(Posting on behalf of Emily Curley, who was recently appointed to Ward 3’s spot on DC’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. We’re lucky to have her in this role.)
Ward 3 Biker Survey
As the newly-appointed Bicycle Advisory Council (BAC) rep for Ward 3, my first order of business was to create a survey for W3BA members to share their priorities for safer and more enjoyable biking. (It is not too late to take the survey, please follow the link to respond). The BAC represents the interests of bicyclists in Washington, DC and advises elected and appointed officials on bicycle-related transportation matters.
The survey had representation from all ANCs in Ward 3 with at least three responses from each area. Most of those responding bike primarily for commuting (49%), but those biking mostly for leisure, exercise, or errands were also represented.
Survey-takers were asked to rate how safe they feel while biking on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 representing “no, I’m taking my life into my hands” and 5 equaling “100% safe, yes.” On average, bikers rated their feeling of safety at a 2.9, and no one indicated feeling “100% safe.” However, when asked if they feel safe allowing their children to bike or biking with children, the average score was a 2, indicating that most parents are not comfortable having their kids bike throughout the ward, to school, or even with their parents.
Survey takers were asked to describe their aspirational goals for biking in ward 3. The responses did not point to anything beyond the bounds of possibility in the way of transforming our roads but are indicative of a shared vision of safe biking access for all ages and ability levels. They can be broadly summarized as desiring:
- Bike lanes
- Safe biking for kids
- Safe connections between schools, trails, parks, and metro stations as well existing bike infrastructure in DC, MD, and VA
- More Capital Bikeshare stations
- Better-maintained streets
- Zero bike fatalities
The Bicycle Advisory Council works closely with DDOT to weigh in on bike infrastructure plans and suggest priority areas in each ward; with MPD and a representative from the traffic division to report and advise on traffic enforcement; and with the ANCs and DC Council in the case that bike-related policies and legislation are being considered. As such, the survey asked our biking community to weigh in on each of these issues.
Ward 3 is noticeably devoid of a well-connected bike lane network and has no protected bike lanes. Survey takers agree and cited more bike lanes (74%) and better bike lanes such as protected bike lanes or cycle-tracks (72%) as the most important infrastructure improvements. When asked about areas in need of better biking infrastructure, many specifically cited Connecticut Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue. Other areas of importance are noted in the chart:
The main requests for more or better bike infrastructure tended to be:
- On corridors that would allow bikers safe passage downtown or to other parts of the city, MD, or VA with existing bike facilities (e.g. Connecticut Avenue, Wisconsin Ave);
- On existing trails and roads that connect to/from existing trails (e.g. Trolley Trail from Georgetown to MD, to and from the Capital Crescent Trail to metro stations and AU);
- On roadways connecting destinations within Ward 3 (e.g. between AU and Tenleytown or Palisades to points north).
More bike share stations and more bike racks throughout Ward 3 were also cited by many survey-takers as necessary infrastructure improvements.
Of several options presented, bikers chose the following as the enforcement mechanisms that would most improve biking for them and noted the areas most in need of this type of monitoring:
- Ticketing vehicles in bike lanes (73%) – since
Ward 3 doesn’t have that many bike lanes, most of the enforcement requests were
for other areas such as:
- Mostly downtown, especially L Street bike lane
- The whole length of Colombia-Adams Mill-Calvert
- Fort Drive NW outside Wilson Aquatic Center
- Wisconsin Ave
- Ticketing vehicles standing/parking in rush-hour
no-parking lanes (55%) – this issue affects the main thoroughfares in Ward 3,
- Connecticut Ave especially north-bound in the PM rush-hour between Calvert and Woodley, by the zoo, and outside the Van Ness Metro
- Wisconsin Ave
- Massachusetts Ave; Mass Ave north of Ward Circle
- Tunlaw Road
- Ticketing dangerous bikers (21%)
Other responses included ticketing mid-block U-turns, restricting right turn on red, enforcing stop lights and stop signs, enforcing distracted driving rules, ticketing vehicles that pass with less than 3 feet of space, and speed enforcement, among others.
Bikers got creative with the open-ended question asking them to describe policy or legislative considerations either at the ANC- or city-level that would make biking better. Responses are summarized below:
- More and faster ticketing enforcement for offending vehicles, including vehicles for hire and commercial/delivery vehicles. Consider a system of citizen reporting like for trash trucks which allows citizens to report trucks that collect waste before 7 am or what has been considered for leaf blower violations.
- Modify road availability for cars, for instance via a toll to drive downtown, restricted car traffic in certain central city or pedestrian areas, and an area for bikers to train like Haines Point shut down to car traffic at certain times or a velodrome.
- Require biking infrastructure, for example require that every major corridor in DC have protected bike lanes.
- Complete implementation of existing policies such as Vision Zero, Sustainable DC, and moveDC.
- Legalize Idaho stop for 4-way stop intersections.
- Require helmets on dockless bikes/scooters and Capital Bikeshare.
- Better publicize biking rules like the one that allow bikes to be on sidewalks outside of the central business district to reduce tension with pedestrians.
- Conduct education and outreach for bikers and drivers.
Thanks to all that responded so far. I look forward to advising on your behalf!