07 Oct 2019


Street Justice: Inaugural Ride on the Florida Avenue NE Bike Lanes

Gordon Chaffinis a freelance journalist who focuses on infrastructure and traffic news and insights for Street Justice. You can support independent journalism by subscribing to Gordon’s newsletter. He’s offering a 20% discount to THIH readers.  –Maria Helena Carey

Dogs running at Swampoodle Park in NoMA, DC (Gordon Chaffin / StreetJustice.news)

FOIA Results on Eckington Bikeshare

Back in June, ANC 5E (Bloomingdale/Eckington/Edgewood) passed a resolution opposing the placement of a new Capital Bikeshare station at the corner of R St NE and North Capitol. The letter, which suggested placement of a station one block down, was championed by the Commissioner for that district Sylvia Pinkney. I filed a FOIA to get all of her emails with fellow 5E Commissioners and DDOT officials. After reviewing the email records, I report that the Commissioner was unresponsive to resident emails asking for more information on her effort to stop a Bikeshare station a few doors down from where she lives.

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Inaugural Ride on the Florida Avenue NE Bike Lanes

On Thursday, October 3, DDOT Director Jeff Marootian and agency staff, including Vision Zero staffer Emily Dalphy, led an inaugural afternoon bike ride along the completed Florida Avenue NE bike lanes. This summer, the agency installed a two-way protected cycletrack on the south side of Florida from 2nd St to West Virginia Avenue NE. From WV to H Street NE, there are curbside, protected bike lanes in the same direction as car traffic. Finally, DDOT added pedestrian safety and transit improvements, such as curb extensions with plastic curbs, floating bus stops, and refreshed crosswalk paint with high-visibility specs.

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6th/9th Street NW Cycletrack Delays

I filed over the summer, and have now received responses to, a FOIA request into six of DDOT’s key communications and planning staff for emails discussing the years-delayed Eastern Downtown cycletrack. The North/South route, which has been sitting at 30% design phase since 2017, has effectively been pocket vetoed by Mayor Muriel Bowser.

I reported this week that Beverly L. Perry, Senior Advisor to Mayor Bowser and member of anti-bike lane Shiloh Baptist Church is the staff member holding up the 6th/9th bike lanes. Perry’s husband Clarke is an active Shiloh congregant as well: He directed the church’s 2018 Holiday Gospel Celebration. He also contributed a personal faith statement to the Church’s website in 2014.

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FOIA Results on Alabama Avenue Bike Lane Removal

Over the summer, you probably heard that DDOT removed two blocks of curbside, unprotected bike lanes on Alabama Ave SE in Ward 8. They did so after the tardy repudiation of nearby ANCs and Ward 8’s Councilmember Trayon White. DDOT placed the bike lanes there, in a small stretch of Alabama, as a test implementation of the agency’s 4-mile Alabama Avenue reconstruction and safety improvement effort.

What followed was a political firestorm about the removal of street parking spaces — nine, I believe — required for the bike lanes. That got some ANC Commissioners in Ward 8 riled up, who took to social media, raised hell, and induced DDOT to remove one side of the new Alabama bike lanes to restore the on-street parking.

I FOIA-ed the six ANCs that include with territory in the four-mile stretch of Alabama DDOT says it will work on one day. I asked for all emails from Commissioners to each other or to external emails (DDOT or otherwise, including the public) including Alabama-related keywords. I submitted the FOIA requests on July 2nd, and the interim has been a frustrating process.

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