Monday, January 27, 2014

I hate to break it to you but Ward 8 does bike and A LOT.

Housing Complex journalist Aaron Wiener covers the lack of non park trail bike lines in Ward 8 -- as in Ward 8 has 0 miles of bike lines. Let me be one of the many to say that is a shame. You can read Aaron's full article HERE.

Biking isn't a trend in Ward 8 -- it's a way of life.
What is so strange is that I know A LOT of people who bike in Ward 8. The same day Aaron's article came out I was commenting to some Ward 8 friends how I felt I was in the minority because I don't own a bike. As with many things about Ward 8 there is this overall perception that Ward 8 residents don't bike in significant numbers but we do. Ward 8 bikers may not have "official" bike clubs, or bike in groups, or live tweet their bike rides but they are out there. I see Ward 8 bikers all the time. I can't think of a time when I haven't seen Ward 8 biking. Even in the cold and the snow they are out there. 

My condominium has a bike room to accommodate all my neighbors bikes (it is a HUGE amenity). Almost all of my colleagues bike to work.  Approximately a 1/3 - 1/2 of The HIVE 2.0 membership rides their bike to the office. When WABA holds bike repair clinics in Ward 8 THEY ARE PACKED! 

WABA Free Bike Repair Clinic in Congress Heights

After a 20 year hiatus I first got back on a bike after I moved to Ward 8. You can read my bike journal here, here, here,  here, and here. I am still dreaming of getting one of these one day:

I dream of one of these magically showing up on my doorstep with a red ribbon.
From high-schoolers; to thirty something professionals; to my 72 years young neighbor: biking is a VERY popular activity in Ward 8. Kendall, Jessie, Tommie, and Charles in Anacostia bike; Miss Cynthia, Kim, Terry, and Joanne in Congress Heights bike; Dionne in Bellevue bikes and many more! It would be great to see Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry encourage more bike opportunities and bike lanes in Ward 8; the reality is that his constituents are indeed biking and have been for a while. I know if there was a dedicated bike lane from my house in Congress Heights to my office in Anacostia I would be more likely to bike to work (assuming I had a bike to ride). 

Shane Farthing of WABA reintroducing my neighbor Miss Cynthia to her newly repaired bike!
Miss Cynthia had owned this bike for over 30 years. 

Last November WABA hosted the first "East of the River Bike Expo" the same day and time as a festival in Congress Heights and let me tell you, the bike expo had way more attendants! 

Anacostia's FixIt station!
(Tommie Adams Jr. )
So I think this perception that, "Ward 8 doesn't bike in significant numbers" or that we don't care about biking isn't accurate -- at least from where I am standing. The problem is (as with most things we don't have) we are flying so under the radar that in order to see what we are doing, you have to be where we are. Also, it doesn't help when some very loud (but very close minded) Ward 8 community leaders try to make a "bike lanes vs. everything" argument. Ward 8 can have bike lanes and jobs and job training programs and quality housing and everything else we need. In fact, because we want those other things we need to encourage biking and almost any other form of public and low-cost transportation. At ARCH when we plan big events like LUMEN8ANACOSTIA we always discuss the "bike factor." Whenever possible we try to accommodate our bikers with bike valets or extra bike racks. WABA is one of our most important partners.  

Bike lanes and dog parks in Ward 8 are not the signs of the apocalypse. They are signs of a vibrant, healthy, and connected community. We should encourage these things --  not try to make people feel ashamed for wanting them. 

Bike lanes aren't just for White people -- bike lanes are for people who bike. 

Photo courtesy of the Anacostia Business Improvement District (Tommie Adams Jr.)

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h st ll said...

Awesome post.

I often bike down to Anacostia on a CaBi bike. The new bridge is beautiful, too.

Do need more bike lanes and more CaBi stations all over EOTR though (and WOTR, but that's another story)

Anonymous said...

Before we add bike lanes lets make sure bikers know the rules of the road.

Anonymous said...

Before more bike lanes are built, lets make sure bikers know the rules of the road.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the post, but as for the last 2 comments: We don't require all drivers to act perfectly before building roads. I agree that safe biking (and driving, and walking) are really important, but just because some people who do each of these things act unsafely doesn't mean we have to punish everyone else.

I live in SW and often bike to Anacostia over the 11th St. and Frederick Douglass bridges. I love the riverfront trail, and some of the hillier parts of SE make for an amazing workout! It would be a dream come true for me to see a bike lane along Good Hope Road. I'm sure there are lots of other parts of Wards 7 & 8 that would like bike lanes too.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the tone and substance of the comment from "Anonymous."

Drivers are just as inconsiderate of the rules of the road in Washington and cause many more accidents and injuries than bicyclists.

Adding bike lanes will improve the situation for both bikers are drivers since it will give dedicated space to bicyclists and out of lanes for cars (if cars don't park in the bicycle lane).

As the original post already said, there are lots of bicyclists already in Ward 8. Adding bicycle lanes will do more to encourage more people a mode of transportation that is healthy for them and for the city.

Anonymous said...

Well you may disagree with my comments, but I have personally witnessed bikes weave in and out of traffic, hit a child, run thru stop signs and lights and almost cause numerous accidents, courtesy of bike messengers. If you want to bike do so responsibly. Remember you live in a city now, not the burbs.

heart newcomb said...

We definitely need some bike lanes to connect Congress Heights to the rest of the city. Every time I see someone biking up S Capitol St, I fear for their safety. But there is no safe AND direct way to get to the other side of the river from where I live. I would love to see a bike on S Capitol. I would definitely use it to get to work.

heart newcomb said...

I meant to say I would love to see a bike lane on S Capitol, not a bike. We already have plenty of those! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this! Couldn't agree more.