The District of Columbia has a working draft version of it's Comprehensive Plan out. This is the first revision of the Comprehensive plan since 1984 so it's a reasonable to expect it to have a greater emphasis on cycling than that document did (because bike commuting has doubled since 1984).
A city's Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) provides policy and planning guidance on the physical development and redevelopment of the city. It addresses a range of issues: land use, economic development, housing, environmental protection, transportation, public facilities, urban design and historic preservation. It also guides our city's zoning laws, which in turn affects how your property and the properties around you may be used, the types of uses allowed in residential and commercial areas and the amount of parking that must be provided.
Bicycling shows up in the plan in two of the city wide elements, Transportation and Parks, Recreation & Open Space. There are some positive things but more could be done. For example
Action T-1.1-B: Transportation Improvements
Examine the potential for requiring transportation support facilities such as crosswalks
bus shelters, and bicycle facilities into projects that go through the Planned Unit
Development (PUD) Process.
Why not just call for requiring these facilities in buildings that go through the process? Anyway here are the key things it says about cycling.
Transportation: This section basically says - see the bike plan - which isn't bad. The bike plan is only a few years old. Here are the specific actions
Action T-2.3-A: Bicycle Facilities
As appropriate, require large new commercial and residential buildings to be designed with features such as secure bicycle parking and lockers, bike racks, shower facilities, and other amenities that accommodate bicycle users.
Action T-2.3-B: Bicycle Master Plan
Implement the recommendations of the Bicycle Master Plan to:
• Improve and expand the bike route system and provide functional and distinctive signs for the system
• Provide additional bike facilities on roadways
• Complete ongoing trail development and improvement projects to close gaps in the system
• Improve bridge access for bicyclists
• Provide bicycle parking in public space and encourage bicycle parking in private space
• Update the District laws, regulations and policy documents to address bicycle accommodation
• Provide training to District staff
• Review District projects to accommodate bicycles
• Educate motorists and bicyclists about safe operating behavior
• Enforce traffic laws related to bicycling
• Establish a Youth Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Program
• Distribute the District Bicycle Map to a wide audience.
Action T-2.3-C: Performance Measures
Develop, apply, and report on walking and bicycle transportation performance measures to identify strengths, deficiencies, and potential improvements and to support the development of new and innovative facilities and programs.
The plan is lacking in specifics. Look at the first action. "As appropriate..." Well, what's appropriate? It doesn't say. And when would it not be appropriate? When something is open to interpretation, people will interpret it as best fits their agenda.
One weird thing, the bike route map shows present and proposed bike routes and trails, though it doesn't label it as such. It makes it seem as though it's the present system. And the bike lanes seem limited to only actual lanes - not proposed. Again, it's confusing.
Parks, Recreation & Open Space - again, this document refers to the Districts Bicycle Plan, with two pertinent actions.
Action PROS-3.3-A: Bicycle Master Plan Implementation
Initiate focused trail planning, acquisition, and construction efforts to eliminate gaps in the bicycle trail network and to improve substandard trails, as itemized in the District’s Bicycle Master Plan. Coordinate with the National Park Service for trails where both DDOT and NPS have responsibility.
Action PROS-3.3-B: Signage
Provide more consistent and unified signage along the city’s trails to improve their identity and accessibility.
Again, they said "more consistent" signage. Why not "Provide consistent signage"? More consistent than what? Maybe I'm nit-picking, but if signage just gets more consistent than now - but not uniformly consistent, then the action can be checked off. It leaves wiggle room.
The plan could be adopted soon.
The planning office will give a final draft to the council, which will hold hearings and could adopt the plan by November, said Barry Miller, associate director for comprehensive planning.
For a wider review of the Comp plan (not just bikes) see RPUS.