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New Hope For Better Bike, Pedestrian Safety in Borderstan

by Borderstan.com October 4, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

"Bike"

Bike safety in Borderstan: Lanes, lights and signs. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.

Last Thursday, the ANC 2B/Dupont and ANC 2F/Logan Advisory Neighborhood Commissions ANCs held a joint meeting to discuss bicycle safety (Dupont-Logan Bicycle Safety Meeting Thursday Night). Dupont ANC 2B Public Safety Liaisons Kishan Putta and Noah Smith and Logan Circle ANC Crime and Public Safety Chair Chris Linn provided Borderstan with this recap of the meeting.

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Residents told transportation and police officials that bike lanes need to be smoother and safer and that more enforcement against unsafe biking on sidewalks is needed, at a Dupont-Logan bike safety meeting last week.

The meeting, attended by more than 50 residents, was the first of its kind in Borderstan and was organized by Dupont Circle ANC safety liaisons Kishan Putta and Noah Smith and Logan Circle ANC liaison Chris Linn.

Putta and Smith held a general community safety meeting in June, where bike safety concerns were aired (Dupont Safety Forum: Homicides, Bikes, Smartphones, Bias Crimes) and that led to last week’s robust discussion.

According to Putta, “It is instructive that the number of neighbors who attended increased from our first general safety meeting.  This points to the importance of pedestrian and road safety on the minds of our neighbors and they can count on us to work to address their concerns.”

Mike Goodno and George Branyan from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) explained what the transportation agency is doing to improve road safety pertaining to bicycle-related issues, such as new bike lanes on N Street NW, 13th Street NW, New Hampshire Avenue NW, L Street NW and a potential lane on M Street NW that requires further study of the other lanes.

The DDOT officials were asked about the heavily used 15th Street NW two-way “cycle-track” and said that it is possible that the city could repave it if there was enough interest and concern. Yolanda Strachan, a meeting attendee, said, “I really hope Kishan [Putta], Noah [Smith], and Chris [Linn] will help us get the 15th Street lanes smoother. Right now, the southbound lane is so bumpy that I’m always switching lanes – but that’s not safe for the northbound bikers.”

Some residents raised concerns about bikers riding on sidewalks, especially where bike lanes are available. Police Service Area 208 Acting Lieutenant John McDonald clarified that biking hazardously on sidewalks is illegal everywhere, but otherwise, District law allows sidewalk biking in neighborhoods outside of the Central Business District. He admitted that “what is hazardous” is a subjective determination.

Shane Farthing, president of the Washington Area Bicycle Association, said that his organization “takes the long view” on these issues, and said that the recent biking boom in DC is going to take adjusting by all parties:  bikers, pedestrians, and drivers.

Strachan (the attendee) said she believes Putta, Smith, and Linn “have a real opportunity to improve community safety if they keep listening to residents and getting them involved and working with the District to make changes.”

Putta, Smith, and Linn said they plan to follow up with their ANCs later this month and then start working toward next steps on both bike and pedestrian safety issues this fall and winter.  All three are running for ANC seats on their respective commissions.

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