Another failure in city operations: sewer grates and biking
Most urban design manuals and bike plans specify the use of particular types of sewer grates and manhole covers so that bike wheels can safely cross over them.
DC has such rules too, I am pretty sure.
But that didn't seem to prevent the installation of noncompliant sewer grates at the northwest corner of 6th Street NW and Massachusetts Avenue.
I guess there is a preference for grates with angled openings to better prevent overflows from debris clogs.
But such openings need to be placed within a grate so that they are perpindicular to the roadway--of course with narrow, not large, openings--or when parallel to the roadway, of a width narrower than bicycle tires and flat, so that bike wheels can safely ride across.
Just as WMATA workers don't seem to be following checklists and related protocols for installation of equipment in ways that can have catastrophic or at the very least negative consequences, so too do other government agencies.
LESSON 14: SHARED ROADWAYS, from the Federal Highway Administration University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation. From the lesson:
Care must be taken to ensure that drainage grates are bicycle–safe. If not, a bicycle wheel may fall into a slot in the grate, causing the bicyclist to fall. Replacing existing grates with bicycle–safe grates (see A and B in figure 14–14, preferred methods) or welding thin metal straps across the grate perpendicular to the direction of travel (see C in figure 14–14, alternate method) is required. These should be checked periodically to ensure that the straps remain in place.