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South Capitol FEIS: BAC recommendations

South Capitol FEIS: BAC recommendations

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This document contains the opinion of the DC Bicycle Advisory Council regarding the analysis of the alternatives presented in the District of Columbia Department of Transportation study that rebuilds South Capital Street, the Douglass Bridge and the approaching streets and highways.
This document contains the opinion of the DC Bicycle Advisory Council regarding the analysis of the alternatives presented in the District of Columbia Department of Transportation study that rebuilds South Capital Street, the Douglass Bridge and the approaching streets and highways.

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Published by: D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council on Jul 26, 2013
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District of Columbia Bicycle AdvisoryCouncil
 TO:
Joseph Dorsey
 
Project Manager District Department of TransportationInfrastructure Project Management Administration
DATE:
May 11, 2011
 
SUBJE
CT:
 
District of Columbia Bicycle Advisory Council Response to theSouth Capitol Street FEIS and the Preferred Build Alternative
 
The
District of Columbia Bicycle Advisory Council (BAC)
has examined the South CapitolStreet Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) April 2011. BAC is concerned that certain bicycle and pedestrian facilityimprovements appear to be excluded from the FEIS. BAC is requesting that DDOT consider thebicycle accessibility improvements discussed in this document.BAC representatives are appointed by members of the Council of the District of Columbia toprovide recommendations on proposed legislation related to bicycling; advise the Mayor andgovernment agencies on current and planned bicycling facilities; and act as the liaison betweenthe District residents and the legislative and executive branches regarding bicycling issues.BAC has determined that while the FEIS marginally improves pedestrian and bicycle accessthrough the project corridor, including the replacement of the Fredrick Douglass MemorialBridge and the roads approaching it, certain positive bicycle and pedestrian improvementsincluded in build alternatives 1 and 2 are absent. The improvements in the alternatives wouldprovide an additional level of safety for users while augmenting the FEIS’s multi-modal aspects.In addition, the selected alternative does not fully comply with recommendations within the
District of Columbia Bicycle Master Plan (Plan)
or the design guidelines for bike facilities asstated in the
District of Columbia Bicycle Facility Design Guidelines
document.The Plan stipulates on page 20,
Recommendation 1.4.
 
Improve bridge access for bicyclists,
 that:
Space for bicyclists must be provided on street and highway bridge structures and in theroadway corridors under the structures. Where the bridge replacement project impactsother roadways, bicycle access must be provided on these roadways.
 
The Plan further states that the South Capitol Street Bridge from Anacostia and Capitol Hill is a“top priority” bridge corridor. This suggests that this street and bridge have a special focus as aprimary transportation connection for bicycles. Further, the FEIS does not appear to fullycomply with
Recommendation 1.9. Initiate focused trail planning efforts to eliminate gaps in theBicycle Route Network and trail network 
(page 26). Historic Anacostia is specifically addressedin the following statement:
… link residential neighborhoods, schools, and metro stations along the east side of the Anacostia River and could be extended to St. Elizabeth’s (hospital).
BAC is concerned that on both sides of the Anacostia, the FEIS marginalizes bicycle access.For example, the FEIS states that the replacement of the Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue Bridgeover the Suitland Parkway will only have an 8 foot wide sidewalk instead of a 12 foot wide trail,as stated in another build alternative. While the FEIS contends that this reduction was made toaccommodate the abutting church, the narrowness of the sidewalk in this location and on theadjacent sidewalk in front of the Anacostia Metrorail station (Howard Road SE frontage) makethis particular section problematic. This narrowing of the bridge may increase the likelihood of conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists. As mentioned, the FEIS does not appear to provide improved pedestrian and bicycle access tothe Anacostia Metrorail station, limiting the project’s multi-modal effectiveness. Pedestrian andbicycle access appears particular narrow near the station, making it difficult for bicyclists andpedestrians to pass. The project should clearly identify road and sidewalk improvements alongMartin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Howard Road and the surrounding streets. The project appearsto make marginal improvements and fails to expand pedestrian and bicycle access, which isdifficult due to narrow sidewalks and a lack of bike lanes.Upon careful consideration, BAC supports the following recommendations to improve bicycleaccess and promote safer interaction between motorist and pedestrians within the project area:1. Providing bike routes where bike lanes, facilities or multi-use trails are recommended inthe Bicycle Master Plan on the following streets in order to improve safety andaccessibility, which could include the removal of potential obstacles and increasing thewidth of certain sidewalks from 8 feet to 12 feet along sections of the follow streets:
Ɣ
Howard Road SE
Ɣ
Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE
Ɣ
Firth Sterling Avenue SE2. Adding improvements to the Sutiland Parkway trail so that it complies with standardsstipulated in the District of Columbia Bicycle Facility Design Guidelines and allows for the safe crossing of pedestrians and cyclists across Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE tothe Anacostia Metrorail station.

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