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Thread: How's My Driving App

  1. #1
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    Default How's My Driving App

    TOMORROW!

    You want more parking / traffic enforcement, you say? Do it yourself!

    First ever data-protected bike lane (#DataPBL) project this Wednesday, May 15th

    Install the app on your phone, wear a BTWD t-shirt, and get ready to Tweet the dangers you encounter.

    GO.


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    So, who's tried this app so far?

    I had the strangest thing happen this morning. With the app loaded and phone on quick deploy, I rode up Eads St towards the Crystal City Bike to Work Week shindig, thinking my route would be a sure bet for finding a bike lane violator or three.

    But..... none. None?!? I mean I could've taken issue with the tour bus who was over the line encroaching the bike lane, but his right tires were up against the curb; he'd done his best, and was parked in a legal spot.

    On the way back southbound, same result. None. I did NOT stop for the fleet of NYPD cruisers and trailers who were also overlapping the bike lane. Again, the parking spaces were just too narrow for their vehicles, but they were legally parked. I ain't gonna argue the gray area with NYPD cops who are burly and well armed.

    I only made one pass, and if I'd had more time to cruise Crystal Drive or Potomac Ave, I might've had a more typical experience. But maybe, just maybe, things are starting to improve in Crystal City?

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    I've used plenty it an like it a lot! I wish it was less DC-centric, but I think it's got a dev team of one person so I can give it a pass. If you're looking for a good place to try it out, swing by the part of L'Enfant SW that connects to Maine Ave sometime around noon - there are typically multiple buses parked in the bike lanes. Occasionally the driver will get out and be mad as I take the pic on my phone but so far none has actually done anything.

    I've never witnessed or been informed of DC authorities, whether parking enforcement or police, actually doing anything about the violations I report. I hope that will change with the authorities' newish noises of resolve to better police bike infrastructure in the District.

    Another great place to report these sort of things is www.bikelaneuprising.com. It's neither home-grown nor an app, but I figure more data in more places is a good thing.

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    Thanks and kudos, buschwacker! You and about 70 volunteers logged nearly 700 vehicles blocking bike lanes in one day. If the Department of Public Works ticketed every driver that was logged Wednesday, it would have added up to more than $100,000 in tickets.

    https://dcist.com/story/19/05/16/adv...-over-one-day/

    Wednesday was a beta test for the How's My Driving app. It's currently only active for DC because the license plate lookup feature (which reports # of violations and a $ amount for outstanding tickets) hasn't been built for VA or MD. But I believe the developers intend to expand it to the suburbs, eventually.

    Bike Lane Uprising is also a great way to submit violations. Not only are they collecting vast amounts of useful data, but the admins actually contact repeat offenders (UPS, Uber, etc) to present them with facts and try to negotiate better behavior. In Chicago, people are "adopting" bike lanes and volunteering to check on known hot spots. We could do that in DC and the suburbs.

    In the end, this is about several things. On the surface, of course it's empowering average citizens, bike commuters, pedestrians, whoever to report violations with enough information that hopefully better enforcement will happen. But it's also a way to highlight systemic problems in our street design. On-street car storage and lack of loading zones for delivery trucks, cabs / rideshare vehicles, and tour buses only exacerbate the problem.

    I just want to recognize that these apps are grassroots efforts, built by active local advocates. Once again, WABA and the BPACs are doing their best, but anyone armed with an app or two can help change the equation for safety on our streets.

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    With initiatives like How's My Driving, I think the future is bright for bettering non-car infrastructure in this region. I'm curious, do you have the ear of the app developers? I wonder how integrated they are into the VA enforcement systems and whether BPAC could help. I'd personally love to hear from them in an upcoming meeting.

  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by buschwacker View Post
    With initiatives like How's My Driving, I think the future is bright for bettering non-car infrastructure in this region. I'm curious, do you have the ear of the app developers? I wonder how integrated they are into the VA enforcement systems and whether BPAC could help. I'd personally love to hear from them in an upcoming meeting.
    I've met Mark Sussman but don't ever run in to him outside of Twitter. I see Dan Schep every few weeks or so. As far as I know there's not a plan to expand outside of DC. I can ask next time I see him. I know that they've had multiple meetings with DC agencies.

    Alexandria and Arlington's Twitter accounts don't take requests. They just refer to phone numbers or web based services for submitting requests. Alexandria doesn't seem to have many problems with folks parking in bike lanes as DC. Arlington has some problem areas in Crystal City and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    As far as I know there's not a plan to expand outside of DC.
    Hmmm, except that the app already has "VA" and "MD" buttons when you go to report a violation. I don't know what their timeline is, but it appears their ambitions are to expand. Rachel said they're focused on DC now because some of the functions were already built and tested. And, like any volunteer dev team, they probably have day jobs and families.

    I don't know them personally, but the best way to communicate may be via Twitter @hmdappio

    On this forum it's easy to reach dasgeh (Arlington BAC) and lordofthemark and CaseyKane50 (Alexandria BPAC) to coordinate introductions. The biggest hurdle may indeed be how to integrate with the enforcement agencies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ginacico View Post
    Hmmm, except that the app already has "VA" and "MD" buttons when you go to report a violation. I don't know what their timeline is, but it appears their ambitions are to expand. Rachel said they're focused on DC now because some of the functions were already built and tested. And, like any volunteer dev team, they probably have day jobs and families.

    I don't know them personally, but the best way to communicate may be via Twitter @hmdappio

    On this forum it's easy to reach dasgeh (Arlington BAC) and lordofthemark and CaseyKane50 (Alexandria BPAC) to coordinate introductions. The biggest hurdle may indeed be how to integrate with the enforcement agencies.
    The VA and MD buttons are for the license plate recording; given the focus on recording/reporting violations in DC, those are very common state plates to see, so it wouldn't be as user-friendly to have them buried in the drop-down menu like the others.

    As far as expansion plans, I'm not in tune with their roadmap, and honestly haven't brought this aspect up to them when we've talked, though like Judd I can try to think of it the next time I see either of them. I can also send a link to this thread to Mark in case he has a chance to weigh in himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    I can also send a link to this thread to Mark in case he has a chance to weigh in himself.
    I'd love to ask them about enforcement issues faced by DC authorities as a result of this app. I've been reporting bike lane violations via DC 311 for many months now and haven't yet heard about a ticket being issued to offending vehicles. Once I saw a DPW vehicle drive by two buses parked in the lane, dislodging them but otherwise taking no action.

    I'm content to continue building up the data with How's My Driving, but from an enforcement perspective, it's a very frustrating experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buschwacker View Post
    I'd love to ask them about enforcement issues faced by DC authorities as a result of this app. I've been reporting bike lane violations via DC 311 for many months now and haven't yet heard about a ticket being issued to offending vehicles. Once I saw a DPW vehicle drive by two buses parked in the lane, dislodging them but otherwise taking no action.

    I'm content to continue building up the data with How's My Driving, but from an enforcement perspective, it's a very frustrating experience.
    I've had a number of service requests result in tickets issued; the DPW officer will add notes when closing the ticket some of the time to note 1 ticket issued (or no violations found or whatever). You can also see that more gloablly in the corresponding OpenDataDC dataset if you were so inclined.

    Because of the lag between request and enforcement action, it's never the same bad actor, but that's to be expected. I'm also good with DPW or DC Police making people move w/o a ticket being issued; it's the behavior/blockage that I'm concerned with stopping.

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