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MoCo Police will hold press conference on bike and ped collisions today

Yesterday the Montgomery County Police announced that they would host an event on bicycle and pedestrian safety. The day before - according to NBC - that they stated that, in this week's fatal crash on the Capital Crescent Trail, "they believe Gaylin did not stop before he entered the crosswalk."

Captain Tom Didone, Director of the Traffic Division, will speak about the following topics:

  • Traffic issues and trends encompassing pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
  • The challenges that motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists face to remain safe on the roadways during decreased daylight hours.
  • Newly introduced legislation that addresses bicyclists’ safety.
  • A demonstration will be given regarding gauging the distance needed for a pedestrian to safely cross a roadway upon approach by an oncoming vehicle.

Detectives from the Collision Reconstruction Unit will be available to discuss the general protocol followed for fatal collision investigations.  The Collision Reconstruction Unit on-scene investigative utility truck will be present.

(note: no new information will be given on these recent, ongoing investigations).

Representatives from the Maryland-National Capital Park Police may also speak about collision safety on the trails.

The event will be at 11:00am near the Little Falls Parkway at the Capital Crescent Trail.

I can't find where the police reported that Gaylin didn't stop. 

N. Quincy St. Protected Bike Lanes are not going to be easy

Last year, the Arlington Action Committee, with support from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, launched a campaign called Bike Friendly Ballston to try to get Arlington County to install a protected bike lane (also called a cycletrack) to connect the Custis Trail to the heart of Ballston.

Since then, Arlington County staff have been studying the idea between Fairfax and Glebe. In September they had a meeting with the Action Committee and other advocates and recently noted in a memo that the project is more difficult than other such facilities in the county. 

The road width and possible impacts to parking are the main problems staff need to overcome. The width varies widely between 44 and 70 feet which makes a single, standard cross section challenging. As a result urrent and future planned curb lines will need to be modified to fit the PBLs in. The PBLs will have a significant impact on street parking, which will impact existing and planned developments such as Mosaic Park. Construction on Mosaic Park will start this year, which will impact adjacent sections of the road. 

In addition previous public meetings have created an expectation of curbside parking and some frontage has been locked in by some developments.

They aren't giving up though, and a retrofit may coincide with the repaving and striping of N Quincy St currently scheduled for 2017. 

Screenshot 2016-10-18 at 11.57.16 PM

  Implementation of protected bike lanes will have a significant impact on available on-street parking. This will impact existing developments as well as other planned developments such as Mosaic Park.  Mosaic Park is expected to begin construction in late 2016, which will impact the section of N Quincy adjacent to the project with construction staging and operations. Community and Development  Previous outreach efforts to the community may have set an expectation for parking along N Quincy St and intersecting side streets.  Some curb frontage is “locked in” by existing site conditions for some of the adjacent developments

Cyclist struck, killed crossing Little Falls Parkway in Capitol Crescent Trail crosswalk

Ned Gaylin, an 81 year old, retired clinical psychologist and University of Maryland professor, was struck while crossing Little Falls Parkway on his recumbent bicycle. He was struck in the marked crosswalk of the Capital Crescent Trail. There have been 8 bicycle fatalities in the DC area in the last 12 months and 4 of them have been in the crosswalks of suburban Maryland trail crossings. 3 of those in Montgomery County.

Ned Gaylin, was a child and family psychologist, author and professor emeritus at UMD's School of Public Health. He was an internationally recognized pioneer in clinical psychology.

The "Stop for Pedestrian" pylons that were originally installed in the road there have been hit so many times that they have now been moved to the median - where they are less visible.

Gaylin was struck by a 2002 Mercedes E320 driven by Nils Carl Axel Rudelius, 78, of Bethesda, according to police. Investigators believe Rudelius’ Mercedes was traveling southbound when it struck Gaylin.

According to police, Gaylin was traveling eastbound on the Capital Crescent Trail in his three-wheeled recumbent bicycle and was crossing in a marked crosswalk on Little Falls Parkway between Arlington Road and Hillandale Road.

The driver, 78-year-old Nils Rudelius, who hit Gaylin told FOX 5 he is devastated, and did not see Gaylin in the crosswalk.

WUSA reports that the crosswalk is "a defined crosswalk for pedestrians" and that cyclists must dismount and cross as pedestrians. That's the first I've heard of that, and there are no signs there to that effect. But it is true that a cyclist riding their bike across is not protected by the law in the way that a pedestrian is. Even though,

Signs at the crossing warn motorists to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the road.

image from

Police did not immediately say what, if any, charges will be filed against the driver in the case.

I-66 widening will change some Arlignton bike trails

Back in August this site reported that the Transform 66 project, which (among other things) will widen 4 miles of I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston, would not impact either the Custis or W&OD trails. It now appears that that was wrong. Istead it might make small, but real improvements to each.

On the Custis Trail, VDOT will need to rebuild the trail underpass near Bon Air Park and Westover. There the trail would be widened, and a sharp, 90 degree turn would be replaced with curved turn. It also appears that just east of there, the trail is modified a little to avoid something (a street light?).

Screenshot 2016-10-17 at 12.08.39 AM

Of course there would now be a 90 degree turn to the stub trail south of I-66, but I suspect that gets less traffic.

The W&OD Trail, meanwhile, would get a new trail bridge at Lee Highway to simplify traffic control at the intersection and eliminate trail conflicts. It would include a stub trail from the base of the overpass to the Fairfax Drive/Lee Highway intersection.

Screenshot 2016-10-17 at 12.13.42 AM

Construction of an additional eastbound lane is expected to start in 2018 and open to traffic in early 2020. I would expect these changes to be on a similar timeline.

Animation of the Virginia Avenue Trail

When the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project in SE is complete in 2018, the new streetscape will include a bike path on the south side. Below is an animation of what it will look like.

The preferred concept for the Mt. Vernon Trail to Long Bridge Drive connection

Arlington County is planning a rebuild of the Boundary Channel Drive, Interstate 395 and Long Bridge Drive interchange, which is located just east of the Pentagon. This rebuild will include shared use paths along both sides of Boundary Channel Drive with connections to the Mount Vernon Trail, via the stub "Pentagon Lagoon Trail" built in 2011 as part of the Humpback Bridge project, and to Long Bridge Drive and Long Bridge Park. 

In June of 2015, they held a public information meeting and released three design concepts and since then the project has been

]working through a Federal Highway Administration/Virginia Department of Transportation technical analysis known as an Interchange Modification Report (IMR). This report will include a technical model to test a number of design concepts for the interchange and ultimately lead to a preferred alternative for this important transportation gateway to Arlington County.

It's not clear how soon the IMR will be completed, but it does appear that their is now a preferred design as recently reported to the County Board.

  Screenshot 2016-10-12 at 11.42.11 PM

East of I-395, the preferred concept uses Concept 1 and west of it it uses Concept 2 except on the far west end. On the west end, the preferred design has no trail on the south side of Boundary Channel (west of the Pentagon Access Road) and on the north side, the trail stops a few feet shorter - at the driveway along the Pentagon Lagoon.

The path will have a design speed limit of 18mph.  

Design of the fully funded Boundary Channel Drive Interchange project is expected to begin in 2017, with construction forecast to start in 2020.

Washington Boulevard Trail extension could start in upcoming spring

It's been 7 years since Phase I of the Washington Boulevard Trail started, and while it has seemed like construction on Phase II has been just around the corner for almost as long, this time it appears to be really true. 

Phase I was to build a shared use path on the west side of Washington Boulevard from Arlington Boulevard to the edge of Towers Park, but it didn't extend that far and currently dead-ends just north of 2nd Street S. Phase II will continue that from the dead-end all the way to Columbia Pike, via S. Rolfe Street. 

Phase II ran into some trouble when residents in Penrose became concerned by the number of trees to be cut down. Much of this is covered in Chris Slatt's GGW article on the project from last May.

Back then the project was to be put out to bid in the summer with work to wrap up next spring or summer. Now the timeline has construction bid and award to happen this year, with work to start next. Once completed it will eventually connect to the bikeways along Columbia Pike and the trail across the Army-Navy Country Club.

Screenshot 2016-10-11 at 11.23.05 PM

Speaking of Washington Boulevard, the county wants to add bike lanes along a one-mile section of the road in 2017 as well. This is much farther to the west, between Lee Highway and McKinley Road. 

The plan does require removal of on-street parking spaces from approximately 17 of the 82 single-family homes along the corridor. (All of the affected homes have driveways and other on-street parking options nearby.) Staff will conduct outreach to the civic associations and affected residents this fall and winter.

  Screenshot 2016-10-12 at 11.24.56 PM

Columbia Pike Bike Boulevards to be modified and extended starting this year

Arlington has been building and designing bicycle boulevards parallel to Columbia Pike since 2004 for . Running along 9th and 12th the idea has been to leave the Pike for automobiles and transit, while enticing cyclists away with better options. Originally they only covered the distance from George Mason to Wayne and only consisted of "sharrows, turn restrictions, curb extensions and medians." But the plans are now to extend them to Fairfax County on one end and to DC on the other. 

GGW had a good article about the design of 9th Street back in July, but it appears to have been improved since then. For example, then, author Chris Slatt wrote

East of Glebe, cyclists are directed to detour up to 7th Street for one block at Ivy Street because of a one block stretch of one-way street between Ivy and Irving Street.

But in a project document dated last month, it appears they've decided to add a contra-flow eastbound bike lane to that block. 

Screenshot 2016-10-10 at 10.42.41 PM

This project has several small pieces, as can be seen in the image above, some of which have started or will start this year. 

  • Several intersection designs along 9th Street - at South Highland, South Cleveland, South Adams and South Wayne Streets are complete - and work is expected to begin this year. It's not clear to me how much pure bike infrastructure this involves, it appears to be mostly bulb-outs and crosswalks.
  • Pedestrian signal push buttons are being added to the traffic signal on S. Walter Reed Drive at 11th Street to help cyclists cross Walter Reed Drive. Improvements will be made to the 12th Street crossing as well, to help facilitate pedestrian crossings there.

Others have made progress even if work has begun

  • The developers of the Rappahannock Coffee site at Columbia Pike and Barton have granted the County a public access easement through the site.
  • The “Trove” project that will add 401 new apartments to the Wellington will also create new street connections at S. Rhodes Street and new segment of 12th Street South. These will be used to extend the bike boulevard east.
  • Easements for wide sidewalks along segments A-west and A-east are currently under negotiation.
  • Staff will begin negotiations with the Dorchester and Dominion Towers apartment complexes, located just east of the Wellington, to acquire new trails and/or easements this year.

Other improvements are farther off

Capitol Hill Bikes is closing - for good this time

Barracks Row has been home to a bicycle shop for at least a couple of decades. At the start of the year, it had two. But soon it will have none. Capitol Hill Bikes' owner, Denise, announced she's retiring and closing the store. They're having a big sale now. City Bikes on Barracks Row closed suddenly in March. 


SE will be without a bike shop (as they were briefly 7 years ago when CHB's last closed before moving). At least, they'll be without one until Conte's opens a new store in the Yards early next year. Also, last March, City Bikes said they would love to come back to Capitol Hill if they can find a location - well, here's a location.

Capitol Hill Bikes first opened in 2000, taking over from Metropolis Bicycles which had closed some time earlier. They closed in 2009 and reopened down the block in 2010. 

From the Archives: How a police shooting led to bicycle registration in DC

In 1971, there was, it seems, a surge in bicycle thefts in Washington, DC with nearly 2,000 bicycles stolen. As a response, the police department began a bait bike program to try to break up the "ring" of bike thefts. On August 11, 16-year-old Gregory James Coleman came across an unlocked, parked 10-speed bike. He got on and started to ride away, until he was shot in the back by a plains clothes police officer. Police Chief Jerry V. Wilson found himself in political jeopardy, with 22 black organizations demanding that President Nixon fire him (because at that time the D.C. Chief of Police was a presidential appointment). Nixon didn't fire him, but Wilson did end the bicycle stakeouts

1971 was the same year the DC Council passed a law replacing mandatory bicycle registration with a voluntary program. That is the same law that made sidewalk cycling legal outside the Central Business District.

The provision permitting 'bikes on sidewalks outside of business districts will be of limited value until the city provides curb ramps, which would be highly desirable not only for bicyclists, but for baby carriages, shopping carts and wheelchairs as well.

The following year registration would be mandatory again, in part due to the shooting. Crime was still a problem. The newly formed WABA wanted the city "to require office building owners to either provide parking for bikes or allow that they be taken into elevators and offices" something it seemed the Council was ready to do.

When that was published the Building Owners and Managers Association went through the roof. So nothing happened on that until the WABA petitions forced hearings [on bicycle theft problems in the District].

The city had mandatory registration for a number of years, complete with a police bike squad. About '5000 bikes were registered out of 100,000 or so estimated to be in the city.

It appears that the city took the path of reinstating mandatory registration and not requiring bike parking. Mandatory registration would remain on the books until 2008, and zoning rules requiring bike parking would come later. Those regulations were updated this year - requiring more parking.

The shooting also led to the formation of the Coalition of Black Community Organizations for Justice. It's all too familiar considering we're still dealing with some of the same issues today as similar shootings have led to the Black Lives Matter movement. In the 1971 shooting the officer, who was black, claimed that the gun went off by accident due to him using the wrong holster. I don't know if he was ever charged or convicted. 

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