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Thread: Another accident at the GW Parkway crossing

  1. #31
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    Given that the local governments all participate in the Metro Washington Council of Governments, maybe it is time the COG spins up some bicycle advisory element. It makes no sense that each of the communities have to reinvent the wheel. Contrast the success with bollards in Arlington (which, for the record, took a lot of work and collaboration with the county) and the stark contrast in Alexandria. Maybe there is some room for collaboration.

  2. #32
    PotomacCyclist is online now I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blacknell View Post
    It's probably time to break this off into a new thread, but I'd say that WABA's pretty clearly about more than expanded cycling facilities (see the advocacy page, the blog, and the news coverage we get). But WABA simply doesn't have the resources to engage every single issue that pops up in the Washington area. Those bollards, for example, are something that should draw in Alexandria's BPAC (or is that on the FABB side of the line?). I'm not trying to get WABA off the hook - I'm just saying that there aren't the resources (or local expertise) there that can let anyone safely assume that WABA will pick up and handle every local issue.

    At the same time, we could certainly do a better job with our website (I just saw a reference urging folks to contact GW Parkway Superintendant David Vela - who left that job in 2008). And we certainly prioritize issues involving regional connections (and yes, I'd place the MVT among them), so should do a better job of communicating that.
    We can make this a permathread, so that there is one location for thoughts, ideas, complaints, proposals and historical observations about the problems and attempted solutions for the problem on this section of the trail. Having a single, ongoing thread can make it easier for people to search for previous comments about the issue. Hopefully one day, some of these ideas could actually be put into place.

    Meanwhile, I will continue to avoid using those crossings as much as possible. An easy interim action would be to post a list of the most dangerous intersections for cyclists on various sites. Not a comprehensive list. Just the 4 or 5 that have caused the most problems over the years. There could be a one paragraph note about the GW Parkway and Washington Blvd. crossings, the Lynn St. crossing and a couple others. The note could be posted somewhere on the WABA site, the BikeArlington site, etc. The note would inform new cyclists about the problems at those locations. It would also serve as a persistent announcement that those crossings are dangerous. A subtle way to spread the word and maybe create more political support for solutions, eventually.
    Last edited by PotomacCyclist; 06-06-2012 at 03:12 PM.

  3. #33
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    Default Very Disapoointed WABA Member

    I didn't say that expanded bike facilities is all that WABA's about. They do dominate the list of WABA advocacy priorities, however. Thw words "increase", "increase", "construct", "reconstruct" are used before "safety." And it's remarkable that safe infrastructure is not on that list at all.

    Shane Farthing's stated at the start of his tenure with WABA that he wanted to expand WABA's concerns outside of DC. Here is a golden opportunity to do so. "It's not my job" is not what I was expecting. If WABA's expertise is focused elsewhere, why should those of us in Fairfax County even bother to support it?

    BTW, the bollards are entirely in Alexandria City. It's a bicycle friendly city or so they clam.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rootchopper View Post
    Thw words "increase", "increase", "construct", "reconstruct" are used before "safety." And it's remarkable that safe infrastructure is not on that list at all.
    I'd say that safety is most of the point of most of the infrastructure we're talking about. I don't push for better bike infrastructure in Arlington because I like to see little bikes painted on the pavement. I push for it because I believe it, on balance, leads to a safer environment for bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rootchopper View Post

    Shane Farthing's stated at the start of his tenure with WABA that he wanted to expand WABA's concerns outside of DC. Here is a golden opportunity to do so. "It's not my job" is not what I was expecting. If WABA's expertise is focused elsewhere, why should those of us in Fairfax County even bother to support it?
    I think the problem here is one of information, and not one of action. Your complaint seems to be 1) that WABA hasn't been actively involved in the bollard issue at Wilson Bridge, and 2) that WABA isn't doing enough outside of the bounds of the District.

    As to #1, sure, that's the kind of thing that I think *is* best addressed by local expertise, with WABA assisting as appropriate (and that assistance is usually best invited with an email to staff, instead of "Hey, you're not doing anything!").

    #2? Your perception just doesn't match the reality of WABA's work. I've noted upthread that WABA could do a better job of communicating its work (and we will), but communication's a two-way street. I can't believe that anyone who's been listening to what WABA's been saying in the past few years could really say that they're mostly about building new bike infrastructure in DC. I know folks can't keep up with everything WABA's doing (*I* have a hard time managing that), but truly, we've not been hiding our work with Fairfax Advocate for Better Bicycling (a WABA-sponsored project) and the Fairfax bike master plans, getting Montgomery County to fill bike-related staff positions, ensuring that the CCT connection through Bethesda remains safe, the *load* of bike safety classes open to all, and engaging with MORE to bridge the gap between the road and dirt crowds.

  5. #35
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    Default Three Final Points

    Mark

    You as president of WABA have been advised. Would it kill you to raise the WW bollard issue with staff instead of pushing back on me?

    Second, WABA is the Washington Area Bicyclists Association. AREA! The Mount Vernon Trail is a huge part of the area infrastructure. WABA has a responsibility to its members to get actively involved in this.

    Third, I just renewed my WABA membership for 2 years Monday night. Based on this exchange I think I may be asking for my $50 back.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rootchopper View Post
    You as president of WABA have been advised.
    So noted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rootchopper View Post
    Would it kill you to raise the WW bollard issue with staff instead of pushing back on me?
    I'm not sure where you get that I've got a problem with that, but fwiw, I've already had conversations with staff about it (before this thread existed).

    I'm not pushing back on *you*. I like you! I've read your blog for years! As far as I'm concerned, we're on the same team. What I *am* pushing back on is your claim that WABA's just been focusing on DC infrastructure and not prioritizing safety. As I've (hopefully) demonstrated, that simply isn't true. (And further, it does a disservice to the hard work and hours our staff spends travelling all over the region to advocate for safer streets for cyclists.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rootchopper View Post
    Second, WABA is the Washington Area Bicyclists Association. AREA!
    Yes, I get that. WABA gets that:

    As part of the process of determining regional advocacy priorities for the Washington region, there be will skateholder's meetings in each of the local jurisdictions represented by WABA. The purpose of each of the meetings is to discuss short, medium and long term local and regional priorities. Please RSVP for your local meeting. We will be sending RSVP'ed guests information prior to meetings to focus the discussions.


    9/13 - Prince George's Co. - Greenbelt Library Aud., 6pm to 8pm - More Info & RSVP


    9/20 - Montgomery Co. - Kensington Park Comm. Library, 6pm to 8pm - More Info & RSVP


    9/27 - Arlington Co. - Shirlington Branch Library, 6:30pm to 8:30pm - More Info & RSVP


    10/4 - Alexandria - Nannie J Lee Rec. Center, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm - More Info & RSVP


    10/11 - District of Columbia - Benning Library, 6:30pm to 8:30pm - More Info & RSVP


    10/17 - Fairfax Co. - Patrick Henry Library, Vienna, VA, 6:30pm to 8:30pm - More Info & RSVP


    Please, download and complete the Pre-Meeting Planning Sheet prior to the meeting


    Quote Originally Posted by Rootchopper View Post
    The Mount Vernon Trail is a huge part of the area infrastructure. WABA has a responsibility to its members to get actively involved in this.
    At the last board meeting, we discussed the importance of stepping up our efforts on the MVT, given its regional significance. Perhaps I should have written a post on it. One of the reasons I jumped in this thread, though, was to shed some light on the mechanics of advocacy. I hope it's been useful, and not just an advertisement against renewing membership.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rootchopper View Post
    Third, I just renewed my WABA membership for 2 years Monday night. Based on this exchange I think I may be asking for my $50 back.
    I suspect that's mostly motivated by my winning personality here. If that's the case, I'll make you a deal - if you think I'm being an unreasonable dick about this, I'll buy you $50 worth of beer at a bikeable bar of your choice, but WABA gets to keep you as a member. It's me, not WABA.

    Seriously, Rootchopper, we're on the same team here.

  7. #37
    PotomacCyclist is online now I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    You guys aren't on the same team in the National Bike Challenge though:

    http://www.endomondo.com/?wicket:interface=:7::::

  8. #38
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    It should be kept in mind that WABA can't work miracles. It is an *advocacy* organization with little money, staff, and far less clout, than say, the auto lobby. It can jump up and down and throw tantrums but policy makers don't see cycling, WABA, or pedestrian issues as nearly as important as say, defense, education, jobs, or taxes. I'm sure there are pedestrian lobbies arguing for money be taken away from cycling projects.

    Compare how much the auto and oil lobbies donate to political causes and compare it to the cycling community. Add this to how many people drive versus bike/walk and you have an almost impossible situation.

    Keep in mind that much (most?) of the work done by the likes of WABA, Rails-to-Trails, BikeArlington is volunteer or done by people willing to work unorthodox hours (late nights, early mornings).

    Lastly, we live in an unusual community that spans two states and the district and features the unusual confluence of multiple levels of government, NPS, high levels of security, and tourists. We're lucky it all works as well as it does!
    Last edited by KLizotte; 06-06-2012 at 11:37 PM.

  9. #39
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    Sad, but true.

    But real progress is never easy.

  10. #40
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    Default Thank you

    Seriously, we're on the same team here.
    I know what my reaction to all this is. As much as I have been avoiding yet another meeting, I know its time for me to step it up a bit more. Put my hand to the plow. Show up at the BAC. It is an effort led by bike advocates with squadrons of volunteers.

    I have lived here all my life. I was born in 7 corners. I grew up in MOCO. Got my first bike when living in Glen Echo. Had my first accident on River Road. When I graduated college, with my esteemed diploma, I became a courier (that was good money - and fun). My first professional job was a DC Super Court; I biked to work and they had some showers down in the dungeon. I went to the first Bike to Work Days - back when the whole thing was just at Freedom Plaza.

    Things are so much better than they were. Not all the Bollards are gone; but some are. The 4MR extension under 395 - that thing is incredible. It's safer on the roads. The police at least have a clue. In DC its a political controversy to park your car in the bike lane. In Arlco your bike cred is part of your election platform. In MoCo there is serious debate about bike infrastructure. The MBT has opened. The Baseball stadium has a bike vallet (I mean, really?? I love that). The 14th St Bridge EIS is seriously considering a bike bridge. The hump back bridge is a massive accomplishment. The C&O Canal tow path goes way west. The W&OD has had a number of dangerous crossings become bridges.

    I will be the first to grouse; I have crossed Lynn St and Lee Hwy for 25 years. But I will also be the first to thank WABA, Arl BAC, Arlco, DDOT, and the other BACs - for the tremendous accomplishment that is #bikedc I am stunned and amazed to sit, as I did tonite, in a cafe having tea.... and watch bike after bike after bike traverse the streets. It did not use to be this way - it couldnt have been bc back in the day, you had to be an insane nut courier to bike in DC.

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