Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Snow reminds us of the necessity of a "maintenance of way" agenda for the "sustainable mobility city"

In 2010 I wrote a long piece about how in the transit-walking-biking city, mobility for those walking, biking, and using transit needs to be prioritized.  What that means is that instead of just focusing on road building and maintenance, we need to focus--particularly in those communities where walking, biking, and transit comprises a majority or preponderance of trips--on maintaining and expanding the sidewalk network, the bikeway network, and the route, stop, and station network for transit.

Dealing with "the snow" this morning--admittedly pretty minimal, reminds of this and people ought to re-read/read the blog entry from before, "A "maintenance of way" agenda for the walking and transit city."

Riding to jury duty (and yes, I have been riding on rainy/snowy days because I don't want people like Susan Conklin to be able to call me a fair weather bicyclist, plus I leave too late to be able to take transit and get there on time) I have been riding on 5th Street/Park Place from Kansas Avenue NW to Rhode Island Avenue NW.

(Note that this ride, from New Hampshire Avenue NW, has few traffic signals and goes on the backside of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, the McMillan Reservoir, Howard University and through LeDroit Park-although the traffic isn't great once you are around Howard.  It's a majestic trip.  Much better than Georgia Avenue, with great scenery.)

Because many bike lanes are comprised of substandard pavement and manhole covers that are slippery when wet, I don't like to ride in them when I can't see the pavement.  Because we can't have digital devices when we are serving, I am not carrying a camera with me, so I couldn't take photos of the snow covered pavement this morning.

Just a reminder that if we want to be considered a bike city, then we need to prioritize maintenance of bikeways, specifically:

- repaving poor quality lanes (e.g., the 15th Street Cycletrack is probably rated 1-2, when 3 is average, and 5 is great, in much of the lane between U Street and K Street), the metric probably should be that bikeway pavement quality at a minimum should be a "4" because a 3 for cars is much worse for bikes;
- regularly sweeping lanes for debris, glass, etc.  (I pick up glass out of the lanes on 3rd St. NW for the MBT by my house);
- trimming greenery that obstructs the roadway/bikeway (and that goes for sidewalks too);
- snow clearance practices for on-street bikeways that doesn't use the bike lane for snow storage;
- snow clearance practices for off-street shared use paths that are designated as transportational routes (this is less a problem for DC, which does clear snow from some, but not all, paths, but NPS paths are not cleared) and a bigger problem outside of DC.

Also see the recent blog entry, "Level of service and maintenance requirements in planning #2: winter maintenance of bike paths" where I make the same points, but before it snowed, when ideally, such policies would already be on people's minds.

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