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.

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