Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Why is Capital Bikeshare usage low east of the river?

A map of Capital Bikeshare usage patterns makes it obvious that stations east of the Anacostia River get relatively little usage. However, the map does not tell us why ridership is low.


Photo by ianseanlivingston on Flickr.

The discussion here over the map triggered some knee-jerk reactions to abandon the program East of the River. Others argued that the stations are not used much, but they are being used.

Here are some reasons why ridership is likely low east of the river:

1. Start-up costs. The $75 annual fee is an obstacle for some middle- and lower-income people. I consider myself middle-income and it was even difficult for me to convince myself to pay the annual fee. This could easily be remedied by offering a payment plan over several months.

2. Marketing. Most of the marketing of the bikeshare program has happened online via DDOT's website, Twitter, and blogs. These media reach a specific demographic group. Social media and the Internet are not going to have the same impact East of the River.

DDOT did do outreach in Ward 7 at the Feet in the Street and Deanwood Day events held this summer. However, these events draw a demographic that either already knew about Capital Bikeshare, or seniors who are unlikely to use the program.

The bike sharing stations were installed East of the River with little additional education, particularly to young people, on how the program works. While sitting at a traffic light one day, I witnessed a little boy around the age of 10 trying to dock his personal bike in an empty slot in the station because he thought it was a regular bike rack. A Ward 7 resident stated the kids sit on the bikes at Deanwood station and ride them like stationary bikes, because they do not understand they need a "key" to unlock the bike.

Just as with any marketing, the message needs to be tailored to the target demographic.

3. Topography. East of the river is not an easy area to serve with transportation. The Anacostia River provides a barrier with few crossing points. The 375-acre Fort Dupont Park in the center of Ward 7 limits access north and south.

East of the river also has many steep hills, making bicycling along some major corridors more difficult. This topography complicates station placement. For example, the Capital Bikeshare station closest to my house is ¼ of a mile. However it's ¼-mile uphill.

4. Location choice. The purpose of the Capital Bikeshare program is to provide an alternative mode of transportation. The locations east of the river are located on corridors were there is either a decent bus or rail connection east to west, or on Minnesota Ave which is a well-served bus corridor north to south.

The redundancy of service makes it less likely for one to opt to bike the route versus ride the bus. Many of the most-traveled routes in the L'Enfant City span nearby neighborhoods without direct bus service, like Dupont to U Street.

Alabama Avenue is an underserved corridor that has commercial areas and large pockets of medium density residential developments. The addition of stations on this corridor could provide critical connections to public transportation hubs and commercial areas.

5. Incomplete data. Two of the stations spent much of the time period the map covers out of commission. The closest station to my house is at Penn Branch, which has been out of commission since October due to Pennsylvania Avenue Great Streets construction.

6. Critical mass. I pointed out that there are only 11 stations (with 2 out of commission) for an area that's 25% of the city. Alex Block noted that more densely-packed stations are more successful, and that every peripheral area with fewer stations, no matter the ward, has lower usage.

7. Seasonal usage. I wonder if the temperatures between October and December play a role in the low usage. In general, African-Americans, which make up the large majority of the residents east of the river, are averse to colder temperatures. In Wards 7 & 8, cycling has a very low mode share for commuting. Because relatively few residents were cyclists prior to the introduction of CaBi, the chances that the uninitiated bike rider is going to start cycling in late fall or the winter are relatively low. Given the choice between riding a bike and sitting on a warm bus, many will choose a warm bus.

Will there be an increase in usage in the spring and summer? If there is a seasonal effect, DDOT could investigate the feasibility of temporary relocating stations in low usage months.

It is premature to throw the baby out with the bathwater and abandon the program east of the river. Perhaps after Capital Bikeshare has operated for a full year DDOT can reevaluate the program. However, that evaluation cannot rely on numbers and maps alone.

Editor's note: We regret the unfortunate phrasing in bullet point number 7. The post has been revised to clarify the author's intended point.

Veronica O. Davis, PE, has experience in planning transportation, urban areas, civil infrastructure, and communities. She co-owns Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting company in DC. She is also the co-founder of Black Women Bike DC, which strives to increase the number of Black women and girls biking for fun, health, wellness, and transportation. 

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"In general, African-Americans, which make up the large majority of the residents east of the river, are averse to colder temperatures. Given the choice between riding a bike and sitting on a warm bus, many will choose a warm bus"

That one sentence says all you need to know about how stupid this post is.

Takeway: Blacks are too cheap, too poor, and too lazy to ride bikes in the cold.

Wow. A new low for GGW.

by charlie on Jan 31, 2011 10:17 am • linkreport

"In general, African-Americans, which make up the large majority of the residents east of the river, are averse to colder temperatures."

Haha, no non-black person could ever get away with saying this...

by Stephen Smith on Jan 31, 2011 10:20 am • linkreport

1. People can't afford it
2. People don't know how it works and know how to sign up
3. People just don't care for it......

You gotta realize a lot of people east of the river got a before christ type of mind, Wards 7/8 is still stuck in the 90's era and people mindset isn't on pace for whats going on in the rest of the city in wards 1-6.

Also this is just a guess, the majority of bikeshare users are white, there are hardly any east of the river.

Plus its may more hills and valleys on that side of river, a lot people don't wanna deal with trekking up a long hill like Good Hope road or they don't wanna ride a bike from downtown all the way to Minnesota ave.

by Shadow Inc. on Jan 31, 2011 10:22 am • linkreport

"African-Americans, which make up the large majority of the residents east of the river, are averse to colder temperatures"

Are you freaking kidding me? Who is editing or reading these things before they are published because thats the most ridiculous thing I've seen in a long time.

And another gem...

"However, that evaluation cannot rely on numbers and maps alone."

Well, gee...numbers and maps are exactly how evaluations like this are done. How would you propose they do it then?

This posting actually does a disservice to cabi rather than help it.

by freely on Jan 31, 2011 10:24 am • linkreport

"In general, African-Americans, which make up the large majority of the residents east of the river, are averse to colder temperatures."

LOL. Priceless.

by Bob Roll on Jan 31, 2011 10:30 am • linkreport

I rode bikeshare one to go to Pennsylvania and Minnesota Ave from Capitol Hill. The exit and on ramps to 295 are a huge barrier to anyone wanting to cross over the river. It was completely unsafe as drivers on the ramps will not stop for any reason whatsoever. I even tried walking the bike in the crosswalk as a pedestrian. I am not planning on taking this trip again.

by ErikD on Jan 31, 2011 10:34 am • linkreport

Well if most people are like me....I'm certainly not getting my black ass in a bike in 30 degree temps. Then again, I don't live in the subject neighborhood. Matter of fact I don't even live in DC but I dont think blaks are any more averse to cold tems then other races but I have no evidence to support that idea.

by NPGMBR on Jan 31, 2011 10:34 am • linkreport

OH NO IT TOO COLD!

by Ollie Williams on Jan 31, 2011 10:40 am • linkreport

Shadow Inc pretty much answers the question spot on

by Mike on Jan 31, 2011 10:41 am • linkreport

Regarding the cost - I'd like to see DDOT set up a donation program, where people could pay for the yearly fee for low-income DC residents. The only problem would be the credit card to back up the account. I'd be happy to donate a subscription to a low-income resident, but I'm not going to put up the $1000 if the bike is lost or stolen.

by Jon Renaut on Jan 31, 2011 10:42 am • linkreport

numbers and maps don't answer the question of "why" the patterns look like they do. Numbers and maps only tell us "what". As Alex B pointed out the lower-density stations on all the outer areas had lower ridership patterns.

Also -stations out of service, and stations with fewer weeks in service which coincided with the onset of winter. This is important information that can't be ignored in any evaluation yet is not communicated in the original map.

I agree the assertion and implication that African Americans are more averse to cold temps than any other group is an unfortunate distraction. The fact that the bikes are placed on corridors where there is already bus service is much more meaningful to the evaluation.

by Tina on Jan 31, 2011 10:42 am • linkreport

"I wonder if the temperatures between October and December play a role in the low usage. In general, African-Americans, which make up the large majority of the residents east of the river, are averse to colder temperatures. Given the choice between riding a bike and sitting on a warm bus, many will choose a warm bus."

Wow.

Well.... great example of how someone can come to a conclusion about transport that makes no sense. Even GGW is not immune to some really crazy ideas.

You need a response to this post. ASAP.

by mike on Jan 31, 2011 10:45 am • linkreport

Seriously? A park poses as a barrier to bicycle traffic?? It has trails running though it that would more likely be faster and safer than taking any road....

And African Americans don't like the cold...?! I'd rather a warm bus or warm car too, and i'm not African American. I don't know which your trying to say, that African Americans hate the cold or that all the other races hate warm cozy places...

by Doug on Jan 31, 2011 10:54 am • linkreport

"In general, African-Americans... are averse to colder temperatures."

Tell that to my friends in New England, the AA residents in Nova Scotia, the children of underground railroaders who moved north to Detroit, Chicago, etc. etc.

Is girlfriend going to retract/redact that statement?!? Or is she trying to get a gig on ComedyCentral? Who made her the new spokeperson for the race?

by CC on Jan 31, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

@ErikD... that intersection is the worse. The Hillcrest Community Civic Association is testifying at the "Enforcement of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety" roundtable on Friday and that is one of the intersections included.

@Tina... it wasn't an assertion that African Americans are more averse, just a general statement that we are averse. I didn't think out of entire post that sentence would get the reaction that it did. I now wish I hadn't written it as you pointed out it is an unfortunate distraction.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Jan 31, 2011 10:57 am • linkreport

@Doug.... The park poses a barrier because the hike/bike trails are maintained. There are only two roads that cut through the park and neither have a shoulder.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Jan 31, 2011 10:58 am • linkreport

@Doug.... I meant the hike/bike trails AREN'T maintained

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Jan 31, 2011 10:59 am • linkreport

Start-up costs. The $75 annual fee is an obstacle for some middle- and lower-income people.

Incorrect. The correct statement is: The $75 annual fee is an obstacle.

Why again does CaBi not work with Smartrip?

by Jasper on Jan 31, 2011 11:06 am • linkreport

I know that CaBi has lost a couple (~5-10) of bikes due to vandalism and theft. My guess is that these incidents occurred east of the river too.

Solution: relocate those stations until east of the river catches up with the rest of the city in terms of density, foot traffic, and general civility.

by chipperoo on Jan 31, 2011 11:08 am • linkreport

While spreading out the annual fee payment is a good start, a better solution is a pay-what-you-ride subscription option. By eliminating the annual fee and billing by-the-minute (2.5 cents a minute, say), such an option would give the user direct control, on a daily basis, over how much he or she spends on bike-sharing. This an important consideration for lower-income folk (as cell-phone plan choices show).

A pay-what-you-ride subscription option would also serve occasional users. In Berlin, where the major bikesharing provider bills by-the-minute with no annual fee, 85% of the 30,000 members use bikesharing less than once a week. These occasional users, however, account for a third of the ridership.

And it would encourage folks who aren't sure they would use CaBi to sign up and see. This probably includes many lower- and middle-income people.

by egk on Jan 31, 2011 11:08 am • linkreport

Well if it counts im black too and while I don't own a bike let alone ride one, I love walking. It was 20 degrees out one day and I walked from Petworth to Anacostia (Took 2 1/2 hours), the long way too.
Its mainly for exercise because I'm tired of weighing 300-something pounds, so I've been walking in the cold everyday since then, not log trips like that but a good 30-60 min walk.

by Shadow Inc. on Jan 31, 2011 11:08 am • linkreport

@ CC:the AA residents in Nova Scotia

Wouldn't those be AC residents? Or just black people?

by Jasper on Jan 31, 2011 11:09 am • linkreport

@egk

+1. This comment highlights the problem and offers a great suggestion to remedy it.

by JTS on Jan 31, 2011 11:11 am • linkreport

Instead of lambasting the post for your perceived slights, stereotypes how about actually understanding and debating the points?

Advertising, specifically targeting, to the population you're trying to attract works. One outreach method, in this case social media, didn't work. This area is a car culture and bus-centric and jumping on the multimodal bandwagon will be slow. My neighbors and I do however want to have the option to try CaBi for short rides through Marvin Gaye Park, Ft. Dupont & maybe even to go to East River Shopping Center, Penn Branch or Good Hope Mktplace.

Regardless of whether east or west there are also folks who are not road warriors; we need to understand the bike laws and what requirements there are for drivers and bicyclers. CaBi rollout couldve been coupled with Safe Routes to Schools, the bike and ped safety ads, along with general info tabling & test rides at the stores or stations. Instead the limited visibility and narrow marketing techniques have perpetuated the stigma of "east of the river is against something."

On two occasions (Anacostia Coordinating Council and Hillcrest), Scott Kubly was asked about bike safety and the laws, when CaBi was discussed. To my knowledge there has been no coordinated effort to educate and recruit bicyclers. I appreciate this discussion but I want it to lead to some changes with CaBi and DDOT to get the program going and increase adoption in Wards 7 and 8.

by SBrown, ANC7C04 on Jan 31, 2011 11:11 am • linkreport

@Veronia- EVEYONE, every individual and every defined group of humans is averse to cold. Thats why we have longjohns, wool socks, boots, heavy coats, hats, scarves and gloves. The only group you can get away with as defining as more impacted by cold temps than others are those who are physiologically fragile -babies, elderly, people on chemo, anemics, etc. There is absolutely no evidence that Africans/ decendents of Africans are more susceptibile to frostbite or hypothermia than any other group. At best you are making a statement about culture which, as CC says is inappropriate and insulting to other AAs who don't want to be stereotyped by your personal preferrence. Theres no good reason for you to defend that statement.

by Tina on Jan 31, 2011 11:16 am • linkreport

@Jasper

Why again does CaBi not work with Smartrip?

Because each CaBi user needs a credit card attached to their account, so they can be charged in the event that they lose or steal a bike.

SmarTrip does not have to worry about this potential liability, thus it isn't currently a viable option to use for CaBi.

There's also the technical limitation. Part of the reason CaBi uses a physical RFID key instead of a card is that the key reader is more energy efficient. It only powers up to read a key when the key is inserted in the slot - other RFID readers like those on Metro turnstiles are on all the time, and use far too much energy for a solar-powered CaBi station.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2011 11:17 am • linkreport

Okay, at the risk of being controversial, I'll add that there's a bourgeois cultural thing going on, too. In general, many blacks in this area are disproportionately new arrivals to the middle-class. Often they had to struggle to claw their way up the ladder. The rewards for this are things like big suburban homes, a nice car, nice clothes, etc, etc... Look at large African American churches on Sunday--people aren't arriving on bikes, instead there are a ton of shiny (and huge) SUVs.

This obviously is not a "black thing." It doesn't matter if you're black or white, if you spend your entire life fighting to drag yourself out of poverty and into middle-class respectability, you're likely to have little interest in riding around on a bike either. Especially when the greater society denigrates such behavior as either "acting white" or worse "poor".

I think it's a "respectibility" and middle-class signaling thing more than a constitutional aversion to the cold, per se.

by oboe on Jan 31, 2011 11:18 am • linkreport

@Doug CaBi bikes aren't trail bikes. You bring up a good point, though. Wards 7 and 8 are alot closer than people think IF we were able to use the Fort Circle Parks. NPS (along with DDOT & DPR) has dropped the ball on getting those trails more user friendly; we're not out in the Shenandoah. The trails need to reflect their location in an urban area. I think the multiagency Capital Space project has this as an outcome.

by SBrown, ANC7C04 on Jan 31, 2011 11:18 am • linkreport

Incidentally, I think these stations should remain (and possibly more added). The folks who are going to use them are going to be well-educated, successful folks. Which means that over time, CaBi usage will be seen as normative behavior by the community's elites, rather than "something that crackheads do," or "Stuff White People Like."

by oboe on Jan 31, 2011 11:21 am • linkreport

Tina, I doubt Veronica is making some sort of pseudo-scientific 19th Century claim that African Americans are biologically more adverse to cold weather.

As you say, it's almost certainly about culture.

by TimK on Jan 31, 2011 11:23 am • linkreport

This post reminds me of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmu1CZEN6Yk

Satire much?

by S on Jan 31, 2011 11:25 am • linkreport

Let's cut Ms. Davis a tiny sliver of slack, shall we? Cripes. She's already said she wishes she'd been more precise. Give her some credit for taking on what is a pretty fraught topic.

Anyone wanting to know why we can't ever, ever talk about racial issues, this is a pretty good example.

by oboe on Jan 31, 2011 11:28 am • linkreport

In general, African-Americans, which make up the large majority of the residents east of the river, are averse to colder temperatures.
is there any evidence to support what appears to be the patently ridiculous assertions that blacks are more cold-averse than any other racial group?

but seriously - how do usage trends in the subject area compare to trends west of the anacostia over the same period of time?

by AJ on Jan 31, 2011 11:30 am • linkreport

I don't like riding bikes in cold, snowy weather either...and I'm not African-American.

by flk328 on Jan 31, 2011 11:31 am • linkreport

@ Oboe

I think you hit it spot on. Its more a cultural issue in many middle class communities in the US that riding a bike is seen as something only kids and people who cant afford a car use.

by Eric on Jan 31, 2011 11:33 am • linkreport

In my opinion: it's 3 issues:

* Insufficient advertising/outreach to local community;
* Insufficient interest by the local community;
* Insufficient density/places to go within the CaBi stations in Wards 7 & 8.

Politically, there's no way the East of the River CaBi stations will be removed, even if they continue to get indefinite minimal usage. I wonder if the Homeland Security fortress may have a positive impact on CaBi, especially if we see anything like a Crystal City cluster of defense contractors setting up shop nearby.

by Fritz on Jan 31, 2011 11:33 am • linkreport

@ Alex B:Because each CaBi user needs a credit card attached to their account, so they can be charged in the event that they lose or steal a bike.

Surely, there is a way to get around this. One could allow only registered Smartrip cards, which have an address hooked to them where to send the bill.

SmarTrip does not have to worry about this potential liability, thus it isn't currently a viable option to use for CaBi.

As WMATA is upgrading Smartrip, it could be included.

There's also the technical limitation. Part of the reason CaBi uses a physical RFID key instead of a card is that the key reader is more energy efficient. It only powers up to read a key when the key is inserted in the slot - other RFID readers like those on Metro turnstiles are on all the time, and use far too much energy for a solar-powered CaBi station..

Ah, conveniences for the CaBi organization. Sorry, I forgot. Payment methods need to be handy to the vendor, not the buyer. Sorry. Silly me.

by Jasper on Jan 31, 2011 11:34 am • linkreport

Also, has it been brought up that alot of people dont have credit cards to even use the service?

by Eric on Jan 31, 2011 11:36 am • linkreport

It doesn't matter if you're black or white, if you spend your entire life fighting to drag yourself out of poverty and into middle-class respectability, you're likely to have little interest in riding around on a bike either.

I see a lot of this sort of attitude in Lance, as well. If you feel like you might get stigmatized by being seen on a bike or living in the sort of neighborhood where you see that a lot, then you're not going to use them much.

by JustMe on Jan 31, 2011 11:36 am • linkreport

I'm curious as to one demographic stat that wasn't covered much in the article: age. Are residents east of the river older? That's the image I have of the area, but I realize that may not necessarily the case. A significantly older population might be one (of many) factors reducing popularity there. Routes and density seem to be issues, as well, as the article pointed out.

by Justin on Jan 31, 2011 11:39 am • linkreport

@Justin avg age in wards 7&8 are the lowest in the city and have the largest proportion of population under 21. (Highest avg age and smallest proportion of pop. under 21 is Ward 3). Thus if lower age is a demographic ofCaBi user then that's not the issue.

by Tina on Jan 31, 2011 11:44 am • linkreport

I have to agree with Oboe that there are extremely complex race and class dynamics that affect transportation choices in neighborhoods around the region and the country. While I don't think Veronica's generalization about the aversion to cold of African Americans is logical or defensible, it raises the larger point that there are racial considerations that affect the efficacy of this program -- considerations that we're often too afraid to discuss.

Let's move past the one unfortunate statement and continue the meaningful debate that Veronica, Sylvia, oboe and others have begun.

I actually think Veronica spent too little time discussing the "topography" barriers. The complete lack of truly bike and pedestrian friendly routes to cross the Anacostia plays a huge role in how well used the CaBi stations are. Furthermore, I suspect that a lot of people in Wards 7 & 8 commute to work, on average, farther than those living in the wards where the highest CaBi usage is. So not only would the ride be difficult and dangerous based on the built environment, it would be relatively long.

by Erik Weber on Jan 31, 2011 11:45 am • linkreport

@Jasper

Yes, payment should be easy if possible. However, it's probably more likely that SmarTrip data could be associated with CaBi keys than the other way around.

It would be nice to integrate the two, I know DDOT is looking into it.

That said, the technological reason is legit - one of the biggest problems with SmartBikeDC was that the stations were difficult to install because they had to be connected to the power grid, requiring Pepco to play nice. CaBi doesn't have that problem, thanks to solar power.

@Eric

Last I heard, DDOT was working on a partnership with Bank On DC to try and package CaBi memberships with the push to get DC residents bank accounts. This is a great mutually beneficial relationship, if it happens.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2011 11:46 am • linkreport

Thanks to all of you who have commented. I hope you'll continue to do so. I think that Erik Weber and Oboe have made very salient points about the discussion of race in the United States.

However, we have modified the article to clarify what Veronica meant to say in bullet point #7. We regret the original unfortunate phrasing, which distracted from the main point of the article.

by Matt Johnson on Jan 31, 2011 11:51 am • linkreport

@Jasper - If a CaBi station has readers that use so much power that they need to be hard-wired to the electrical grid, making them prohibitively expensive to install, meaning that the city can only afford 10 stations (which is essentially what happened with SmartBike), then that's not particularly handy for the buyer either.

by Erik Weber on Jan 31, 2011 11:53 am • linkreport

@Justin/Tina... we do have a high population of people under 21. As I stated in point 2)marketing the kids want to use CaBi, but don't understand how to use the program. They would have to rely on their parents to purchase a membership for them. Perhaps DDOT could look into a kids membership rate.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Jan 31, 2011 11:54 am • linkreport

I'm a resident of Anacostia. I also happen to Black. I don't mind cold temperatures much and I have internet access at work and at home. I'm also an avid runner and camper so the stereotypes in the article and comments section largely do not apply to me. They're offensive all the same but that's beside the point.

There are 3 Bikeshare stations relatively close to me. Anacostia Library, Anacostia Metro Station and 1 at the foot of the 11th Street Bridge Eastbound next to DCHA.
The 2 stations (metro and DCHA)that make sense for me to use are both a considerable walk for me.

There's a bus that's used heavily runs right past my condo that takes me to Anacostia Metro in 5 minutes. From there, it's a 10-15 minute train ride downtown.

If I were to abandon my car totally, Metro is the most convenient way to get around.

I love riding bikes but for longer, leisurely rides. From my reading up on Bikeshare, it's set up to encourage short rides and not sight seeing trips.

Enough about me. Here are a few reason why I don't think that DC Bikeshare has not been utilized as much in Wards 7 and 8.

- The passageways across the Anacostia River are not bicycle friendly. Maybe after the completion of the new local overpass at 11th street, there will be an uptick.
- Wards 7 and 8 are light on places to shop, eat and run errands. If I were to ever use bikeshare, I'd almost exclusively bike across the river which goes back to issue 1 with the overpasses.
- Crime. Riding through certain neighborhoods are flat out dangerous. The first thought that ran through my mind as I thought about whether to purchase a membership was whether someone might rob me and take the bike. Would I be liable?
- Cost. When DC instituted the $.05 bag tax, there was a major outcry about its effects on residents here. A $75 start up cost is a dead ender.
- Health. A lot of residents in my neighborhood just aren't fit enough to ride a bike further than a couple of blocks.
- Perception. Many people are of the belief that if you have a car, you should drive it... everywhere. Also, bike sharing and car sharing (I'm a Zipcar member)are for white people and "uppity" Black folks.

by Anacostia's Finest on Jan 31, 2011 11:56 am • linkreport

no doubt there are cultural issues at play. The generalization that AAs are averse to cold is not one of them. There's too much evidence to refute it. Theres no veracity to this as a cultural issue for evaluating ridership.

on that tip IMO riding a brand new CaBi bike that requires a cash layout upfront and is seen somehwat as a trendy thing that young people do does not fit with whatever stigma there may be of riding an old clunker.

by Tina on Jan 31, 2011 11:59 am • linkreport

The bikes in question are all fixed-gear (single-speed) bikes, correct? (I pass a bike station all the time going to and from Capitals games, but I've never stopped to take a close look at the bikes.) If so, then I think the "topography" point becomes that much more compelling. Most people recognize that fixed-gear bikes can be a lot harder to ride up certain hills than bikes with multiple gears.

I'm not touching the issue of race, other than to say that I raise an eyebrow when people capitalize "black" but lowercase "white." One thought about why a bike-sharing program might not work as well in a heavily black neighborhood with topography issues did cross my mind, but it could be interpreted as involving offensive stereotypes and thus I will not offer it here.

by Rich on Jan 31, 2011 12:05 pm • linkreport

@Anacostias Finest-good comment, good points.

by Tina on Jan 31, 2011 12:07 pm • linkreport

@Rich:

Actually, these are 3-speeds. The gearing is particularly low. The big gear spins out at about 15 mph. An invalid waking from a three-year coma could ride the low gear up the Galibier. But obviously, the perception's going to be the barrier to entry, not the reality--if you can't get folks on the bike.

by oboe on Jan 31, 2011 12:09 pm • linkreport

Pretty much all these concerns about cost and topography and the inherent attributes of particular races and the validity of data can be easily debunked by examining similar conditions in many parts west of the river, where there are plenty of poor people, black people, hills and out-of-commission stations.

I think this post is trying to make a lot of something out of nothing. I think most people, like myself, who don't have a degree or a career in urban planning, would recognize that the map shows that ridership is highest in areas that have: 1) highest population density, 2) highest concentration of retail, and 3) best cycle infrastructure.

I think community interest, as Fritz noted, plays an enormous role (certainly compared to such anemic rationales as "seasonal usage") in bikeshare usage. It's kind of surprising and that this post conveniently leaves out the priceless quote from Mary Cuthbert, ANC8C03 who stated flatly to WaPo, "We don't need no bike lanes."

But I think the basic intrinsic properties of east-of-the-river as being lower density, primarily residential and lacking in a lot of retail options is a primary reason why CaBi usage, or most bicycle usage in general, is low. I think one particularly telling aspect of the map is that there are very few trips taken between CaBi stations located east-of-the-river. Most of the trips serve to link CaBi stations east of the river with those west of the river.

by Scoot on Jan 31, 2011 12:16 pm • linkreport

Shadow Inc., if you are walking 30-60 min each day, you are doing better than most people. Keep it up. You'll lose that weight. And I probably don't need to tell you this, but cutting out all the fried stuff can't hurt either. But within limits. I had to draw the line at cutting out fried okra.

by ksu499 on Jan 31, 2011 12:25 pm • linkreport

When looking at the DDOT bicycle map (link below) I'm struck by the dearth of on-street bike lanes in Wards 5, 7 and 8. Cycling has really picked up in areas where the City has made it easier and safer. I'm not surprised people aren't riding in areas where that hasn't happened.

http://ddot.dc.gov/DC/DDOT/About+DDOT/Maps/Bike+Map+2010+-+Side+2+-+Entire+City+Side+(31+inches+x+24+inches)

by Ktriarch on Jan 31, 2011 12:34 pm • linkreport

As I mentioned earlier, it always befuddles white urban planners (aka, people who have a fetish with Sim City and happened to get college degrees) when poor and black people don't hop on board with their vision of a uptopian urban landscape.

Why oh why do the colored folk get in the way of progress? Don't they know what's good for them? Well, fortunately, newly-minted urban planners from all around the country with college degrees in hand to lead them to the promised land.

by MPC on Jan 31, 2011 12:34 pm • linkreport

I think the BLUF should have been: the jury is still out.

I will say this, though: I think we're still all learning how CaBi fits into the transportation network. Regarding membership costs, I thought I was pretty clued in, but it wasn't until CaBi was up and running for a while...and after having read a bit about it...that I realized that there are daily and monthly memberships available, in addition to the yearly fee. Like ZipCar...and FlexCar, which I also belonged to...it took a while, and a few promotions, including a free membership, for me to figure out its value to me.

And on that topic, it would be interesting to explore ZipCar usage as well. And to see where it has worked and where it's been abandoned.

by Kevin Beekman on Jan 31, 2011 12:35 pm • linkreport

Rich,
Fixed-gear and single speed are two different things entirely.
MPC,
chill out.

by spookiness on Jan 31, 2011 12:37 pm • linkreport

Something else just occurred to me: Suppose you agree that someone who doesn't normally ride a bike isn't likely to start doing it when it's cold out, regardless of what color he is. I have absolutely no problem with that proposition. I'm not certain, however, that looking at summertime data would be the appropriate point of comparison, because I think it's equally valid to presume that someone who doesn't normally ride a bike may be reluctant to start doing so when it's particularly hot or humid such that you risk getting very sweaty during your ride (unless perhaps you're riding to the pool). Fall or spring appears to me to be the more useful point of comparison.

by Rich on Jan 31, 2011 12:38 pm • linkreport

Of the factors mentioned I think the most salient one is density of stations below critical mass. That usage map shows the same issue at other locations out near the periphery in other parts of the city. The paucity of good river crossings means that until more are built (one is under construction right now) EOTR will be a usage cluster which to succeed should have a station density closer to that of the other cross-river area in Arlington.

That there is any usage at all shows the potential is there, and if more stations were to be provided it could grow quite nicely.

I don't live in Anacostia but work does bring me there from time to time: the existing stations aren't conveniently located with respect to my particular travel needs and it seems likely that this would be the case for others as well.

Build it and they will come ride.

by intermodal commuter on Jan 31, 2011 12:40 pm • linkreport

A few things:

I don't think that we need to vilify Veronica any more than we already have. She made a poorly-phrased statement, and I don't think that we should berate her for throwing out a number of hypotheses that attempt to address an issue that is poorly understood. Although it's not politically expedient to point out the fact, there are indeed physical factors that are correlated to race. I don't think that it was particularly ludicrous for her to offer this particular suggestion (although the phrasing was indeed unfortunate).

(For the record, I like Oboe's hypothesis a lot better. Cars are definitely seen as a status symbol in the US, and we've been culturally fixated on them for a few generations now. This is obviously an cycle for a myriad of reasons.)

Another issue to consider is that lower income residents are less likely to have access to clothing that is both warm, and sufficiently comfortable/flexible for wintertime cycling. Personally, I find it difficult to find any combination of clothing that makes a bike commute longer than 1.5 miles comfortable in this weather.

Other issues here do need to be addressed:
There are relatively few points of interest east of the river that one would want to visit by bike -- this is gradually improving.
Connections to the DC "Mainland" are also notoriously bicycle-unfriendly. Again, this will dramatically improve with the construction of the new local span of the 11th St Bridge. The Freeway Portions of that bridge should also take lots of traffic off of the PA Ave bridge, which could hopefully then be reconfigured to be more amenable to pedestrians and cyclists.
There simply aren't enough stations. CaBi is a good "last mile" system for connecting users from transit-deprived areas to high-frequency bus and rail corridors. The existing bike stations east of the river are all located near other good transit options. Basically, we need more stations near residences and businesses before the existing ones will start to see some use. (Unfortunately, there's a bit of a catch-22 here, as it will be a hard sell to get new stations installed if the existing ones are poorly utilized.)

by andrew on Jan 31, 2011 12:41 pm • linkreport

Why is there so little use east of the river? It's very suburban. I imagine if they put a bunch of CaBi stations in Suitland or Forest Heights they'd barely be used as well. That seems to me to be the overwhelming reason.

by Dave Murphy on Jan 31, 2011 12:41 pm • linkreport

*This is obviously an cycle for a myriad of reasons

Meant to say that this is obviously a dangerous cycle

by andrew on Jan 31, 2011 12:42 pm • linkreport

@MattJohnson; it was very clear what the author meant. The problem is what she meant was incredibly stupid.

Another real barrier: The $100 hold CaBI puts on your card for day shares. They expressly advise against using debit cards as it may take weeks for that hold to disappear.

Here is the reality: Those bikes are way way underused, and could be repositioned elsewhere. Nothing the author says refutes that.

Oboe is quite right that this is a yuppie thing right now. In a year, it might be a bit more grounded. Look at weekday vs. weekend usage for that period, and a lot of the usage is people playing with a new toy on weekends. Nothing wrong with that -- this fall was about exploring. Winter is about retrenching, and spring is for growth.

However, I'd move those stations to Rosslyn-Ballston pronto.

by charlie on Jan 31, 2011 12:44 pm • linkreport

@Charlie

There's no sense in repositioning those stations right now, as it's the middle of the winter. Let's wait until spring before drawing conclusions about ridership.

If you look at that map, ridership at the fringes of the system is low across the board, not just East of the River. Considering the added topgraphical challenges and poor cycle routes to cross the river, I don't think this is all that surprising.

Also, DC paid for those stations with DC funds. If they go anywhere, it won't be to Rosslyn.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2011 12:50 pm • linkreport

I think the basic issue with any biks sharing is density. If you look where it is used, there are lots of stations. I am not going to use a system that basically only gives me the option to go to one or two places. If there are lots of stations east of the river, I bet it would be used more.

by nathaniel on Jan 31, 2011 12:52 pm • linkreport

I think it primarily comes down to the point Anacostia's finest noted:

- Perception. Many people are of the belief that if you have a car, you should drive it... everywhere. Also, bike sharing and car sharing (I'm a Zipcar member)are for white people and "uppity" Black folks.

As to the lack of bike infrastructure in ward 7/8 - if the Good Hope Road discussion offers any insight it is that there is no "demand" for bike infrastructure if it "costs" the driving culture.

Copied from old post: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/8405/residents-ddot-work-on-livability-mobility-east-of-the-river/

"Find streets where bike lanes makes sense: ... They were very clear that they did not want to sacrifice on-street parking for bike lanes.

...Both sides were able to agree that major roadways, such as Good Hope Road SE, may not appropriate for bike lanes, however. They recommended DDOT find alternative routes and solutions."

NEWS FLASH - there are very few alternative roadways in Ward 7/8 - due to the topography and grid, the majority of the roadways that go anywhere would be considered "Major roadways" leaving few alternatives other than disconnected trails and sidewalks to ride on reinforcing the bike are playthings stereotype. and around and around the discussion will go until ward 7/8 folks decide they want balanced modal choices.

by Joe on Jan 31, 2011 12:56 pm • linkreport

@ Dave,

Because East of the River is southern thats why........
DC is a clear cut divide in regional identity.

Wards 1-6 = Northeastern
Wards 7-8 = Southern as Atlanta

by Shadow Inc. on Jan 31, 2011 1:00 pm • linkreport

@Joe.... Not necessarily true. For example Naylor Road could be an alternative to Good Hope as the traffic volume from Alabama Ave to Minnesota Ave is lower than on Good Hope between those same two points. Mass Ave SE (which does have bike lanes) is a better alternative to Penn Ave SE because the topography has a gentler slope and the traffic volume is significantly lower than Penn Ave SE.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Jan 31, 2011 1:07 pm • linkreport

@charlie:

Rather than "yuppie" thing, it's a second- or third-generation young upper-middle class urban thing. An "urbane" thing if you will. Like farmer's markets, decent coffee, and the general preference for dense urban living over the suburbs. There are plenty of black middle-class late-20-somethings and 30-somethings living in NW who don't own cars, like hanging out at coffee shops, and would be open to getting a CaBi membership (if they don't have one already). As someone touched on earlier, the black folks who have money and live east of the river tend to be older, and as someone pointed out, more suburban in outlook.

One of the things that has always depressed me about "Stuff White People Like" is that a large part (but not all) of it tends to read like a catalog of sensible things that improve your life ("Hey 'white people' like farmers' markets! And reading books! And 401(k)'s!"). There's certain amount of cultural pressure that has to be overcome to engage in this sort of thing--and it's easy to underestimate how challenging that can be.

All that being what it is, I'm continually heartened to see growing numbers of middle-aged working- and middle-class black guys riding around near NE using the bike lanes for transportation. Expect to see increased adoption over the first 5 years of the program; not the first 5 months.

by oboe on Jan 31, 2011 1:07 pm • linkreport

at oboe:

"Like farmer's markets, decent coffee, and the general preference for dense urban living over the suburbs" hmm. yuppie means YOUNG URBAN PROFESSIONALS.

"One of the things that has always depressed me about "Stuff White People Like" is that a large part (but not all) of it tends to read like a catalog of sensible things that improve your life "

Yep. It is called naval gazing for a reason.

I wonder what percentage of bike thiefs in DC are black?

by charlie on Jan 31, 2011 1:15 pm • linkreport

@CC, wouldn't black residents of Nova Scotia be AC's instead of AA's? :)

by rogerwilco on Jan 31, 2011 1:34 pm • linkreport

Probably tracks very closely with the percentage of DC residents who are well below the poverty line. Or young and male between 12 and 21. Or both. Why, what's your point?

by oboe on Jan 31, 2011 1:37 pm • linkreport

You might consider that Wards 7 and 8 lack the destinations of the sort that make bike-sharing worthwhile. There are about 140,000 people, but just 3 sit down restaurants, 3 grocery stores, and very little neighborhood shops or bars and cafes. There is very little office space, or commercial activity. No campuses, either. Add to that the topography, and it doesn't surprise me that it's not used much.

There are very few zipcar spots East of the River, either, and that would seem to me a more likely useful tool.

by mtp on Jan 31, 2011 1:47 pm • linkreport

I visited all East River / Anacostia stations on Saturday.

It was some of the most difficult Bikeshare riding that I have done in the city.

Travel conditions and travel distances are a major reason why trips are low between most stations in East River / Anacostia and between river crossings.

The topography isn’t gong to change, but addressing the quality of facilities and improving corridors that are conducive to cycling makes more sense than speculating about economic or cultural factors. This is supported by the fact that corridors with fair to good cycling conditions have high trip rates according to the trip rate map(MLK Jr. Ave and Penn Ave. Bridge).

My trips within East River / Anacostia:

The topography between the Benning Road corridor and other stations is terrible. Riding between the Benning Branch Library and Randle Circle/Minn Ave. was uphill the entire way. From Minn Ave to Penn Ave there was a steep downhill then a BRUTAL uphill. It was like riding up 13th Street between Florida and Clifton Street most of the way. Traffic speeds and volumes seemed high, travel lanes were narrow and sidewalks were not plowed / not continuous. Most novice riders would rightly choose travel modes that are easier and feel safer along this corridor (bus/car).

The same is true for trips between stations along Martin Luther King Jr. Ave and the stations along Good Hope Rd. There are major changes in topography. I rode downhill from the Good Hope/Naylor Rd station to the 1800 MLK Jr. station. Traffic and roadway conditions were similar to those between Benning Rd. and Minn Ave. Few people would ride up or down this steep hill and reasonably choose modes that feel safer / are easier.

The trip between 1800 MLK Jr. station and Anacostia Metro was fair, though there are no bike lanes, narrow travel lanes and high traffic volumes. The trip is like many trips throughout downtown Washington and there are residential streets that are good for riding between stations (Shannon Pl.) This was by far the best/easiest trip in the area, which is reflected in the map data.

Travel conditions between MLK Jr. Ave and Penn Ave station were good. I biked between the stations via Anacostia Drive. There is a new multi-use trail along the road, which has significantly improved bike/ped conditions, but it is not continuous between stations, and the 11th Street bridge construction project negatively impacts bike/ped conditions. A nice trip, but it seems like a good recreational trip and not a likely commuter trip or errand trip since both stations are surrounded by similar amenities.

I didn’t ride along Minn Ave between Good Hope Rd and Penn Ave, but I suspect topography, travel distances and traffic conditions are some reasons why this isn’t an attractive corridor for cycling.

My trips between East River / Anacostia and West River:

I’ve used all crossings between East River / Anacostia and west of the river in the past and used two on Saturday.
Crossing conditions are less than ideal and make cycling for commuter trips, errands, etc across the river much less attractive than other modes.

I crossed the river on the Benning Road bridge. There are no sidewalks or bike paths that I could find and I had to travel up the bridge on the edge of a travel lane and cross an on-ramp. It’s up hill and then a steep down downhill. It is not an attractive option for novice riders.

I crossed back on the Penn Ave bridge. I had to walk most of the way because the sidewalks were not cleared. I crossed three on-ramps. Even under the best conditions, this is not an attractive option for novice riders.

In better weather conditions the crossings are better but less than ideal. Distances between East River/Anacostia and west river origins/destinations are much greater than most novice riders are willing to take. Also, getting to bridge crossings is difficult and often requires crossing on-ramps and other roads with high traffic volumes/speeds. The sidewalks on the bridges are narrow and often in poor conditions (trash or road debris) and the sidewalks are narrow, which makes it difficult to pass or for two-way traffic. The crossings are of much poorer quality than those provided for trips between VA and the District.

The bridge with the best conditions and the shortest travel distance between stations is the Penn Ave bridge. Its makes sense then that this bridge has some of the highest number of river crossing trips and why other bridges have very few trips. Given crossing distances and conditions, most novice riders would rightly choose travel modes that are easier and feel safer (rail/bus/car).

by Michael Hurley on Jan 31, 2011 2:02 pm • linkreport

In general, many blacks in this area are disproportionately new arrivals to the middle-class. Often they had to struggle to claw their way up the ladder. The rewards for this are things like big suburban homes, a nice car, nice clothes, etc, etc... Look at large African American churches on Sunday--people aren't arriving on bikes, instead there are a ton of shiny (and huge) SUVs.

I'm struggling with this. Since we are online it is hard to discern its meaning. Is this sugguesting that there are many blacks "east of the river" new to the middle class or are blacks "in DC" new to the middle class. IMO, neither is accurate.

I am glad the correction was made to the original post and it seems that other than Veronica's initial post, the only other person who seems to have it right is Anacostiafinest. They also happen to be residents "east of the river" which explains a lot. Also, while i agree with the perception angle, I think the belief that "what white people do" is one of the last reasons CabiShare lacks support. There is something to be said about things that "white people have access to" or "white people can afford" or "what white people like" that may affect our behavior HOWEVER this cabi thing isn't one of them.

On race: one thing we should have recognized during the last election is that the residents east of the river do not like to be told "because we like it, so should you." We like having an opinion.

Ironically, the current cabi locations are within the same area as the proposed streetcars. And here, many of our DC friends west of us are content with telling US why we should want them.

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2011 2:02 pm • linkreport

MPC: "Why oh why do the colored folk get in the way of progress? Don't they know what's good for them? Well, fortunately, newly-minted urban planners from all around the country with college degrees in hand to lead them to the promised land."

Sounds kind of racist and bitter, Mr. MPC. This is a discussion of a serious issue and here you go, injecting snark into it for no reason. Lamentable.

by Jake T. on Jan 31, 2011 2:11 pm • linkreport

@ Alex B:they had to be connected to the power grid, requiring Pepco to play nice.

@ Erik Weber: If a CaBi station has readers that use so much power that they need to be hard-wired to the electrical grid, making them prohibitively expensive to install

WTF? Power is prohibitively expensive in a major city? Where are we? Timbuktu?

by Jasper on Jan 31, 2011 2:19 pm • linkreport

@Michael Hurley -Great data collecting! This is information that can translate to improved programming.

by Tina on Jan 31, 2011 2:23 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:

Your argument seems self-contradictory.

In one sentence, you argue that there's no sort of backlash to the fact that streetcars and CaBi (and bike lanes, and dog-parks, etc, etc...) are seen as part of the dominant culture, forced upon folks who want nothing to do with it.

Then turn around immediately, and say it's being rejected because citizens East of the river resent being told what to do by "friends west of us".

Finally, the average household income in Anacostia is, what, less than half of the city at-large? And unemployment was--as of the last election--something like 20%? So I don't think it's unreasonable to infer that folks east of the river, in general, tend to take their position in the middle-class a bit less for granted than those west.

by oboe on Jan 31, 2011 2:24 pm • linkreport

@Jasper:

WTF? Power is prohibitively expensive in a major city? Where are we? Timbuktu?

I think it's the hook-up and supporting infrastructure that's costly (both in money and time). The existing design is completely self-contained. It's powered by the solar array, and needs no hard connections to the power grid. That's why you can install one--or move one--in a matter of an hour or so. I can't imagine how much of a drag on the agility of the system it would be if you had to get PEPCO and various regulatory agencies involved.

by oboe on Jan 31, 2011 2:28 pm • linkreport

@Jasper

It's not the cost of electricity, it's the time and money required to build a new electrical hook-up for each individual station. That also means that each station would require actual construction, instead of the current platform that is literally dropped off the back of truck.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2011 2:32 pm • linkreport

I think the lack of a credit card or ability to afford a $100 hold on a debit card is probably a huge issue. 18% of African Americans and 27% of Latinos in DC are unbanked. I don't know how exactly this correlates to neighborhoods, but the cash economy of Anacostia is around 12%, which is a good indicator of being unbanked. http://bankondc.org/aboutus.php; http://www.americanbanker.com/usb_issues/115_4/-246199-1.html. The Census does keep track of the unbanked, so somebody with better computer chops than me could take a look at the data and figure out the unbanked percentage of Anacostians. http://www.census.gov/apsd/techdoc/cps/cpsjan09.pdf.

Besides not having credit cards to pay the $75 fee, it plain just doesn't make sense for a lower income person to pay $75 plus any overtime for bikeshares. Biking is a fabulous economical transit solution for low income people, but bikeshare does not fill that niche. When you can buy your own bike for $115 from Target, why would you pay $75 a year for bikeshare? If we really want to promote biking across all socio-economic spectrums, then we need to work on infrastructure, not bike share.

by M on Jan 31, 2011 3:05 pm • linkreport

@ Hogwash, I agree. That comment seemed a little specious considering you have historic neighborhoods like Hillcrest and Ft. Dupont where people have lived for generations. And generally I don't know too many folks of any color who would ride a bike to church wearing church clothes.

by Roman on Jan 31, 2011 3:12 pm • linkreport

Do those of you calling for SmartTrip for CaBi envision pay-for-what-you-ride billing?

SmartTrip is technically problematic, as mentioned above. But, looking at my CaBi statement, it seems that by-the-minute billing could be implemented in software next week, if they wanted to.

A better goal would be to work toward getting CaBi to include a by-the-minute membership plan, so that anybody with a credit card could sign up for CaBi, get a key, and use it if it is convenient for them, without an upfront cost.

SmartCard can be integrated later.

by egk on Jan 31, 2011 3:12 pm • linkreport

@M +1. Though, I would argue there somewhat of a chicken/egg dilemma here as well. Until you have more people riding bikes in Ward 7 & 8, you won't have political and community leaders calling for (or even allowing, in some cases) construction of better bike infrastructure.

I think it would be great if DDOT worked with WABA to set up a program for DC and Arlington residents who can't afford the $75 fee to get CaBi memberships if they register with WABA and WABA guarantees the deposit in some way. Theft shouldn't be a major issue if they require proof of ID for memberships and since each of the bikes has a GPS locator so they people can't exactly just make off with them.

If you remove the barrier to entry for the poorest populations, they may find cycling to be a very viable option for them, cheaper and sometimes fast than riding the bus or Metro.

Of course, again, you still need to increase density of stations in the poorest neighborhoods and improve access by bike and foot across the Anacostia River. Given that everybody has already identified the lack travel within Wards 7 & 8 because of the low density of retail destinations, the physical barrier of the Anacostia is the next biggest obstacle to CaBi use and bike use generally.

by Erik Weber on Jan 31, 2011 3:16 pm • linkreport

on second thought, I envision some problems with by the minute billing:

1. There is an upfront cost. CaBi cannot just send out a key to anyone that wants one. Even smarttrip cards cost five bucks. I believe that demand for CaBi is inelastic enough that the upfront cost of a key, even if it is five bucks, may prevent a ton of potential users from signing up.

2. There is a cost CaBi incurs for each trip taken, in the form of wear and tear on the bicycle. by the minute billing would theoretically cover that cost, but the system as a whole could suffer. For instance, I have an annual membership that I bought primarily because I want the system to be successful, and I've used it maybe a dozen times. My 75 bucks is effectively subsidizing the usage of someone who uses it several times a day. And that works. but if everyone goes to by the minute billing, the price must be set at a level that allows the system to finance its own upkeep and expansion. It can't be user-specific or bike-specific pricing. I fear that may drive the cost up. Similarly, the 5 dollar daily membership package is a profitable aspect of CaBi, which would probably take a serious hit if by the minute billing was implemented.

by JTS on Jan 31, 2011 3:23 pm • linkreport

Oboe, it might have been helpful had you indicated quotes referring to what I said, then your subsequent response because as is, I really don't know what you are talking about when you say, "cabi, bike lanes etc., are seen as part of the dominant culture, forced upon folks who want nothing to do with it."

Now at what point did I say that "we" reject these things simply because our friends west of river suggests them?

If you followed my post, I commented that re: RACE, we, (much like you) have an opinion and don't appreciate others telling us what we should and shouldn't like.

As for this statement, So I don't think it's unreasonable to infer that folks east of the river, in general, tend to take their position in the middle-class a bit less for granted than those west."...I really have no idea what you are talking about.

We take being middle class more seriously than our west of river friends?

Hunh?

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2011 3:25 pm • linkreport

@EricWeber; "since each of the bikes has a GPS locator so they people can't exactly just make off with them."

Wait a second. CaBi is tracking us?

The $75 is a reasonable price. The $100 hold for daily rental hurts and makes it difficult to try out the system. That is what need to go. No subsidy for anyone else.

by charlie on Jan 31, 2011 3:31 pm • linkreport

I read the articles daily. I read through some of the comments and thought that I'd reply:
From my observation, the idea of bike sharing is more along the lines of an option/amenity/necessity (depending upon your viewpoint) that someone in the "creative class" would appreciate more than those outside of that demographic would. It's not really a race thing because there are African-Americans who are a part of the "creative class" and Caucasian-Americans who aren't. The side of town mentioned in this piece is not a portion of town that has traditionally attracted "creative class" members (for whatever reason). Members of that segment tend to live in the middle of the city (Wards 1,2, parts of 5 and 6). There are those who bike that aren't in that segment(I happened to be one of them). However, I purchased my own bike and I prefer that over the idea of bike-sharing.

The limited usage of the CaBi east of the river denotes the difference in lifestyle of those in that area. It's not that people cant afford the fees or that they are afraid of something new. It's just not how they are accustomed to living. I am a lifetime Washingtonian. I also bike to work daily. I am in the minority when it comes to the demographics of my family, friends and immediate community. Friends and family laugh at the thought of me riding in the snow last Wednesday (yes I did) or any other day. I just grew tired of paying $13 a day to park. I also hate the delays on Metro. An opportunity to save money and get a little exercise seemed cool to me.

I say all of this to say that the difference in culture has a lot to do with certain segments of people taking advantage of CaBi and others opting out. Certain segments of the community like the convenience of driving to every destination. I grew up in D.C. at a time where the nearest and best grocery store to me was in Maryland. My family (2 parents and 2 siblings) enjoyed taking that trip on Friday evenings to Shoppers Food Warehouse out in Chillum/Queens Chapel. Others would have demanded that a grocery store be within walking distance. Somehow we found it to be fun. It was sorta like "Ralphie" and his brother in the backseat of the car in "A Christmas Story". But that speaks to the different ways that different people look at the same situations. Alot of people would like to drive and others would rather plan ahead of time to shop and use public transportation and transportation-sharing as a means to accomplish the same goal.

Ultimately, all people of all segments are not going to utilize or enjoy the same amenities. So I expect the numbers to vary from area to area. I think thats the beauty of what this city can be. It can be a diversified city where each segment can one day respect the ideas and culture of the other segments and not impede upon another segment's way of living. We have achieved diversity, now the understanding and respect of other cultures and their preferences is what we have to focus on. I think its senseless to block the installation of new bike lanes solely on the idea or theory that bike lanes and CaBi represent the demise of the older established neighborhoods. But I also think that it is senseless to somehow believe that if CaBi is not being used in a certain area, those citizens are somehow "missing out" or that the system is not being used because they cant afford to invest in the program.

At the end of the day, I am happy that the city has more options for transportation. With the Circulator, Zipcars, CaBi, WMATA and the use of automobiles, a person willing to choose more than one mode of transportation now has that option.

by Silas on Jan 31, 2011 3:42 pm • linkreport

We take being middle class more seriously than our west of river friends?

Yes. So trappings of middle class life: a single family home, a residential-only neighborhood with no commercial/retail activity, and ownership and use of a car are going to be much more important to those for whom their middle class lifestyle is more precarious. You can see Lance arguing this as well when he complains that we shouldn't be looking at declining car ownership rates as a "good thing," because he views cars as a sign of "prosperity."

East of the river isn't really conducive to CaBi, but NOT putting CaBi east of the river would be seen as alienating. So we're stuck putting some little-used CaBi stations there. Consider it a form of tribute that the heavy CaBi users pay to keep the program going.

by JustMe on Jan 31, 2011 4:15 pm • linkreport

@Silas

Caucasian-Americans

I don't think there are many Americans from the Caucuses.

by MPC on Jan 31, 2011 4:15 pm • linkreport

Heres what needs to change:

-More stations added. Right now, they seem to be placed for riders to use them to get across the river, not for anacostia travel. Put more in residential areas, and at supermarkets and such, so people can use it like that.

-Different payment structure for those without a credit card. Allow people to register in person at an office, pay the fee, and hand over a copy of ID for theft/billing reasons. Instead of usage fees being billed to a credit card, they could be mailed monthly, like an electronic toll booth. In mexico, those without credit cards can pay by mobile phone, but that type of options seems less popular in america.

-Offer a 6 month, $49 membership. April 1 - October 1

by JJJJJ on Jan 31, 2011 4:18 pm • linkreport

I hope the folks at DDOT take most of these comments seriously and devise a strategy to reach out to District residents that were inadvertently left out.

by RH on Jan 31, 2011 4:28 pm • linkreport

I hope the folks at DDOT take most of these comments seriously and devise a strategy to reach out to District residents that were inadvertently left out.

Left out of what? If people don't want to use CaBi, and don't use it, what are they being left out of? Left out of a program they don't want to use in the first place?

by JustMe on Jan 31, 2011 4:32 pm • linkreport

@JJJJJ

I don't think you'll be able to devise a method that doesn't involve attachment to a credit card in some way. Just billing someone won't ensure that they pay the full penalty if they steal the bike. Likewise, this isn't analgous to a toll, where the only cost for non-compliance is that someone gets through the toll for free. The cost here is a lost bike at a $1,000 cost to the rest of the system.

CaBi will always need some mechanism to cover that potential liability, just like any rental program does - whether it's renting a car, getting a hotel room, etc.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2011 4:44 pm • linkreport

@ JustMe; exactly.

What I've heard are a few rational explantions (Veronica Davis's ravings aside) of why CaBI doesn't work Over-The-River. Sounds reasonable. Close it up and bring it to where it will be used, and ask the feds for money to expand it over there -- and throw in a few subsidies as well -- in a few years.

Bike sharing is not social justice, people.

by charlie on Jan 31, 2011 4:46 pm • linkreport

I don't think you'll be able to devise a method that doesn't involve attachment to a credit card in some way.

Right, unless there's a deposit, CaBi is just a way to distribute $5 bikes to people with little social conscience.

by oboe on Jan 31, 2011 4:53 pm • linkreport

I nearly never comment on GGW, and I enjoy most of the posts, but this is a trite and inflammatory (not to mention incredibly poorly written) piece of garbage.

I think that's far too harsh. The original wording may have been thoughtless or controversial, but this is a very interesting post with some great contributions fleshing out the issues (I'm thinking especially Anacostia's Finest, Michael Hurley, Silas).

by M on Jan 31, 2011 5:45 pm • linkreport

@JTS The way by-the-minute billing systems usually work is that you users are charged a small up front amount ($10 or $15) credited to the account that they can then "ride off" (like prepaid phone cards).

And yes, with true by-the-minute billing the costs incurred by the user would be charged to the user (minus whatever subsidy the government provides). But isn't that how it should work? Isn't that how we efficiently distribute things? Capitalism isn't all bad.

Right now the system can be hugely popular (people riding the bikes a lot) and still go bust, because each individual ride has a costs but brings no income. And that is unsustainable. In the long run people will only pay their $75 if it is worth it, and that means if they ride more than once or twice a week on average. And that leaves out a lot of people.

by egk on Jan 31, 2011 5:51 pm • linkreport

@egk

The cost model can be changed, easily. However, CaBi is in the startup phase right now, and recovering initial outlays in cost via annual memberships is important.

Changing to a by-the-minute billing system might make more sense once the system and the network are established.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2011 6:06 pm • linkreport

CaBi=Stuff White People Like

by beatbox on Jan 31, 2011 10:16 pm • linkreport

@chipperoo, "I know that CaBi has lost a couple (~5-10) of bikes due to vandalism and theft."

Where did you hear that? Last time I talked to Chris Holben it was 0, with two slightly damaged in crashes.

@ksu499, fried okra is good. Does anyone know a place that serves good fried okra?

@charlie, let me get the baby out of the bathwater before you throw it out.

It's early. Not even half a year yet. Not all of the stations have been functioning properly. And even if things don't improve by next year, maybe it would be more prudent to tweak the system. Let's see if moving a station or two changes things. Let's not be quitters. If you'd been with Lewis and Clark, you would have turned back at La Charrette.

by David C on Jan 31, 2011 10:36 pm • linkreport

By and large the people using CaBi are a small demographic of young professionals who live too far to regularly walk to work, but not so far that they can't easily bike there. And by and large this demographic lives in a swath stretching from Dupont to part of Capitol Hill as far north as Petworth and as far south as the Mall and parts some parts of Capitol Hill. The rest of us who don't use CaBi don't fit that demographic .. either our work places aren't that close (and may not even be in the District) or if they are, we still not that nearby to them. And I'd guess that's what dissuades most folks east of the River to not bother with the transportation mode. But they're not the only ones (by far) to be similarly disuaded. I'd bet the folks living up by Chevy Chase Circl are similarly not apt to use CaBi. I.e., It's got nothing to do with color or 'wanting to show of a vehicle' or anything other than 'need'. Renting a CaBi bike to get to work in say Baltimore, isn't going to do someone from east of the River any more good than it would do for me to get to work in Herndon. As people have been saying over and over, the niche demographic for using these bikes on a daily basis is fairly small and fairly well-defined ... based on need and feasability. And anything we do in the way of bike lanes, etc. has to be done with the FACT in mind that maybe 5% - 10% of the population will at any point in time be in a position to make regular use of something like CaBi. It can serve its purpose, but let's not dilute its effectiveness by putting it in parts of town where it's not justifiable ... or expect everyone anywhere to be a target user.

by Lance on Jan 31, 2011 11:03 pm • linkreport

Alex B. , there are many ways to enforce it without a credit card, it just takes more work. As I said, require the person to come in, sign a contract, and retain a copy of their ID. You could even do a basic credit check. If they steal the bike, then you can have both a civil and criminal suit...you have their information. Their 30+minute usage can be billed monthly, to be paid like any other bill.

I also think selling membership for $50 for summer 6 months and $25 for winter 6 months could attract ridership.

by JJJJJ on Feb 1, 2011 12:51 am • linkreport

@Lance -

Please provide a citation for your FACT. It sounds an awful lot like some number you just made up based on nothing rather than a FACT.

by Joe on Feb 1, 2011 7:47 am • linkreport

I live near Chevy Chase Circle. I have provided feedback to DDOT that I would use CaBi if there were a station here. Other logical places currently without them are the Forest Hills commercial strip (Politics and Prose) and Friendship Heights. Since there are already stations at Van Ness, Tenleytown, AU and Cleveland Park, reaching to this corner of the city would provide a needed alternative to the L Metro line, which is not reliable.

Anecdotally, I know of many residents here who would subscribe and use the service. I also know of many people who would increase their commuting bike ridership if there was a safe and direct way to get downtown, either via Connecticut Avenue or via a semi-closed Broadbranch Road to access Rock Creek Park. As it is, one has to either face heavy arterial traffic, or take circuitous side streets up and down different hills. It isn't the end of the world, and many people do it, but more would (again, anecdotal evidence) if there were a bike lane on Connecticut Avenue.

by Andrew on Feb 1, 2011 7:55 am • linkreport

The utterly ridiculous and offensive statement by Veronica Davis about race aside, folks need to understand this- bike sharing is just a bad idea to many people, including me. If I was a bike enthusiast, which I was in my younger years, it would not occur to me to rent a bike, period. I would purchase a bike and use it as often as I liked, ride whenever I liked, wherever I liked. I don't know anyone who thinks bike sharing makes sense, perhaps because there are no young urban professionals in my circle of influence, which demographic seems to be the one most interested in this idea. Toss in the fact that very few people are going to want to ride from Anacostia across bridges to get to places in downtown or Georgetown or Adams Morgan, etc, and it becomes obvious why bike sharing across the river has been a non-starter. Veronica Davis- shame shame shame on you...

by KevinM on Feb 1, 2011 8:25 am • linkreport

@Lance, you are so right. Because all trips are from home to work. There are no other types of trips, no one who lives EOTR has reason to travel to another place EOTR. Not to the metro, or the store or a friend's home. Nowhere.

jjjj, how much would it cost to recover the cost of a stolen bike if all you have is a copy of their ID? Who will enforce it? What if they don't have the money? What if they moved to Colorado?

KevinM, you need to understand this- bike sharing is a good idea to many people, including me. And thanks for piling on Veronica for what she admitted already was a mistake.

by David C on Feb 1, 2011 8:52 am • linkreport

I agree with those that think a full year of data is needed before moving stations around. I have been a CaBi member since it opened and joined because I love the idea and have used the systems in other countries while traveling. I am a causal user since I work from home I don't need it to commute. I enjoy the freedom of being able to bike somewhere and metro, bus or taxi home if I don't want to ride back or vice versa. I don't have to worry about locking up my bike or it getting stolen. The system may not be for everyone, but it does not have to be because we have other options and choices. CaBi has been well used as the numbers indicate and maybe as the number of stations increases riders will increase as well. It is a transportation option just like the bus, metro, walking and cars and people have the right to choose the option that works best for them.

by Sally on Feb 1, 2011 8:55 am • linkreport

I'm with Sally.

I like biking, but I was never that committed to it that I would bike to work. CaBi, with the option of a one-way trip with no concern about a return trip, completely changes my calculus on if I'd like to bike or not.

by Alex B. on Feb 1, 2011 9:10 am • linkreport

@ David C- I could have done much more, considering just how offended I was, but I consider myself to have left her off easy, mostly because several others have also given her what for. However, she deserves whatever amount of grief she is given here for that ever-so-ridiculous statement. The nerve of her. If she can't stand the heat, well, you know the rest...

by KevinM on Feb 1, 2011 9:55 am • linkreport

@Jasper:

Canada is a part of the Americas according to all of my elementary school geography classes. I know some gringos think that The United States "of" is "America," excluding all of it's new world neighbors.

"@ CC:the AA residents in Nova Scotia
Wouldn't those be AC residents? Or just black people?
by Jasper on Jan 31, 2011 11:09 am

by CC on Feb 1, 2011 10:02 am • linkreport

@Sally... I joined for that same reason. I have a bike, but there aren't any bike racks East of the River. It would give me the opportunity to bike w/o the worry of where I'd lock up a personal bike. Unfortunately the CaBi station closest to me is now out of commission b/c of the Penn Ave Great Streets Project.

@KevinM.... I can take the heat. I take full responsibility for all of my actions. I'm not perfect and won't always say everything perfectly. The last 24 hours I've been called stupid, incoherent, and a racist. I know that none of these things are true, but everyone is entitled to an opinion. I hope that everyone that has publicly admonished me shows the same passion for other more offensive comments on this blog and others.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Feb 1, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

Veronica: I'm not going to beat on you like some of the commenters, but....you should perhaps get someone to look over your next piece, before you post. Just an idea!

by SJE on Feb 1, 2011 10:46 am • linkreport

@SJE... GGW does have editors who review all post, but I accept the blame. Lesson learned. :-)

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Feb 1, 2011 10:49 am • linkreport

Toss in the fact that very few people are going to want to ride from Anacostia across bridges to get to places in downtown or Georgetown or Adams Morgan

No, but lots of people might want to get from Dupont to Georgetown or Adams Morgan, and waiting for the bus is a fool's gamble, so CaBi really pays off, there. East-of-the-River justifications for CaBi would involve linking Ward 7 and Ward 8 neighborhoods with nearby metro stations.

by JustMe on Feb 1, 2011 11:08 am • linkreport

Interesting topic--too bad the discussion was hosed up by the "winter in African America" issue (where in blazes is AA anyway?).

Back on topic... I feel like an idiot not noticing the problem (and, IMO, the solution) when I first saw that map. As some others have pointed out, the strongest connections are between nearby stations. Unlike Crystal City, where a local network of nearby stations is working well, the Anacostia stations are scattered.

IMO, CaBi should 1) add or relocate stations to create a dense network of stations connecting transit, shopping and residences somewhere in Anacostia and 2) somehow get DDOT to fast-track the addition of bike lanes and other bicycle amenities in the target area, with a focus on connections to nearby river crossings.

I think most cyclists know that bicycle amenities simply don't accomplish much unless they are connected to something. The river crossings are there, the bike stations are there, but the connections between and among the two are pretty bad.

by Jonathan Krall on Feb 1, 2011 12:03 pm • linkreport

Veronica, yes you have been raked over the coals, thrown under the bus, and ended up stranded. :) You made a mistake, owned up to it, and it should be a done deal. Honestly though, I intially thought you were making a really bad tongue and cheek reference. Sorta like David writing, "and we know white people can't dance."

And no, there will not be nearly as much passion about your misspeak than there will be for future "questionable" posts. Didn't you notice the fury on here during the election cycle? But maybe this is all a part of the new kumbaya movement.

That said, your article is timely and does warrant a serious discussion. Good looking out!

BTW, I'm not an editor and don't run a blog but I would've just deleted the sentence altogether rather than the strikeout. Discussion saved.

by HogWash on Feb 1, 2011 12:43 pm • linkreport

@Jonathan... "I think most cyclists know that bicycle amenities simply don't accomplish much unless they are connected to something. The river crossings are there, the bike stations are there, but the connections between and among the two are pretty bad." Perfect way to sum everything up.

@Hogwash.... Thanks. Fortunately, I'm thick-skinned and generally upbeat. I've licked my wounds and moved on. ;-)

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Feb 1, 2011 2:09 pm • linkreport

Canada is a part of the Americas according to all of my elementary school geography classes. I know some gringos think that The United States "of" is "America," excluding all of it's new world neighbors.

Most Canadians do NOT appreciate being called "American." Your argument is specious at best. "African American" is not synonymous with "black," regardless of what certain elements of the media want you to believes, and black people in Canada do NOT call themselves "African American."

Interestingly, many Latin Americans do consider themselves "American" in the sense in which you're advocating. But until there's a term for people from the United States (I believe it was Frank Lloyd Wright who advocated "Usonian"), it's disingenuous to use the term "American" in a sense other than "someone from the USA" unless you very specifically clarify it beforehand.

by Rich on Feb 1, 2011 3:32 pm • linkreport

Wat is it that they say... you eventually show your true colors, eventually...?

These pink yup-yups done messed up and shown how pink they really are wit this one. It's now as official for all to see and smell.

What I do like is the ostentious way in which folks either claim that da southside is either all criminals or it isn't ruled by the criminal element.

You ain't ridin no pedal bikes that look as fruity as these things do through da hood and a yungin ain't gonna throw a rock or bottle at your thinkin cap. Maybe then you think better and not be so hot. If you come through on a bike it better be mountain or powered by gas like a like dirtbike joint.

With all the hills as some folks that aint pink have said about my cut -- you aint riding these pedal joints around the southside.

Thas why you see the yungins on them dirt bikes and scooters riding down MLK, up Alabama, across Good Hope, etc.

yall pink folks are really somethin, boy I tell ya

by Southeast Jerome on Feb 1, 2011 4:51 pm • linkreport

The best general way to predict how many people will bike in an area is to determine how 'bike-friendly' (or 'bike-possible') an area is. Looking at a map of the area (such mighty freeways you have!), and having at least passing 'on the ground' knowledge of the area, I'd argue that approximately 0% of people in that area would be Cabi users, bike commuters, bike users, etc. -- measured as percentage of trips or whatever -- essentially, zero.

So the reason why ridership is likely low east of the River is probably:

0. Little-to-no bike infrastructure. As Robin Chase said, "Infrastructure is destiny." If you don't allow people to ride, they won't ride -- simple.

Various of the comments in this thread point out how riding in this area, and to it and from it, is a near-impossibility for a non-super-human (whether the authors of these infrastructure critique comments would use the same characterization or not).

Some of the other stuff rings true -- like the lack of density/retail/etc., and the high startup cost -- but even if you take those away, you're not going to see much change in ridership unless you allow people to ride by providing the appropriate bicycle infrastructure (which could include just removing all the cars/trucks/buses from the roads).

Others have pointed out that the 'major' roads are dominated by cars/trucks/buses/(and soon to be streetcars) -- which is why I advocated so strongly to make all roadways, including and especially _the_ major roadways/corridors -- even and especially the streetcar roads (like, perhaps, MLK?), bike-possible/bike-friendly. Every road/bridge/tunnel/etc. needs to be made bikeable, but especially the major/important ones -- the whole 'put bikes on the side streets' strategy has and will continue to fail, for obvious reasons. It also happens to be morally bankrupt, but that's another story.

Cold weather -- hills -- warm weather -- rain -- whatever -- all meaningless -- people of all stripes ride in Copenhagen, San Francisco, Austin, Portland, etc.

I could see 'Crime' being a factor, but first let's make it possible for people to ride, then we'll see how much of a deterrent 'fear of crime' is.

'Perception' could be factor -- but first let's make it possible for people to ride, then we'll see how much of a deterrent 'fear of looking like a Neo-Maxi-Zoom-Dweebie' is. Adding, appropriate infrastructure helps to change the perception of bikers from one of 'desperate/loser/hippie' to something more like 'respected in and by society.'

'Health' could be a factor -- but by at least some accounts, it's easier to ride a given distance than walk that same distance -- that's why many (sometimes 'morbidly') obese people start getting back into shape the only way that is possible for them -- biking. Biking is not possible, however, if biking is not possible -- we need the appropriate/required infrastructure.

by Peter Smith on Feb 1, 2011 4:54 pm • linkreport

Five'll get you ten "Southeast Jerome" is a balding white-guy in a stained wife-beater who lives in Dale City.

"Pink yup-yups"? Great stuff!

by oboe on Feb 1, 2011 4:59 pm • linkreport

@Rich

According to an exhibit I visited while at the Black Cultural Center in Halifax, most of the ex slaves of African descent who settled in Nova Scotia and other regions of Canada did so after being freed or escaped from slavery in other parts of the Americas.

Whether these Canadians appreciate this historic identity living on the North American continent, which includes Canada, in the western hemisphere, is there business. It's a bit special, but it's their business. Nonetheless, my characterization was about geography (geographically colder areas than DC), not culture, country or citizenship.

If you want to split hairs, and bring it down to a granular level of specificity and talk about chosen cultural identity, then we need to talk about Senegalese Canadians, Nigerian Canadians (etc.). But my AA acronym is hardly specious: Those of African continental descent living in the Northern of the two Americas for the purpose of this discussion; excluding African's of primarily Arab cultural and racial origin.

by CC on Feb 1, 2011 5:33 pm • linkreport

cc: well, if you are in Quebec or Ontario, they primarily care whether you are francophone or anglophone, first.

by SJE on Feb 1, 2011 7:20 pm • linkreport

@Peter.... I agree to some extent. We do have people that bike for non-recreational purposes on this side of town, which is evident by bikes chained to street trees and signs (b/c there are no bike racks). To avoid the hills what some people do is ride the bus w/their bike on the front to the top of the hill and then ride their bike the rest of the way.

Better bike infrastructure would encourage more riders, especially novice. However, proximity of CaBi stations to users is a problem. For example, I live in 1000+ condo development which has a large population of 30-something progressives who want transportation options. The closest CaBi Station is Penn-Branch (0.25 mile from us) is out of service. The next closest is Good Hope Shopping Center is about a 1-mile. If there was a Cabi Station in my neighborhood, I would definitely ride it to Good Hope Shopping Center or the library.

@JustMe... "East-of-the-River justifications for CaBi would involve linking Ward 7 and Ward 8 neighborhoods with nearby metro stations." In my perfect world there would be a bike share in my neighborhood and at Naylor Road in MD, which would like my neighborhood to the closest metro to us but we have no regular all-day bus service to take us there (about a mile)

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Feb 1, 2011 10:04 pm • linkreport

Just for a sanity check, I decided to do a google bike route for one of the suggested Cabi-to-Cabi station rides mentioned above -- Benning Branch Library to Randle Circle/Minnesota, and sure enough, it is a disaster. Bike routes/lanes along any/most of the major roads east of the river are virtually nonexistent -- like along Minnesota Ave SE -- beautiful street, but doesn't even have simple bike lanes. It's easy enough to fix -- we just need to get WABA stop attacking cyclists long enough to concentrate on getting some bike lanes installed.

Another point -- regarding folks not wanting bike lanes, or not wanting roads that are walkable or bikable or whatever -- too bad -- and that goes for whether you're rich or poor, black or white, etc. It's ok to listen to folks' concerns about gentrification and whatnot, but public roads/corridors/streets are not private property -- and any road that serves as at least part of a 'corridor' must be able to carry walk and bike traffic before it needs to be concerned about carrying any type of motorized transport.

Any road/street/bridge/tunnel/etc. that does not allow folks to walk, bike, and generally get around under their own power is a direct attack on those folks' ability to take care of themselves and their families, to move up the socioeconomic ladder, to achieve their fullest potential -- we can't tolerate it anymore. We have untold wasted time, money, energy, public resources, and human potential, all because General Motors decided they needed more profits faster. We don't have to abide by it any longer, but we can't keep trying to push bikes off to side streets, we can't keep prioritizing streetcars over bikes, etc.

by Peter Smith on Feb 2, 2011 4:56 am • linkreport

People, people, people...

Listen to me once and hear me twice- there is not now, nor does there figure to be in the immediate future, the political will/consensus to fund and build much bicycle infrastructure, especially in Anacostia! There will have to be a heck of a lot more gentrification, more, as Southeast Jerome would say "pink yup-yups" moving in for that to happen. Bicycle enthusiasts wish it were not so, but that does not change the cold hard fact of the matter. We are still an auto-centric society, and that is so for the foreseeable future. Lots of people posting here would like to change the situation but they do not have the support of nearly enough citizens to make it so, as much as that might pain them to admit, but it is in fact the case. Automobiles will continue to be prioritized over bicycles for quite some time, I predict.

Specifically to Peter Smith- I say too bad to you! I do not want to see any more streets like that block of 15th St. in N.W. where the bike lane has been put close to the sidewalk inside of a parking lane. That is ridiculous and I dare say a there is still a majority of DC citizens that agree with me, even if that is not represented on this blog. I am not rich, I am black or African American or whatever- the roads are just as much my property as yours and as long as my point of view is in the majority- too bad for you! You are allowed to walk or bike and get around on your own power any where you want, but it doesn't have to be made easy for you. You want easy, you want accommodations, then come up with the numbers. by the way- the lack of dedicated bike lanes is not holding you or anyone else back from taking care of your families, climbing up the socioeconomic ladder or achieving your potential. That is laughable, to say the least. Or perhaps you checked your sanity at the door before you started typing...

by KevinM on Feb 2, 2011 6:53 am • linkreport

@Peter, Quit lying about WABA. It has never attacked cyclists. Saying things that are so clearly untrue make you look like a crackpot.

WABA was intrumental in getting the bike plan completed, and getting a bicycle coordinator to implement which has done much to improve cycling city-wide, including east of the river. As a result DDOT had put quite a strong focus on improving cycling EOTR. Of the 5 major trail projects they've worked on since 2000, 4 of them are EOTR. But there are some technical reasons why bike lane installation is difficult outside of the L'Enfant City (having to do with extant street width). Nonetheless they have installed miles of bike lanes and signed bike routes EOTR. Whatever improvements exist EOTR (and in most of the rest of the city) are largely thanks to WABA, not despite them.

Like I said, quit lying. Nobody like a liar.

@KevinM, See my above comments about the bike trail work done, being done. Also, the Penn Ave SE and Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave great streets programs included extensive bike improvements, as do the streetscape changes associated with the DHS facility. You might think you know the facts, but it turns out you're completely ignorant as to what the facts are (and as to what Anacostia is - not everything EOTR is Anacostia). As to what will get priority, I suggest you read DDOT's action agenda. That "block" of 15th has been expanded all the way to Penn and north to V. Other such lanes are headed to L, M etc...

by David C on Feb 2, 2011 9:01 am • linkreport

...the roads are just as much my property as yours and as long as my point of view is in the majority- too bad for you! You are allowed to walk or bike and get around on your own power any where you want, but it doesn't have to be made easy for you. You want easy, you want accommodations, then come up with the numbers...

All due respect, but when your elected government keeps doing the things you claim are "unpopular"--at the expense of those thing you think are "popular"--you might want to ponder what "popular support" means.

:)

by oboe on Feb 2, 2011 10:06 am • linkreport

Woe is me- there are extensions to the dreaded dedicated bicycle lanes. However I stand by what I said- in spite of whatever new bike friendly improvements may be in the works- we are still living in an auto-centric city and it will be so for some time to come.

by KevinM on Feb 2, 2011 10:11 am • linkreport

Hey Peter, if there is any wonder why there is lackluster support for biking advocates, your post is exhibit A. This anti-car meme is over the top and ridiculous.

by HogWash on Feb 2, 2011 10:28 am • linkreport

I have no doubt you're right. It's a question of expanding cycling opportunities which will actually make it easier for drivers to get around the city. You do that by providing facilities.

Heck, at this point, arguing that there shouldn't be bike lanes east of the river because people there don't want them is like arguing--pre-Metro Rail--that we shouldn't build the system because subways are unpopular.

After all, no one rides the non-existent system!

Meanwhile, I see more and more middle-aged black guys riding $10 bikes in the bike lanes in NE. Build it and they will ride.

by oboe on Feb 2, 2011 10:30 am • linkreport

KevinM, I would not be surprised to see Transit exceed Driving as the primary mode of moving around DC by the end of the decade. Car share dropped from 49% to 43% from 2008-2009. At that rate it will fall behind transit this year. Enjoy your last auto-centric years (months?)...

by David C on Feb 2, 2011 10:43 am • linkreport

Oboe, there is no comparison between opposition to railcars vs. a bike lane. For most metro transit commuters, traveling by rail is a necessity so if there is no metro, most can't get to work. Reasonably, opposition (which is actually more indifference) to building bike lanes will not prevent the masses from traveling.

by HogWash on Feb 2, 2011 1:28 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash I think what oboes means is that when metro was being planned, before it was built, there was a lot of opposition to it using the same words and rhetoric as is used against bike lanes now. As you say people are dependent on metro now -a lot of people claimed no-one would ride metro. This is the same argument for/against bike lane: there are few/no bike lanes now and i see no one/few riding; therefore there is no demand/need for more biking infrastructure. Or, just like with metro, if its available people will use it and become so used to it they become dependent on it.

by Tina on Feb 2, 2011 1:48 pm • linkreport

Oboe, there is no comparison between opposition to railcars vs. a bike lane.

Of course there isn't. That's because Metro rail was built. If it hadn't been, there would be no Metro rail commuters, and folks would be arguing that roads are a necessity, because that's how people get to work, and that opposition to building Metro wouldn't prevent the masses from traveling. After all, in our fictional Metro-less alternate reality, everyone either drives or takes the bus, and railcars are just a boondoggle designed to steal resources from real Washingtonians.

And, yes, I'd say it's opposition rather than indifference, when you've got folks grousing about "pink yup-yups" and other nonsense like they were disaffected 13-year-olds. That sort of irrationality isn't bred from indifference.

by oboe on Feb 2, 2011 1:50 pm • linkreport

@Peter Smith.... there are creative ways to do bike infrastructure that don't always involve a physical dedicated lane. As David C pointed out the sidewalks on Penn Ave and Nannie Helen are going to be widen significantly to safely accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. It separates the bikes from the automobiles. In addition, there are sidewalks on both sides of the streets so pedestrian can opt not to be on the same path as bikes. Perhaps this could be done on other parts of EotR to build up ridership as a first stage. When there is a critical mass, then there can be consideration of dedicated bike lanes.

In addition, the Fort Circle parks (375 acres) is a missed opportunity to create usable bike paths. As I stated earlier, the trails aren't maintained. Even with a mountain bike the trails are tough to ride. If NPS would consider pervious, bike-friendly surfaces and maybe some environmentally friendly lighting, the trails would make great commuter trails. The connection would almost allow people to ride from the Deanwood area, through Benning Heights and Hillcrest to Anacostia.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Feb 2, 2011 2:30 pm • linkreport

Tina, I actually understood oboe's point but still believe the comparison bad. I have noticed that there is a tendency among the GGW crowd to think there is a reasonable comparison between automobiles and bikes. IMO, besides them both being modes of transport, the parallel ends there.

I wasn't here during the time but I'm sure there were people who opposed metro and if my reading serves me correct, at least some DC residents (G'town) didn't want a station in their n'hoods. That still doesn't make the analogy a good one.

Let's face it, biking, from now and in the near future, will not be seen as the alternative to cars. Sure, for the smart growth crowd, Yes. But the masses? I see no evidence of such, especially when trains and buses remain the best modes of commute. Doesn't mean that no one will use them
but the belief that "once people have them, they will use them" doesn't seem borne out of any objective evidence.

Have you noticed an increase in the number of people using the provided pullbars on metro? My cursory glance says no. But we still have them right?

by HogWash on Feb 2, 2011 3:08 pm • linkreport

Oboe, I don't doubt there is opposition to bike lanes, even from those who consider you guys pink yup yups. But based on my readings and discussions, there is more of a "why do we need them" feeling than there is "I just do not support bike lanes."

Then again, your experiences dealing with residents EOTR may differ greatly from mine. I, can only speak from experience.

by HogWash on Feb 2, 2011 3:17 pm • linkreport

biking, from now and in the near future, will not be seen as the alternative to cars.

1. Biking is AN alternative to cars. And it is seen that way by a majority of people.

2. It doesn't even matter if what you've said is true.

by David C on Feb 2, 2011 3:20 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash.... Well the attitude changes by neighborhood. Hillcrest, which is probably more progressive has residents that are vocally for bike lanes and anything that will slow cars down. (We have literally speed humped most of the streets over here.) But then again, Hillcrest is mostly residential with very little on-street parking on major roadways b/c most people have garages or other type of off-street parking options. Fairlawn on the other hand is vocally against bike lanes in lieu of on-street parking. To their defense there are a denser community with more commercial areas. They also are heavily dependent on on-street parking due to lack of off-street parking options. That's just two examples.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Feb 2, 2011 3:25 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash, the comparison was to metro infrastructure and biking infrastructure not bikes and cars. Whether or not GT residents wanted or didn't want a metro stop -the reason there wasn't one built there was engineering constraints, not social ones.

As David C says, biking is already an alternative to driving. You have your personal preference but as Veronica also points out your preference isn't shared universally.

by Tina on Feb 2, 2011 4:02 pm • linkreport

And the vitriol about "pink yup yups" and the other stuff is representative of a vocal but minority community sentiment that probably has a depressing effect on the number of folks who would like to bike, but are afraid of looking silly...or of having boogeymen of the type referred to by "Southeast [Manassass] Jerome" throw bricks and bottles at them.

by oboe on Feb 2, 2011 4:27 pm • linkreport

@Tina, thanks for the follow-up explaining again what another poster meant in his response. To clarify, I'm speaking about two different things.

1. The poor comparison between opposition to metroRAIL when the only other option (at the time) was a car AND opposition to bike lanes when the other available options are rail and bus.

2. The idea the smart growth set seems to support that people should envision bikes as THE alternative to cars. I didn't think it was necessary to posit that bikes are AN alternative to driving. So it walking, running, or skipping. Just didn't think it necessary to say such.

Also, Veronica noted that there are those in Hillcrest who support not just bike lanes but "anything that will slow cars down." To me, that is not a rousing endorsement in support of bike lanes and neither did I suggest that no one EOTR supports bike lanes which is why I said "Doesn't mean that no one will use them.

I agree, my personal preference is just that - my personal preference. However, considering that bike lanes have not topped DC's "Most Wanted" list, it's also safe to assume that your (smart growthers) position isn't shared universally either. In fact, full-throated support seems only found among this group which makes it highly likely that the lackluster support in other corners amounts to indifference - not simple opposition.

by HogWash on Feb 2, 2011 4:42 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash-you seemed to assert that increasing biking infrastructure will not result in an increased number of people who bike. Oboe pointed out that same argument was made in opposition to building the metro.

I guess it makes you feel better about yourself to denigratingly throw me into a group definition. You use "smart growth" as a pejorative and then sling the pejorative at me. Brilliant.

However your logic is still faulty that increasing bicycle infrastructure will not result in more people biking, just like those who said no one will ride the metro, just like those who say "why do we need a cross-walk at (x)? No one crosses there now...

by Tina on Feb 2, 2011 4:56 pm • linkreport

@Oboe, I agree that vocal opposition does have a depressing effect. But isn't that sorta the point of vocal opposition? To depress/influence interest in a particular position?

Many DC Residents' position on the state of DC Schools/Fenty were influenced by the vocal opposition to unions. It had an effect. Misinformation was routinely shared willy nilly. That said, I can't comfortably support the idea that being afraid to look silly or fear of the "boogeyman" represents a number worth talking about.

Can we just not like to do certain things w/o it being tied to a fear of something?

by HogWash on Feb 2, 2011 4:57 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash-you seemed to assert that increasing biking infrastructure will not result in an increased number of people who bike

We can either quantify this or play semantics. It's rather ridiculous for me to assert that increasing biking infrac will result in NO increase in usage, which is why I didn't say such. To plainly state, I do not believe an increase in infrac will result in a significant increase in usage to warrant the investment, at least EOTR.

I also think you read way too much into my post. How is it denigrating to say that your position is similar to the smart growthers and why the heck is that a negative? I don't think being a smart growther is a negative, especially when the info I've found here about smart growth is more than I've known my entire life.

Smart growther = negative? If you say so.

It's ok to ask me what I meant rather than assume.

by HogWash on Feb 2, 2011 5:11 pm • linkreport

This was not an intentially negative depiction of a group you define as "smart growthers" that allows for no subtlety of thought or perspective among that group, and which assumes I identify with?: The idea the smart growth set seems to support that people should envision bikes as THE alternative to cars.

As far as significant increase in people biking - why do you think people living EOR would respond to this type of change (better access to safe biking) differently from people living anywhere else?

by Tina on Feb 2, 2011 5:24 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash The idea the smart growth set seems to support that people should envision bikes as THE alternative to cars.

That is not the commonly held position. Perhaps you have examples in mind.

Also, while usage of CaBi is low EOTR it is not zero. If we're asking whether or not the new facilities encourage cycling we should compare it to EOTR in Winter 09-10, not to Downtown DC. I think that the presence of CaBi EOTR has led to an increase in cycling, one that will only go up as the weather gets nicer, the system comes online and people become familiar to the system. Let's compare Sept-Oct 2011 to Sept-Oct 2010 and then see whether it is worth the price.

by David C on Feb 2, 2011 7:10 pm • linkreport

@Peter, Quit lying about WABA. It has never attacked cyclists. Saying things that are so clearly untrue make you look like a crackpot.

WABA and Shane Farthing need to decide right now what side of history they want to be on. Whatever their decision, however, Shane Farthing needs to resign or be fired, and if he does not quit, and he is not relieved of duty, then the WABA Board needs to consider stepping down, or be relieved of command.

Let's hope and pray that WABA's gratuitous attack on cyclists does not lead, directly or indirectly, to incited physical attacks against cyclists. There are any number of cowardly actions taken by various actors around the world every day that burn my soul -- this one by WABA is just so close to home that it feels more real.

Drivers running down and terrorizing and maiming and harassing and assaulting pedestrians and cyclists on a daily basis all over DC, so WABA finally decided to deal with the problem by demanding the proper behavior of...cyclists.

But maybe i'm wrong to criticize Farthing and WABA for their services to terror and violence directed at cyclists -- I'm sure Farthing is a decent human being and actually believes that he really is condemning this violence and terror directed at cyclists, by imploring cyclists to 'ride responsibly.' Nonetheless, the cyclists of DC (and elsewhere) will have to live with these actions of Farthing and WABA.

Of the 5 major trail projects they've worked on since 2000, 4 of them are EOTR.

Trails are not completely useless, but they are of very limited value to commuters and anyone trying to go anywhere for the purpose of doing something -- as opposed to being on a trail for exercise. We need on-street bicycle infrastructure. I don't actively fight the building of trails/MUPs/etc., but we shouldn't be deluded as to their actual utility value, which is very low compared to on-street bike facilities.

I do not want to see any more streets like that block of 15th St. in N.W. where the bike lane has been put close to the sidewalk inside of a parking lane.

Me neither -- we need cycletracks on both sides of the street. And, using the car parking lane to protect cyclists and pedestrians from other cars is not ideal -- I'd prefer a row of evenly-spaced trees with some grade separation, or maybe an additional metal barrier. But for now I'm willing to compromise on the car parking -- it can stay -- for now.

the roads are just as much my property as yours and as long as my point of view is in the majority- too bad for you!

it remains the case today that the majority often wins -- they are able to impose their will upon the minority, even when the rights of the minority are violated -- this has to change. i'm looking at 'transportation as a human right' -- trying to build a framework that, along with other ideas like 'complete streets,' will allow us to require governments to protect the rights of those too poor to own a car -- the framework would require governments to allow people to move about under their own power. If we're able to implement this 'Transportation Equal Protection Clause,' it will diminish, if not completely nullify, the ability of the majority to impose its will upon the minority.

You are allowed to walk or bike and get around on your own power any where you want, but it doesn't have to be made easy for you.

And this is where the debate will hinge, won't it? What is 'easy' and who gets to define it, and in relation to what? Should be interesting.

by the way- the lack of dedicated bike lanes is not holding you or anyone else back from taking care of your families, climbing up the socioeconomic ladder or achieving your potential. That is laughable, to say the least. Or perhaps you checked your sanity at the door before you started typing...

either that, or i have common sense and i read a lot.

Hey Peter, if there is any wonder why there is lackluster support for biking advocates, your post is exhibit A. This anti-car meme is over the top and ridiculous.

there is lackluster support for biking advocates? could have fooled me. seems everyone is trying to jump on the biking bandwagon. say hello to the next Mayor of Chicago -- at least in word, a 'biking advocate'.

as far as the 'anti-car meme' -- I don't know much about it, but i'm certainly anti-war, anti-cancer, and yes, anti-car. in a word, you could say i'm pro-life. do you know anyone who claims to be pro-car?

@Peter Smith.... there are creative ways to do bike infrastructure that don't always involve a physical dedicated lane.

i'm all for it -- sometimes i use the phrase 'bike lane' to indicate that the street in question needs 'the appropriate, minimally-required bicycle infrastructure blah blah blah.' i just try to stay away from planner-speak when possible.

Perhaps this could be done on other parts of EotR to build up ridership as a first stage. When there is a critical mass, then there can be consideration of dedicated bike lanes.

i think there is already critical mass, and there has been critical mass for the past 100 or so years -- it's why we keep seeing stories like this pop up. it's why we continue to see incredible uptake of Cabi anywhere it is even remotely possible to ride a bike. it's why bike mode share continues to grow. we don't have to encourage anybody to ride -- we just have to allow them to ride. A large segment of the 'critical mass' of potential Cabi/bike riders can be drawn from the pool of people who are currently forced to ride the bus every day, but car drivers and train-riders and others will do it, too. the study out of Portland State from a couple of years ago showed that people will go out of their way to ride on streets with bike lanes -- it's all a no-brainer -- we have the critical mass -- it's the infrastructure that is lacking/lagging.

by Peter Smith on Feb 3, 2011 2:47 am • linkreport

@Peter Smith-
You may read a lot, but I wonder whether or not you are understanding what you read. The link you included which I suppose was meant to explain or even prove why the lack of dedicated bike lanes is holding you or others back from taking care of your families, climbing up the socioeconomic ladder or achieving your potential, in fact the article proves nothing! So what- some family in Cambridge, Mass decided to go without a car. Big deal! That family made choices, including to have the number of kids they have, to buy a condo, and to go without a car. They seem to be happy with their choices, and in now way held back from progress, so I wonder what was the purpose of linking to that page? Bottom line- reading a lot does not equal common sense, especially if one is not understanding what one reads.

by KevinM on Feb 3, 2011 8:19 am • linkreport

2 all thez pink yup-yups who dont me from cot damn can of paint I was birthed, raised up, and stay on Chicago Street in Ana. Come see me on your bike & I'll hop on my trek wit dual shocks and we can ride thru my hood. When you wit me the lil yungins wont raise you up out your seat but when I aint wit you you on your mafughun own.

Unlike you raggedy educated fools from uneducated skool yup-yups this is my city not yours.

Yall come from wherever these bitch made places are out in Va to my city.

Kiss the pinky ran yup-yups.

And don't think I'm on no EBT or Section 8, I get mines through by out thinking yup-yups like your parents who bought you that condo.

1200 block of Chicago Street yup yups come see me

by SE Jerome on Feb 3, 2011 9:49 am • linkreport

Peter,

Asking cyclists to promise to ride responsibly is not attacking them and it does not encourage "terror and violence directed at cyclists." You need to turn your crazy knob down. It seems to be set to Christine O'Donnell.

Drivers running down and terrorizing and maiming and harassing and assaulting pedestrians and cyclists on a daily basis all over DC

Do you think overstating the problem in such dramatic fashion helps? Perhaps you have some proof for such a claim.

[trails] are of very limited value to commuters and anyone trying to go anywhere for the purpose of doing something

That's not what trail counts on the Capital Crescent Trail, Mt. Vernon Trail, W&OD Trail, Custis Trail, Four Mile Run Trail etc... tell us. I'd wager that at least half of all bike commuters in the DC area use a trail for at least part of their commute. I use the NE Branch trail for about 1/3 of mine - and I see others using it too. But I get that it doesn't fit with your world-view that WABA and DDOT and other cyclists and drivers and pedestrians and Pacific Islanders and Mormons and Freemasons and Hollywood and Steve Guttenberg are all out to get you.

by David C on Feb 3, 2011 10:08 am • linkreport

hope you get the comment above off quickly

by Tina on Feb 3, 2011 1:16 pm • linkreport

That comment has been deleted.

by David Alpert on Feb 3, 2011 1:29 pm • linkreport

SE Jerome,

So...is your beef specifically with the *pink* yup-yups? I mean, is it OK for black or brown yup-yups to ride CaBi in the non- "bitch made places". Or will they be raised out of their seats by the yungins, as well. Just want to make sure I'm not misinterpreting your rich and textured argument.

Born and raised West of the River 4life, &tc, &tc...

by oboe on Feb 3, 2011 2:27 pm • linkreport

I should feel bad for lol @ SE Jerome's post.

by HogWash on Feb 3, 2011 4:23 pm • linkreport

@Veronica:

Please either completely omit generalities (prefaced by the use of the phrase "In general,") or re-phrase your opinion in a more subjective manner.

Although I recognize that from the sheer volume of comments that others have picked up on this generalization also, I would offer some constructive criticisms:

1) Recognize that demographics have an immensly significant impact on how every program is perceived (the key here being perception, so you'll have to "walk a mile in someone else's shoes" to get their perspective from all concievable angles...what helps me is to write them all down as I think of them, so I can gain greater appreciation)

2) Research the area. What factors (such as housing, job centers, etc) are in the area east of the Anacostia River? Does willful neglect (or, at least a conscious decision) not to invest any new monies over a significantly prolonged period -- 30+ years (since the late 1970s) -- play into a part of the history of Wards 7 and 8? The erudite reporter/journalist takes such accounts into effect.

3) Remain balanced in your writing approach. As you do for most of your article, it is primarily factual, with some aptly timed commentary. My suggestion on this point would be to consider any sensitive or otherwise polarizing generalities, because many readers believe that they do not have to inure the overly biased works of the generic mass-media pieces, specifically when reading about topics that they believe are part of worthwhile causes.

4) Stay upbeat. We are all human and have some unfortunate slip-ups. So be it. Life is life: it is what it is. Learn from the missteps and move on from them, so long as you understand what you are supposed to learn from that particular misstep. What cannot be understated, to any small degree (rather, again, the whole ficus of this point) is that you must keep positive and have an associated positive outlook, because it helps more than anything else can.

Overall, a very apropos piece which brings to light the question of attacking the density problem in Wards 7 and 8. How can this be achieved within the next 15 - 20 years? (I put a time frame on this because I think that if no time frame is put on it, any open ended "It will change in a hunderd years, so wait a while." generic answer would suffice. The city and its 3 tangential neighbors are changing to match the beat of a new demographic drum, and its evidence is everywhere, I think. Thoughts?

by C. R. on Feb 3, 2011 8:31 pm • linkreport

@CR... thanks for the advice. I am a resident of Ward 7 and my business is located in Ward 8. Much of what I wrote comes from my knowledge of the area and my conversations with different residents.

Increasing density in Ward 7 is going to be difficult over the next 15-20 years. For some of the reasons mentioned about (roadway network, topography, etc). The reality is its very residential, we have a high percentage of homeowners, and we lack metro stations (3 in which 2 are in awkward locations) which are usually drivers of density. I wrote a post about the development future on GGW. ;-)

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Feb 3, 2011 11:14 pm • linkreport

The link you included...proves nothing!

I don't know if I was trying to 'prove' anything by pointing to a blog post, but i thought the message was pretty clear/simple.

In any case, I'll give it one more try -- by letting someone else try to explain it to you:

The Financial Payoff of Car-Free Parenthood: On Carfree with Kids, a mother reflects on how foregoing car ownership helped her family achieve important financial goals: buying a house, setting up an emergency fund and paying for daycare for two kids. Author Dorea recalls a fateful decision her family made years ago when their truck died and they decided not to replace it. Now, as the family raises two young children, Dorea says she can’t imagine how they would make ends meet with the added expense of a car. Add financial security to the list of benefits of a car-free lifestyle.
If people don't have to have a car to get around (i.e. if sufficient bicycle infrastructure is present, and therefore they don't have to be dependent on and burdened by and spend their money on mass transit), they can do all sorts of things with that money/time/effort, like "take care of themselves and their families" in any number of ways - like pay for and go to school, save money to have an emergency fund or start a business, etc., "move up the socioeconomic ladder", and "achieve their fullest potential."

by Peter Smith on Feb 3, 2011 11:24 pm • linkreport

Asking cyclists to promise to ride responsibly is not attacking them and it does not encourage "terror and violence directed at cyclists."

Obviously, I disagree. But it doesn't just encourage it, it excuses it, makes it more difficult to prosecute, etc. It's an abominable act. Inexcusable. If you launched such a campaign in, say, Amsterdam, it might not be that treacherous, but here, in the face of daily terrorism, it's really difficult to overstate the deviousness of the act.

Do you think overstating the problem in such dramatic fashion helps?

We've spent too much time understating and downplaying the prevalence and significance of violence against cyclists. The problem is so severe and so widespread that we don't even bother to point out the individual acts of intimidation and terrorism anymore -- we just weave them into whatever stories we happen to be telling that day, and we do it with a virtual shrug -- it's just a big commiseration party in the comments sections of bike and urban planning blogs -- it's just a fact of life -- this is what happens to bikers in DC -- this is what happens to bikers in America and in many parts of the world -- maybe we deserve it -- maybe we don't -- but this is what happens.

Perhaps you have some proof for such a claim.

Sure -- just read GGW every day -- you don't even have to go to the Struck in DC series -- as soon as there is a hint of an allowance to talk about the crimes of drivers, you'll see an outpouring in the comments section -- always with the "we are bikers, this is our lot in life" undertone.

Myself, I only rode a bike regularly for 2 or 3 years -- gave it up now, at least for now -- and I have untold numbers of stories of driver terrorism towards myself and other cyclists and pedestrians.

I do think we need to publicize this domestic terrorism -- we need to call it what it is, and not be bashful about telling the truth about it. I think GGW can and should play a role in publicizing just how widespread and devious and detrimental this culture of terrorism is -- harmful not just to innocent individuals but to society as a whole.

That's not what trail counts on the Capital Crescent Trail, Mt. Vernon Trail, W&OD Trail, Custis Trail, Four Mile Run Trail etc... tell us.

Currently, trails are about the only place in the DC area where cyclists are protected from cars -- and only then when they're actually on the trails -- we know how dangerous the crossings are. We have, what, 1000 times more mileage of trails than we do cycletracks? Start giving people safe places to ride on the streets (cycletracks) and you'll see use there explode.

So, the question is not 'Do trails get used?' -- the questions are, 'Where should we spend our money?,' 'What should our priorities be?,' and 'How much more useful are cycletracks than trails?'

by Peter Smith on Feb 3, 2011 11:58 pm • linkreport

@ Peter Smith-

There is absolutely no causation. The family in question made decisions, and must live with them. No lack of bicycle facilities is holding them back. If anything might be holding back this family's progress up the socioeconomic ladder it is in fact the decisions they have made regarding which local transportation resources they will take advantage of. perhaps had they chosen to keep a motor vehicle in the family they would be better off, but again, that was a decision that they made presumably with their proverbial eyes wide open. However, you should not be blaming the resources that may or not be available to them once they choose a course of direction- they are allowed to change course...

by KevinM on Feb 4, 2011 7:24 am • linkreport

Peter, Struck in DC does not prove that cyclists and pedestrians are assaulted every day. It does not prove that they are run down every day. It does not prove that they are terrorized every day. It does not prove that they are maimed every day. It does not prove that they are harassed every day. These are the claims you've made, and frankly they aren't true, but I haven't seen a lot of concern for the truth in your rants.

I also think you're misusing the heavily charged term "terrorism."

Again, this hyperbole and calling drivers terrorists makes you look like a crackpot. Perhaps that's what you're going for.

by David C on Feb 4, 2011 9:03 am • linkreport

On the "Blacks and cold aversion" contretemps, I should point out that when we I was studying mechanical engineering in architecture school it was pointed out that in addition to the obvious individual differences in temperature preference, that this also differed by age, gender, and yes, race. I recall it being pointed out that Black people generally preferred the thermostat set 7 deg. F. higher than White people. These were observations based on empirical evidence, not bigotry.

by Milton Grenfell on Feb 4, 2011 9:09 am • linkreport

Myself, I only rode a bike regularly for 2 or 3 years -- gave it up now, at least for now -- and I have untold numbers of stories of driver terrorism towards myself and other cyclists and pedestrians.

Ok, I think this explains a lot. Peter: thanks for your solidarity, but really, as a cyclist who puts in thousands of miles a year on the road, it's not all that bad out there. Really!

:)

by oboe on Feb 4, 2011 9:12 am • linkreport

There is absolutely no causation. The family in question made decisions, and must live with them. No lack of bicycle facilities is holding them back.

If you actually disagree with me, it's difficult for me to tell.

The family in question was able to 'make decisions' -- i.e. they were able to choose to 1) not have a car (for many poor, broke, and working class people, this is often not a choice), and 2) to bike. People in EotR can choose 1), but not 2). In Cambridge, Mass? Yes. In EotR, DC? No.

Peter, Struck in DC does not prove that cyclists and pedestrians are assaulted every day.

Alone? no. One small sliver of evidence in support of my assertions? yes. Struck in DC represents just a fraction of the daily torrent of violence directed against cyclists (and pedestrians) that occurs in and around the DC region every week.

I also think you're misusing the heavily charged term "terrorism."

i can only go by what i know, what the definition of the word is, etc. here's what the google says:

the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear
Is there a more appropriate definition for drivers who intentionally force cyclists off the road, ram them, kill them, etc., in the service of achieving their political goal of removing cyclists from the roads? terrorist drivers do this through intimidation, coercion, and instilling fear. cyclists are civilians. what do you disagree with?

'terrorism' is a heavily charged term? i could potentially agree with that -- but i'm more interested in knowing if it's an appropriate term to describe the behavior of some drivers. not every human is a terrorist, not every driver is a terrorist -- but in both cases, some are.

but that's not the worst of it. of the several hundred bikers (500 to 600+, it seems) killed by cars/trucks/etc. in the US every year, only a small percentage, I would guess, are actually murder victims -- drivers intentionally hunting them down. and only a certain, possibly small?, percentage of those murders are acts of terrorism, with the goal of keeping cyclists off the road, as opposed to a revenge killing or gang hit or crime of opportunity or whatever.

but those acts of terror are frightening to would-be cyclists -- which is part of the reason why most Americans don't bike on the streets. if we look at the average number of victims of 'conventional' (no bike victims included) US domestic terrorism since 2000 (to include 9/11), we get about 300 people per year, and falling sharply every year. and look at the effect it had on the psyche of the nation. we basically threw out the Constitution to accommodate our response to this catastrophic, one-time attack. but the daily acts of violence directed at cyclists to get them off the road? we don't do much about that. in part, because people don't want to talk about it. fine -- i will.

and deaths are only part of the equation -- lots of assaults occur -- sometimes people are even punished for them, on the rare occasion when they get caught, and are somehow, miraculously prosecuted and then convicted. (I still can't believe they sent a doctor to jail for mowing down cyclists. I never would have thought it could happen. But, times change, fortunately.)

and the 'terrorism' charge is not the worst of it -- as i've pointed out before, to be a terrorist you have to intend to kill someone -- and that's just not the case most of the time drivers kill cyclists. Take this recent story (let's skip for now the fact that the article tries to blame the cyclists, even though rear lights are not required in Georgia) -- the SUV driver lady probably didn't intend to kill that cyclist and injure his brother -- she just didn't care enough to look out for them. That's actually worse than terrorism -- it's a wanton disregard for human life. It's like walking over some ants on the sidewalk -- I'm not an 'ant terrorist' if and when I do that, because I don't intend to kill the ants -- I just don't care about them enough to not kill them. we can say the same about the US military bombing civilians all over Iraq and Afghanistan -- weddings, etc. did Rummy intend to bomb that wedding? probably not -- he just didn't care about those people -- like many just don't care about cyclists (which is why WABA's actions were so destructive). pirates and emperors -- you shouldn't be so concerned with what people will think of you -- just concentrate on telling the truth.

by Peter Smith on Feb 4, 2011 3:46 pm • linkreport

Peter, it's telling that you linked to the one example of a driver doing something that would meet the definition of terrorism you mentioned above. I actually don't think it was terrorism, as I think terrorism is an attack at a few individuals meant to strike fear into the masses. The only reason the masses even know about this case is that he got caught, which wasn't part of his plan, whereas a terrorist plans for everyone to know what they did and why they did it so that everyone will be terrified.

But even if we accept this one case as "an act of terrorism". This, and any such acts are so exceedingly rare that it is ridiculous to talk about them happening "daily" as you state above. It's also continues to be overstating the problem to focus on this incredibly rare and universally denigrated act as though it is indicative of a larger movement. It is not.

Not to mention that if you're going to count the rare case of a driver intentionally hitting a cyclist (of which I doubt you can come up with more than one), you'll have to count the times that cyclists swing a bike lock at a car or punch a driver through a window. As that too meets the above definition of terrorism.

Finally, you've done absolutely nothing to back up your statement that these kinds of actions happen daily. Hyperbole is not helping. Why can you just stick to saying these actions happen? Some of them happen frequently. But you have to go all crazy old man and claim they happen daily and dropping in words like terrorism - wherein the political goal is pretty hard to define. The doctor in LA wanted cyclists to stay off his road, that's only a political goal under the most tortured of definitions.

It's shocking that you would end your comment with the admonish to concentrate on telling the truth, since by no means is that what you're doing.

by David C on Feb 4, 2011 4:10 pm • linkreport

Peter, it's telling that you linked to the one example of a driver doing something that would meet the definition of terrorism you mentioned above.

it's a fringe case -- it was just an assault i wanted to link to, not necessarily a terrorist attack/assault.

I actually don't think it was terrorism, as I think terrorism is an attack at a few individuals meant to strike fear into the masses. The only reason the masses even know about this case is that he got caught, which wasn't part of his plan, whereas a terrorist plans for everyone to know what they did and why they did it so that everyone will be terrified.

this was definitely an attack, and it probably struck fear into the masses, and if it didn't, it's because most people would not even consider biking on the streets in the first place, so an attack on a cyclist is like a shark attack on a surfer -- it might be bad news, but i don't surf, so it's not relevant to me -- i.e. i'm not now fearful of getting eaten by a shark. did the good doctor _mean_ to strike fear into the masses, or cyclists, or would-be cyclists, in order to keep cyclists off of 'his' road? that's a good question -- we should ask him.

The only reason the masses even know about this case is that he got caught, which wasn't part of his plan, whereas a terrorist plans for everyone to know what they did and why they did it so that everyone will be terrified.

so, frightened/scared/terrorized/injured/maimed cyclists don't tell tales? dead cyclists lying in ditches don't provide 'valuable lessons' to cyclists and would-be cyclists and society at large?

and thanks for helping make my point about the under-reported nature of the problem. Amy Goodman talks about how, if Americans saw the true face of war for even one full week, we'd all hate war and want to stop war immediately. i feel the same thing about aggression against cyclists -- if we saw the true face of it for even one full week, we'd have Americans up in arms, rallying for more and better physical, legal, and other protection for cyclists, and a universal call for stopping the violence against cyclists.

But even if we accept this one case as "an act of terrorism". This, and any such acts are so exceedingly rare that it is ridiculous to talk about them happening "daily" as you state above. It's also continues to be overstating the problem to focus on this incredibly rare and universally denigrated act as though it is indicative of a larger movement. It is not.

terrorist attacks can be rare, even very rare, and have devastating consequences not just for the immediate victims, but for society as a whole -- see 9/11-->Iraq-->Afghanistan-->Gitmo-->etc.

are these terrorist attacks still happening daily in the DC area? probably. not that many people report these types of problems. even if they wanted to, many times they can't because they're escaping, or lying on the side of the road -- dazed and confused, or they're dead. also, many of the victims are undocumented workers, so they're afraid to report these crimes.

attacking cyclists is 'universally denigrated'? sounds like a stretch, but maybe -- at least, universally denigrated publicly. maybe. The new mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, said cyclists using the road were 'swimming with the sharks' and if they ended up hurt or dead, then they 'got what they deserved' -- this is part of how he got elected. i mean, 'terrorism,' in general, is 'universally denigrated,' right? but it still happens all the time -- with states going around condemning it while they engage in it. US policy, for instance, works hard to increase terrorism every year, and it's been very successful. so does the fact that terrorism is universally denigrated actually mean much/anything if you go around trying (and succeeding) in increasing it year after year? or maybe if you just turn a blind eye to it -- maybe that's ok?

and so these attacks on cyclists are 'universally denigrated' and 'rare' (allegedly), yet every cyclist in the DC region who has been doing it for a couple of years has at least one story of a driver coercing/harassing/terrorizing them. how is that possible? and if you talk to cyclists who actually bike on major roads, the number of incidents they experience skyrockets. but the problem is so rare that we shouldn't worry about it? c'mon.

you'll have to count the times that cyclists swing a bike lock at a car or punch a driver through a window. As that too meets the above definition of terrorism.

that's just weird.

The doctor in LA wanted cyclists to stay off his road, that's only a political goal under the most tortured of definitions.

the good doctor just wanted cyclists of _his_ road? was it his road? a private road? and does he want them off that road, or _all_ of 'his' roads?

and if removing cyclists from the streets is not a political goal, what is it? a field goal?

by Peter Smith on Feb 4, 2011 5:26 pm • linkreport

As per usual, both the article and the comments are (mostly) enlightening. It will be interesting to see what happens in the warmer areas, and what happens with tourist trips.

I agree with the point though: build the infrastructure and people will use it. Don't build the infrastructure, nothing will be there to be used.

Thanks Veronica for the information, from an 18 year Ward 1 pinky yup yup resident who walks, bikes and drives.

--------------------------------------------------
off topic, but replying in thread of post, so here it is anyway
@cc: "I know some gringos think that The United States "of" is "America," excluding all of it's new world neighbors.
--------
What other country in the 3 americas (north, central & south) has America in its name?

What other countries residents calls themselves Americans verse Colombians or Argentinians?
What other country shares a name with the continent it resides upon?
And how many people in north/central/south america refer to themselves as a resident of the Americas? While it is tru we are all residents of the Americas, who identifies with 2 continents?

The British nicknamed residents of their colonies as Americans - as an insult to us (we were not "British"). We took that name as a badge of pride in our revolution, and we will not give it up easily - we are Americans and have been since before any other country in The Americas became its own free country. If the original 13 had been colonized by Spain, then yeah, we'd be estadounidense. But that did not happen (and united-statsian sounds stupid), so yeah, Americans it is.

I hang with many brits, so for fun, we always call my fellow americans "Yanks", especially if they are southerners :) (But only for fun.)

by greent on Feb 4, 2011 5:35 pm • linkreport

Here's a simple case of domestic terrorism (against a cyclist) that just popped up, from Phoenix, Arizona.

i didn't go looking for it, it just popped up in the Streetsblog Network feed -- from the TBAG blog.

it doesn't surprise me. it's just the type of thing I experienced many times as a cyclist (20+ attacks in three years?), and something I read about all the time these days as a cycling advocate.

i like the police response -- 'sorry mate, there were no witnesses' -- i.e. nobody around here would believe you, especially not us or the courts -- you probably just picked up that rearview mirror from the junkyard.

and the victim is lucky the terrorist attacked from the front, so he was able to take active measures to stay alive -- too often the victim never sees it coming, from behind, showing the ultimate cowardice of the attacker.

just another day at the office if you're a cyclist.

here's a google street view of the area.

i wish there was an easy way to divvy up the surrounding 100 or so blocks and let us all search them for this Silver Kia. the terrorist was probably not stupid enough to attack someone in his own neighborhood, but you never know when the google streetview cameras came though -- he could have been visiting a friend, etc. and it was probably a 'he'. it seems like a simple search of some DMV records could narrow the suspects down to just a few folks. Phoenix is a big place, but the Kia is not exactly the most popular car in America. we'd basically be looking for a younger male driver, we'd know the make/model/color of the vehicle, possibly even the year, possibly the area in which the attacker lives, etc.

by Peter Smith on Feb 5, 2011 7:07 pm • linkreport

@Peter, so in your opinion this attack was "calculated"? What political, religious or ideological goals was the driver trying to attain? How does this fit your definition of "terrorism"? And, I'll ask it again, since you didn't answer it last time, how would this philosophically differ from a situation in which a cyclist intentionally hit a car or person with their bike lock?

I can't imagine that any but the tiniest fringe of the populace believes that this is a terrorist attack.

by David C on Feb 5, 2011 11:44 pm • linkreport

@Peter, so in your opinion this attack was "calculated"?

no. i'm guessing not, anyways -- it's not how i would generally use the term 'calculated.'

but if we go by 'calculated' in the Oxford dictionary, then yes:

done with full awareness of the likely consequences:
* a calculated decision
* victims of vicious and calculated assaults
like, did this guy sit at home that morning and plan for what he was going to do that day if and when he encountered a cyclist who was all alone?

i'd guess not. my guess would be that he's just like millions of Americans (and cops) in that he believes that cyclists are 'annoying' and don't belong on the roads and therefore are people who need to be 'taught a lesson.' i suspect the cyclist was, in fact, taught that lesson. other area cyclists will hear that lesson loud and clear, too. and all the people sitting at home, contemplating going for a spin around the block this weekend? yeah, they're not gonna bother with that anymore -- they probably have other things to do this weekend, like live.

fortunately for the future of cycling in America, not many Americans, percentage-wise, are willing to attack innocent people with a deadly weapon just because those innocent people need to be taught a lesson -- and that percentage hopefully continues to fall. that said, whatever it is right now, it's producing a heck of a lot of attacks -- if, on your bike ride, you pass or are passed by 1,000 cars, it only takes one terrorist driver to teach you a lesson.

so you're correct -- without knowing more, i'd say this does not meet the exact definition i quoted -- the first one returned in the google 'define:terrorism' search results (that definition is from WordNet -- a 'lexical database for English' hosted by Princeton). i'm not trying to nitpick -- any generally agreed-upon definition comes close enough. i suspect the reason 'the international community' can't agree on a definition for terrorism is because, if they do it accurately, we're gonna have to issue arrest warrants for a significant percentage of the world's leaders -- including Mr. Obama.

i do like the Oxford definition better:

the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
the Merriam-Webster dictionary is probably not quite as generous to me:
the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
the 'systematic' doesn't necessarily play well with my conception of terrorism -- it seems to imply some centralized authority, or planning, etc.

the dictionary.com definition seems to be pretty common-sense to me, too -- i like it:

the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
simple. straightforward. commonsensical.

the wiki says this:

Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.
The term 'systematic' is used -- same as Merriam-Webster.

The next line in the wiki says this:

No universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism currently exists.[2][3] Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for a religious, political or ideological goal, deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians), and are committed by non-government agencies.
More:
The word "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged,[5] and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. Studies have found over 100 definitions of “terrorism”.[6][7]
so, your mileage may vary.

in a sense, these violent acts against cyclists are sort of like hate crimes -- the only problem is that 'mode of transport' or 'cycling' doesn't seem to fit into the definition of 'social group,' usually defined as a "racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, social status or political affiliation."

i dunno. being a cyclist (who rides on the streets) in America and DC today puts one in a pretty darn small/select group. maybe we _are_ a social group?

hate crimes legislation is definitely a bit weird -- seems obvious to me that most if not all hate crimes are automatic contenders for the 'terrorism' label -- there just aren't any simple crimes called 'Terrorism' that you can charge people with -- unless you superglue a door shut at the local animal laboratory or something -- then you're a terrorist in America, apparently. oh - and i guess the preznit can arbitrarily designate people terrorists and throw them away.

get in the way of profits? terrorist.

mow down bikers? nothing to see here, move along.

like, what is one of the consequences of a hate crime?

effect on the targeted group: generalized terror in the group to which the victim belongs, inspiring feelings of vulnerability over the other members, who could be the next victims.
so, in my mind, if you commit a hate crime, which, by definition, has the potential effect of terrorizing an entire group/class of people, and you're not doing it for some innocent/innocuous cause -- like you're a horror movie director or something -- then you're a terrorist. simple. you'd be a different kind of terrorist from, say, John Negroponte, but you'd be a terrorist nonetheless.

would i be happy enough if we got crimes of this nature, against cyclists, to be classified as hate crimes, with the requisite stiffer penalties? good question. seems like it'd be a step in the right direction, even if it's not spot-on definition-wise. i'd rather we built-up some terrorism-related charges and called them that, because they would be more accurate, but i'll take what i can get.

It'd be a recognition of the fact that these crimes have far-reaching and devastating consequences for society as a whole, beyond those consequences for the victim(s)/friends/family/etc. it would, in my mind, make clear that attacking cyclists in this way constituted terrorism as we commonly understand it -- and that is precisely why the stiffer penalties are required and deserved.

What political, religious or ideological goals was the driver trying to attain?

did you even read my previous response? i answered this directly.

And, I'll ask it again, since you didn't answer it last time, how would this philosophically differ from a situation in which a cyclist intentionally hit a car or person with their bike lock?

you didn't ask it before, so how could you be asking it 'again'?

to the extent that you actually asked a question previously, i already addressed your concern -- to quote myself -- "that's just weird."

to answer this question above, the answer, of course, is 'not at all' (i.e. there is no difference -- a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist) -- presuming we put the same qualifiers on this 'bike lock' crime as we did on the 'car attack' crime -- it's not 'just' a simple crime, revenge crime, crime of opportunity, etc., and it has political/religious/whatever motivations.

I can't imagine that any but the tiniest fringe of the populace believes that this is a terrorist attack.

that may be true, but that's because nobody's ever allowed them to consider that these attacks could be considered terrorist attacks. i'm ready to do my part to educate them. i think, once educated, most people will agree with me. One can imagine easily enough how the Socratic dialogue would play out.

i bet for the couple of folks who bothered to read any of what i wrote in this thread -- let's say 2 people -- at least one of them is thinking, "He writes too much, but he kinda has a point. But something keeps telling me that terrorists have to be Muslim and/or brown-skinned and/or foreign and/or registered Democrats, and they have to kill, like, millions of people at once with like, car bombs and stuff."

It can take a while -- years, even -- to unwind the years of indoctrination, but people do it -- they just need to be allowed to be exposed to different viewpoints. Most drivers in America today, for instance, get to hear a maximum of two viewpoints with respect to our roads: 1) Drivers telling drivers that drivers own the road, and 2) Cycling 'advocacy' organizations, like WABA, attacking cyclists and/or apologizing for something or other and/or asking 'to be respected' and/or some other absurdity. That's not really two viewpoints -- that's one viewpoint, and an abused puppy asking not to be pummeled again.

shoot -- i'd be impressed if more than 10% of Americans could name even two of the entities listed on this page. How many Americans would even know about the Emmett Till case, much less be ready to describe it as terrorism? How many Americans would think to describe the one-lynching-every-other-day epidemic from 1860-1890 as domestic terrorism? How many Americans think it's accurate to describe America as a country that openly harbors terrorists? I mean, the list goes on. It's one of the reasons I'd love to get Al Jazeera here in the US -- just having a different viewpoint would be so eye-opening for most Americans -- i bet it'd be revelatory for millions of people. Which would make our jobs a lot easier -- getting people to think differently about public space/our streets -- not necessarily the easiest thing -- but it can happen -- it's happening. But they need to hear a different point of view. It doesn't even matter if it's right -- it just has to be different.

i previously didn't explicitly mention one of the reasons why crimes against cyclists are under-reported -- sometimes (often?) the cops just don't care.

i did a bit of googling. there is a lot of talk out there about crimes against cyclists being hate crimes and terrorism -- and some gruesome stories, and there are so many. wow. i knew it happened often, but it's kinda tough to look at all at once. this guy doesn't like the term terrorism to describe some drivers (i think his rationale is off.) maybe about same case -- some guy got charged with making a 'terroristic threat' -- what, did he threaten to play Achy Breaky Heart or something?

cyclist hit by cannon fire.

cyclist shot with a bb gun

those are just two links that popped up when i was looking for another story - i met a girl in Sausalito a couple of years ago - was a competitive-type tri-athlete, etc. told me about the time a year or two earlier she got shot at with a shotgun while doing a charity ride in Texas. i looked it up online at the time, just out of curiosity, but couldn't find it this time. stuff happens all the time, unfortunately.

by Peter Smith on Feb 6, 2011 10:16 am • linkreport

Peter (and others), for starters I'd like to ask that if anyone is still reading these comments and is, in fact, thinking about Peter's comments that "he kinda has a point. But something keeps telling me that terrorists have to be Muslim and/or brown-skinned and/or foreign and/or registered Democrats, and they have to kill, like, millions of people at once with like, car bombs and stuff." I'd love to hear from that person.

There is so much more from your last comment that I could go on about (such as "that's just weird" is not an answer, or you don't get to pick and chose the definition you like as the situation changes), but let me focus on the important part.

At one point you seem to be ridiculing people who would equate superglueing a door shut as terrorists. I agree. That's worthy of ridicule. But then, instead of deciding to hold yourself to a higher standard you decide that two can play at that game and to assert that this justifies you defining down the term "terrorism". You are correct that two can play at that game, but you're wrong to thing it serves your purpose.

You use the word "terrorism," because it is an emotionally charged word - worse than murder or assault, both of which would be accurate. You must realize that most people would not define what you've described as terrorism, yet you use the word anyway to get a certain response. To say, "well people are thinking about it right and so I'm justified in deceiving them" is intellectually dishonest. Instaed of rising above that kind of ridiculous misuse of the terminology, you choose to drag cycling advocacy down into the gutter with those other liars.

The great thing about cycling advocacy is that we don't have to be dishonest to win. We have the facts on our side. So when you lie or distort the truth, as you seem inclined to do, you hurt cycling advocacy.

And when you claim that WABA attacks cyclists - an entirely false claim you've never even tried to justify - you hurt DC area cyclists. Which may not even bother you as you're not a cyclist and you don't live in DC.

But as a daily DC cyclist, one who is gratful for the day-in and day-out work that WABA does to advocate for cycling in the area, one who is grateful that Metro buses have bike racks, that I can take my bike on Metro trains most of the day without a special license, that DC has a bike plan and is trying to achieve its goals, that DDOT has not one but five full time employees on its staff who work on bike issues, that the laws of DC have been updtaed numerous times over the last decade - always to the benefit of cyclists, that I don't have to register my bike, that bike parking is being installed all over town, that bicycling is taught to adults and students for free - ALL OF WHICH IS THANKS IN LARGE PART TO WABA - I have to ask you to stop hurting cycling advocacy. Or to at least stop hurting cycling advocacy here. If you must spread your lies, if you must attack (with falsehoods) the people who are working to improve cycling, if you must drag the conversation down to the level where the contest in rhetoric is to see who is most willing to leave integrity behind to score a point - please, please, please do so only in your backyard. Quit peeing in my pool and telling me it kills the bacteria. I don't want your kind of help here, and I don't think anyone else does either.

by David C on Feb 6, 2011 10:40 pm • linkreport

Update on Minnesota Avenue SE Bicycling Conditions:

I rode between the Penn & Minn Ave SE station and the Anacostia Library station this past weekend. Bicycling conditions were much nicer and quicker than I expected. It took me around 8 minutes to ride between stations at a relaxed pace (gear 2 mostly).

Under existing conditions, cycling can be an attractive travel option along this corridor and could be made more attractive with some improvements and additional stations in residential areas.

There are very slight changes in topography that shouldn’t deter most novice cyclists from using Minn Ave. Traffic volumes and speeds were low and most people were generous and gave me plenty of clearance while passing. Recreational riding or off-street options remain through the Anacostia Park.

There is one travel lane in both directions and on-street parking on both sides of the street along most blocks. I forgot to check if parking is restricted during the am and pm rush hours, but there is plenty of space between parked cars and passing traffic to ride. The cross-section seems to be 40’ with 8’ for parking and 12’ travel lanes in both directions.

The quality of riding conditions would be significantly reduced if parking is removed during peak periods and/or traffic volumes and speeds are significantly higher. If on-street parking isn’t restricted during peak periods then bike lanes could be accommodated with little impact to traffic capacity along this corridor and they might improve ped/bike conditions by calming traffic speeds.

I saw a fair amount of people waiting at bus stops during my ride along Minn Ave. The bus routes that serve the Minn Ave corridor connect Benning Road with MLK JR Ave and the two Metrorail stations.

Perhaps improved conditions along Minn Ave and a few stations between Good Hope and Penn Ave and Penn Ave and Benning Road would allow those choosing other modes to consider, try and use bicycles for some trips along this corridor. I think it’s an attractive option and good choice though others may not. Regardless, I think the option should be there given the quality of existing conditions and possibility for improvements.

by michael hurley on Feb 7, 2011 6:39 pm • linkreport

For bad news on Minnesota Avenue...

http://www.thewashcycle.com/2009/06/minnesota-avenue-great-street-presentation.html

by David C on Feb 7, 2011 7:47 pm • linkreport

Here's an idea to boose east of the river ridership: Instead of two or more mega-cars for Kwame Brown and the Mayor, publicly present elected officials with the funny little Capital Bikeshare key, with the first month free.

by Lisa on Feb 22, 2011 12:39 pm • linkreport

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