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Amtrak ready to allow roll-on bike service to Pittsburgh


After years of promising it, Amtrak is about to offer roll-on bicycle service on the Capitol Limited route that passes through Pittsburgh.

With two premier bike trails parallel to the route, enthusiasts and bicycle organizations have long pressed the railroad to add the service. Currently, bikes must be dismantled and packed in boxes and can only be loaded on and off trains at staffed stations, of which there are none between here and Washington, D.C.

“The expansion of bike service will take place as early as next week,” 


Reservations will be required and the railroad will charge a $25 fee for the service, even though passengers will be responsible for rolling their bikes onto the trains, securing them, and rolling them off. Only standard-sized bikes will be permitted. The service will be available at all stations on the route, which extends from Chicago to Washington.

Retired Navy Seal & Gulf War Veteran killed in Bethesda Bike Crash


Montgomery County police Capt. Paul Starks said that the victim was a 64-year-old man who had served as a Navy Seal. Police identified him as Timothy A. Holden of Bethesda.

About 6:30 a.m. in the 6000 block of Massachusetts Avenue, Holden was struck by a 22-year-old man driving a Chevrolet Malibu, police said.

Starks said that Massachusetts Avenue has a dedicated bike lane in the area where the man was killed. He said investigators are trying to determine whether the biker was in the main vehicular lane, or whether the car that hit him was in the bike lane.

He's a father of five who was likely going to have coffee with his oldest daughter. It appears that both were heading east, and Holden was hit from behind.

The driver of the Malibu, 22-year-old Ricardo Freeman of Edgewood, remained on the scene. Police said for reasons still under investigation, the Malibu struck the bicycle.

Also, I'm fairly confident that Massachusetts Avenue doesn't have bike lanes in that block. It has shoulders that are about the width of a bike lane, but there are no bike lane markings or signage. Not that it matters too much (or where he was riding for that matter). 

Here's WUSA9, NBC4 and Fox5 (who notes he was wearing a helmet), 

Police are still investigating and no charges have been filed. 

New rendering of the planned MBT near the Ft. Totten Metro

MBT Totten

The trail is on the west (top) side of the tracks and goes over the tunnel. There a connection to the road and another going west near the parking lot (at top right).

Chris Core's heart is in the wrong place, but he's closer to right than usual

Our good friend Chris Core is back commenting on cyclists who have the audacity to ride in same roads that car commuters do.

Mr. Core is an old hand at this, as he's been marching this well-trod path since at least 2002. Basically he doesn't think cyclists belong on roads where drivers are. He got the many reasonable responses to that letter (it's sad to think that the RCPT was in bad shape as long ago as 2002) which he ignored, because in 2008 he had a commentary on WTOP that basically reiterated his position that cyclists should get onto the perfectly good bike path. He received a lot of push back against that, came out with a follow-on commentary and had me and then-WABA executive director Eric Gilliland on his TV show. 

Then in 2010, he used a bike-bike crash on the Capital Crescent Trail to argue that cyclists belong neither on trails (where they might crash into pedestrians) or roads (where they place themselves in danger) and thus should limit themselves to dedicated bike paths and tracks of which there were none at the time. I suppose by now, we could consider protected bike lanes as dedicated bike paths, but that doesn't help people get around much.

Now, he's at it again [Some real talk about bikes in the road]. In a recent commentary he still wrongly states that cyclists and drivers can't share the road and I still think he's more concerned with getting cyclists out of his way than he is with safety, but he somehow gets a lot right.

A new study says our area has the worst gridlock of any in the country. In Arlington a group called BikeArlington is coming up with what they call a "comfort map," meaning a map to show which of Arlington's streets are the safest for pedalers.

These two stories are related and here's how: Obviously, if we could get more motorists on two wheels it would help to reduce our traffic, but because our roads are so crowded, the truth is bikes and cars just can not safely use the same roads.* I see the sign "Share the Road" all around where I live and on some little used streets this is possible, but on major commuting streets there just isn't enough road to share.

And because bikes and cars move at different speeds and cars outweigh bikes by a lot, it's never going to be truly safe for bikers on major roads. If we want more people to bike to work, what we need is an extensive network of bike paths as some European cities have. Paths just for bikes. No runners. No cars. I think that would be a wise long-term investment.

Ignoring the "worst gridlock" claim that GGW debunked, again, and that he didn't bother to figure out who BikeArlington is (a part of the Arlington government) he's basically advocating for more protected bike lanes - and specifically on "major commuting streets". It's great to see that he's willing to support road diets and the removal of curbside parking in order to facilitate the kind of safe-street designs that will encourage more people to bike to work while leading to safer roads. Welcome aboard Mr. Core!

Perhaps Mr. Core has finally seen that the desire of cyclists for safe infrastructure and the desire of drivers for less congestion are truly aligned.

* Note: Cyclists and motorists can safely use the same roads.

Pre-Registration for Larry's Ride Ends Today

From Bike Maryland

It's your last chance to pre-register for Larry's Ride and save $10! The weather forecast is out and the National Weather Service predicts partly sunny and a high near 85 - beautiful weather for the end of summer! We are looking forward to a great day of riding and a celebatory lunch at the end. Walk-in registration is available by cash or credit card and is $60.

We have posted our Day-Of Ride Details. Registration opens at 7 AM and we have suggested start times for the various ride lengths, which should return an average rider for that distance back at Camp Milldale at lunchtime. Riders may leave as early as 7 AM.

We look forward to having you on Sunday! Proceeds from Larry's Ride support our advocacy and education initiatives. If you like having a representative in Annapolis, an advocate before state and local agencies for trails and on-road improvements, and educational campaigns such as the Bike Friendly Driver program, please ride with us!

Study of Capital Bikeshare concludes that it reduces congestion by 2-3%

From a recent study of Capital Bikeshare:

Our empirical results indicate that the average treatment effect of the presence of bikeshare docks is a 2 to 3% reduction in traffic congestion. In addition to these results, we also find evidence of a potential spillover effect, in which docks increase congestion in neighboring locations, perhaps as they lead drivers to find alternative routes to avoid bicycle traffic. The magnitude of this impact is substantial relative to the effect in which docks offer transportation alternatives and reduce traffic congestion.

Klingle Valley Trail to be completed in December 2016

Just in time for the Trump inauguration! (which is perhaps why that man is thinking of throwing himself into the creek).

Klingle Creek

DDOT held a public meeting on the construction of the Klingle Valley Trail and the restoration of Klingle Creek. This included several renderings of the trail, such as the one above, and a schedule.

Currently, the project is finishing up site preparation and in the process of gas line replacement on the west end of the valley. That will continue until November and then stream restoration and east side gas line replacement will start and last until spring. Stream restoration will be prohibited from March 1 to June 1, and during that time work will begin on the trail west of Connecticut Avenue and on the ramp to Beach Drive.

Klingle West Trailhead

The west end of the trail will connect to the remaining portion of Klingle Road NW, just east of Cortland Place NW.
Klingle West Trailhead

A lot of effort is being put into controlling storm water, including removing the existing pavement, using permeable pavement where needed and adding bioretention facilities.

Klingle Permeable

Klingle West Trailhead

I believe the current roadway along the ramp is to be narrowed to make room for the 8' wide Trail which will connect to the Rock Creek Park Trail on the east end.

In May, work will begin on the sidewalk from the east trailhead to Porter Street, replacing the current desire line which the red arrow below points to.

Klingle Desire Line

All of that trail work, and the gas line replacement, is to be done by the end of June. 

In July, work begins anew on the stream restoration and starts on the trail section from Connecticut Avenue to the east Trailhead.

Klingle CT Ave Bridge

The trail as it passes below the Connecticut Avenue Bridge.

Klingle CT Ave Bridge

The east trailhead will be just west of Rock Creek and Porter Street.
Klingle CT Ave Bridge

Stream restoration should be complete by November 2016, Klingle Road between the trail and Porter will be repaved on October of that year and by the end of the year, the whole trail - and the project will be complete. 

The new trail will have lighting, landscaping, fencing, benches, trash cans and signage. And the whole project should result in a cleaner Rock Creek too.

One addition that might makes sense in the future would be to add a trail connection along the right of way that used to be Jewett Street. On this map from 1937, you can see that it used to connect to Connecticut Avenue, and it's the reason that the Kennedy Warren Apartments are shaped like they are.

Klingle to North

I'm not sure when this road was removed (sometime between 1951 and 1970 though), but a trail along its extant ROW would connect to the current North Road and thus to Connecticut Ave, creating a useful connection between Klingle/Rock Creek and Connecticut Ave - as well as a better way to get around the Zoo for those travelling east-west.

Texting while driving, hit-and-run driver who killed Hagerstown cyclist sentenced to 5 years

Nadine Rager, a Western Maryland woman who struck and killed a cyclist while she was texting and then drove away, pleaded guilty to negligent manslaughter by vehicle and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, all but 5 suspended. 

Circuit Court Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. sentenced Nadine Louise-Nicole Rager, 24, of Abbey Lane to serve 10 years, but suspended five years and gave her 165 days of credit for previous time served.

Long also ordered Rager, who pleaded guilty to negligent manslaughter by vehicle, to be on supervised probation for five years upon her release and pay restitution of $1,979 to the family of John William Bushman Sr. to cover funeral costs.

In addition to texting while driving,

Investigators also determined that Rager was traveling home after visiting a drug dealer to purchase spice, or synthetic marijuana, and also had smoked some of the illegal substance earlier in the night.

Assistant State's Attorney Leon Debes said he learned that Rager was "not a very good person," noting several instances in which she lied about the events that unfolded the night Bushman was killed.

He told the judge that Rager was disrespectful to family members when she was jailed and showed little remorse for what had happened.

Meanwhile the defense argued that she was the victim of abuse

Assistant Public Defender Loren R. Villa said that Rager, also a mother of a young child, endured a difficult upbringing, and was abused and molested when she was a child.

She struggled with substance abuse and got mixed up with the wrong crowd, Villa said.

Bushman had had trouble with the law, but was trying to turn his life around. He was riding a bike to work rather than drive on a suspended license. 

Bushman and Rager were both traveling west along West Washington Street when the crash occurred. Rager, who was driving her boyfriend's 2010 Mazda 3, fled the scene without stopping, prosecutors said.

About 15 minutes after the accident, a passer-by spotted Bushman's body lying in the road and alerted authorities. The collision left pieces of the car behind, and investigators were able to identify the make and model of the vehicle

Without knowing the extent of his injuries, one has to wonder if 15 minutes would have made a difference here. That can be a very long time for someone in trauma as I understand it.

And she's a repeat offender here.

Rager's previous record includes probation before judgment for driving while suspended and using a handheld telephone while driving, prosecutors said.

Those charges were filed in 2014, but the pleas were entered on Feb. 5, a week after Bushman's death, according to Washington County District Court records.

Online court records indicated Rager also had an earlier conviction for using a handheld telephone while driving.

Some piece of work. 

On the one hand, the only other Maryland driver I know of who was sentenced to as long as 10 years for a fatal bike crash is former Terrapin football player Quinzy Fraser. [His sentence was suspended to eight years, of which he should be about half way done now. But I remember about 2 years ago he was up for parole, and I can't find him in the Maryland Corrections system, so who knows].

On the other hand, that sentence seemed a little short for someone who was, like Rager, a repeat offender, who drove recklessly and then left the cyclist to die. 


San Francisco city official to introduce policy to decriminalize Safe Stop Cycling

According to Streetsblog

[San Francisco] Supervisor John Avalos plans to introduce a policy urging the SFPD to let people on bikes treat stop signs as yield signs. It could legitimize the safe, practical maneuver already practiced by the vast majority of people on bikes, which is legal in Idaho.

This isn't the Idaho Stop, as it doesn't allow cyclists to treat red lights as stop signs, and it isn't even the Colorado Safe Stop, because treating a stop sign as a yield sign will still be illegal. That's a state law and San Francisco can't overrule it. But it will basically decriminalize such behavior by creating a policy that would “make citations for bicyclists who safely yield at stop signs the lowest law enforcement priority.”

Further weakening it is this

the non-binding stop sign legislation would need support from SFPD officials to have a substantial impact.

Still, it's a step above the status quo.

Sidewalk closure along Canal pushes pedestrians into the street

DC Water is rehabilitating one of their sewer lines in the area of the Capital Crescent Trail

 DC Water will begin the rehabilitation of the Upper Potomac Interceptor, which is the 48" sanitary sewer main that runs along the Capitol Crescent Trail, as well as cleaning and inspection of the 18" sanitary sewer starting at Canal Road NW. 

In order to do this work, the sidewalk on Canal Road NW between Foxhall Road NW and the Key Bridge has been closed for pedestrians. Unfortunately, there isn't any good alternative for pedestrians (and cyclists) travelling this route. A "detour" told sidewalk users to cross the street, but there's no crosswalk or curb ramps there, and the "sidewalk" on the other side of Canal doesn't pick up for several hundred feet. Even then, it quickly narrows down to about 1 foot wide and isn't really a viable option. The only alternative that doesn't involve ignoring the signs is to go all the way up to Reservoir Road, about 5 blocks away.

Sidewalk closed

The whole sidewalk was blocked at one point


And people who ignored the sign (because they couldn't see the large boxes) eventually crossed to the median.


Seems like a case where closing a lane of the road might have been in order. I wonder if DDOT approved this configuration, as it doesn't seem to be in compliance with the rules for "complete closure of a sidewalk."

When closing a sidewalk adjacent to a roadway with more than two travel lanes and where at least one end of the sidewalk closure is more than 150 feet from the nearest signalized crosswalk, the Traffic Control Plan showing the closure of the sidewalk requires the written approval of the District Department of Transportation Pedestrian Program Coordinator or work zone technician assigned to review the traffic control plan

Thanks to Brett for the photos and notifying me of this. 

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