I no sooner got back from my trip last week than I attended the ANC 2F Crime and Public Safety Committee Meeting last Wednesday. One of the purposes of the meeting, and the reason I was invited, although I live in Dupont Circle, is that this ANC is proposing a resolution, to be considered by the full ANC on June 5 to improve the situation of both bicyclists and pedestrians. The step regarding elimination of sidewalk bicycling is only a “baby step” but it is important because it is action moving in the right direction. The resolution proposes among other things a study “to expand the area in which riding bicycles on sidewalks is prohibited to those streets where population density or infrastructure limitations make it unsafe for pedestrians as well as direct MPD and DDOT to enforce existing law.”
To read the entire proposed resolution for yourself, check out
and look for the agenda for the May 22 Crime and Public Safety meeting of May 22. It should be right at the top or close to it. the full draft resolution can be downloaded by clicking on CPSC Agenda 20130522.
Although the night was hot and humid, I made it a point to walk from home on 16th and Q to the Washington Plaza Hotel at Thomas Circle, where the meeting was held. And, although it was still the end of rush hour, which meant plenty of responsible bicyclists were cycling in the streets on the way home (at least 20 by my count), after I hit Whole Foods’ block there were 5 separate sidewalk bicyclists I saw. One came up silently behind me, but I am now practically clutching the buildings to protect myself after being clipped a couple of weeks ago. So he didn’t get me. Then I saw one coming toward me. And I saw an older woman with a cane coming out of a shop and limping unsteadily unto the main sidewalk. But luckily an entire family came out from the shop just in front and the biker was forced to slow down and make a wide unsteady circle around them all. Needless to say, by the time I got to the meeting, I had plenty of new observations I could give.
Since this was Logan’s meeting I tried to limit my questions and comments. But I was happy to see a lively group of concerned citizens of all ages discussing the resolution and proposing improvements. One highlight for me was the exchange between the WABA rep and a young woman who was for banning sidewalk bicycling. He used the old line that pedestrians do bad things too, like jaywalking. And she responded clearly and correctly that the difference was those things were against the law for pedestrians whereas she can’t even tell a bicyclist to use the bike lane going his direction because it’s not against the law to ride on the sidewalk no matter what improvements have been made for bicyclists already. It’s also not against the law outside of the CBD to ride on the sidewalk against the flow of traffic or at the speeds allowed on the street. I’ll talk more about this in another post but in the meantime:
Logan Circle Residents
You have an opportunity on June 5 to make a difference. Check the ANC2F site for time and place of the full ANC meeting and go and make your voice heard. If I get final word on the meeting, I’ll let you know what I know.