June 29, 2011

Scenes from a bike ride - June 26, 2011

Some photos I took during a bike ride on Sunday, June 26, 2011. Captions below the photos:

Finally open! The bike/ped path across Cameron Run and the Beltway at Telegraph Rd is now open.

DDOT recently striped a bike box on 4th St NW at Pennsylvania Ave.

One of the piers for the future Anacostia Riverwalk Trail bridge over the CSX rail tracks.

Along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail on the west side of the river, between Barney Circle and RFK Stadium. There was a lot of glass along the trail here. DDOT tweeted that they'd clean up the glass.

Track maintenance on the Blue/Orange Lines just north of RFK Stadium.

This beaver was busy swimming back and forth near Heritage Island.

New bike racks at the entrance to Kingman Island on Benning Rd NE.

This clearing is where a future bridge over the CSX rail tracks will be built for the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail along the east side of the river.

A very narrow, weed-choked sidewalk on the north side of the Whitney Young Bridge.

How kind of the workers to block the path with their portable generator. This was on the path connecting the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail to C St NE, near the RFK Stadium parking lots.

A weird and abrupt shift in lane striping on C St NE at 20th St NE.

Interesting lane control sign including the bike lane on C St NE. This is at 16th St NE.

No bike ride would be complete without someone blocking a crosswalk or bike lane. This was on C St NE near 14th St NE.

A new destination sign posted where the 14th Street Bridge path meets the Mt. Vernon Trail.

Alexandria BPAC minutes - June 2011

(Below are the minutes from the June 2011 Alexandria BPAC meeting:)

Overview of Transportation Research Board Bicycle Transportation Committee

Dick Schaffer provided an overview of his work with the TRB committee devoted to bicycle transportation, providing insights into how this work is relevant to Alexandria. Highlights of his overview include efforts to work with the National Park Service on bicycle accommodations (e.g. Mount Vernon Trail), and road safety audits. He indicated training is available for road safety audits upon request, and the BPAC expressed interest in working with the City to conduct such audits.

City Briefing – Alexandria Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator, Carrie Sanders

• Individuals have expressed interest in the NBPDP count effort and are looking forward to seeing our data and results.
• Bike to Work Day was a great success – wonderful support from the Mayor and City Council, a great turnout, smooth operations, an on-site survey of participants (approximately 200 respondents) will provide helpful information.
• WABA Classes – classes held to date have largely been very successful and well attended; Learn to Ride and Confident City Cycling I have been more popular than Confident City Cycling II, so more of the two former classes may be held in lieu of the latter. Upcoming classes:
o Learn to Ride
- 7/9/11, 9:00AM to 12:00PM, Bike and Roll, One Wales Alley, Alexandria, VA, $10 registration fee
- 9/10/11, 9:00AM to 12:00PM, Bike and Roll, One Wales Alley, Alexandria, VA, $10 registration fee

o Confident City Cycling 1
- 6/23/11, 6:30 to 8:30PM, George Washington Middle School parking lot, 1005 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA, $10 registration fee

o Confident City Cycling 2
- 6/18/11, 1:00 to 5:00PM, George Washington Middle School parking lot, 1005 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA, $10 registration fee
- 7/16/11, 1:00 to 5:00PM, George Washington Middle School parking lot, 1005 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA, $10 registration fee

• Bike Parking – the City has installed a number of bike parking facilities in the Del Ray and King St. corridors, in some cases to respond to the removal of older parking meters that served as de facto bike parking when racks were unavailable. The
City does not have a bike parking ordinance, meaning rules on the provision of bike parking are not codified into the zoning code, though there is guidance. This is something the BPAC will consider raising to the Planning Commission. BPAC could consider inviting representatives from neighboring jurisdictions to present on their experiences with bike parking ordinances and guidelines.
• Bicycle Friendly Community – Carrie suggested the subcommittee have a conference call (tentatively Wednesday, July 13th at 12pm; volunteers include Michael, Jonathan, Jerry, and Bruce; others who are interested should contact Carrie to participate).
• Project Updates
o Eisenhower Trail: underpass is functionally complete, but still fenced off.
o Jones Point: Carrie will send the layout of the plans; concern was expressed about the routing of the Mt. Vernon Trail under the Wilson Bridge, and whether impractical (roundabout, reverse direction) routing would push travelers to use alternate routes, such as Washington Street.
o Waterfront Plans: individuals may review the plan and consider commenting (http://alexandriava.gov/Waterfront); bicycles would not be allowed on the waterfront itself due to dense pedestrian activity; bicyclists riding through the area would continue to use Union Street.
o Barrett Elementary: the project will entail adding sharrows to Valley Drive and Martha Custis Drive, and making a “Y”-intersection into a T-intersection; construction is expected to begin no earlier than the start of the school year.
o Safe Routes to School grant – the City submitted a grant application recently for several projects to improve facilities for biking and walking near schools.
o Chambliss Crossing: 90% plans are on Local Motion website; the City intends to put the project out to bid within the next couple of months.
o Telegraph Road bridge over Beltway: an update by a VDOT project official on June 1st estimated an opening one week from that time, but the bridge has still not opened.

National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project

Training conducted before and after June 20th meeting – approximately 15 volunteers to conduct counts at 9-10 locations throughout the City July 7th (5pm-7pm) and 9th (12pm-2pm).

Ride Permit and Police Support

Liability concerns and limited funds for police overtime pay have inhibited the City from holding community rides recently. BPAC would like to examine how it could find partners to hold rides (e.g., WABA, Potomac Pedalers).

Additional Committee Members

Jonathan shared a draft statement to solicit additional members prior to the meeting. Comments were solicited, and the committee expressed support for using the statement to reach out to other stakeholders (e.g. Chamber of Commerce). Please
cc’ Jonathan on any efforts to solicit new members.

Procedures for Rapid Response

• Emergency Meetings
o A procedure for calling emergency meetings was outlined: need a quorum of members, need to give at least 48 hours notice, need to give at least two options for meeting times, needs to go through an Officer (i.e. only Officers can actually solicit for the meeting).
o Passed, no dissensions

• Email Votes
o A similar procedure for holding votes via email was outlined: need a quorum of members for “approval”, need to give at least 48 hours for voting, needs to go through an Officer (i.e. only Officers can actually solicit for the vote).
o E-mail voting is approved only for situations in which a rapid response or statement is needed from BPAC.
o Passed, 1 dissension.

Minutes (Format, Approval Process)

• New procedure will be: Secretary will circulate the initial draft within 2 days of each meeting; comments are due back to the Secretary within 4 days (i.e. by 5pm on the Friday after each Monday meeting); Secretary will circulate a revised draft by 7pm on that Friday; additional comments due back by Monday 12pm; Secretary sends out final version to entire listserv by 2pm that Monday; these minutes may then be disseminated, and will be posted on the website; at each subsequent meeting, the past month’s meetings will be formally voted on for approval.
• Final version for listserv and website should be in PDF.
• Comments, suggestions, edits should be directed to the Secretary in the above-described timeline.
• Only official versions of the minutes (draft, revised or final, preferably final) should be posted to blogs.

Bicycle Friendly Business Project

• Materials were handed out to all vendors at Bike to Work Day to encourage them to apply to the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Business recognition program.
• Andrea sent emails to 4-5 business associations in the City promoting the program.
• The next applications are due July 8th, 2011. Andrea will circulate materials again, and everyone should promote it to businesses and contacts.
• Carrie will work with Alex to get a BFB page on the Local Motion website.
• Carrie will continue to work on a Bicycle Friendly Business Workshop for September; Andrea will partner with her and be BPAC point of contact.
• Carrie indicated the City could offer a gift bag to the first (or group of first) bicycle friendly business/es in the City.

VDOT Letter

• Michael is coordinating with several entities throughout the state to submit a letter to VDOT regarding greater efforts for cooperation and progress on programs for bicycle education and safety throughout Virginia. He read the text of the letter in its entirety, and then a vote was taken on whether the committee would be a signatory.
• Passed, no dissension.

Events and Equipment

• Upcoming events include:
o NBPDP Counts (July 7th and 9th)
o USA & Alexandria Birthday Celebration (July 9th)
o NBPDP Counts (September, dates TBD)
o Bike/Walk to School Day (October)

• BPAC will continue to examine possibilities for a new banner, and for popup tents. Dan participates in The Art League classes, and offered to explore the possibility of working with local artists for a new logo. Dave offered to look into popup tent prices. Michael knows a good printer in the area we can work with for the banner.
• Next Meeting: Monday, July 18th, 7pm-9pm, Durant Center (1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria VA)

June 27, 2011

A bikeshare idea for north Old Town

This past weekend, the Alexandria City Council approved a development including a new Harris Teeter grocery store and residential units in north Old Town, basically the northern 2/3 of the block bounded by St. Asaph, Pitt, Madison, and Wythe Streets.

In his Breakfast Links this morning, David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington suggests including a Capital Bikeshare station with the new development. A very good idea, and one I have forwarded to the BPAC and the city's bike/ped coordinator. Hopefully, we'll get a positive response out of it.

June 23, 2011

Alexandria Bicyclists and Pedestrians Seek Allies

(Froggie's Note: the following letter is from the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). Full disclosure: I am a member of the BPAC.)

The Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) works to provide citizen input into bicycle and pedestrian improvements and to promote bicycling and walking in the city of Alexandria.

BPAC is seeking additional members to serve on its governing committee. We are particularly seeking people who represent communities or organizations that recognize the benefits of more robust bicycling and walking networks in Alexandria. Such as:

- Business associations
- Public health organizations
- Youth fitness organizations
- Elder care and quality of life organizations
- Retiree associations
- Immigrant communities
- Other civic groups and associations, especially in the West End

BPAC meets from 7-9pm on the third Monday of each month in Alexandria.

Interested? Write to alexandriabpac@gmail.com and tell us about yourself.


Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

June 21, 2011

Spoke too soon...

Last week, I noted how the connection under Eisenhower Ave at Cameron Run was open. Spoke too soon...the fencing seen in the photo has been draped back across the trail. According to the city's bike-ped coordinator, the contractor still has a few things to finish on the punch-list.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph Rd connection across the Beltway is still closed...it's now been 2.5 weeks since VDOT briefed the Transportation Commission that it'd be open in 1 week. Time for an E-mail.

One more trail bit: Alexandria hopes to have the Chambliss Crossing project out to bid in a couple months. The 90% design plans were recently posted to the project website.

June 15, 2011

Open and closed

A few photos from a bike ride I took this past Saturday to check on some bicycle infrastructure projects and items.

CLOSED: the new bike/ped connection across Cameron Run and the Beltway at Telegraph Rd. VDOT had said at this month's Alexandria Transportation Commission meeting that it'd be open by now...but I guess not.

OPEN: though not official yet, the new bike/ped underpass under Eisenhower Ave at Cameron Run is open.

CLOSED: there used to be a tunnel under Telegraph Rd, the Blue Line, and the CSX tracks, connecting Mill Rd to Duke St. It has been permanently closed as part of the Telegraph Rd bridge widening over the tracks (seen above). A new trail on the widened bridge will eventually replace the tunnel.

OPEN: though not bike-related per-se, it fits in with the open/closed theme of this post. Also the first instance I've seen of Fiat in the U.S.

June 02, 2011

Mixed bike news

Some good news, and some not so good news for Alexandria bicyclists coming out of last night's Alexandria Transportation Commission meeting.

The not-so-good news focuses on funding of future facilities. Previously, in the city's 10-year funding plan, funding for development and construction of multi-use paths along Old Cameron Run (connecting Eisenhower Ave to Hoofs Run) and Backlick Run (connecting Holmes Run to Van Dorn St) were slated for FY 2013 and FY 2014. Due to changes in the 10-year funding plan, both of those projects have been delayed 2 years each.

There was also an update on the proposed layout changes to the King Street Metrorail station, subsequent to the public hearing at last month's meeting and additional meetings since then with both WMATA and DASH. The main problem here with bicycles is the city still prefers to use brick for the perimeter sidewalks, an item that is also opposed by people with disabilities (of which two were both at last night's meeting and spoke at the public hearing last month). WMATA also has concerns about brick sidewalks for those with disabilities, but city staff are still insistent on brick.

Not all of the King Street Metro news was bad. Both WMATA and DASH commented on the bike parking proposal, with WMATA suggesting that bicycle parking be moved closer to the station entrance to "provide more eyes on the parking spaces", and DASH suggested putting bike parking in from the station entrance all the way to King Street.

There was also a bit of good news for Telegraph Rd. VDOT staff gave a project update on the Telegraph Rd interchange construction, and they hope to open the bike/ped path across the Beltway (connecting Huntington Ave to Eisenhower Ave) next week. As part of the widening of the Telegraph Rd bridge over the Metrorail Blue Line and the CSX tracks, they are also building a bike/ped path on that bridge (connecting Pershing Dr to Duke St) that will replace the existing tunnel under the tracks, and hope to have that open by this fall.