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If you spend any time looking at bus stops, as GP is wont to do, you might have noticed some shelter advertisements for Vision Zero, the signature transportation initiative of the Bowser administration. Vision Zero is predicated on the idea that no loss of life is acceptable on our roadways, and at the end of 2015, the District released its plan to realize this goal by 2024.
While Vision Zero isn’t exclusively about bicyclists, it emphasizes protecting vulnerable road users through engineering, enforcement, education, and the better collection of data. The extent to which these efforts will translate into tangible and immediate improvements is unclear, but if a Vision Zero mentality truly takes hold across agencies (namely the District Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Police Department) this has the potential to have a long-term impact in how we think about and prioritize mobility in D.C.
The D.C. Council could also move forward on various bicycling issues, including those related to contributory negligence, which affects liability for crash victims, and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act, a laundry list of changes including policies related to data collection, higher fines for dangerous driving, and allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs when it’s safe to do so.
A number of long-standing projects should be coming to fruition in the calendar year. Most excitingly for those on the east side of the District will be the completion of the Kenilworth Gardens section of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, a vital off-street bike link connecting D.C. to Prince George’s County. Closer to downtown, the 15th Street cycletrack will be extended up the hill to Euclid Street. Expect further developments on the controversial protected bikeway on the east side of downtown on 5th, 6th, or 9th Street NW, as well as on the final design for Metropolitan Branch Trail extension to Silver Spring. Also, don’t be surprised if DDOT continues to close bike lane gaps one or two blocks at a time.
But wait, there’s more. After procurement delays, expect 60 more Bikeshare stations in D.C. and the close-in suburbs. Bikeshare might even come to Reston (!) by the end of the year, too. Speaking of the suburbs, Montgomery County will continue to make progress on its Bicycle Master Plan (expect big things), and Arlington might recommit to achieving gold level community status from the League of American Bicyclists. The inexorable march of the bicycle continues, and there’s little that anyone can do to stop it. Other than park in the bike lane. Don’t do that. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.