hands went up from people who did those very things. To that, she responded sarcastically each time, "Congratulations, you must be real proud of yourself." After the school question, she added, "You're an irresponsible parent."

She continued, "Older people don't even bike. This is elitist. These bike lanes are elitist and they only serve a few people. They don't service the whole community." She failed to note that in a city where less than half of all people drive, much of the roadway doesn't serve the whole community either.

Another woman complained that cyclists don't follow the law, and asked how to protect pedestrians from cyclists. Wells avoid the question a bit, but noted that "we have sidewalks for pedestrians and roads designed for cars and we want to make space for bikes. But it isn't just about bikes."

Though the street is overbuilt and Tommy Wells and other residents clearly want to repurpose the unused capacity, this project is unlikely to move forward without support from the ANC. Consequently, it might be a long time before we really see bike lanes on M Street SE/SW.

JDLand has another summary of the meeting and a copy of Wells' slides. Crossposted at TheWashCycle.

David Cranor is an operations engineer. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and former Texan (where he wrote for the Daily Texan), he's lived in the DC area since 1997. David is a cycling advocate who serves on the Bicycle Advisory Committee for DC.  
Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 

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It's pretty interesting to watch the debate between viewpoints when it comes to bike lane improvements, especially when the money pot is way small these days.

by Fritz on Mar 10, 2010 11:09 am • linkreport

Cyclists would cross with the pedestrian signals.

Sweet! Looks like a recipe for more ghost bikes...

by oboe on Mar 10, 2010 11:25 am • linkreport

One particularly angry woman asked "Who are these bike lanes for? Who uses a bike to drop off their kids at school? Who brings home groceries for a family of four on a bicycle?" But after each question several hands went up from people who did those very things. To that, she responded sarcastically each time, "Congratulations, you must be real proud of yourself." After the school question, she added, "You're an irresponsible parent."

I'm curious why she thinks folks that ride to school with their kids are irresponsible? Too many assholes with Maryland tags tearing through the neighborhoods recklessly? I think I'll take my chances with the infinitesimal risk of riding to school over the very real risk of my child growing up to be an obese wreck crippled by diabetes.

Jesus, it's like some of these people were frozen in 1982 and just now thawed out.

by oboe on Mar 10, 2010 11:34 am • linkreport

That "Congratulations, you must be real proud of yourself" line is a rough paraphrase of comments I've heard here and elsewhere about going carfree, or trying to reduce the use of plastic bags, or reducing meat consumption.

Some people are transitioning from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthier one, or -- god forbid! encouraging others to join them. That sort of lashing out seems to be the stock response from people who are comfortable with their unhealthy choices and don't want to be reminded that there are other, better alternatives.

by Matt W on Mar 10, 2010 12:17 pm • linkreport

"These bike lanes are elitist and they only serve a few people. They don't service the whole community"

Anyone can ride a bike in a bike lane. or at least a trike. or a wheelchair or electric assist / disability scooter of some sort.

Heck, even Steven Hawking could pilot his electric wheelchair down a bike path, and he can barely move one finger and blink.

She's trying to make it out like only young super-athletic people can ride bikes, and therefore the bike lanes can only be useful to that minority of people.... This is obviously false.

Just because you choose not to ride a bike doesn't mean you can't. Just because you choose not to utilize a particular service does not mean that it's not available to you as an option.

by lee on Mar 10, 2010 12:51 pm • linkreport

At the heart of the frustration is the sense that they are being forced to change their lifestyle without choice. A well intentioned probable minority is saying in essence "I know better, this is good for you, get used to it.." This is going to cause resistance regardless of how well intentioned the proposal is. As a near SE resident I would like to see traffic calming measures, would be more interested in dedicated bus lanes as a precursor to the trolley than bike lanes, but then that is just my opinion.

by Scott KC on Mar 10, 2010 12:56 pm • linkreport

I have heard this sort of criticism from an overweight diabetic who is spending too much on gas. Or the overweight people at work who marvel that I walk up stairs. Where to start?

by SJE on Mar 10, 2010 12:57 pm • linkreport

During Obama's inauguration (when there were no cars) I took M street to get to the Jefferson Memorial for the bike valet. It was a perfect direct route and I thought to myself why don't I do this more often? A few weeks later I biked down M Street with the cars, I haven't since. M and South Capitol is way too dangerous, and the cars drive too fast for a city street, although it would be a perfect connector for bike traffic. This plan with cycle tracks is fantastic.

by Erik on Mar 10, 2010 1:13 pm • linkreport

From a statistical standpoint, Ttransporting a minor in a motor vehicle that is the most irresponsible activity that adults regularly engage in - because the leading cause of death for minors in the USA is motor vehicle crashes. The most likely place for a child to die is in the back of a car or SUV - most likely in Suburban communities build after 1950.

Can anyone tell me how many of these children were killed or injured while being transported on the backs of biycles? That's right - NONE! It's basically unheard-of.

So which choice is more irresponsible?

by lee on Mar 10, 2010 1:16 pm • linkreport

I expect, really hope, she represtented an outlying opinion at the mtg. I mean, how can you, as a parent who bikes with your kid, respond when someone accuses you of being an irresponsible parent for doing so?

I see her attitude as one of tyranny of the majority grown from the observation that in the absence of biking infrastructure (improved safety-as mentioned by Erik)few people bike and concluding that few people want to bike.

by Bianchi on Mar 10, 2010 1:26 pm • linkreport

@ScottKC, understand your preferrence for buslanes. But how can the addition of bike/bus lanes force someone who prefers to drive change their lifestyle? They can still drive. Do you mean the lifestyle of not having to share the road with busses and bikes? (and by extension walkers)

by Bianchi on Mar 10, 2010 1:30 pm • linkreport

What's with all the fat hating in the comments? Is this junior high? Some of us fatties love a walkable, bikable city too. We also are annoyed by the wide lanes on M St. that encourage speeding.

by TMort on Mar 10, 2010 1:54 pm • linkreport

@Bianchi, her opinion was definitely an outlier. There was some snickering and eye-rolling during her tirade.

by David C on Mar 10, 2010 1:55 pm • linkreport

What's with all the fat hating in the comments? Is this junior high?

Not sure where you're getting the "fat hating" vibe. I counted two comments, the first was me talking about "the very real risk of my child growing up to be an obese wreck crippled by diabetes." And the second mentioned an obese person with what's likely weight-related diabetes.

Would I prefer my kid to grow up with an active physical life, and not crippled by obesity and adult-onset diabetes like a growing number of kids? Yes. I don't care whether my daughter is chunky when she grows up, but if she's got to inject insulin to keep her internal organs from shutting down because she spent her childhood eating unhealthy food, and being driven everywhere, finally ending up in one of those motorized wheelchairs because of chronic illness, I will feel a little disappointed.

Hopefully that's not too controversial. I guess I'm a little "old school" that way. You fat people need to lighten up.

by oboe on Mar 10, 2010 2:08 pm • linkreport

While we can laugh at the ignorance of said lady, we're amongst ourselves here on a safe blog where we can do this. However, we should be asking ourselves how we can convince people like her that she is wrong. We know and understand the statistics, but she clearly doesn't. The question is how do you educate a person like that and convince her. As long as we can't convince her, the walkable urban surroundings that we want will not come true. People like her will keep protesting and feeling that things are being taken away from them. There has to be a nicer way.

by Jasper on Mar 10, 2010 2:13 pm • linkreport

The question is how do you educate a person like that and convince her. As long as we can't convince her, the walkable urban surroundings that we want will not come true. People like her will keep protesting and feeling that things are being taken away from them. There has to be a nicer way.

Hate to say it, but there's not a whole lot that's going to be effective...other than attrition. Over the last couple of decades, people who have an interest in more walkable/bikeable communities have been moving into the city. Those who don't have been moving out.

As that demographic has shifted, you get things like the proliferation of bike paths and the reversal of "one-way" policies like we had on Constitution Ave, NE for so many years.

by oboe on Mar 10, 2010 2:22 pm • linkreport

Where's the discussion of how M St. will accommodate the incoming streetcars? I care about that a lot more than bike lanes. Streetcars add to property value. Bike lanes don't.

by Michael on Mar 10, 2010 3:05 pm • linkreport

Sorry, I'm not trying to be fat hating. I'm not exactly slim, either.

by SJE on Mar 10, 2010 4:32 pm • linkreport

The elitist argument is just strange. What member of DC's Elite doesn't drive - or isn't driven in a black cab. Then there's the conflicting message that cyclists are scruffy scofflaws without kids or gainful employment.

by Neil Flanagan on Mar 10, 2010 6:01 pm • linkreport

+1 for ScottKC. That, in a nutshell, best describes the biggest failing of this website's echo chamber effect.

by fritz on Mar 10, 2010 7:05 pm • linkreport

How about we focus on pedestrians first and all others whether vehicle, bike, skates come second.

Walking should be designed as they preferred model

We should be building better sidewalks so we can accommodate people and to make them better with no bumps in the paths so that they can be entirely used by strollers and wheelchairs

Walking should be first since it is natural and causing no harm at all of any type.

by kk on Mar 10, 2010 7:13 pm • linkreport

I'll add a number of responses one by one:

@ScottKC: you're dead on, the constant repeating by the angry lady of "well you must be so proud of yourself" just seethed with a "you think you're so much better than the rest of us" sort of vibe. I got the distinct impression that she legitimately felt threatened by the lifestyle changes this plan might imply.

@Bianchi & David C: I do think her opinion, or at least the vitriol with which it was expressed, was an outlier, but while there were people rolling eyes and snickering, there was also a healthy minority of head-nodders, too.

@Jasper: I couldn't have said it better. If there is one thing I came away from this meeting with, it was that cycling and the infrastructure that goes with it has an image problem. Though he made an attempt to couch this plan in Complete Streets vocabulary, Councilman Wells did not do a particularly good job during the Q&A reminding people that this is not just creating a bike lane but also widening, repairing or even installing sidewalks along the corridor. People got hung up on the bikers are elitist thing real quick and it snowballed from there.

@Michael As for the discussion of how this plan accommodates street cars in the future, you're right that it was lacking last night. But for good reason: the Toole proposal acknowledged that the best option currently is one that is cheap, temporary and requires relatively little curb reconfiguration. The recommendation of the study was that this would be a small 5-10 year investment based on the assumption that the entire street will be rebuilt when the streetcars are installed. At that time full redesign of the streetscape will be necessary anyway.

@kk As I mentioned above, this was actually my biggest disappointment with the meeting. I agree that pedestrian access and sidewalks should be a priority before bike lanes, and M St from 1st St SE to at least 4th St SW is seriously lacking high-quality pedestrian infrastructure. Again, Wells let the sidewalk improvements get taken down with the bike lanes. If you asked the ANC members how they felt about widening and improving sidewalks, which according to the diagrams could be done to a lesser extent than planned without removing lanes, I bet there would be plenty more support for that.

by Erik W on Mar 10, 2010 8:52 pm • linkreport

Here is what I think is a good model for bike lanes interacting with bus stops

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=49.492992,0.113549&spn=0,359.998794&t=k&z=20&layer=c&cbll=49.492978,0.113567&panoid=JDUIVuN24g9ujrHi9iqaRg&cbp=12,310.34,,0,11.91

by J on Mar 10, 2010 10:25 pm • linkreport

J: you make another great point I forgot to mention. In talking to some people after the meeting last night, I expressed some concern that under the proposal buses would be unloading right into a bike lane. While this may not be a huge concern for ambulatory passengers who take a few seconds to get off, a much bigger problem is what happens when a passenger in a mobility device has to board or alight the bus using the lift. The Strasbourg model would be a great one for M St to emulate.

by Erik W on Mar 10, 2010 10:56 pm • linkreport

"@ScottKC: you're dead on, the constant repeating by the angry lady of "well you must be so proud of yourself" just seethed with a "you think you're so much better than the rest of us" sort of vibe. I got the distinct impression that she legitimately felt threatened by the lifestyle changes this plan might imply."

I do not doubt that she really does feel threatened. Thjat's why she is so angry. But her fear is not legitimate. It is irrational and based on distrust if anything that is not the status quo. How does my not owning a car or riding a bike or walking hurt her in any way at all, much less to the point of maeking her seethe with anger.

by rg on Mar 12, 2010 9:21 am • linkreport

@oboe, why do you think crossing with the pedestrian light will cause more fatalities. Do you think the early ped lights will kill pedestrians? Since many cyclists ignore lights anyway, how does it make things less safe?

@many, I agree that their is an image problem/fear/ignorance issue with bike lanes. I think you can lay out a logical and well-reasoned case - as Wells did - and still not change people's opinion. At that point, I'm sorry to say, you just have to make people take their medicine. If we waited for people to be comfortable with integrated schools before we integrated them, frankly, we'd still be waiting. I lived through integration (in 3rd grade they combined the two school districts in my town and made everyone bus all around town) and the white people in town were not happy about it. They fought the hell out of it, and it was only because a judge forced it on the town that it happened. And now no one cares and everyone goes to school together and it's fine. You can talk to people and reason with them for only so long. But once it's clear that their unreasonable, you just have to force it on them. That's what SDK is doing in New York. It's unfortunate, but some people have to dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

by David C on Mar 12, 2010 12:31 pm • linkreport

@oboe, why do you think crossing with the pedestrian light will cause more fatalities. Do you think the early ped lights will kill pedestrians? Since many cyclists ignore lights anyway, how does it make things less safe?

Because drivers are expecting people to cross the street at a walking pace. And inexperienced cyclists are going to be crossing the street in the crosswalk at a much higher rate of speed. And, if experience is any guide, coming from the opposite direction. Cars turning right will be more likely to turn across the path of oncoming bicycles. When cycles are segregated into "bike lanes", they're forced into the door zone, but at least they're part of the flow of traffic, so cars are usually aware of overtaking them.

The reason that sidewalk cycling is so dangerous is that cyclists traverse cross-streets and curb cuts for parking lots where drivers can't see them.

(Just, like, my opinion, upon looking at the cycling accident stats...)

by oboe on Mar 12, 2010 1:12 pm • linkreport

OK, I get it. I agree cyclists on the sidewalk are (in general) a bad idea.
But, these are cyclists who will be in the bike lane and allowed to go early when pedestrians do. Ideally cyclists would have their own light that would go green when the ped light changes, but this is the cheaper way of doing it. It just gives cyclists in the bike lane priority so that they're already crossing/across before drivers can even turn right. I didn't make that clear above. My bad.

by David C on Mar 12, 2010 1:16 pm • linkreport

"Then there were the people who just don't like cyclists. One particularly angry woman asked "Who are these bike lanes for? Who uses a bike to drop off their kids at school? Who brings home groceries for a family of four on a bicycle?" But after each question several hands went up from people who did those very things. To that, she responded sarcastically each time, "Congratulations, you must be real proud of yourself." After the school question, she added, "You're an irresponsible parent."

She continued, "Older people don't even bike. This is elitist. These bike lanes are elitist and they only serve a few people. They don't service the whole community." She failed to note that in a city where less than half of all people drive, much of the roadway doesn't serve the whole community either."

If the author had bothered to report the Complete street "SW community" event accurrately and without prejudice one would have first noted that the woman you describe as "angry" was actually the elected First District Ward Six Rep for the South West Neighborhood Assmebly Grace E. Daughtridge.

Second the mic was not working properly and the ANC Commissioner that spoke prior could not be heard and again he was complaining about the great loss of parking for SW DC residents with recent addition of meters and worries that SW residents are having their already limited parking further taken away. I spoke loudly into the mic so that my constituients wishes could be heard clearly and effectively.

Third the SWNA was not even informed completely about this meeting and we were given only two days notice by DC councilman Wells.

Fourth this Complete street community meeting did not represent the SW community as a whole for most in our SW Community did not know that there was even a meeting and furthermore most who were in attendance, other than the elected officials and their employees, did not even live in SWDC 20024.

In fact the demographics did not even reflect the majority of Washington DC residents who live in SWDC at all.

Additionally this complete street meeting was also held at 6pm which is next to impossible for working Americans to attend.

I tried to make the meeting from Howard University Hospital and took 9th street where I did not see one cyclist using the bike lane at rush hour at 6pm no less. Not until I reached West Minister Church on 'I' street did I see a cyclist who was none other than David Sobelsohn another one of our ANC Commissioners who fought hard to ensure SW neighbors without vehicles would be able to purchase groceries while SAFEWAY was closed and moving to new digs on Fourth. Note he did tell the SW residents just to ride their bikes nor to take metro and even complained himself of the great distance he would have to ride his bike to get his groceries and he is a single male.

Now about the very false and inacurrate claim that I do not like cyclists. I worked in bike shops in Colorado for several years and raced mountain bikes NORBA. I have been on trails that most only dream about riding. I also own three bikes and I am a native Washingtonian.

About the claim that only half of Washiongtonians drive cars in Washington DC...You would have be a real local to to know the simple fact that many do not register their automobiles in Washington DC and use addresses in Maryland and Virginia to avoid the great expense of DC insurance.

There are many that live and work here but are from some place else too and they retain their license plates from other states even Canada. Again one needs to check out all the differing license plates that are not registered in Washington DC and many of whom park in private parking to avoid tickets and street parking all together. In fact one of my SW private parking lots have many residents cars with out of town tags that have been living and working in Washington DC for years.

I was not being sarcastic either when I told the crowd of strangers in my neighborhood at the SW community meeting congratulations for being able to carry a family of groceries: a gallon of milk, orange juice, water, cereal, meat, a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, laundry detergent, bleach, toilet paper, greens, tomatoes, potatoes...You know the basics for a family. I meant it for that is quite a task for which the Councilman Tommy Wells claimed also he does and can not wait for the photos and video.

Most are not able to carry family sized groceries on a bike.

Ridding children on your bike to school is irresponsible and dangerous no matter. Cars have seat belt laws and more laws pertaining to car seats for children under five and even a certain weight and height for the simple reason of safety. Remember the young woman crushed to death by the dump truck in her bike lane and it was not the fault of the truck driver? One is endangering children when ridding them on a bike to drop them off at school no matter.

So who do these bikes lanes serve exactly since our SW DC community is primarily single family units?

Have any of you met the "Sassy Seniors" at Green Leaf Recreation Center in SW? If you had, you would know that these real SW neighborhood seniors are exercising in chairs to be fit and are not on bikes. 50 year olds are not "true" seniors and most over 65 are not riding bikes commuting to and from work nor picking up groceries on a bike in SWDC below the SW freeway.

Biking is a great sport however, it is not an adequate alternative for the average commuter. Riding a bike is not for every one what so ever. Bike lanes do not service the entire community but only a limited few.

During snow storms, rain, and bad weather bikes are not a good alternative either.

Bike theft is a chronic problem and has been reported in the City Paper that bikes are stolen from the nation's Capitol bikes stands and sold on Craig's list within minutes of the theft. Bike parts are taken from bikes too. The seat, the pedals, the wheels, the brakes, the cables, and walking home with that bike frame or with out your bike is not fun and the bike shop will be more than happy to sell you a new bike and parts over and over again. Just like a car replacing stolen bikes and bike parts is expensive.

This story fails on some many levels and illustrates well the author's lack of basic knowledge about Washington D.C. and the fact that this Complete Street "community " meeting did not envolve the SW Community.

The majority attending the meeting I noted did not ride a bike to this meeting.

by Grace E. Daugtridge SWNA on Mar 24, 2010 2:16 am • linkreport

About the claim that only half of Washiongtonians drive cars in Washington DC...You would have be a real local to to know the simple fact that many do not register their automobiles in Washington DC and use addresses in Maryland and Virginia to avoid the great expense of DC insurance.

There are many that live and work here but are from some place else too and they retain their license plates from other states even Canada. Again one needs to check out all the differing license plates that are not registered in Washington DC and many of whom park in private parking to avoid tickets and street parking all together. In fact one of my SW private parking lots have many residents cars with out of town tags that have been living and working in Washington DC for years.

You're building a lot of sympathy here.

What about the needs of folks who illegally drive unregistered dirt bikes on our sidewalks? We need to make sure they're represented. And all those guys who illegally dump used oil down the storm drains? Surely their needs should take precedence.

I have actually heard long-term residents complain about the fact that the city tightened up regulations on used car dealerships, and now you can't easily purchase temp tags.

With all due respect, fuck 'em.

by oboe on Mar 24, 2010 8:59 am • linkreport

one would have first noted that the woman you describe as "angry" was actually the elected First District Ward Six Rep for the South West Neighborhood Assmebly[sic] Grace E. Daughtridge.

I don't see how this changes things, except to make people concerned that someone who's against biking kids to school and against bicycle transportation is an elected official in the heart of the city.

Second the mic was not working properly

It was. I've spent a lot of time around mics. You have to hold it closer to your mouth than you think. People think they can hold it several inches away because that's what people do on TV, but those are expensive mics.

I spoke loudly into the mic so that my constituients[sic] wishes could be heard clearly and effectively.

Loud was not why I sensed "anger". Perhaps I perceived it wrong. No one else disputed it though. If you weren't angry, you put off that vibe in my opinion.

Third the SWNA was not even informed completely about this meeting and we were given only two days notice by DC councilman Wells.

He posted about it on his blog five days beforehand, and I heard about it the day before that. What would you have done with more time?

Fourth this Complete street community meeting did not represent the SW community...most who were in attendance, other than the elected officials and their employees, did not even live in SWDC 20024.

M also crosses into SE

most in our SW Community did not know that there was even a meeting

Didn't SWNA do anything to inform them? You had two days.

In fact the demographics did not even reflect the majority of Washington DC residents who live in SWDC at all.

This is a common problem with community meetings. It skews toward the young and the older (but not the truly elderly) because they don't have kids at home. It skews towards home owners. It is not a cross-section.

Additionally this complete street meeting was also held at 6pm which is next to impossible for working Americans to attend.

Were the people who were there unemployed or foreign?

I tried to make the meeting from Howard University Hospital and took 9th street where I did not see one cyclist using the bike lane at rush hour at 6pm no less. Not until I reached West Minister Church on 'I' street did I see a cyclist

Something like 7% of the vehicles on the roads of DC are bicycles. That you did not see one, does not make that untrue. It's like baby pigeons - just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they don't exist.

...who was none other than David Sobelsohn another one of our ANC Commissioners who fought hard to ensure SW neighbors without vehicles would be able to purchase groceries while SAFEWAY was closed and moving to new digs on Fourth. Note he did tell the SW residents just to ride their bikes nor to take metro and even complained himself of the great distance he would have to ride his bike to get his groceries and he is a single male.

I don't know why I didn't mention this.

Now about the very false and inacurrate[sic] claim that I do not like cyclists.

You may like cyclists, but that was not the impression you gave off.

I am a native Washingtonian.

And your vote counts no more than anyone else's. I'm sorry but being a native Washingtonian or having lived in the neighborhood for 30 years or whatever stuff people pull out like that at meetings is completely inconsequential. Do you think you're more important because you live in the place you were born? If not, why is this statement pertinent?

About the claim that only half of Washiongtonians[sic] drive cars in Washington DC...You would have be a real local to to know the simple fact that many do not register their automobiles in Washington DC and use addresses in Maryland and Virginia to avoid the great expense of DC insurance.

Ah, I see where the native Washingtonian comes in to play. I love how you "have to be a local to know" on one hand, and it's a "simple fact" on the other. But if it's a simple fact, the Texas Transportation Institute is filled with idiots because they missed it. In 2000 they noted that 33% of DC residents use transit, 12% Walk, 2% bike and 4% Work from home. 62% of household own at least one car.

In fact one of my SW private parking lots have many residents cars with out of town tags that have been living and working in Washington DC for years.

Screw those people (and the people who register our of state to pay cheaper insurance). Unless they're one of the classes that are allowed to keep out of state license plates on their car, they're criminals.

I was not being sarcastic either when I told the crowd of strangers in my neighborhood at the SW community meeting congratulations for being able to carry a family of groceries:

Again, it sounded sarcastic

Most are not able to carry family sized groceries on a bike.

Most? I don't know. Many? Yes. Replace "able" for "willing" and it's a more accurate statement.

Ridding[sic] children on your bike to school is irresponsible and dangerous no matter.

Poppycock

Remember the young woman crushed to death by the dump truck in her bike lane and it was not the fault of the truck driver?

No. I remember the young woman crushed to death by the dump truck in her bike lane and it was the fault of the truck driver. What does this have to do with biking kids to school?

One is endangering children when ridding[sic] them on a bike to drop them off at school no matter.

Poppycock

So who do these bikes[sic] lanes serve exactly since our SW DC community is primarily single family units?

People like David Sobelsohn another one of your ANC Commissioners.

most over 65 are not riding bikes commuting to and from work nor picking up groceries on a bike in SWDC below the SW freeway.

I don't know the statistics on those over 65. But I do know that some bike. And many, many walk. And one purpose of this project was to add a small median to M that would make it easier for pedestrians to cross.

Biking is a great sport

True, but we're not talking about sport, we're talking about transportation.

however, it is not an adequate alternative for the average commuter.

Poppycock

Riding a bike is not for every one what so ever[sic]. Bike lanes do not service the entire community but only a limited few.

Would you care for me to list all of the things the District does that does not service the entire community? But bike lanes do service the entire community in that there are free-rider benefits. When one of your neighbors bikes to work, they free up parking, reduce congestion, reduce pollution, improve health, reduce C02 emissions. In short when David Sobelsohn bikes, you win.

And many of those people bike because they can't afford a car. Biking is very cheap. It is much more egalitarian than driving frankly. If anything is elitist, it's highways (or maybe airports)

During snow storms, rain, and bad weather bikes are not a good alternative either.

Neither are flip flops, but many people own them and use them. If there are even 10 days a year when weather makes biking impossible I'd be shocked. And on most of those days, driving is a bad idea too.

Bike theft is a chronic problem...

Bike theft is not a reason to not build bike lanes. It is a reason to crack down on bike theft.

This story fails on some[sic] many levels....

It's hard to argue with that

and illustrates well the author's lack of basic knowledge about Washington D.C.

I'm willing to go head to head with you in a DC Knowledge-off any day of the week. I, for example, know how to spell 'Washingtonian.'

The majority attending the meeting I noted did not ride a bike to this meeting.

They would have, had their been bike lanes on M Street.

by David C on Mar 24, 2010 11:17 am • linkreport

David C., you rascal.

by Bianchi on Mar 24, 2010 11:34 am • linkreport

I know this is late, but I strongly encourage anyone who knows about D. residents with cars registered out-of-state to report them to the city. I believe the penalty is something like $250 per incident. You can call ROSA (the enforcement agency) or 311.

Here are the numbers for Rosa and a supervisor's number....if no response from the supervisor, then take it a step further.  Here are some numbers that I have used and got results:  202-541-6064 or 202 541-6083. 

by oboe on Mar 29, 2010 7:56 am • linkreport

The ROSA enforcement is automated these days. DC nabbed me to the day after I failed to register my car after moving here. I'm really surprised that there are people who are managing to get away with it. You basically need to not park on the street at all to avoid the cameras.

by andrew on Sep 17, 2012 10:42 am • linkreport

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