City Desk

Anita Bonds Wants End to New Bike Lanes on “Narrow” Streets

At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds reportedly called for a moratorium on new bike lanes last night—a policy that would be a major blow to the growing population of cycling denizens in D.C. And that's true, but only to a point, says her spokesman.

At a Ward 3 forum for the Democratic at-large councilmember candidates, the incumbent said she opposed bike lanes in District neighborhoods because they eliminate needed parking spaces, according to Greater Greater Washington.

But Bonds spokesman David Meadows says the councilmember isn't in favor of an all-encompassing moratorium, just an end to new bike lanes on narrow residential streets. Bonds supports bike lanes in "major thoroughfares," Meadows says, but would not clarify what constitutes a narrow street.

At last night's forum, Bonds also called for an up-to-date comprehensive bike-lane plan. “A lot of the residents are not educated on 'where are the lanes, and where are they going? And is there going to be one on my street, and what do I do?'" Meadows said. “I think that is the concern, that the majority of the residents are just unaware of the policy of the bike lanes in the city and of the lanes themselves.” (DDOT plans to release a draft of its moveDC plan, which is an "initiative to develop a coordinated, multimodal long range transportation plan, addressing all modes of transportation," this spring.)

Also on the topics of Bonds and bikes: In response to a question at the Ward 3 forum, Bonds said she was in support of requiring bikes to have license plates. Meadows wouldn't comment on the idea.

Additional reporting by Will Sommer

Photo by Darrow Montgomery


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  • DaveS

    This position underscores how limited CM Bonds's perspective is, and must call into question her qualifications for the seat she's running for.

    DDOT has made no secret of their bike lane plans over the last decade, and has not hidden from public discussion of these plans. The outreach surrounding the 2005 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan was a great model for full-District involvement, holding community meetings to discuss major obstacles and concerns for bicyclists and pedestrians in each ward. DDOT program leaders conducted multiple bike tours of current conditions, which were open to the public. The proposed plans were brought back to the community for comment, and the final plan was revealed in a large reception at the Reeves Center.

    There were no bike lanes planned for narrow streets in that 5+ year outlook process.

    DDOT has continued that model through the recent Move DC efforts to produce a broader transportation plan to guide us for the next 25 years and beyond. Numerous community meetings all across the District were held for each phase of the process, as well as street-level outreach efforts and online community participation. Nearly a year of public discussion was conducted, involving several DC agencies and at least ten supporting consulting firms.

    In this 25+ year plan nobody has supported adding bike lanes to any spaces where room is not available.

    Both of those efforts included a high-level view of how to fit all of DC's various transportation modes together in the District, to serve recognized needs, and have produced executive summary documents to capture the overall sense of the desired outcomes. That level of activity and that perspective should not be unknown to any sitting CM or candidate seeking to represent the public interest.

    It doesn't end there though. Each bike lane installation project may also carry out its own stakeholder outreach effort, publishing required notices in appropriate places, naming specific points of contact for further discussion, holding public meetings, presenting plans to affected ANCs, and so on. Each CM has a representative on DC's Bicycle Advisory Council, and one would expect persons in that position to have the ability to function as a conduit between the CMs on bicycle matters. BAC activities include medium and long term bike lane planning, and if any particular CM would care to remain informed about them that channel is in place and open.

    This year DDOT has published a specific list of bicycle projects planned for completion in 2014. Every one of those requires planning and permitting that can be directly commented upon by CMs through the appropriate processes. Any CM who is unaware of the established avenues for information and influence under their control is inherently ineffective, not just for the cyclists in their ward (or in this case, all cyclists in the District) but also for all residents.

  • Corky

    Finally!! Someone with some commonsense is speaking up against this biker bullying. Bikers don't need a special lane anywhere, much less on small residential streets. The rest of the world did not and will not stop driving and parking cars just because 300 or 400 people want to ride their bikes to work in good weather. Where were you guys during the snow storm? On the bus!! But the parking spaces were still missing.

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  • lost vote

    she just lost my vote

  • IMGoph

    If she's calling for a moratorium on something, that must mean that there is something ongoing that must be stopped before it gets worse. So, can she cite an example of a narrow street that she believes was made worse by putting a bike lane on it?

    If not, can we all admit that she and her staff are full of shit?

  • RetiredCop70

    There are bad drivers just like there are bad bicyclist. I really don't think that bike lanes should be on a lot of streets, especially when I was almost hit by a cyclist riding on the sidewalk and not in the bike lane. What we need to see is the laws being enforced on cyclist who ride on the sidewalk when a bike lane is present. I fault the police and DDOT for the lack of enforcement. I say no to more bike lanes until biker put some financial support in maintenance of the roadway and pay for those stupid bike traffic lights that none of the bikers obey or use.

  • billy

    re RetiredCop. So if you're almost hit by a cyclist on the sidewalk, you want more of them on the sidewalks by not providing bike lanes? Interesting.

    Also, roadways are not 100% supported by the gas tax, so everyone pays for the roadways, regardless of whether they drive, or whether they drive a gas or diesel powered vehicle.

    As for Ms. Bonds, she's an idiot.

  • Mark

    What Anita Bonds was really saying is that she wants all the white people to leave DC. Too bad for her Chocolate City is gone for good.

  • Mark

    It's such a shame this old race baiter made onto the council. We really needed another one of those.

  • Northwesterner

    I took the time to speak with an officer of MPD about bicyclist problems in my neighborhood- specifically running stop signs or circling in intersections which blocks all lanes. The officer told me that there are almost no laws on the books to ticket bicyclists for anything and that bicyclists have 100% of the right of way on all roads. Even running red lights and stop signs are arguably ok for bikes, despite the danger that they put the bicyclists in. In the end, when the bicyclist screws up and hits a car, they are the ones physically hurt, so while I'm pissed that cops don't pull over bicyclists running stop signs and reds, I will never shed a tear for a dead one since all accidents will be there fault.

  • IMGoph

    Thank goodness that's a retired cop, and not one actively on patrol. You'd want your cops to actually know the law on the books, instead of what they want in their imagination.

  • riggs

    @Northwesterner Really? It's not arguable if bikers need to stop at red lights and stop signs--they do. I bike to work everyday in all weather and follow traffic rules. I also see cars doing the craziest of crazy things: texting and drifting into oncoming traffic, blowing through stop sings on 3rd and 5th nw at high speed north of missouri like they're not even there, marijuana smoke billowing out, illegal turns, running reds at kansas and georgia nw like it's going out of style, etc. Bikers can be bad, too, and I yell at them. And pedestrians downtown are terrifying--especially cutting through the bike lanes on 15th between K and Massachusetts NW. The cops should enforce all rules and we should all be better to each other and put safety above whatever else (road rage, laziness). Demonizing bikers is missing a lot of what goes on on our roads.

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  • 20011

    "so while I'm pissed that cops don't pull over bicyclists running stop signs and reds, I will never shed a tear for a dead one since all accidents will be there fault."

    You are one sick asshole. I hope you and your entire family are either crippled or burn to death in a head-on collision.

  • guest

    I think most cyclists would trade lanes for sharrows on narrow streets. Make it so!

  • DCBikeGirl

    @northwesterer Either I've been duped by the cops on more than one occasion or the officer with which you spoke is ill informed. I've been pulled over for traffic violations ON MY BIKE 3 times and issued a ticket with a fine once.

    And as far as "while I'm pissed that cops don't pull over bicyclists running stop signs and reds, I will never shed a tear for a dead one since all accidents will be there fault", you're clearly a heartless asshole. You've never violated a speed limit or traffic law in your car, EVER, right?

  • http://Website Pete

    Riggs, You and I must live in different worlds. I live on Capitol Hill and encounter many bicyclists every day. Most said through every stop sign and most lights. Maybe 1 in 10 bycyclists stops at stop signs. Maybe the solution is to remove all the stop signs and many of the lights. The expected result would be that most bicyclists and most autos would stop at all intersections -- out of fear.

  • Mike not Ike

    I never thought I'd write defending Bonds, but MPD should be more vigorous on Bike Enforcement. I see people biking the wrong way on one way streets all the time, including Mr. Wells. Also, bike tags seem like a good idea that would 1. Cut down on bike theft 2. Raise money for all these bike lanes to be painted.

  • mona

    Always knew she wasn't fit to be a CM. Never had my vote and now proved reason why. BTW...I don't ride a bike in the city.

  • Robert

    How does putting a temporary hold on new bike lanes on narrow streets make you unfit to be council member? Also, what is this notion that only white people ride bikes? I own two bikes and soon to be two cars, non-white and I share the concerns both sides. As a driver, I'm terrified by the number of near misses with cyclists on streets that probably shouldn't have bike lanes because it's unsafe with the flow of traffic. As a cyclist, I'm pissed because some of the advocates for cyclist are creating such a hostile atmosphere with their rhetoric and perceived bullying that I feel some drivers intentionally make it difficult for me to bike safely and would much rather see me die in an accident, than to give me a courteous right of way. There is a way to strike a balance, but we all have to come to the table with idea that work for the safety of all.

  • Retired Cop 70

    These young cops don't know the bicycle laws, that are still on the books. What they need is a true leader and not a puppet for the yuppies who is afraid to enforcement the laws for fear of upsetting some on the council memebers. Bicyclist and bad drivers are a menace to everyone, as I stated early bicyclist riding on the sidewalks when bike lanes are present need to be fined. If they hit a person walkng in the crosswalk or sidewalk they should be charged with Assault.
    Bicyclist are out-of-control in DC just because DC wants them here and is willing to do anything for them. We all know this will never happen because many of the cyclist are cry babies along with several council members who are just foolish.

  • IMGoph

    Jesus, "retired cop," you're unhinged.

    "as I stated early bicyclist riding on the sidewalks when bike lanes are present need to be fined"

    If a person is riding their bike on the sidewalk outside of the CBD, what they're doing is legal, period. Go ahead and write your imaginary ticket, dozens of them, and then watch them all get tossed because you're enforcing an imaginary law that only exists inside your mind. Then watch yourself get hammered by your superiors for wasting department time and effort.

    It would be more interesting to have a debate here if people used facts instead of silly, baiting rhetoric.

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