Saturday, December 1, 2012

Doing better, thanks!

As of about two hours ago it's really, truly, officially illegal to make U-turns across the median bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue! (I had hoped to have the actual rule available for reference, but it didn't make some deadline or another. I've been assured that the mayor's announcement is enough for now.)

Of course, it was already illegal two days ago, two months ago, and even two years ago. Everyone from the people making U-turns on up to DDOT and MPD agreed about this, but it seems there was a technical glitch that prevented the tickets given for it from sticking.

Who ever could have guessed that something so seemingly simple would have required a specific regulation change to fix?

I have more to say about how we got here and how I think we can avoid going through it again as the District's bike network continues to grow, but for now I want to just spread some gratitude:

Thanks to Nicole Donnelly for being at least as passionate for making DC a great place to ride a bike as I am, and twice as well spoken about it.

Thanks to DC's 37th most influential bike blog, Tales from the Sharrows, for giving the problem a name, #StopUTurnsOnPenn, and for sharing it with a wide audience.

Thanks to Bicycle Space, The District of Columbia Civic Cycling Association, and Phil Koopman for bringing the issue into focus and getting people on bikes in DC together to show their power. I see many great things growing from their efforts.

Thanks to Shane Farthing and WABA for standing with DC's cyclists, keeping their pressure on folks at the Wilson building, and keeping everyone updated on the issues. WABA is the model of what local bicycle advocacy can accomplish.

Thanks to Mayor Gray for cutting through the BS and just getting this done.

Thanks to several people I can't mention by name for various personal and professional reasons, who still played huge roles in getting this effort noticed by the right people at the right time.

Thanks most of all to the people who didn't even take part in making this change, but instead just love using their bikes and DC's streets to get from one place to another. Because of people like you, riding a bike around town isn't a fringe activity anymore, it isn't a sport, it isn't a battle, and it isn't a cause. It's just something that happens between other things, and that's the core reason having safer and saner routes matters.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Advocacy Action on Pa Ave

What: Safety awareness bike ride
Where: The Pennsylvania Ave bike lanes at and around Freedom Plaza.
When: 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM on Friday, 26 October 2012
Who: Anyone

The D.C. Civic Cycling Assembly (aka The Assembly, an advocacy outreach program of the local bike shop BicycleSPACE) has coordinated with concerned local cyclists, cycling advocacy organizations, and members of the city council to hold an Advocacy Action event on Friday October 26, 2012 from 7AM-9AM.  We plan to gather at Freedom Plaza and safely and legally ride the bike lanes up and down Penn. Ave. to give visibility to the issue, distribute safety information geared at both motorists and non-motorized users of the roadway, and collect signatures on a petition requesting action on the above goals.  Monitors will be stationed at key intersections to encourage safe behavior from the cycling public and to hand out the safety information sheets.  If anyone would like to be a part of this Advocacy Action event, they may come join us at Freedom Plaza that morning; those willing to be part of the group riding in the lanes just need to come with a bike and we will coordinate the timing of the riders and provide printed collateral highlighting the issue for individuals to attach to their bike &/or person.  We look forward to a FUN & SAFE morning creating a better understanding of the genuine safety concerns on this important stretch of the “nation’s Main Street”- hope to see YOU there!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Close call

Standing in front of JAWB today to document the promised additional police presence. I heard skidding bike tires and a shout of "hey, no, stop stop stop!" so I swung my camera over just in time to see what had happened. Nobody was hit, thank goodness, but it was a close call for four cyclists. I jogged over to document the car's license plate as he parked.

He came to me to apologize, and we had a nice chat. He seemed truly surprised when I showed him this picture - he hadn't noticed ANY cyclists were so close, let alone four.

Again, I saw no MPD presence in 30 minutes.

Pennsylvania Avenue WITHOUT U-turns

One less minivan.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pennsylvania Avenue U-turns

On 10/16, starting at 8:30 AM, I stood on the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 12th and 13th streets to count illegal U-turns, and to capture some in pictures. I stayed in the same half-block, but had to move a bit to see around buses and trucks.

By the time I left just after 9 AM, I had witnessed 25 U-turns from this block. About 80% were executed by taxis. I also was harassed by one person, a passenger in one of the U-turning vehicles, and further harassed by a security guard from the passenger's office over the legality of the pictures I was taking. Those pictures, and a bit more commentary, after the jump...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring is near!

Schools all across DC need better bike parking.  Here are pictures from last year at Watkins Elementary.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photo essay, Pennsylvania Ave at 4th NW

UPDATE: These signs were corrected and improved in mid-2012 - thanks to DDOT. I'm folding up the images themselves - click through for the historical perspective.

There are still plenty of locations up and down Pennsylvania Avenue where the signage and signals either don't match the plans or aren't effective. I'll provide updates as I can.