Monday, April 4, 2011

The DC Bike Budget ...

Beaten to the punch by our friend at the WashCycle, the Mayor's Proposed 2012 budget for the District was unveiled Friday, April 1, 2011.  An initial examination reveals that the conglomeration of functions, programs and projects that make up the District's Bicycle program appears largely unchanged.

According to WashCycle, the District Department of Transportation's bikesharing program achieved its goal of recruiting 2,000 members in 2010 with an ambitious membership goals of 5,000 in 2011, 10,000 in 2012 and 15,000 in 2013; bike trails and facilities were expanded, and then there was a bunch of stuff he didn't understand. Trust me, this is complicated stuff and literally all over the place.  Trails, for example, are not specifically included as part of the bike infrastructure but are obviously used by bicycles and represent millions of dollars in funding.

We will continue to examine the budget and let you know what we find but let us know if you find something interesting that we missed.

To fill in some of that comprehension gap that the WashCycle eluded to, a few highlights are below with budget volume and page locations for specific items:

  • The operating budget contains the amount used to cover salaries office space and certain contracts throughout the next year. Most of the District's bike-related spending occurs in the District Department of Transportation but aspects can appear in several other agencies.

  • The activity that contains many of the functional components of DC Bicycle program, Planning, grew modestly by $287,000 to a proposed total budget of about $3.34 million, which does not include salaries.  Most of the salary costs appear to be contained elsewhere in the Planning, Policy and Sustainability division, which contains the Planning activity or within the Capital fund budget and may have certain bike-sharing aspects that appear in the Progressive Transportation Services division, within the Mass Transit activity (Vol. 3, District Department of Transportation chapter, pages F-17, F-18, F-20).

  • The purpose of the Planning activity is to develop vehicular and non-vehicular transportation projects and activities, including planning and designing bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects and initiatives.  Certain bike-related contracts are contained within the larger Planning, Policy and Sustainability division and it appears that funding in this area may have decreased (Vol. 3, District Department of Transportation chapter, pages F-18).

  • Some Bike-related funding is derived from a $3.0 million National Highway Transportation Safety Administration grant (Vol. 5; Public Works Appropriation title; page F-27).

  • The Office of Unified Communications is providing funding to better process non-emergency calls, which include the reporting of stolen bicycles (Vol. 2; Office of Unified Communications chapter; page C-128).

  • As a way to increase revenue for the District and defray certain costs, a there is a Mayor's policy proposal to allow DDOT to sell advertising on bike sharing stations through an agreement with Capital Bikeshare, the operators of the bike sharing program in the District, which is estimated to collect $500,000 (Vol 1; Revenue chapter; pages 4-9, 4-17, 4-19).

  • DDOT hopes to install 10 additional miles of bike lane markings in 2012 (Vol. 3, District Department of Transportation chapter, page F-26).
  • The six-year District Capital Improvement Program (CIP) (Fiscal Years 2012-2017) represent the  proposed spending on near and long-term major construction initiatives of the District.  This funding is comprised of several types of financing instruments including General obligation bonds, funding from the District's parking tax, and taxes on motor fuel. Much of the funding that creates bicycling facilities is derived from CIP funding. The budget shows funding from several different fiscal years, certain new projects for 2012 have Project Descriptions.

  • The Fiscal Year 2012 CIP budget for bicycling includes approximately $9.78 million for projects that are bike-specific. The true spending may be somewhat higher if funding for road and sidewalk maintenance is considered (for example the District considers sidewalk cuts as a bicycle-related service) (Vol.6; Project Description Forms section; page H-20, KA0-6, KA0-11, KA0-14 ).
  • The Capital Bikeshare program is almost entirely supported by capital funding and is shown in the Travel Demand Management project.  The total projected spending for the project in fiscal year 2012 totals about $4.5 million ($1.03 million in salaries and $3.5 million in design and construction-related costs.  The total six-year CIP budget for Capital Bikeshare totals approximately $19.4 million (Vol.6; Project Description Forms section; page H-20).

  • Of the three main CIP objectives, the increase of non-vehicular transportation modes and providing safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists (as well and vehicles) are included (Vol.6; Project Description Forms section; page KA0-1).

  • The fiscal year 2012 budget contains $16.2 million for improvements to South Capitol Street, downgrading it from an expressway to an urban boulevard and gateway to the District of Columbia’s Monumental Core Additional park lands will be created in the area adjacent to the new bridge to promote livable communities, expand recreational options, and reconnect the city to the Anacostia riverfront.  This should include funding to improve pedestrian and bicycle access.   (Vol.6; Project Description Forms section; page H-11).
    This is just the initial review of the budget, more analysis is likely at the District Department of Transportation FY 2012 budget hearing, scheduled to occur Thursday, April 21, 2011, beginning at 10:00a until they stop.  Tommy Wells, Chair of the Public Works and Transportation Committee,  will preside.