Hello again. I’m back from my travels and have to catch up on a lot of work, so this will be a mix of things I didn’t have time to tell you before. But first, I should mention that I went to several cities in the Mid-Atlantic region as well as dipping into the South (North Carolina) and I only saw any sidewalk bicycling in one city–downtown Asheville NC, and the two I saw there were going slowly and carefully. I’ll check on the laws there and elsewhere as I have time.
However, when I got back to DC for brief stopovers twice and then finally home Sunday night, I found that I’d been lulled into a false sense of complacency. So a new safety tip for pedestrians who do a lot of traveling. Do something to remind yourself when you come back home, to stay alert from the moment you step on the sidewalk to avoid being hit by a reckless sidewalk bicyclist. I didn’t get hit but came really close when I came home about 9:30 Sunday night, lugging my bag off the S4 bus at Q and 16th. I had just cleared the bus shelter when out of nowhere with no word of warning sped a sidewalk bicyclist sped past me jostling my bag, but thankfully nothing else. I’d been traveling all day and was really tired and certainly didn’t need this aggravation. All I had to do was get across the street to my building and I was safe. But getting across became a problem when another sidewalk biker sped down the handicapped ramp into the crosswalk heading right at me. At least I saw him and stepped away to give him the space that should have been mine. So I got home safe. But realized I was back in DC.
BTW this last trip of mine was by train, from Charleston WV, a good nine hour trip. And I do mean “good”. When I have to take a train as opposed to a plane or driving, I always feel it’s like a vacation. Great scenery and all I have to do it look at it. Great people too. Train people tend to be more courteous and thoughtful and just plain friendly if they feel you wouldn’t mind chatting a bit. And you can both at your seat and if you go back to the dining car, they sit you with other folks you haven’t met yet. And some times you strike up a friendship. Interestingly on this trip, as we talked about our lives and I mentioned my blog, all I had to do was mention the them of prohibiting sidewalk bicycling and at least two people said to me they were thankful for that. Although they had only visited DC, they’d noticed the reckless sidewalk bicyclists around the Mall and the museums. Honest! I wasn’t trying to responses, just mentioning it as one thing I do. So we’re getting a bad rep that sadly we deserve.
1. Did you get a survey request from DDOT in your mail last month? I did. And, while I don’t ordinarily take the time for surveys(too many, too little time), I did for this one because it involved developing a transportation plan for DC You could take it online, but I chose to call and do it by phone, in part because I wanted to see if I could get a copy of the survey questions w/o printing out a bunch of pages online. I couldn’t do this, but I did take notes. One flaw, once you said you walked to work, there were virtually no followups on what would make your life easier. The only one I remember was would sidewalks on both sides of the street help? Nothing about do you feel safe on the sidewalks and if not, why not? Or, the biggie,–do bicyclists on the sidewalk make you feel less safe?
But, for bicyclists, an entirely different story: Blocks of questions asked you about using Capital Bikeshare, and, for all bicyclists: Would more bike lanes help? Would two way bike lanes help? Would tolls on cars coming into DC, so they would be encouraged not to drive, help? Would enclosed and protected places to store your bike while at work help? Would showers at work help?
Now, as you know, I am not against helping bicyclists get more protected or getting perks at work. I just think pedestrians should get attention in this way as well.
At any rate, for taking this survey, I will be getting $5.00 Starbucks Gift Card, I’m told. So it wasn’t a total loss.
If you didn’t get this mailed request, you might check out a survey I just got a notice for, from MoveDC at http://movedc.metrorequest.com/ I don’t know if you get anything for it, but it’s a chance to at least get in on the conversation about the future of transportation in DC.
That’s all I have time for. But I have more to share with you from the last couple of weeks, so come back next week. and STAY ALERT and STAY SAFE.