ANC Finally Backs Traffic Calming, Just Not of Cars

The Georgetown ANC has never taken a particularly strong stand for measures meant to calm traffic through Georgetown. In fact, most of its efforts on that front are more about speeding cars through Georgetown with as little traffic as possible. And when another neighborhood like Glover Park decided that it wanted to actually do something to slow cars down, the Georgetown ANC took the unprecedented step of sticking its nose in another neighborhood’s business to interfere with and ultimately undo the project.

But this week’s Current reports on how the ANC has finally found a traffic calming measure it can support. It just happens to be bike traffic that the ANC is concerned about. As the Current reports:

The Georgetown neighborhood commission is urging the city to examine and improve the area’s [below the Whitehurst Freeway] safety. In a June 5 letter to transportation director Matthew Brown, the commission specifically asks the agency to determine ways to calm bike traffic, including possibly raised crosswalks.

The article then goes on to quote Commissioner Bill Starrells and Jack Evans who are convinced that bikers present a clear and present danger whose lawlessness must be stopped. Of course the irony of Jack Evans complaining about bicyclist scofflaws is awfully rich, seeing as he is notorious for driving while talking on his cell phone (a scene GM has seen at least a dozen times).

And it’s also rich that the ANC is taking this step in light of the fact that four pedestrians have been killed by cars in Georgetown over the last 10 years, and the ANC has not lifted a finger to ask DDOT to explore road design measures designed to slow cars. But some bicyclists “almost” hit some people on K St. and finally Something Must Be Done.

The thing is, GM completely welcomes any measure designed to slow all forms of travel through intersections. We ought to build raised crosswalks and intersections up and down Wisconsin Ave., particularly at the unsignaled crossings between Dumbarton and Q St. But this would slow down the very things that have actually killed people on the streets in Georgetown: cars. And the ANC has never taken much of an interest in doing that probably because most of them spend most of their travel time behind the wheel of a car. Probably breaking as many if not more of the laws that they accuse all bikers of breaking.

Thankfully we have Tom Birch on the Commission, who is a daily biker. He is quoted in the article stating that the answer to the perceived problem of bike-pedestrian-car conflicts in to build bike lanes. This is a great idea, and one already in the (long term) plans of DDOT. Let’s hope we can direct this misdirected outrage towards a good solution for all.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “ANC Finally Backs Traffic Calming, Just Not of Cars

  1. dsz2

    Is something up with posting comments using WordPress? I’ve tried twice and it’s said “This comment could not be posted.”

  2. Pingback: Let’s make a deal? - The Washington Post

  3. Topher

    Hmm, not sure what the problem is. I didn’t get it as a moderated comment or anything.

  4. dsz2

    Hmm, ok, that went through. Maybe you can’t use HTML tags anymore?

    Anyway, what I was going to say was: I’m not sure how a bike lane at this location solves the problem of conflict. Pedestrians are still going to have to cross paths with cyclists in order to get from one side of Water Street to the other. A bike lane could even make things worse by suggesting to cyclists that they have an uninterrupted ROW (bike lane alongside a curb with no cross traffic), leading to even greater speeds coming off of the CCT than we do now.

    True story: this area (which is how you get to Jack’s Boathouse if you’re brave enough to use to urine-and-graffiti-caked stairs from Whitehurst) is the only place where I’ve had a cyclist yell at me to “get out of the road!”

  5. Reblogged this on Gillies and commented:
    Solid post, ending with a solution.

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