Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BAC - FAC Meeting - Metropolitan Connectivity Ride

Please join the Bicycle Advisory Council's Facilities Committee (BAC FAC) for a ride August 10, 2013 to check on signage and trail connectivity between the District and the trails of Prince Georges County.  The ride will began at approximately 10:00am at the NOMA Gallaudet Metrorail station. Please arrive at the starting point a few minutes beforehand. The ride should last no more than three hours.

Specifically, the ride will begin at the NOMA Gallaudet Metrorail station (near the N Street NE entrance) and will travel north on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The route will pass the new trail extension, which runs besides the nearly completed Monroe Street Market. The ride will then turn east near Fort Totten and use the streets and trails that connect the District to the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia Tributary trail system in Maryland. We will return using a similar route.

This connection differs from the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail route, which runs parallel to the Anacostia River. While the the Riverwalk trail is more scenic, this route could potentially provide access to the District for hundreds of daily commuters and recreational travelers. BAC will examine some of the barriers to the trail's completion and provide suggestions the District Department of Transportation.

Please contact Jeanie Osburn ( if you have questions about the ride.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you and hope you can contribute to making the District better for bicycling.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bimonthly Safety, Education and Enforcement Committee Meeting - August 21

The Safety, Education and Enforcement Committee (SEE) will hold its bimonthly meeting Wednesday, August 21st, 6 PM at Busboys and Poets, 5th and K Street, NW. Hopefully, we can sit outside on the patio. We invite all interested bicyclists to attend as the meeting is open to the public.

Please RSVP Ellen Jones, the Ward 3 Bicycle Advisory Council Chair, at and bring your ideas on the 21st.

The purpose of the meeting is 2-fold:
  • Establish priorities for the SEE committee to work on in the coming fiscal year
  • Elect a chairperson. Appointed BAC members will be able to vote for the chairperson, but the chairperson need not be an appointed BAC member.
Ellen Jones attended the most recent DC Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) meeting. The PAC expressed ideas that they are considering for its FY 14 workplan, which BAC shares with the PAC.

Friday, July 26, 2013

South Capitol Street EIS Meeting May Provide Better Bike Connections

Bridge Connections
Bridge Connections by Ranpuba, on Flickr
The South Capitol Street Corridor Project will dramatically change major street so that it becomes an inviting thoroughfare that leads people to the District's core. The question is will it be a good bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians?

Officially called the South Capitol Street Final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS), a meeting will be held Tuesday, July 30, 2013 to discuss the current plans for the street, which includes the replacement of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, its approaches on both sides of the Anacostia River in Wards 6 and 8, and the rebuilding of highway interchanges at interstate 295 and the Suitland Parkway to its beginnings near the Capitol grounds.

The South Capitol Street Corridor Project Information Update Meeting will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 “I” Street, SW. The nearest Metrorail station is the Green Line (Navy Yard-Ballpark). Bike parking will be limited.

Ciclovía What?

The Spanish term "Ciclovía" (pronunciation) or open streets effectively means a temporary and periodic closing of a street to motorized vehicle traffic and opening it for pedestrians, bicycles and other uses. Created in Bogota, Columbia in the 1970s, it's an event that typically happens once a month or more, removing automobile parking and closing streets to car traffic for part or all of a day. While bicycling is the major attraction, many the streets are opened for mass exercising, small concerts and other activities. In many cases, local businesses participate by temporarily moving seating or functions into the street or onto the sidewalk.

While other cities like Portland, Atlanta, Baltimore and New York have events like this regularly, the District does not. What if we did? What if U Street were closed each Sunday morning from Georgia Avenue to 18th Street NW? What about M Street NW between the Key Bridge and 28th Street one Saturday morning a month?

BAC would like your suggestions for streets that could be good candidates for a District Ciclovía. While there are currently no plans to introduce this concept, BAC is compiling a list of bike issues and bike ideas that we could present to the District government. Why not add this idea to our list?

Please let us know what you think by using the survey below.

The District has limited experience with open streets and has been discussed in the past, but really hasn't happened. According to Washcycle the July 4 Independence day celebration on the National Mall, the mass closure of downtown streets to cars allowed for an "unofficial" Ciclovía. Bike DC, a once-a-year closure of several District streets for bicycling, had elements of a Ciclovía, but it was cancelled for 2013. Beach Drive NW is closed to most automobiles each Saturday and Sunday from Broad Branch Road NW to the District boarder with Maryland (with vehicles allowed 'limited' access to the picnic lots), but it's not exactly a Ciclovía either. It's sort of like a block party but larger and sometimes in a commercial corridor.

Below is a Streetfilms video of a Ciclovía in Bogata, Columbia.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Stopping Like Idaho

The Idaho Stop is an Idaho traffic law that effectively allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and not come to a complete stop at most signed intersections. This effectively allows for a rolling stop at signs.

BAC wants to know what you think of the Idaho Stop law and if it, or something like it, should be enacted in the District.

Create in 1982, the Idaho Stop does not give bicyclists carte blanche, they must yield to the right of way if there are other vehicles or pedestrians at intersections. UrbanVelo has a nice video (at the end of this page) explaining the Idaho Stop and its potential implementation in Oregon. BikePortland also provides a FAQ page explaining how it works.

Currently according to WABA's Pocket Guide, DC regulations state that bicyclists "have all the general rights and duties of drivers of vehicles" but bicyclists but must also follow "the instructions of official traffic control signals, signs, and other control devices applicable to vehicles". This means that if you come to a stop sign (or a traffic light), bicyclists must come to a complete stop.

Some argue that bicyclists want to avoid crashes with vehicles at stop signs, that they should be allowed to apply the Idaho standard. Also, as bicycle mode share and infrastructure increases, the current traffic laws become more antiquated and therefore need to change. In addition, a rolling stop allows for the conservation of energy for bicycle riders, enabling them to use less energy to move forward and further.

What do you think? Let us know by answering your short survey or look at the video below.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

BAC Facilities Committee (BAC FAC) - Capital Crescent Trail - July 20

Please join the Bicycle Advisory Council's Facilities Committee (BAC-FAC) on a ride or 'rolling meeting' Saturday July 20, 2013, beginning at 1:30p. The second ride of the season will explore access the Capital Crescent trail within the District.

The Capital Crescent trail (CCT) is a popular transportation route for bicyclists, however, access to the trail for District residents is limited. The main access points in the District are in Georgetown beneath the Key Bridge, Norton Street, NW and Fletcher's Boathouse.  Access to the boathouse location is particularly difficult for cyclists and pedestrians because the of a lack of sidewalks or signalization along Canal Road NW. Access at Norton Street is also difficult do to a lack of signage identifying the location of the trail entrance.

The BAC-FAC team will be riding the CCT starting from the Georgetown entrance continuing to Norton Street and into Ward 3, stopping along the way to view access points.  We will likely travel in Ward 3 at Norton Street, stopping for food or beverage. Then we we will return along the CCT.

Below is a tentative route map:

View BAC - FAC Capital Crescent Access in DC ride in a larger map

As always, we strongly recommend that you bring a helmet, snack and plenty of water as the temperature will likely be hot and humid.  Please plan to arrive about 15 minutes before the ride begins, we will leave promptly at 1:30p.

Please contact Jeanie Osburn ( if you have questions about the ride.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Which Way Do You Turn?

The Grist posted a nifty video (see below) that provides tips to new bicyclists on how to push that first pedal.

While the video is fun to watch, it also suggest two different left turning techniques that could appear on our streets -- the "Standard Left" and the "Copenhagen Left".

The standard left makes the turn just like a vehicle - the bicyclist signals, moves into the left lane, and then turns left.

The Copenhagen left is like how a pedestrian crosses a street - a bicyclist stays right and crosses the street that they would like to turn left on, turns their bike so that they are going the correct direction, then waits for the signal (Sounds complicated but it's not).

While the Copenhagen left seem to take longer than the standard left, many feel that it is generally a safer way to turn because it reduces the chance of an auto crash. While not popular in the US, it's gaining popularity as communities create bike-specific signalization and routes.

An example of the turn appears at about the two minute mark of the Grist video below.

BAC would like to get your thoughts on the standard or the Copenhagen left, which do you prefer?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mall Traffic - Getting to the National Mall by Bike on Independence Day

Prior to July 1, there were no provisions for bicycle parking near for the July 4 Independence Day celebration on the National Mall. BAC drew attention to this issue and appears that bike parking is now available.

The July 4th festivities on the National Mall allow visitors and those who live in the greater Washington area, the opportunity to celebrate the nation's independence. However, given the enhanced security checkpoints surrounding the area, getting to the Mall is nothing to celebrate. With Metrorail setting  ridership records and well has suffering break downs routinely, visitors and residents turned to bicycles.

In prior years, the National Park Service (NPS) contracted with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association to manage bike valets at large Mall events like the Presidential Inauguration, the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Independence Day celebrations.

As of July 1, GoDCGo, which is a transportation initiative sponsored by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), stated that no bicycle valet option this year. While  bikes are allowed within the security perimeter, getting bikes through the checkpoints and then carrying them throughout the day is not optimal. This problem is compounded because Metrorail prohibits bikes on the system July 4. Instead of relieving the potential crush on our transit network, those who could have used transit to bring bikes and safely park them with limited options.

BAC contacted NPS to confirm that it was not offering bike valet service or additional provisions for parking but they did not respond as of this posting. GoDCGo did respond initially saying that no bike valets were planned for the Mall. After discussion, GoDCGo later said that it was looking into plans for additional parking and are hopeful that some sort of bike valet could be made available.
As of July 2, the NPS access map shows bike parking near the corner of 15th and Independence Avenue NW. The full map can be found here.

The circle 'B' represents event bicycle parking.
Map provided by the National Park Service.
BAC contacted Capital Bikeshare to determine what it would be doing to accommodate the potential crush of users to its system near the National Mall. They said that while its bikes would likely be allowed in and out of the security perimeter, the bikeshare vans, which help redistribute bikes throughout the system, would likely not be allowed. Bikeshare has several stations near the Mall, especially north of Constitution Avenue NW but many of those stations may be filled early.

Bikeshare Stations near the National Mall.
Map courtesy of Capital Bikesare
To mitigate the potential crush, Bikeshare stated that it would operate a bike corral, a makeshift, dockless bike station that allows for the mass storage of its bikes, for much of the day. 
BAC will continue communicating with DDOT, GoDCGo, and Capital Bikeshare and let you know here or on twitter @DCBAC if bike parking or other accommodations are confirmed and where they will be located.

Monday, July 1, 2013

BAC Bimonthly Meeting Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The bimonthly BAC meeting is Wednesday, July 10, beginning at 6pm. BAC will discuss reports from our subcommittees and other bike-related topics including the status of bicycle facilities by the District Department of Transportation.

The meeting will take place at 441 4th Street, NW at One Judiciary Square, in Room 1114, which is on the 11th floor. Please remember to bring government identification to enter the building. To get to the meeting room, please use the South lobby elevators. Bicycle parking is available in front of the building, please remember to also bring your bike lock.

As always, BAC meetings are open to the public and we encourage you sharing your thoughts.