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After years of moving around, BicycleSPACE is expanding again

BicycleSPACE, the Mt Vernon Square-area bicycle shop that is currently on its 3rd location, with a 4th (and final?) one scheduled for May just announced another expansion. They had already announced in January plans to open a 2nd location in the old Hecht's Warehouse on New York Avenue, NE but then last week they announced plans to open a 3rd location in Adams Morgan. 

The store, scheduled to open in April, will occupy 6,405 square feet at 2424 18th St. NW, described by the owners as an "unimaginably large shop." It takes over a space that's been vacant for years, since the closure of Slaviya and previously Leftbank. The building is owned by Douglas Development, which also owns the Hecht property, as well as the 7th Street store that BicycleSPACE had to leave so Douglas could proceed with its office development.

Each of the new stores, beyond the K Street one replacing the nearby 7th Street shop, presents a challenge. The Hecht development, in Ivy City, is cut off from much of the city by railroad tracks, a highway-like stretch of New York Avenue, and a cemetery. Bikers in that part of town are few. As a result, the BicycleSPACE there will have to rely on Maryland commuters stopping by with their cars. "Don’t forget, there’s over 70,000 people who pass by there driving in and out of the city every day," says Kugler. It's a different model from the downtown store, where most visitors come by bike or foot.

Not so long ago, there were no bike shops in NE. And there was just the Union Station Bike station (which isn't a full bike shop and is barely in NE) and now there are several. Still, no one has ventured EOTR yet. I put the over/under on that at 2 years. 

But Kugler's also hopeful that infrastructure improvements will make Ivy City more of a cycling destination. The city is planning a bike trail along New York Avenue, and Kugler hopes cyclists will come through the area en route to the newly bike-accessible Arboretum. The Hecht development also aims to be something of a fitness draw; there's a Planet Fitness, and Kugler says the BicycleSPACE will be located between a Bikram Yoga studio and a CrossFit studio.

With car capacity downtown pretty maxed out and cycling infrastructure much cheaper than public transit infrastructure, Kugler sees a major expansion in the future for cycling in D.C., and possibly for BicycleSPACE as well. But for 2015, three new stores is going to be it.

And BicycleSPACE may not be done.

"The locations are exactly what we wanted. We’re going to hunker down this year, work on execution, and next year, we’ve already got four opportunities in front of us."

BicycleSPACE is poised to become the largest bicycle retailer in D.C.

Bike-centric is one way to deal with transit poor

From a Housing Complex story on the new Southwest Waterfront

[Madison Marquette Senior Vice President Dan McCahan] says the developers are "trying to be heavily bike centric," with around 1,000 bike parking spaces, but the streets around The Wharf can be tough for cyclists to navigate. 

Memorial Circle Transportation Plan Open House - Tonight

The National Park Service will be presenting rough sketches of design concepts for the Memorial Circle Transportation plan that were developed at a workshop that evaluated previous studies of the area, existing and projected traffic conditions including accident, speed and road/trail volumes, and the memorial character of the area. These concepts will be the foundation for the development of alternatives to be presented later in the year.  

I know there are a lot of cyclists who use this area - as the Mount Vernon Trail passes through here - daily, and this is your opportunity to offer your thoughts about this process and the ideas that were generated before they develop alternatives.

Comments will be accepted at the open house or may be provided online through the NPS Planning Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website. 

The sketches have been posted to the project website and comments will be accepted from March 3, 2015 to March 10, 2015. You can access this site here.

The sketches are really rough, they look like the actual marked up maps from the workshop, so don't expect studio-style art.

The open house is from 5pm to 8pm at NPS National Capital Region Headquarters, 1100 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC. 

Here are my comments I submitted back in September:

  • While the scoping document mentions the social paths that runners and cyclists have carved from the north side of Memorial Bridge to the MVT, it seems to be out of concern for their use and dedicated to finding ways to stop it. Instead, NPS should view these as desire lines which are to be embraced and improved to meet user need
  • The MVT is only 9 feet wide in this area - and sometimes less, but best practices would dictate that such a heavily used trail, and its spurs to Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Pentagon's 9/11 Memorial, be widened.
  • From Memorial circle to Arlington National Cemetery, cyclists use narrow sidewalks made with an aggregate surface. Aggregate becomes very slippery and unstable when wet, and thus NPS should consider a safer material be used.
  • The scope should be enlarged to include the bicycle/pedestrian path on the downstream (south) side of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. Currently this path is disconnected on the Virginia side, but a connection to the MVT is possible. Extending the trail from the current Virginia end of the bridge path, it could be turned south along the connector between S. Arlington Road and US-50. The ample green space along the north side of the connector’s bridge over the Washington Channel could be used to cross that body of water and then the trail could cross over or under the GWMP, or even at-grade. This would allow for a direct connection between the MVT and Constitution Avenue, while bringing access to two large parcels of parkland currently inaccessible to users. 

1st Anacostia River Festival to feature bike rides and a bike parade

The 11th Street Bridge Park and the National Park Service are sponsoring the First Anacostia River Festival this April at the end of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Among many other free events, the festival will feature a bike parade run by ArtReach and Illumination coalition, a WABA led trail ride, and street activities like bike decoration and a tune-up tent. 

“The Anacostia is poised for a renaissance,” National Park Service Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said. “The National Park Service is committed to helping people discover the beauty, fun and possibilities in Anacostia Park, and I hope that events like the River Festival inspire people – especially young people – to visit and get involved.” 

Held in Anacostia Park, one of America’s national parks, and steps away from the future 11th Street Bridge Park, the event is free of charge and is a new premier offering that culminates the 2015 National Cherry Blossom Festival. 

I believe the CaBi single day record was set at last year's Cherry Blossom Festival, so a bike-oriented activity in another part of the city could make for another record-breaking day.

WABA honors winners of first Bicyclists' Choice Awards

From a WABA press release (it's the first time I've ever heard of someone being referred to as a "twitter personality."):

On Friday, February 20th, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association hosted an award ceremony to honor the recipients of the 2015 Bicyclists' Choice Awards. These awards, nominated and voted on by the region's bicyclists, celebrate the people and places that make the DC region a great place to ride a bike. The event took place at the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust on 12th NW, and was hosted by Brian McEntee, a bike advice columnist and twitter personality.

A complete list of winners is below.

WABA has given awards in the past, but this event marks the first time award winners have been chosen by a vote. In addition to 15 Bicyclists' Choice Awards, WABA also gave out seven awards to individuals and organizations that furthered WABA's goals in 2014.

The Advocate of the Year for 2014 Winner: Jim Durham, Chair of the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, for his work bringing bike lanes to King Street in Alexandria, and founding Alexandria Spokeswomen.

The Vision Zero Award WinnersBruce Deming and Cory Bilton, local attorneys who provided pro-bono legal assistance to WABA’s contributory negligence campaign.

The Biking for All Award Winners: Bayley Vanderpoel of Velocity Co-op and Katie Lupo of Gearin’ Up Bicycles, which bring low cost bicycles, service, and education to the community.

The Green Lanes Award Winner: The Montgomery County T&E Committee. The GREEN LANES AWARD highlights WABA's commitment to advocating for safe, protected, on-road facilities. A number of local jurisdictions have installed green lanes, or protected bike lanes, in the past year, but no jurisdiction has come so far so quickly in its understanding of the importance of protected biking infrastructure as Montgomery County.

The Future Trails Award Winner: REI, for their support of and commitment to WABA's Future Trails celebration and regional trails stakeholder summit.

The Access to Justice Award Winner: DC Councilmember David Grosso, for his work to change the District's Contributory Negligence standard for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Bicyclists’ Choice Awards:

Best New Bike Infrastructure in the District of Columbia in 2014: Winner: M Street protected bike lane

Best New Bike Infrastructure in Maryland in 2014Winner: MARC train Bike Cars from DC to Baltimore

Best New Bike Infrastructure in Virginia in 2014Winner: King Street bike lanes in Alexandria, VA

Bike Friendliest Neighborhood or Business Improvement District Winner:DowntownDC BID

Bike Friendliest Bar, Restaurant or Coffee Shop Winner: District Taco, various locations in DC and VA

Bike Friendliest Developer or Property Manger Winner: Nationals Park

Best Bike Shop Winner: BicycleSPACE

Bike Friendliest School Winners (tie): School Without Walls High School, DC and the Washington & Lee High School, Arlington, VA Bike Friendliest College or UniversityWinner: University of Maryland at College Park

Best Shop Ride Winner: BicycleSPACE Hills of Anacostia

Best Use of Biking Data Winner: Bike Arlington’s Freezing Saddles 

Best Media Coverage of Biking Winner: Martin DiCaro for WAMU

Best Social Ride Winner: BicycleSPACE’s 7th Street Social

Biggest Advocacy Win of 2014 Winner: Snow Removal on Arlington County Trails

Best Overall Trail or Bike Lane (anywhere in the region) Winner: W&OD Trail

Rock Creek Park Trail going to design phase, other work could be done sooner

DDOT recently obligated money to hire a contractor to work on the formal design of the rehabilitated Rock Creek Park Trail and is working on selecting a contractor for that. 

Meanwhile, DDOT is also planning to do a full reconstruction of Beach Drive from Connecticut Avenue all the way to the Maryland boundary in the near future. This will involve rolling closures of Beach Drive (Gotcardammerung!) and a full rebuild of the road from the bottom up. The road won't be widened, but DDOT is hoping to do some spot work on the trail in conjunction with the road work. 

South Capitol Street Trail back on track

The South Capitol Street Trail had been in a bit of a holding pattern since this summer as DDOT has negotiated with the Air Force to move a wall along Bolling Air Force Base to allow for a trail wide enough to meet DDOT standards. But those negotiations have nearly been completed, and so DDOT will soon begin right-of-way work and make plans to move the wall in a few places. They're working with the Air Force on that and hope to finish that in 6 months, at which time they can issue either a design/build contract or a contract to create the final design. 

Most residents support improving the Palisades Trolley Trail

The Trails Committee of the Palisades Citizens Association sponsored an online survey about possible trail enhancements of the old Cabin John trolley right-of-way. The results are in, and most participants support some improvements to the trail. Most popular are improving erosion control and drainage; mowing and trimming of plants; improving connections to other trails; bridging the gaps to create a continuous trail and improving the existing access points. All of those had more than 50% positive support. And only 24% of people said that they preferred no enhancements.

In addition, several others options registered more positive support than negative support. That includes creating more access points; burying the electric lines; installing trail signage, benches and trash cans; enhancing security features and providing dog waste bags.

Only the installation of lighting and trail parking had more people against than for. 

PTS1

A small majority of people (52%) preferred some change in the trail surface, but there was no agreement on what that surface would be. Crushed gravel (21%) and paving (20%) were the top two options. The preference for no change to the surface is strongly weighted toward residents of the immediate area, with people from outside the Palisades/Foxhall neighborhoods preferring paving the trail. 

Building bridges to connect the discontinuous segments was very popular, with each of the six proposed bridges getting at least 60% support and none getting more than 27% opposition. 

PTS2

80% of respondents wanted connections to the C&O Canal towpath and the Capital Crescent Trails and a majority wanted connections to hiking trails in Foundary Branch and Battery Kemble. 

61% of respondents want the trail to be accessible to cyclists. Areas of concern that ranked high were environmental harm, congestion, parking, cost, crime and litter. 

Usage of the trail would nearly double if it were enhanced according to self-reported projections of use, and most people (42%) settled on The Trolley Trail for the name, with the Palisades Trail coming in second (22%). [This could be confusing since PG County also has a Trolley Trail, but it would probably be fine.]

Based on the results of this survey, the PCA Trails Committee unanimously recommends that the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) undertake a comprehensive feasibility study to evaluate upgrading the old trolley right of way into a contiguous linear trail consistent with the moveDC Long Range Transportation Plan.

Areas of study should include:

• Conduct a land survey along the right of way (ownership and boundaries) – including
overhead rights where bridges are sought

• Identify a consensus surface consistent with the preference for a natural trail that drains
well and is bicycle accessible

• Assess the possibility of making near term improvements to grading, drainage and
mowing within the scope of a prospective larger project

PTS3

The survey results will be presented at the PCA General Membership Meeting on March 3rd at 7:00pm.

Oxon Run trail work could begin next year

DDOT has completed the 90% design for the Oxon Run Trail. I've seen the 65% design (from which the images below come), which does not create a lot of sexy images, but does show a much better trail.

The trail is frequently realigned for more direct paths with smoother, more maneuverable turns with better sight lines. For example, in the image below, you can see the old path marked with hashmarks and the new path that will replace it. The new path connects more directly with 1st Street on the west and allows cyclists to follow the stream as opposed to being forced up on to the sidewalk. 

OxonRun1

Abrupt right angles are replaced with curved connections, wide intersections or triangle-shaped intersections.

There's more trail, on both sides of the stream which will increase its utility; and there are more connections to roads like Chesapeake Avenue and Atlantic Street, which should better integrate the trail into the community.In the below image you can see the current path and the new path with a better line.

OxonRun2

Or in this one, there is a whole new connection to Mississippi at 6th Street SE.

OxonRun3

Along Valley Avenue, at 9th Street DPR will expand the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center with at least 20 new courts.

DDOT hopes to set aside funding for construction this year and start construction next year. 

Preliminary design of Metropolitan Branch Trail Fort Totten Section to be presented this spring

DDOT is planning to have a public meeting some time this spring at which they will present the preliminary design of the Metropolitan Branch Trail's Fort Totten Section. This is the section in the Takoma and Brookland neighborhoods, from Bates Road at the trash transfer station to the Maryland boundary at Eastern Avenue. They hope to have a draft 30% design completed by this summer and a final version of that completed by the end of the year. That would allow for a final design to be funded in FY 2016 and construction in 2017. 

MBTNorth

Image from the EA

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