Tag Archives: LoganCircle

Anniversary Waltz

18 Mar

March marks the third anniversary of this blog.  So I feel it is particularly important to post at least once this month.  Plus maybe I have a little blog envy after PoPville’s creator was featured in the Washington City Paper, and I discovered he makes money at it.  Who knew?

But, as you know this is not my full time job and it is a public service blog.  When I started it was a desperation move to get attention for the growing problem of sidewalk biking, and other bad behavior like running red lights by a growing number of DC bicyclists.  The blog got some initial publicity from an article in the Washington Post, which led to contact with the Logan Circle folk who were as frustrated as I was and used some of the info I collected to push for a resolution for DDOT to study extending the prohibition on sidewalk biking beyond the Central Business District and later to get a pilot sign project cautioning against sidewalk bicycling.  Every so often I see one of those signs still standing and think wistfully “If only…”

Sadly there’s been little new to report.  And, especially for you regular readers, I don’t want to bother you with the same old things.  But, to keep you up-to-date, there’s been no response yet from Mr. Zimbabwe of DDOT to my letter asking to signage in the CBD to help enforcement of the prohibition on sidewalk bicycling there.  And now that I temporarily have regular meetings in the CBD, I can tell you those signs need to be there.  Even when police see a sidewalk biker forcing pedestrians to yield on crowded K Street, they are unsure were the border is.  I know because I’ve talked to a couple of them recently, especially when I almost got slammed from behind by a sidewalk biker while walking to the Farragut North Metro.

And that brings me to….


I’m taking a trip to Boston in June and since this will be my first trip there in a number of years, I thought it was a good time to check their laws.  To my surprise, I found that, unlike other cities, they had no separate code.  Boston relies on Massachusetts law, which says only that it is prohibited to ride bikes on the sidewalks in “business districts or where specifically prohibited.”  My Google search also brought up the confusion that bicyclists who want to do the right thing have as to what is a “business district” in Boston.  If you want to read that too, Google the question of what is a business district in Boston re: sidewalk bicycling and look for the Reddit Boston site.

I ended up calling Boston City Hall, where I spoke to the representative of Boston Bikes, Najah, who provided at least a reasonable explanation.  Turns out there are no official business districts in Boston.  And the reason:  unlike other cities (she cited NYC and Philly) Boston is intercut throughout by smaller cities, e.g. Cambridge, which look just like Boston in housing, business buildings and roads.  So people cannot easily tell when one jurisdiction begins and another ends.  But cyclists must be sure where they are because, unlike Boston, a lot of the smaller cities have very clear codes.  Cambridge, for instance, lists several business districts where the prohibition exists.  Harvard Yard is one(got to protect those future presidents and Supreme Court justices!)  The Cambridge code also makes specific that where bicyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk they can only ride “at walking speed.”  (Boy, would that cramp the style of DC’s rogue bikers!).

As a result a number of the Boston Reddit commenters essentially concluded cyclists should treat the entire city as a business district and stay off the sidewalks.  A great idea!

Finally, I promise that if anything noteworthy happens, I’ll certainly post it.  Here’s hoping Metro’s Wednesday shutdown didn’t inconvenience you too much and that you had a great St. Pat’s Day.  And this weekend is the first day of Spring—so happy spring.  But remember–with spring and the cherry blossoms come more sidewalk bikers and red-light runners. So, until next time–






Important Updates and Reflections on Last Week’s Bike Brouhaha

15 Jul


DDOT has extended the period for completing the movedc survey to July 31.. If you haven’t taken the survey already, see my earlier post: Pedestrians: Let Your Voices be Heard for details and the link to both the plan and the survey. You can also e-mail and write by regular mail. But it’s really important that you let DDOT know your feelings about their plan and how it can be improved.

Logan Signs: The Northwest Current did an excellent article last week on the Logan sign project that you should read. It will show just how much work went into getting this pilot off the ground and why DDOT got involved. The link I have for this is


You want the July 9, 2014 issue, so click first on Vol. 8, 2014, then on July 9, 2014. The article starts on page 1.

Reflections on Last Week’s Bike Brouhaha

Since I was really busy last week, I took the easy way out by giving you the link to Courtland Milloy’s column, inside of which was a way to click on John Kelly’s column of a day earlier, which concentrated on sidewalk bicycling in DC’s Central Business District. Like those Russian nesting dolls, Kelly’s column was thus hidden, even by me. For that I am sorry, because , for pedestrians trying to reclaim their right to safely walk on the sidewalk, Kelly’s column is more important.

While about 50 bike “victims” , including some WABA “bike ambassadors” pedaled to the Post to protest Millory’s words, which hurt them, with great media publicity, Kelly’s column and his questions to pedestrians and bicyclists elicited over 300 online comments and plenty of e-mails before the Milloy column and the biker backlash hit the fan. And many of these comments, outside of the usual snarky back and forths from people with way too much time on their hands, well illustrate the problem both pedestrians and law abiding bicyclists face. Below are a few of the most cogent, with my comment:

The honor of being first goes to a good bicyclist, rdraj34, who wrote:
As a cyclist, it is embarrassing to see the behavior mentioned in John Kelly’s column since it defames all cyclists. Unfortunately, from casual observation, it does appear the majority of cyclists disobey the laws, including traffic laws. (red lights, stop signs, etc.)
Cyclists cannot receive respect if they don’t respect the laws and extend simple courtesy to others.

My sentiments exactly. A quick illustration from me: Friday morning as I crossed with the light in the crosswalk at 17th and Q, I alertly looked for bicyclists even though all the cars were stopped. First I saw one. He was in the bike lane, but had stopped properly behind the crosswalk. Behind him more than a half block away I saw several more bicyclists coming up behind. I smiled at the stopped bicyclist and said “Thank You,” and continued to complete my crossing. But I couldn’t resist looking back to see what the rest would do since the light was still red and the ped crossing light still in the pedestrian favor. You guessed it, every one of 5 passed around him on both sides to run the light and scare another pedestrian still walking across.

Several commenters raised the issue of limiting law against sidewalk bicycling to the CBD, among them:

jhuenn, who said:It would make a lot of sense to expand the restriction to other areas that are just as congested as downtown.


scarlet_begonia, who commented about her being it about 10 years ago by a bike courier and then she said:
I get that roads are frequently unsafe for cyclists. But making the sidewalk unsafe for pedestrians isn’t the right response.

YES, Again!

bjm692 provided the most poignant comment:
Don’t you think it’s a bit strange to have to tell a child to “look both ways –a bike might be coming”–before the kid steps onto the sidewalk from his front walk??? This is a MUST in my neighborhood as several kids were nearly mowed down by speeding cyclists who think they have the right of way over a little kid, and who can’t seem to think of the safety needs of others. It really isn’t all about the cyclists, you know.

That’s all for now. I’m on the road again this weel. So I’ll post again when I get back. Meanwhile I’ll say again, for both pedestrians and bicyclists: STAY ALERT! DON’T GET HURT!

Updates to help you celebrate Independence Day

3 Jul

On this eve of July 4, which we should never forget is really the celebration of our country’s declaration of independence and the beginning of a marvelous experiment in building a democratic republic the likes of which the world had never seen, I have only a few updates to offer. But they are encouraging ones in this country where every citizen has a right to be heard and listened to by their elected representatives.
FOIA Update
First, on my FOIA request about enforcement in the CBD, the one place here where bicycling on the sidewalk is illegal: Having failed through normal channels, I finally wrote Chief Lanier and, within two weeks, received an response from the a sergeant in the Traffic Safety Enforcement Branch of the MPD (TSSEB). Not a complete answer, but nonetheless a response. He says the following: TSSSEB has been “conducting quarterly street smart campaigns for pedestrian/bicycle enforcement and education. Officers do target enforcement in the downtown area writing notices of infractions and handing out educational flyers as well as law cards. TSSEB deploy(sic) units to ensure safety and to enforce laws. TSSEB initiated an educational enforcement campaign to support bicycle/pedestrian infrastructures. The campaign was an attempt to decrease the bicycle accidents that are caused by both the bicycles and the vehicles. TSSEB periodically places overtime enforcement initiatives in the areas that have had a specific problem that can be addressed with focused and targeted enforcement. MPD continues to take steps that officers are appropriately investigating bicycle related incidents and following our guidelines as it relates to bicycle enforcement.

He goes on to say they realize the increase in population and are evaluating the issues arising on a daily basis. But sadly he gave no figures or more specifics. I responded with two simple questions: 1. could I use his name and 2. How does he judge the success of the street smart campaigns, i.e. did he have statistics on numbers of notices of infractions or did they have another means of judging? Although I wrote him a day after he emailed me, I have two months later no response. But since he said they were conducting these campaigns quarterly, I will check with him again now that this quarter is ended. At least I have a contact. One step forward.

Thoughts on the responses to the Logan signs

At the end of the post “Pedestrians: Let Your Voices be Heard” I gave you links to the popville site and to a pingback to my blog. My own thoughts:

1. The Prince of Petworth incited a really lively discussion on the popville site by just posting pics of the signs and a sidewalk bicyclist ignoring one of them. All sides were pretty well represented, with some as usual more intelligently expressed than others. Now that I’ve had time to go through all the comments (waiting in airports will do that!) I noticed that 5 pedestrians reported being hit with injuries, luckily none too serious, and 2 close calls. Others also reported the bicyclists yelling at them to get out of the way. (That’s yielding to pedestrians, as the law, even here, requires?) One of the last comments was one of two that mentioned moving here from elsewhere and, because, with one exception, it parallels my experience, I thought I’d repeat it here:

Anonymous: When I first moved to DC, I was shocked when walking and cyclists would come up fast behind me on the sidewalk (ringing or calling out, or not) because of the five cities I’ve lived in, this is the first one I’ve lived in where it is actually legal to bike on the sidewalk. I was surprised when I first read that. I used to yell at the cyclists to ride in the street before that. A perfectly logical assumption, given the laws and/or customs in other cities in this country (including the largest city, and formerly second largest city, where people never ride on the sidewalk). I don’t think it is safe to have bicyclists on the sidewalk.

That said, I rode my bike in those other cities , and I don’t here–I ride only outside the city. I find this city really scary to bike in. And that’s saying a lot, given that I’ve ridden in the largest city, and formerly second largest city, and the smaller city known far and wide to have the worst motorists anywhere in this country (where making a turn from 3 or 5 lanes over to the other side of the road is common). Riding in the street in DC should be made safer for cyclists.

The only part where my experience is different is that I can and have biked in DC, but I’ve always chosen my times and routes judiciously and that has helped. Some other commenters mentioned doing that too and it seems the best way to handle any situation (I do the same when driving or walking). That said, I do think that riding in the street in DC should be made safer for cyclists, but pedestrians shouldn’t have to wait until that is accomplished completely to the satisfaction of cyclists and their WABA lobby before the laws are changed to keep pedestrians safe on the sidewalks.

2. Well, since I see this post is already longer than I intended, I won’t address the pingback from the crotchety biker until next time.

And I’ll close with another step forward for pedestrians. We are one step closer to getting signs for Dupont. Thanks, Nick.

And to all Happy Independence Day and remember: STAY ALERT; DON’T GET HURT.

Logan Circle Leads the Way Again

3 Jun


Well, I have good news and I hope I have mastered a new skill as well, i.e. adding a photo to this post. I have been hoping to give you this good news for some time, but delays kept cropping up. But finally last weekend, I personally helped Mid-City Residents Association members put up signs along 14th and 15th and Q and P Street to encourage Bicyclists to ride in the street not on the sidewalks. And, if the picture I just uploaded shows up on this post, you’ll be able to see one too.


Last summer, after ANC2F passed a resolution calling for extension of the “no bicycling on sidewalks” law beyond the Central Business District into the areas just north, like Logan Circle, which have increased pedestrian traffic, the ANC2F public safety rep and MCRA reps as well as Chuck Harney from Bike Rack met with DDOT and WABA representatives to suggest a pilot project with signs and bike ambassadors to encourage cyclists to ride on the streets, not the sidewalks, especially where bike lanes were available. There was basic agreement that this was a good idea. But it took until the end of March for a graphic of the proposed sign done by DDOT to make the rounds of the emails. DDOT also mentioned then that they didn’t have it in the budget for this year and hoped the residents could pick up the cost. And there was debate back and forth about the wording of the sign, which had passed muster once, but when the possibility of an actual sign became a reality, voices that had been silent spoke up. But in the end, through the persistence of MCRA, ANC2F provided the funds, an acceptable compromise was reached on the wording and the signs were printed and finally went up last Saturday. Yay! And job well done.


I’m going to see what can be done about getting signs for the Dupont neighborhood and have permission to use this version of the sign for that effort, with perhaps a change of the small logos to accommodate new sponsors.

I’m also going to see how this pilot is received and the difference it may make.

But it’s a good start and shows that we shouldn’t give up too early on any good idea. More about that in the next post.


A tip of the hat to an excellent public servant here and notes about others

7 Mar

Unfortunately, this week was a bad news week for your blogger. OK, I’d chosen this week to do my taxes. But amazingly that wasn’t the worst of it. Meetings that piled up because of previous “snow” cancellations got cancelled again because of the latest “snow” event. But the worst news of all this week for me was that Chris Linn, the ANC2F commissioner dealing with crime and public safety sent an e-mail notice on Wednesday saying that night would be his last meeting since he was moving out of the neighborhood. Logan’s loss is Columbia Heights’ gain.

Chris was the commissioner in this Logan Circle ANC who got people together to discuss and then pass the resolution I reported on last summer in the post DC LAWS: CONGRATS TO LOGAN CIRCLE ANC2F AND CITIZEN ACTION. He did a fine job there of listening to the persons he represented about their concerns on sidewalk bicycling in the neighborhood but also bringing in the MPD and bicycling advocates to speak and answer questions in an informal manner that led to an excellent resolution calling for DDOT to make a study of the problem and recommend revisions of DC law such as expanding the area where no sidewalk bicycling is allowed and other possible changes to deal with what has become a real problem and quality of life issue for people in that neighborhood and others as well. Even after that resolution he continued bringing all parties together to see if measures short of legislation could be implemented more immediately. And he was relentless in following up with DDOT.

He did other things like work with the MPD on reducing crime and work with others to reduce the rat population in Logan. He did all of this humbly and with the persistence of a person who really wants to do good for his community rather than just use them to take the next step up the political ladder. So cheers to him and a long and successful life in his career and in future public service he may undertake. And I really hope for my friends in Logan that his successor will follow his example.

If you have read this blog regularly you know that I am coming to believe that there are far too few people like Chris in DC, and you can include the federal government in that as well since they’re located here, who consider themselves “public servants”, especially if they are elected, and too many who consider themselves “public officials”, who should be accorded deference and should be listened to instead of listening themselves to the people. My thought: “Public Servant”=USA; “Public Official”=Russia. This is a representative democracy, but we, the people have to keep our elected public servants on their toes. Think about that when you go to the polls to vote for Mayor and other offices in a couple of weeks. Did you or some one you know have any contact with the person you’re considering voting for? Do they answer letters to them? When you’re at a meeting with them is it 20 minutes for each and every elected one and 2 minutes for the ordinary citizen? Are they at all responsive to the problems you see and point out to them?

Now to close, a word about Monday’s “snow event”: I heard Sunday night that the federal government was going to close yet again because of the prospect of a couple of inches of snow. So I did not expect an Ohio friend of mine to come in for his meeting at NOAA in Silver Spring Monday and Tuesday. But he made it in, leaving behind 6-10 inches of snow (but an open state and city government!). His flight was somewhat delayed. He got in around midnight. But first thing Monday morning he left the hotel and walked four blocks in the snow to NOAA, only to find it locked. A policeman told him the feds were closed. But being a true public servant for his state, he went back to the hotel, contacted some of the other state agency reps who had also flown in and the private environmental consultants they were to get info from. Together they all decided to get conference rooms in the hotel and met there for two days without the feds. I’m sure they got a lot more done, more efficiently than if they’d had them there. And I was embarrassed that with what my little school ruler snow stick said was 2.5 inches of snow, even the busses were pulled on Monday and, even in Dupont Circle on Tuesday, we had to dodge icy buildup when he and I finally met for a meal before he left for the airport.

Well, this has been kind of a long post. But I think Chris deserves it. I hope to get back on track with more info on bike laws and some suggestions for you to consider next week. Meanwhile it’s going to be a beautiful warm weekend, so enjoy it but, as always—STAY ALERT AND STAY SAFE>

Special alert for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

6 Sep

Hello again. I hadn’t planned on posting this week but I just received an important message that you all should be aware of. DDOT will be resurfacing the 15th St. Cycletrack starting today. According to their press release there will be Temporary Parking Lane Restrictions on 15th St. NW Starting September 6, 2013 They hope to be done by October 11, weather permitting.

The release also advises bicyclists to use alternate routes, and it specifies 14th St. and 16th Street NW. Realistically, this likely means a whole lot more sidewalk bicycling on 14th and 16th NW. My plea to bicyclists: If you choose to use the sidewalks, try walking your bike. It’s better exercise for you and safer too. And if you choose to ride anyway, please tell pedestrians you’re there when you’re coming from behind. A friendly “BIKE COMING ON LEFT” will be greatly appreciated.

And , for pedestrians, especially those of you using 14th and 16th: Realize that there may be many more sidewalk bicyclists during this month. stay to the right; look all ways including behind you, every time you move out of the straight line or when you turn the corner.

and, to all:

Everyone act like the other persons sharing the sidewalks are your neighbors, not some foreign obstruction to your path or to your enjoyment of the trip.

STAY ALERT. STAY SAFE. STAY ALIVE. I want you all back reading this blog next week!

DC Laws: Congrats to Logan Circle ANC2F and citizen action

7 Jun

Good News today! On June 5 ANC2F unanimously passed its resolution in support of the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 and Further Pedestrian and Bike Safety Improvements. As soon as I have the complete text in easily linkable form, I will add it to this post. But, in the meantime I’ll share with you a critical provision insofar as we pedestrians are concerned. The resolution asks for the following:

1. That the city council direct DDOT to study and provide a written report to the Council within six months recommending revisions to 18 DCMR Section (S) 120l.9 such as:
a. Expanding the area in which riding bicycles on sidewalks is prohibited to streets where (I) population density or infrastructure limitations make it unsafe for pedestrians, (ii) bike lanes are already available for bicyclists, (iii) other factors that, in DDOT’s view support extending the prohibition and that (iv) recommends limited exemptions for the public’s safety, such as bicyclists 12 yrs old and under
b. Reducing the speed limit for bikes traveling on sidewalks
c. Whether existing penalties encourage compliance with the law

What You as a Citizen Can Do

If you’re in Logan Circle, write or email your council person to support this resolution and, if you have specific incidents that happened to you as a result of sidewalk bicycling mention them

If you’re not in Logan Circle, get in contact with your own ANC, tell them about the resolution, tell them to support it. Also ask them what they plan to do to help. I’ve already emailed my Dupont ANC2B reps. It’s easy with the Internet. The ANC’s and their members are all listed.

Keep the pressure up and we might just get somewhere.