DaveS Profile picture
Jul 18, 2018 25 tweets 20 min read
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 1a) Paint-only bike lanes are terribly misleading. One extra stripe, a few stencils, but no actual change. They're installed wherever there's a few extra feet of road width, and then they're ignored. It's a bad design, with no hope for real safety.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 1b) I take that back - it's NO design at all, and the laws supporting them can't really be enforced. This accounts for about 70 of DC's 90-ish miles of on-road bikeway.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 2a) About 10 miles of other on-road bikeway is actually worse: sharrows. Nobody knows what they indicate, there's been no educational effort to explain them to anybody who uses the road, and the only sign they've failed comes when a crash occurs.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 2b) Except they're so ineffective nobody can even blame them for crashes. Even DDOT has admitted they do nothing, yet they keep right on installing them "where appropriate". Hint: they're not.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 3a) The remaining bike infrastructure is pretty good: "protected" bike lanes. Every comparative study I've read shows that completely separated bikeways are the only design that fulfills the design goal of enticing people to bike more. Examples include 1st NE by Union Station.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 3b) Except, everywhere there's a break in the curbs drivers see that as an invitation to bring other vehicles into that space. "Just for a minute", they say. "Just go around like everybody else - there's no other place for them to be!"
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 3c) They're wrong. It's just as wrong - and far more dangerous - for a cyclist or pedestrian to go around then it would be for them to stop right in the middle of other traffic. It's also illegal, but...
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 4a) Enforcement is non-existent. MPD no longer has a traffic division, claiming "all officers work traffic, all the time". This sounds nice, but in practice it simply means nobody can be held specifically accountable. (There -is- a traffic safety director in MPD. Dunno why tho.)
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 4b) Calls to 911 for bike lane blockage never get a fast and effective response. While MPD does respond, eventually, this is fairly low level stuff. I've called many times, but the response has never included a ticket.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 3d) But some "protected" bikeways really aren't. Pennsylvania Ave was counted as "protected" even while cars drove through it at the rate of one every two minutes, just in one block. It took years to get those curbs added for the full mile-ish of that route.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 3e) MANY other "protected" bikeways have no curbs, only a few sticks per block to indicate they're not the main roadway. And the sticks are intentionally designed to be weak so they won't damage vehicles that have to drive over them for some reason.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 3f) Only a couple of miles of on-road bikeway have the more effective curbs (or in Georgetown's newest project, planters) keeping drivers separate from the rest. On the remaining 1,400 miles of roads in DC, a person on a bike is expected to act like a driver in a car!
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 5a) And all that's only true on a theoretically perfect day. Since 2013 DC has had laws requiring contractors to provide safe detours for pedestrians and cyclists when construction etc. requires closure of the original route. This applies to deliveries as well as big builds.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 5b) Since 2013 this law has almost never been followed. DC's 2nd downtown "protected" cycletrack, along L St., has been disrupted and removed from 14th to 16th, for almost three years now, with at least one more to go. No alternative has been provided.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 5c) DDOT has provided a litany of reasons this is so, ranging from permits granted before the law changed to lack of personnel to inspect and enforce sites. The fact they never admit is that they're approving permits that don't comply with the law.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 6a) This is just the overview. I can't even begin to address DC's #VisionZero program because it hasn't resulted in a single significant change that wasn't already in the works. And the numbers are rising - zero is in the other direction.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 6b) I can generally say it's the same for pedestrians in DC, perhaps even worse. By failing to address the general issue of vulnerable road users, we're left to fight each other over scraps of space. Look at the perpetual work up and down 14th, forcing pedestrians into the road.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 6c) That's repeated all over the city. Look at Florida Avenue NE, with sidewalks too narrow to use a wheelchair and too rough for crutches, but there are 6 or more wide lanes for cars. Dave Thomas Circle, where the pedestrian path to cross 1 street is 4 blocks long!
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 6d) Under Vision Zero we've seen dockless bikeshare and scooter-sharing programs become part of our transportation landscape, and that's resulted in no regulatory changes addressing how they fit into our public space. And no design changes have happened either.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 6e) #VisionZero applies to everybody, not just the most vulnerable. If every pedestrian, scooter, bike-sharer, cyclist, wheelchair user, and sidewalk cafe patron was safe, that wouldn't be VZ. "No loss of life is acceptable", the VZ slogan goes.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 6f) WHERE IS AAA IN ALL THIS?!? Why isn't Uber throwing venture capital at it, while they buy up our transportation alternatives? They're losing people too - maybe they think it's okay to kill a few people as long as their fares get places fast?
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 6g) Ultimately VZ has to address this long list of general issues with a coherent response from every party involved. Last week's memorials came from the saddened hearts of people just like Jeff and Malik. Oren Dorell's motorcyling community needs to join us.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 7a) More to come, eventually, but really this is all background. The common thread is DC agencies and executives that say they want to improve but fail to take simple actions that would lead to immense good. I'm not saying they're lying, per se, but they're unreliable at best.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 7b) This is true even where it's not killing people. We see it when we ask people why they keep driving while traffic gets worse and worse: it's better than the alternatives. Until more people say "driving is the worst, thank goodness I can avoid it", nothing will improve.
@howisthatlegal @WABADC @DCVisionZero 7c) I'll be rallying tomorrow to demand better of my city. I'll be rallying for my kid and all kids who should be able to bike a few blocks to and from school. I'll rally for drivers to live through peak travel on 295. I'll rally for EMTs who can't save lives they can't reach.

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