Archive | September, 2015

Notes from the Underground

15 Sep

I apologize to my readers for not posting regularly this summer.  I have been out of town at family events and business trips every couple of weeks this summer and, of course,  have to catch up on work when I return. And frankly, after the summer started off with a bang—Will Sommer’s ode to his reckless sidewalk biking (See earlier post Sidewalk Biking Scofflaw Whines and slurs others), there hasn’t been much to report on. Of course, there are still plenty of sidewalk bikers endangering innocent pedestrians and other bikers running red lights.  Sadly, there have also been many pedestrians, including some with small children, endangering their lives by crossing against lights or not using the pedestrian crosswalks.

But here’s an end of summer status report:

  • My new ANC commissioner has done nothing with the info I gave him in March and, like other bureaucrats in this town, has learned too early that, if you simply don’t reply to e-mails or letters from citizens who have concerns that are also yours, there’s little they can do.  As I’ve said before, “Bureaucracy is the enemy of democracy”  Ingo Schultze.
  • But your blogger doesn’t give up easily.  As I wrote earlier, Mayor Bowser did respond earlier in the summer to my request to at least consider putting signs in the CBD warning that sidewalk biking is not allowed there and to look at extending the prohibited zone to other now busy neighborhoods with substantial foot traffic.  She said she had informed the appropriate people and they would be dealing with it.  So, just last week, I followed up with another true public servant I know at DDOT.  He responded promply, no bureucrat he, but not encouragingly saying that signs in the CBD had been discussed “many times” but he knew of no immediate plans to install any.  He said, however, that someone else might  be working on this initiative.  Next stop for me:  A letter to the new DDOT Director.
  • There is also a new WABA Director, Greg Billing.  I don’t know him but will try to make his acquaintance.  He seems to have an interest in more protected bike lanes.  Interestingly, when the Will Sommer flap came up in June, I was about to write on that topic, having brought back from the Real World info from Detroit papers on what they are doing.
  • Speaking of bike lanes, DC seems to be falling behind in constructing new ones.  The goal was to add 7.5 miles by the end of this year, according to the Express, but only 2.27 miles have been constructed.  Of course DC currently has  over 69 miles of bike lanes.  That in a city that has only 61.4 miles of land surface.  And the rogue bikes still ride on sidewalks even on streets with bike lanes.  Go figure!
  • The City Paper’s current issue seemed promising with cover art entitled “The Walking Dread”.  But sadly the story inside merely details DDOT’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic fatalities by 2024.  And the Struck in DC update has only comments from cyclists, although the dots show plenty of pedestrians hit.  Are we not worth the interview or don’t we whine enough.  Still, worth the read.  Since this appears only in Print, I would go to http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com and click on “Print Version”.  The pages you want are page 9 for Struck in DC and page 15 and following for the Vision Zero article.

Finally, a small ray of hope.  I met up with my neighbor, who is now the head of our neighborhood citizens association. She appears to be ready to step into the fray in a small way and is thinking of suggesting a “task force”.  We’ll see how that goes. But I told her I’m in if she gets it started.

More soon.  But don’t forget(as if you could with the constant news coverage)  Pope Francis is here next week.  Great events for a great many.  But traffic snarls throughout the city.  So STAY ALERT.  DON’T GET HURT.