Saturday, April 30, 2011

Picture This

(photo by thedceye)
A beautiful day near a CaBi station near the Brookland - CUA Metro station.  Just one thing, too many bikes but we talked about this before...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Is Metrorail hostile to bikes?

Bikes are allowed, just not welcomed
(photo by thedceye)
Despite its faults, Metrorail is a good subway system.

No, really.

When compared to other systems in the country, it does double duty as a regional commuter rail and an urban heavy rail system.  While that comparison seems natural to us only a few systems, like Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco, travel as far and as frequently as Metrorail.

That said, it's not perfect.  Through countless blogs, reports, tweets and articles, the operations of the Washington Area Transportation Authority  (WMATA) are subject to intense scrutiny.  To some, its policies and practices seem to occasionally be counterproductive, making customers feel like they are imposing when they question why it takes a year to fix an escalator or why train operators sometimes allow 5 seconds for passengers to board and disembark trains at crowded stations.

In one respect; however, Metrorail seems downright hostile -- when it comes to bringing bikes on its trains.  Hopefully this will change as a result of the system's new effort to expand mode share to its stations; but there is some concern that the predispositions of the operators of the system is to limit bicycle accessibility and usability of its trains.

Far Northeast Livability Study

(photo courtesy of DDOT
historical photo archive)
DDOT Supervisory Transportation Planner, Jim Sebastian provided information about the Far Northeast Livability Study, which will present transportation and other development recommendations including those that support pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

The purpose of the study is to improve access to transportation options and increase the level of safety in the use of transportation modes.

The community meeting will be Saturday, April 30, 2011 between 10:00a to 12:00p at the Department of Employment Services headquarters, a few steps from the Minnesota Avenue Metro station.

The address is:
4058 Minnesota Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20019

For more information visit the website, contact Gabe Onyeador at or call (202) 671-0590

Thursday, April 28, 2011

May BAC Meeting

The DC Bicycle Advisory Council will meet Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 6:00pm.

Discussion will include:

  • Public Transit and Bike Parking with Kristin M. Haldeman, WMATA
  • Capital Bike Share Expansion update
  • Anacostia River Trail update
  • Committee updates

Our meetings are held at:
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street NW
11th Floor, South
Washington, DC 20001

View Larger Map

BAC meetings are open to the public; however, you will need government-issued identification in enter the building.  Limited bike parking is available at the building entrance and is at the 4th street exit of the Judiciary Square Station on the Red Line.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Does Cabi have staying power?

Just another pretty face?
(photo by R. Myers)
Remember former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin?  When she was selected by John McCain as his running mate in August of 2008 during his Presidential campaign, some said that her looks, the fact that she was a woman, her eye winks, her "momma grizzlies" and "you betchas", helped invigorate the McCain campaign and the Republican party.   She was popular, and some have even said cool

However, according to a recent Gallop / USA Today poll as discussed by Jon Terbush of TPM, 38 percent of respondents said they viewed Palin favorably, while 53 percent said they viewed her unfavorably, which is the worse rating she has experienced since she arrived from Alaska.

Currently, the region's Capital Bikeshare system (Cabi) is riding a wave of  popularity.  It's new, it's attractive and and most people like it.  It fills a transportation gap that cars, Metro and walking couldn't completely fill.  However, is that popularity based purely on how the bikes look, because is affordable or is it a substantive reason based on the view that Cabi as a better transportation alternative for short or medium distances trips?  Once the notion of coolness ebbs, will people still use the system?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Council At-Large Election tomorrow: who's talking about bikes?

(Image from
Just a reminder, Tuesday, April 26, 2011 is the date for the District's Special Election for Council of the District of Columbia and certain members of the District's Board of Education.  Specifically, the Council election will determine who will fill the At-Large seat vacated by the election of Kwame Brown as Council Chairman last November. The election has several candidates, with information about them available here.

As part of the election process, each candidate was either asked questions by various organizations or provided information on their websites about a variety of topics.  Regarding bicycling, the candidate websites were examined to determine if there were any mentioned of bicycling-related terms.

Candidates without information are not necessarily opposed to bicycling, just that this information was not available as of today. Conversely, having a statement that refers to biking does not necessarily mean they are advocates.

Cycle and Recycle: Biking in DC: #1 Be Seen at Night

BAC Member Meridith Begin offers some great suggestions regarding bike lights and how best to be seen at night.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Calling All Bikeshare Geeks

The intrepid Lydia DePillis finds some interesting information about the contract between Alta and DDOT and Cabi usage data.

The First 100 days

Joshua Marks, a blogger for the Washington Examiner, writes about an incident with Mayor Vincent Gray when a reporter asked about the continuation of the District's transition to a more bike-friendly city.    The title of the story states that the Mayor answered the question  in a "testy" fashion - implying that the Mayor took umbrage at the apparent accusation that former Mayor Adrian Fenty and former DDOT Director Gabe Klein had the only progressive ideas regarding bicycling transportation.  Perhaps now at 100 days, we should look at what has happened or what should have happened.

The 100-day
nexus (which ended on or around April 13, 2011 depending on when you start counting) is a completely arbitrary number and doesn't necessarily mean that what has happened will continue.  After all, many feel that Gray's first months were rocky at best.  That said, is was both a little disconcerting and ironic to read in the Examiner article that the Mayor reminded everyone that when he visited the Paris Auto Show he also noticed and subsequently toured the Vélib’ bike sharing program. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Laurie Collins, (Coalition to Repair and Reopen Klingle Road) & William Carroll regarding expense and practicality of keeping the $7m repaired road car free

DDOT hearing (4-21-11)

DDOT hearing by uno000
DDOT hearing, a photo by uno000 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Good conversation about progress toward complete streets, at least initially.

D. Alpert - discussion on bike share. CM Wells hopes to double size of Cabi fleet in two years using federal grants. Change the law to allow private organizations to purchase bike stations.
D. Alpert testifying - Ad revenue in bike legislation for Cabi should stay in DDOT and not be allocated elsewhere.
The DDOT hearing has begun. Discussion regarding expanding positions in DDOT to manage - expand Bikesharing for business.
DDOT hearing delayed due to police activity near the Reagan building.

Now that Cabi has a core, what about the rest of us?

Finally #2 by uno000
Finally, a photo by uno000 on Flickr.
As Capital Bikeshare adds 5 new stations with 20 more on the way and the addition of thousands of new members in the last few weeks, it's time to start asking about what's next for the system, or more specifically, who's next?

David Alpert asks "Where should 25 new Capital Bikeshare stations go?", on Greater Greater Washington but more specifically, what about the rest of us?  While the saturation in the core will help Cabi cement its self as a short distance transportation option, there are vast areas of the city that have few stations.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bike thefts hit a Logan condo

Pat Collins of NBC 4 reports in the video below about the brazen theft of bikes plaguing a condo near 13th and N Street in Northwest near Logan Circle. A total of 1,142 bikes where reported stolen last year in the District, with the actual number probably much higher.

View more videos at:

By way of WABA, the bike lock manufacture Kryptonite offers some tips on how to thwart would be thieves.  Unfortunately, poor Kent McCarthy did most of those things and still lost his bike.  While there appear to be other problems that contribute to why his bike was stolen (like the ease at which people are allowed to enter the building), the main problem appears to be that the bikes are not properly changed to a proper bike rack.

The District's Bicycle Parking Expansion Amendment Act of 2010 requires that large commercial and residential buildings to provide adequate and safe bike parking.  Kent's condo should have had a relatively expensive rack installed.  In the words of Kent,"A lock isn't a sure thing", but there are ways to reduce you're likelihood of coming to find that your bike is gone.

A two-square foot building pillar seem ideal to lock a bike but actuality it is not safe because it's too wide and relies on the relative thinness of a 6 ft. wire.  While Kent used two locks, he used a vinyl-wrapped chain, which has a notorious incidence of failure if you buy it on the cheap.  Brandy Willingham of the site Mademan offers a lists of the 5 best cable locks, but most of these are short and relatively thick, focusing on wrapping around a proper bike rack.  As a way to make the bike less appealing, add a quick release to the front or rear wheel and take it with you. Taking a bike without a wheel makes it difficult simply ride off with it.

Cross-posted on Rollin'.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stay calm, don't panic, bikes on the road

Mike Goodno of DDOT posted a link to a newspaper article by Jeff Heinrich in the Montreal Gazette claiming that bike sharing in Montreal has a traffic calming effect and few bike share riders are involved in crashes. 

The report also lists common problems associated with biking in Montreal, which appears to be as problematic as biking in the District.  Suzanne Lareau, who is the director of the Vélo-Québec cycling organization stated that because its bike sharing program, Bixi, removes its bikes due to the harsh winters,
When spring arrives, the bikes come out and everyone has to get back into the habit of sharing the road. In winter, there aren't that many cyclists, so drivers are often surprised to see them again when the weather turns nice.
Hopefully, according to Mike, we'll see similar results here (and, hopefully, we'll be able to track this data).  There's also a list of common situations that contribute to crashes.

Gabe Klein finds a windy place to ride

According to Angie Schmitt and Streetsblog, the former head of the District Department of Transportation is headed to Chicago.  With much chagrin and gnashing of teeth from some who live in the District, the Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel elected to take a chance and have Klein manage transportation the nation's third largest city. 

Good luck.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Upcoming Webinar: Integrating Bicycles and Streetcars

Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals to host a webinar on the integration of bicycles with streetcars


When: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern

Register here:

DDOT FY 2012 Proposed Budget Hearing

According to the D.C.Council's legislative calendar, the Fiscal Year 2012 Proposed Budget Hearing for District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will be held Thursday,  April 21, 2011 in room 123 of the John A.Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania  Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20004.

DDOT contains the District's Bicycle program and this hearing allows the public to provide comments or suggestions regarding this the program prior to the implementation of the fiscal year budget for 2012, which begins October 1, 2011.

If you wish to testify about the performance of DDOT, the Committee on Public Works and Transportation  recommends the following:
  • Contact Tawanna Shuford, Committee Constituent Services Director, Committee on Public Works and Transportation, at 724-8195 or e-mail her at Leave your name, contact information, the topic about which you wish to testify.  
  • The Committee should be notified at least 48 hours before the hearing. 
  • Bring 15 copies of written testimony.  
  • Public witness are typically given 3 minutes to make an opening statement.
  • Witness appearing on behalf of a bona fide organization is typically given 5 minutes to make an opening statement.
The hearing will begin at 10:00a and last most of the day, with public witness and organizational representatives usually going then followed by government witnesses.   The Chairperson of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation is Tommy Wells with  Council members Mary M. Cheh, Muriel Bowser, Jim Graham, and Harry Thomas, Jr. as members of the committee.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sprockets and Spokes

Lydia DePillis of the Washington City Paper wrote good article about the region's bike sharing program, Capital BikeShare, as she rides with Juan Botero as he distributes bikes across city. While most of the article discussed the growing pains of bike program's operators, Alta, and the changes in the program from the Smartbike pilot to now, she also describes a bicycle divide separated by the Anacostia River.

Treehugger was talking a lot about bike parking this week, with each concept just as intriguing as the last:
In another Greater Greater Washington Great Debate, the sites contributors discussed if that Living Social CaBi deal from last week was great or too great.

Bad Gas

Almost 3 years ago, when the nation was flirting with or surpassing $4.00 a gallon for gas, several news outlets reported that it would be a boon for cycling.  As gas prices increased there would be a corresponding increase in the use of other transportation modes, like bikes, they said. Some would argue that while there was a short-term increase, as gas prices went down so do the fascination with the bicycling alternative.  The question now is that because the Great Gas Price Monster as returned will that mean more people will convert to bikes or will it once again simply be a temporary blip?

If high gas prices mean you drive less, does necessarily mean that people will do less or does it mean that people are slowly understanding that driving exclusively may not be the answer? 

Assuming that people are slowly learning to drive less and seek alternatives like biking especially to areas close to them what will it take to get people to consider bikes?

The website EcoVelo also asked the question but also says the the sense of urgency to find an alternative to driving is not as pronounced as it was in 2008. 

According to an article in the Huffington Post and on other websites, a large credit card company reported that drivers bought 2.7 billion gallons of gas the week of April 3, 2011,  a decrease of 3.6 percent from the same period in 2010, when it was 80 cents cheaper. 

This is puzzling according to the author because Americans typically curb their driving only as a last resort, after sacrificing other forms of discretionary spending, like shopping for new clothes, or going to movies, concerts and restaurants.  Hopefully, it's not as puzzling as the author thinks.  Maybe it also means that more people are looking to do more locally and use alternatives like public transportation, biking and walking.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Never too old for pedal power

The Housing Complex section of the Washington City Paper had an article by Alex Baca about Jan Gehl, a Danish planner and regular bicyclist who's been married for 45 years, and what he sees as the failing of cars and how they interact with people, among other things.  Demographic information gathered from the US Department of Transportation, states that bicyclists 65 and older make up 5 percent of all bike trips so his insight at 75 years old is important.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Whose fault is it anyway? Contributory vs. comparative negligence

A few weeks ago, a certain BAC member stumbled while trying to explain the somewhat complicated legal terms called contributory and comparative negligence during a BAC oversight hearing (which you can see here)This topic has been discussed by several outlets over the past few years because according to WABA, it is essentially a "blame the victim liability standard".  Understanding these terms may make the difference between you getting something for injuries sustained in an accident, especially if you are biking or walking around the District, Maryland or Virginia (1). 

If an accident occurs, the assigning of fault or responsibility determines if the plaintiff (the person making a claim - usually the injured) or the defendant (the person or entity defending themselves against a claim) can receive compensation to repair themselves or their property.   Negligence is a legal term that assigns fault to someone a court determines as reckless or engages in actions that lead to property damage or injury that could have been avoided.  Contributory and comparative negligence are legal doctrines and defense strategies that, among other things, help determine fault and is compensation is should be granted.

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:

Gettting ready for Bike to Work day...

Bike to work day is coming up in about 6 weeks.  Remember, registration is now open - do it now so you won't forget because its important to show the region just how many people ride and that bicycling is more than just recreation but also a legitimate mode of transportation. 

Also, get your bike in good working order because it will be too late the night before.

To get into the mood, I found the video below from last year's ride made by, an organization that apparently no longer exist but still, but produced a nice video nonetheless...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pedal Pushers Club bike swap

The Pedal Pushers Club will have its first bike swap this Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 from  8:30a - 2p at in front of the North Hall of Eastern Market at the corner of 7th Street SE and North Carolina Ave in DC.

The buying and selling of used bikes, bike parts, and cycling clothes will be ramped.  You can also meet local bicycle-related nonprofits like WABA and Bikes for the World.

The event is sponsored by Capital Hill Bikes, Pound Coffee, WABA and other organization like Bikes for the World, Bike House, Velo City Co-op, Capital Hill Bike Share and Phoenix Bikes.

Ride to celebrate the life of Marvin Gaye

This Saturday, April 2, 2011,  marks the celebration of Marvin Gaye. What better way to do that than to have a 26-mile bike tour of the area where he was born and raised -- right here in the District.

The Mt. Rainier Bike CO-OP is sponsoring the free Marvin Gaye Day Bike Tour and celebration, which will commence at its shop, 3601 Bunker Hill RD, Mt.  Rainier, MD 20712 at 11:00a. 

The 26-mile ride will begin around noon, traversing areas of the District that were touched by Marvin which include his birth place, his high school, his homes and dwellings -one where a new bike shop is opening at Central Avenue and Maryland Park Drive: Maryland Park Bicycles.