Saturday, January 31, 2015

February Facilities Committee Meeting

Come join the Facilities Committee for the last sitdown meeting of the season at Brookland Pint February 9th from 6 - 8pm. We will discuss the bike lanes planned by DDOT for installation this year, a proposed signed bike route, the updated summary of BAC FAC rides and follow up on our conversation last meeting about general facilities maintenance trends and options for improvement.

As always, members of the public are encouraged to come, look for the group with a pile of helmets and outer layers! Brookland Pint is at 716 Monroe St NW, right next to the Brookland Metro stop, on the Metropolitan Branch Trail and there is Capital Bikeshare station nearby at 10th and Monroe St NE. If you cannot attend the meeting, please leave use our comments section below or @DCBAC on Twitter.

Monday, January 26, 2015

February Legislative Committee Meeting (UPDATED DAY)

Photo Credit: Dario Martinez
UPDATE: The Legislative meeting has been postponed a week and now will be convening on February 11 at 6:30pm at Teaism.

Come talk bikes with us! The Legislative Committee is holding its bimonthly meeting next week at Teaism. The agenda will include discussion of the Enhanced Penalties for Distracted Driving Amendment Act of 2015 recently introduced by CM Mendelson, and a broader conversation of distracted driving and riding on the sidewalk.

When: 6:30 pm on February 411th, 2015
Where: Teaism Restuarant (400 8th St NW)

As always, BAC meetings are open to the public and we encourage the sharing of your thoughts and questions. You can find us at Teaism by heading to the basement and looking for the pile of helmets and sweaters. If you cannot attend the meeting, please leave use our comments section below or @DCBAC on Twitter.

Friday, January 23, 2015

DC Government Describes Plan to Clear Snow from Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities

We may live in a city but we can't escape the impact of natural systems - weather particularly. And January has proved, in case any of us had forgotten, that snow has a huge impact on our ability to operate and get around as a city. The bike lanes post-snowstorm can be a mess as snow and ice melted. We wanted to share what we learned about the current policies from DDOT at the latest BAC meeting.

Snow removal is the responsibility of a the Snow Removal Team, comprised jointly of the Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Department of Public Works (DPW). They are responsible for road and bridge snow removal, including Key, Memorial and Teddy Roosevelt bridges.

During moderate storms like on January 6th, the bike lanes are plowed when the snow removal crews are doing their second round plowing and going curb to curb. The first round plowing tends to shove snow in the bike lanes, hence their clearing on the second pass. In larger snow events, light plows are deployed during the first pass to clear the lanes.

Tool Cat. Photo from @bikepedantic.
Cycletracks are too narrow for the mainline plows and require a specialized plow - newly purchased by DDOT. The Toolcat is 5 feet wide and bought solely for clearing the protected lanes (which does mean that it is too wide for clearing bridge sidewalks). The bike team of DDOT are the ones trained to use it, so next time they are out, wave hi to Mike/Darren/Jim! It takes about 6 hours to plow the loop of the 15th St NW, L St NW, M St NW, 1st St NE, Pennsylvania Ave and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. This is the first year with the Toolcat, so DDOT is both testing whether the truck is the right tool for the job and how snow removal should inform future planning, design and maintenance of cycletracks.

As many folks noticed, the MBT was plowed except for the M St NE ramp. DDOT let us know that the plow blade was slightly too wide for the Tool Cat to go up it, despite the million point turn attempted by staff. A new narrower blade will be purchased.

The BAC would like to remind everyone to report currently needed ice and snow removal (and other maintenance requests) to 311, and let the snow removal team know what areas could use improvement for next time round at

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January BAC Meeting Summary

New year, new resolutions and a revamped DCBAC website! We had an excellent General BAC meeting last Wednesday with updates from DDOT, Office of Planning, Arlington BAC and our committees. In the spirit of resolution for more frequent communication, I thought I'd post an update on our latest meeting for folks who don't want to read the 5 pages of meeting minutes.

Snow removal - Bike lanes were done as a second round pass by the main line snow removal crew while the protected bike lanes were cleared by the bike planner staff of DDOT with a specialized plow. Detailed post to come.

DDOT does not currently have a list of specific bike lanes they plan to build in 2015 but it should be coming soon. The Eastside Bikeway (east side of downtown) is not on contract currently but is in the plans for this year. The final 30% plan of the Fort Totten section of the MBT should be done by the end of 2015 while the Rhode Island Pedestrian Bridge has had its "soft" opening. The final bridge unveiling should be in the near future.

The Office of Planning is currently working on the Southwest Neighborhood Plan, and ramping up for a Adams Morgan and Van Ness Vision Frameworks. Upcoming BAC facilities rides will be focusing on those neighborhoods to comment in the process.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Councils have started conversations about shared issues, sparked by former Councilmember Jim Graham's failed sidewalk riding bill in 2014. There was some great conversations at a separate brainstorming meeting last week.

Keep an eye out for another joint PAC/BAC meeting in February, as well as committee meetings. The Facilities committee will be meeting inside, likely at Brookland Pint again.

Monday, January 5, 2015

General Council Meeting - Wednesday January 7, 2015

New year, new meeting! In keeping with our regular bimonthly schedule, there will be a Bicycle Advisory Council general meeting this Wednesday January 7 at 6pm. 

We will be at the One Judiciary Square building, 441 4th Street NW, room 1114. As always, DCBAC meetings are open to the public and we invite you to participate in our discussion about the District's bicycling issues.

We will be talking with Gilliian Burgess, of the Arlington BAC, about opportunities for cross jurisdictional collaboration so come ready to brainstorm! In addition, there will be an update from the Office of Planning on the Southwest Neighborhood Plan, Van Ness Vision Framework, and Adams Morgan Vision Framework, and updates from the BAC committees. 

One Judiciary Square is a government building so please come prepared with photo ID. The conference room is right off the south elevator. There is plenty of bike parking at the entrance, in addition to a CaBi station and Metro station. 

As always, BAC meetings are open to the public and we encourage the sharing of your thoughts and your questions. If you cannot attend the meeting, please leave use our comments section below or @DCBAC on Twitter.