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for the District of Columbia Bicycle Advisory Council Committee on the Environment, Public Works and Transportation Council of the District of Columbia March 2, 2012 The Honorable Mary Cheh, Chairman
Good morning Chairman Cheh and members of the Committee on the Environment, Public Works and Transportation. I am Randall Myers, an At-Large board member of the Bicycle Advisory Council (BAC) and I am pleased to present testimony today before this Committee.
I would like to briefly discuss BAC’s current and planned outreach into District communities and our involvement with the Mayor’s Sustainable DC initiative.
This year, BAC members have become more proactive in their efforts to engage the bicycling public. We have created a blog and twitter account to stay in contact with the public but we also continue to meet with the public directly. BAC members have attended the several meetings recently including preliminary planning meetings for the replacement of the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River, the Ward 7 Transportation Summit, a town hall meeting regarding Anacostia bike paths, and the Anacostia Metrorail station Charrette. We will continue working with the Metropolitan Police Department to help develop educational tools and policies for the Police and the public; reviewing legislation that protects and promotes bicycling; and riding throughout the District to study bicycling infrastructure problems and progress. However, one of the more promising meetings BAC members, the public and District agencies are attending involve the Mayor’s Sustainable DC initiative.
The Sustainable DC initiative is a multi-faceted discussion between District residents, experts, business
leaders and policy makers to create a comprehensive plan to make the District a more efficient, healthy and environmentally responsible city. Sustainability working groups include energy, water, the built environment, nature, the green economy and transportation. My colleagues and I have participated in the transportation working group meetings, which focus on reducing car usage and its negative effects, creating a better public transportation network, making freight transport more efficient, and making bicycling and walking attractive and safe transportation options.
The bicycling and pedestrian subgroup created a list of goals and actions. A draft list is included with my testimony. The Sustainable DC transportation work group is currently consolidating these goals and actions into a comprehensive Sustainable DC document. However, BAC would like Council to consider adopting the broader ideas recommended by the bicycling subgroup. Essentially, for the District to attract more people to bicycling we need to create a comprehensive transportation policy. This would involve creating an integrated and equitable transportation network that includes distinctive bike route signage, protected bike lanes, cycle tracks, better and more plentiful bike racks, and other amenities across all Wards, especially within Wards 7 and 8; providing road usage education to all users; creating incentives for employers and employees to bicycle or walk to work; and, ensuring that District agencies work together to incorporate bicycling consideration into the design of facilities, planning, public outreach, and contracting and procurement.
The Sustainable DC initiative incorporates much of what BAC hopes to accomplish: creating a safe, integrated bicycling network for all District residents, visitors and commuters. It is anticipated that the Mayor will include a Sustainable DC proposal within the Fiscal Year 2013 budget he will transmit to the Council March 23. While many of the actions and goals identified in the transportation work group may be achievable within current resources, others will require additional funding not just in the Fiscal Year
2013 budget but for years to come. BAC supports this initial effort to create a more equitable and efficient transportation system that includes bicyclists and pedestrians. However, the implementation of this initiative will require leadership from the District Department of Transportation, other District agencies, the Mayor and the Council to avoid a lost of focus.
Thank you for allowing me to testify today; I welcome your questions.
Sustainable DC Transportation Working Group
Bike / Pedestrian sub group breakout session held January 11, 2012
GOALS Bicycle and pedestrian services in the District should incorporate the following goals in its future transportation planning: ● Accessibility ● Convenience ● Resilience ● Serve a mobile population ● Improve overall quality of life ● Reduce impact on the environment ● Reduce overall transportation costs / impact for District residents ● Reduce social costs ● Reduce congestion ● Improve safety for all road users ACTION ITEMS The following action items detail what ways the District can make bicycle and pedestrian transit more viable for District residents: 1. Create walkable and bikeable District neighborhoods ● Zoning and planning regulations that support creating mixed use District neighborhoods that provide basic amenities (i.e. schools, grocery stores, health care, businesses, residential centers, etc) in order that residents can easily walk or bike within their neighborhoods. ● Better organization between District agencies (Office of Planning, DDOT, DPW, DCPS, DMPED, DGS, DDOE, DOH, etc.) so that they incorporate bicycle and pedestrian consideration into project planning 2. Streets and sidewalks should be designed to be safe and comfortable for bicycling and pedestrian uses. Improvements include: ● Effective ‘people scale’ street lighting ● Eliminate reversible driving lanes during rush hour ● Improve cross walk design ● Streets and sidewalks should include space or consideration of bicycle and pedestrian facilities including bike parking and curb cuts. They should be of adequate width to allow for reasonable use without obstacles (telephone polls, mailboxes, etc). Street design should be ADA compliant, which would also make it more suitable for bicyclists and pedestrians 3. Bicycle and Pedestrian use included in all transportation metrics ● More data on actual bicycle/pedestrian usage to improve facilities ● Better accommodation of bicycle and pedestrian needs at timed signals 4. Increase bicycling / walking mode share by 5 percent a year
5. A more supportive bicycling infrastructure and facilities that includes: ● More bikeways (i.e. bike paths/trails, bike lanes, cycletracks, sharrows, etc.) ● Emergency Support (this would include support that aids bicyclists who suffer mechanical problems while riding, similar to a program operating in Columbus, Ohio. Would include a ride home or assistance with basic repairs. Could be managed by the District or private business) ● Showers and locker requirements in commercial buildings ● Safe, secure bike parking (Examples include the District’s Bikestation at Union Station and the West Coast Bike Link bike parking system) ● Better bike access / parking at Metrorail stations (could this include 1) bike racks on metro and 2) better bike/ped connections to Metrorail stations?) ● Reducing motorist speeds by reintroducing congestion-based rates for parking during rush hour on major streets ● Creating a speed grading system for streets ● Better bike / trail signage (i.e. better wayfinding) 6. Provide more comprehensive outreach and education for all road and street users. This includes better education regarding the rules of the road for: ● Taxicabs ● Trucks ● Bicyclists ● Pedestrians ● Bus drivers ● This education program would also include the explanation of the benefits of biking and walking: a. Better health (lower overall health costs for the District government and residents b. Lower infrastructure costs (reduced need to repair or replace streets and roads) c. Commercial economic benefits (creating a more pedestrian-centered community encourages more foot traffic at local stores and businesses, which could have an added effect of reducing the opportunity for crime) d. Traffic laws (for all road users) 7. Better bicycling / pedestrian connectivity and coordination ● Connectivity includes consideration of pedestrian and bicycle needs across the District with particular emphasis on Anacostia River crossings a. East Capitol street has no bike or pedestrian access b. Benning road over the freight railroad and Anacostia Freeway access is narrow, poorly maintained and difficult to access c. No pedestrian access along or across route 50 (New York Avenue NE) as it passes over the river d. Sousa Bridge (Pennsylvania Avenue SE) access has challenging crossings when pedestrians must cross vehicle traffic accessing or departing I295 and I395. e. Construction on replacement for the 11th Street SE bridge underway f. Fredrick Douglass Bridge (South Capitol Street) in planning g. Better connectivity amongst and to the existing trail/bike ways network (i.e. linking existing bath lanes and trails to each other, making it possible to get across or around the city solely or primarily on trails or bike lanes?) h. More bike lanes across Ward 7 and 8, particularly improved North-South
connections including: ■ Bike lane on Minnesota Ave. (making a connection from downtown Anacostia to Massachusetts and up to East Capitol St. & Deanwood neighborhoods) ■ Extended Alabama Ave bike lane (from Congress Heights metro station to upcoming Skyland Town Center development) ■ Bike lane on Good Hope Rd. (up to Alabama Ave.) Traffic on certain major streets restrict reasonable crossing distances and road speeds for bikes and pedestrian especially where roads cross into other jurisdictions. The District should work with other jurisdictions / entities to promote traffic calming and construction of sidewalks, bikeways and trails across these borders to create a regional bicycling and walking system. 8. Employer participation incentive ● Businesses should be encouraged to provide incentives for their workers to use bikes. This could include local tax credits for the construction of showers and locker facilities or the implementation of the federal transportation credits for biking.
Sustainable DC - Transportation - Bicycles and Pedestrian group members Christine Burgess Megan Van de Mark Randall Myers Andrea Peet Stacy Weisfeld With assistance from Ellen Jones (Transportation Group Lead) and Sam Zimbabwe (DDOT)
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