Innovative Bike Infrastructure in
Be it Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France victories, David Byrne’s book Bicycle Diaries, $4.00/gal gas, or maybe the nationwide consciousness about sustainability, it is plain to see that bicycle culture here in America is on the rise. This increased popularity is a great thing, considering
Often referred to as “cycle tracks”, these new protected bike lanes offer various types of physical separation from automobiles. One of the new cycle tracks (first installed on 15th Street, NW in 2009 as a one way “contra-flow” facility, but recently converted to two-way) physically separates cyclists from traffic by placing the bike lane between the curb and a lane of parked cars. The left vehicle lane is marked LEFT TURN YIELD TO BIKE PEDS at intersections to increase driver awareness of cyclists. This type of cycle track adds an immense amount of physical as well as perceived safety to a bike rider. Recent studies have shown a dramatic decrease in traffic accidents involving cyclists and an overall reduction in vehicle speeds along
15th Street, NW. All this comes to the District at the cost of paint, signage, and plastic bollards.
The second type of cycle track was implemented last year on
Pennsylvania Avenue. It is located in the median, where one would expect to see a double yellow line. While there is no lane of parked cars here, plastic flex-post bollards and 2-foot painted buffers separate cyclists from traffic. Being situated in the median provides ease to cyclists turning left because they avoid crossing two directions of traffic.
These types of cycle tracks provide attractive bike infrastructure that is relatively inexpensive to implement and easy to experiment with, in hopes of increasing bike ridership.
In addition to a growing network of innovative bike lanes, D.C. also boasts the Capital Bikeshare Program. For an annual or daily membership fee anyone can rent one of 1100 bikes and return it to one of 110 stations around the District. Not only does this provide accessibility to non-bike owners but it provides a convenient alternative to driving a car without having to plan one’s day around safely storing a bike.
From cycle tracks to bike-sharing, The District is recognizing its growing two wheeled population. It is continuing to designate space for encouraging cycling while improving safety, equitability, and convenience for riders. With even more stations being built, it appears that D.C.’s bike accommodation has also acted as a promotion, with more people choosing cycling every day.
Using D.C. as a model,
Discovering Livable Communities
by Jesus Cuellar, TND Planning Group Intern
Livable communities don’t just happen. Stakeholders must be vested in their communities to ensure a sustainable environment for generations to come. What is more, special attention must be given to the development of a public realm that provides cohesiveness and creates an environment that is healthy, welcoming, diverse, and accessible. Having recently visited
Despite the threatening weather, there was a reason to be out and about in
Upon exiting the Columbia Heights Metro Station, I was impressed by the quantity and diversity of people. Not only was there a mix between age groups and ethnicities, but there was also a variety of activities taking place. Most people were walking, while others were jogging, riding bicycles, waiting for the bus and sitting. While not saturated with people, the surroundings provided sufficient stimulus to keep your eyes wandering.
A few steps away from the bustling plaza we encountered the densely packed residential homes that existed prior to the area’s transformation. The seamless connection between the community’s past and the current retail options that surround the main plaza has contributed to its success. Residents develop a sense of ownership to convenient services centered in their community and within waking distance.
Making our way towards the main plaza, we encountered people interacting with each other and the built environment. People shopped. They walked into residential complexes. They read books. They laughed without restraint. They ate food and enjoyed coffee. They converted the concrete sidewalks and brick buildings into a breathing and living space.
As we rented a bicycle near the main plaza to explore other areas of