First, the bad
Well, I had hoped the Washington City Paper would be at least a little fair in its review of comments on Will Sommer’s rant (see last week’s post). But no such luck. Once “newspeople” have in their minds the story they want to tell, nothing will dissuade them. So only you, dear readers, will know that “the hate[of sidewalk bikers]. The torrents of Biblical, blood-red blistering hate” did not rain down on their heads.
Of course, the editor doing the comments in the Chatter column(which, sorry I can’t find an Internet link to, but you can still pick up the paper version) made it seem so by cherry-picking a few commenters using all-caps and profanity and carrying on their own rants again and again with other ranters.
But I read every one of the 126 comments, as can you, by using the link I provided last week and I found, beyond the three or four people with too much time on their hands to rant at each other, there were a number of reasonable people who commented: the man who just wanted to walk safely with his kids on the narrow sidewalks of Georgetown, a woman with a cane who had been knocked off balance, a person who suggested that someone listen to the conversations at the senior Center in Friendship Heights. Plus a goodly number of cyclists who patiently explained why one should not ride on the sidewalk, gave alternate street routes that would minimize even having to be on the sidewalk, and emphasized as we do–if you must be on the sidewalk, WALK YOUR BIKE.
I’ve e-mailed the editor on this.
And some updates on the #Struck DC project
Also, in this week’s Washington City Paper in the District Line, City Desk portion is an article called “Walking Gall”, which gives some suggestions as to how to walk especially at night. It also mentions that “drivers of vehicles have struck at least 180 pedestrians in DC this year”, but gives no indication how many of the “vehicles” were bicycles. Sadly, again I could not find a link to the web version of the paper for this article. But I did find that map has been updated and here’s the link to that:
The interview is with a bicyclist hit by a car. But, by moving your pointer over each circle (peds are the greater number and in orange) you can tell where the accident took place and when.
I did write this editor to ask how many of the “vehicles” hitting pedestrians were bicyclists.
NOW THE HOPEFUL NEWS
I can’t say it’s truly good news until I see some action, but two weeks ago, I used Mayor Bowser’s request for citizens to give her knowledge of problems in her #Iwishyouknew campaign. I wrote a letter in which I included the original Dupont businesspersons’ letter and copies of two of my blog posts (the two with pictures because they show briefly citizen action on this issue and at least one example, in the text, of non-enforcement in the CBD). I pointed out that DC Walk-Friendly award was based on incomplete info because the group giving the award did not realize that, unlike in most cities, bikes were allowed to ride on the sidewalks here. Then, since I wanted to start small, I asked that she at least make sure there was good signage in the CBD to indicate that biking on the sidewalk was not allowed there and secondly that she ask DDOT to consider, as the Logan Circle ANC2F asked, whether the prohibited zone should be extended into neighborhood that now have plenty of businesses and pedestrians. Unlike her predecessor and my own council rep, she has already answered! So her staff will consider this issue and she hopes I will see “a positive change” in the “near future.” I did not expect more at this point. But I will be watching and I hope you will too and let me know.
I think it would also help as many of us as possible take advantage of the “Iwishyouknew” campaign to let the Mayor know about this issue. Clearly, she at least has a system to record the info and get staff assigned, which is more than I could say for our prior administration.
Well this has been a little long for a holiday week so I’ll keep other thoughts for later posts and just say STAY ALERT! DON’T GET HURT! and Happy Fourth!