Bicycle safety enhanced: Among the many controversial items at Tuesday’s legislative session (like parking meters, bar hours, and handgun safety), the Bicycle Safety Enhancement Act sailed through the DC Council quickly and quietly. Once re-passed on second reading and once Congress gets its chance to meddle, motorists will have to pass cyclists with at least three feet of space and receive a fine if they drive in bike lanes or bus-bike lanes.
The bill also requires side guards and bike safety training for DC-owned trucks, though much of that will have to wait for budget appropriations. With the current budget crunch, don’t hold your breath for funding for that part of the bill.
Comment on 15th Street: Today is the last day for public comments on DDOT’s fifth alternative creating a contraflow bike lane on 15th Street. Send your comments to Chris Ziemann, firstname.lastname@example.org. And I hope your comments will endorse the idea.
Pro-rail conservative Weyrich dies: Paul Weyrich was the leading conservative proponent of rail transit. He lost a long battle with diabetes at the age of 66. According to USA Today, his last column, as many others of his, promoted light rail: “‘It is the best of times because the 22nd city opens a light-rail system this December,’ he wrote. ‘It is the worst of times because the Bush administration has turned down 70 some cities which want light rail or streetcars.”
Metro approves rush-hour fares and parking fees: The WMATA board approved a proposal to charge for parking on Inauguration. People will be able to pay with cash. According to the Post, parking will cost $4 because making it $5, while easier for customers, would require public hearings. They will also charge rush-hour fares and run rush-hour service from 4 am to 9 pm.
The shrinking Mall: The Post writes about the areas around the White House and Capitol no longer open to the public since 2001, like the west steps of the Capitol. The Ellipse feels like a military base, and thanks to the bizarre anthrax scare, First Street is closed around House and Senate buildings forcing the N22 on a very circuitous route. Will we ever be able to reexamine these barricades and restore some public spaces around our government buildings for the public?