Image by BeyondDC licensed under Creative Commons.

On April 11, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C representing NoMa and parts of Capitol Hill urged DC towards more ambitious goals for bicycling infrastructure, Capital Bikeshare usage, and publicizing Vision Zero data. The commissioners unanimously voted to send a written testimony to the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) budget oversight hearing, calling several of the agency’s annual goals insufficient.

More people are cycling, and they need safe infrastructure

As they have since 2005, DDOT set a goal of 10% more miles of bike lanes installed around the city. However, ANC 6C pointed out that the actual number of lane miles installed last year amounted to only a 6.6% increase and strongly encouraged goals higher than 10% for 2019 to make up for the discrepancy.

The District needs more bicycle infrastructure. The Census Bureau shows that bicycle commuting in DC has grown 46% from 2011 to 2016. Many use ANC 6C’s Metropolitan Branch Trail segment, the First Street NE cycletrack, and other neighborhood bike lanes despite the lack of traffic enforcement against the trucks, cars, and construction that routinely block them.

Another of DDOT’s cycling-related goals is to increase Capital Bikeshare’s new users by 3% next year. Last year, however, new ridership went up by 15.6%, and the ANC argued that DDOT should accordingly set this goal much higher. Capital Bikeshare growth consistently exceeds expectations, as ANC 6C Transportation and Public Spaces Committee co-chair Mark Kazmierczak pointed out, but DDOT has only increased the growth goal from 2% to 3%.

Calls for more Vision Zero data

The Vision Zero incentive in DDOT’s budget document lists “Not Available” data for almost all metrics regarding the goal to achieve zero traffic-related deaths by 2024. Commissioner Mark Eckenwiler (6C04) said Vision Zero might be better called “Vision Undefined” and asked whether city leadership is serious about this effort.

Image by the author.

The ANC “strongly urges” DDOT to fund more Vision Zero data collection and do a better job of publicizing it, especially with regard to improving fatality-prone intersections. Kazmierczak said knowing the number of injuries for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists would also be useful.

Mayor Muriel Bowser requested $1 million for DDOT to study bus rapid transit along New York Avenue, which is a positive step. ANC 6C also wants DDOT to accelerate its redesign of the virtual traffic circle at Florida Avenue and New York Avenue (also known as Dave Thomas Circle) as well as its New York Ave Streetscape project.

Studies show that 86% of NoMa residents are car-free, yet they continue to face obstacles such as car-oriented New York and Florida Avenues. NoMa, Capitol Hill, and the rest of DC should not have to wait any longer for DDOT to advance sustainable transportation projects for their residents.

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Robb Dooling is a Deaf queer bike adventurer, progressive dreamer, and writer/editor. He lives in NoMa and has a Computer Science degree that he no longer uses because he is too busy biking.