The number of people who choose to live in DC and forgo their cars to get around by other means is sizable. In addition to walking, bicycles are an increasingly common sight. So city cyclists, we salute you. And you should be happy: lots of things are coming for your benefit. Bike to Work Week has arrived, and the big day is coming: Bike to Work Day is this Friday, May 20th. On this upcoming TGIF, Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association are partnering together to bring refreshments and raffle prizes to 83 pit stops throughout the DC area.
Aside from the freebies this week, there are other reasons why this activity is a good thing. Much ado has been made of the benefits of enhanced physical activity through carless transportation like cycling: better health through more cardio activity and lowered depression. The environment benefits of less emissions are significant as well. And, of course, with repairs to the Metro, cycling is an even more attractive option.
Washington D.C. has seen an increase of almost 500 percent in the number of bikes in the city, leading the nation in cities who are choosing two wheels to get around. However, while it's one of the healthiest ways to get around, it isn't always the safest around here. In Maryland, fatal bicyclist crashes jumped from 6 in 2014 to 11 in 2015, according to the Maryland Highway Administration.
With the H Street Benning Streetcar line now in place to transport people along the 2.2 mile corridor every day, there is a plan to extend the streetcar across the Anacostia River to Georgetown. This would in turn expand bicycle access in the Benning Road and K Street corridors. There are dangers to cyclists, however, in this expansion: the streetcar tracks would run exactly where the cyclists are, leading to the possibility of tires catching in the tracks, and leading to crashes. Meetings to hear from cyclists about these issues are in place this week, starting tonight:
Benning Extension EA Hearing, Thursday, May 19 6 – 8 pm, Department of Employment Services, 4058 Minnesota Ave NE
Union Station to Georgetown Streetcar Public Meeting, Tuesday, May 17 6 – 8 pm, Carnegie Library, 801 K Street NW
So, cyclists, get those wheels turning to make a better way to get around the city.
- Good Things Come to Those on Bikes [U.S. Pirg]
- Bike to Work Day [Bike to Work Metro DC]
- Benning Road Streetcar Plans Miss Opportunities to Improve Biking and Walking [Washington Area Bicyclist Association]