A Great Opportunity for Citizen Action

24 Oct

Good Morning! And it is a beautiful sunny autumn morning here in DC. It is made even better by the fact that I finally have some good news to report. Just when I thought I would have nothing positive to say about anything before I went into a really busy period for my non-profit’s most important, and therefore heavy work for all, event of the year, up steps Councilmember Jim Graham. On Tuesday he introduced a bill to protect the elderly and young from potential sidewalk bicycle hazards. Councilmember Graham’s bill would prohibit the riding of bicycles and Segways wherever a bicycle lane is available. You can read about it in the Washington Post Dr. Gridlock for Tuesday at

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2014/10/21/jim-graham-bill-would-ban-bikes-segways-from-more-d-c-sidewalks/

In the article you can also read WABA’s response. Shane Farthing, who is getting to sound more like that Urban Scrawler Schneider about whom I wrote this summer, finds the bill banning cyclists from the sidewalk “a questionable idea.” Why? Because despite the bike lanes, “from a cyclist’s perspective, what the cyclist is looking for is a protected space. Until that exists, banning the cyclist from the sidewalk is really a questionable idea.” MY RESPONSE: The bill doesn’t ban cyclists from the sidewalks, just from RIDING on the sidewalks where there is also a bike lane. AND, SPEAKING OF PROTECTED SPACES, THAT IS ALL PEDESTRIANS WANT TOO– on the ONE PLACE that was created for that purpose–the sideWALK.

CITIZEN ACTION

We should all write and commend Jim Graham for tackling this issue. It’s not everything that could be done and will still involve complicated enforcement, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Write your councilmember as well to support the bill; provide examples of hits and near misses, if you can. And I have found that the bill is assigned to the Committee on Transportation and Environment, which is headed by Councilmember Mary Cheh. So write her office; find out when hearings are scheduled and provide testimony, in person, if you can; but written if you can’t.

Remember what I also said this summer in the Timeless Wisdom post–this could be our Model T moment. LET’S ALL PULL TOGETHER TO MAKE THE SIDEWALKS SAFE FOR PEDESTRIANS AGAIN.

OTHER NEWS

1. Tuesday was a busy day. Move DC also issued the final version of its Move DC plan and its Action Plan. Those of you who commented, and I hope you did, will be interested in how it came out. You can view it at

http://www.wemoveDC.org

2. BTW, as summer ended and autumn began, I checked again with the Logan Circle people to see if DDOT and WABA had ever fulfilled their commitment in line with the sign project to provide fliers and bike ambassadors to help educate bicyclists why, as the signs say, all are safer on the street when cyclists use the street not the sidewalks. Of course, the answer was no, they did not. So the signs didn’t have the full effect they might have had. Funny, how WABA was able to get bike ambassadors on a moment’s notice to attend the protest at the Post against Courtland Milloy’s column criticizing biker behavior, but couldn’t find one all summer to do really helpful education they had agreed to.

3. FINALLY, as I mentioned earlier I won’t be posting for a couple of weeks at least because of work and travel. But if I get any really hot news, I’ll try to find a way. Meanwhile, I wish you all the best and, remember

VOTE on Nov. 4. It’s your right and your voice needs to be heard AND

CYCLISTS, DRIVERS, AND PEDESTRIANS ALL–

STAY ALERT; DON’T GET HURT.

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