Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Public Testimony for WMATA Hearing 10/11/11

We would like to thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony regarding bus service to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

The Hillcrest community is comprised of single-family homes, and two large medium-density communities (Fairfax Village and Naylor Gardens). The closest Metro station to our community is Naylor Road in Maryland, which is as far as 1.5-miles for some of our residents. This makes us a bus-dependent community.

As part of my written submission I’ve included a report from the Ward 7 Transportation Summit & Listening Tour and testimony submitted on behalf of the Hillcrest Community Civic Association in April. Tonight I want to use my time to focus on 3 specific recommendations.

Recommendation #1: Enhancement of the W4
The W4 is a vital bus line East of the River. It is the only North to South route that truly connects neighborhoods in Ward 7 and Ward 8. Based on riding the W4 and observing it as a pedestrian, that bus is always full. I’ve seen standing room only on Sunday afternoons. That W4 needs newer buses and it needs shorter headways.

Per a presentation by Jim Hamre, WMATA recommends increasing weekday midday frequency to every 22 minutes and increase Saturday frequency to every 25 minutes. WMATA estimates $500k for this subsidy. The W4 needs to be a priority for improving service.

Recommendation #2: Inter-Agency Coordination at Bus Stops
Simple tasks of keeping bus stops clean and lights operable can cause the biggest headaches. Regardless if you call WMATA, DPW, or DDOT, and add in NPS if it’s Federal land, it appears one agency believes another agency is responsible. For example, we have been trying to get the light bulbs changed at the bus stop on 38th and Pennsylvania Ave SE for over a year. We would like to see WMATA show some leadership to coordinate with the agencies to ensure there is proper lighting at the bus stops, they remain free of litter, and they have accurate bus information.

Recommendation #3 Proactive Bus Planning
We all know that in 2014 we will likely have three major developments in Wards 7 & 8 come online: Homeland Security at St. Elizabeth’s, Skyland Shopping Center, and Capitol View Walmart. Our road network cannot handle more motor vehicles without impacting our quality of life. Now is the time to plan a limited stop route that connects these three developments.

While the City and WMATA face a budget crisis, let’s not forget that many families in Ward 7 are facing that same crisis. As gas prices continue to rise, more people are opting to use public transportation.

Submitted by
Veronica O. Davis
Street, Traffic and Transportation Committee Chair

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

International Walk to School Day was a Success!!!

International Walk to School Day at Anne Beers Elementary School was a success.  The day started with great excitement and energy.  At the end of the day the kids had the same level of excitement.  This is great momentum for moving into the Safe Routes to School.

A special thanks to the District Department of Transportation, Children's Hospital, Safe Kids, Washington Area Bicyclists Association and the staff and Anne Beers for the countless hours spent planning and preparing for this event.  Thanks to Fed-Ex for all the goodies (coloring books, bracelets, necklaces, lights) for the kids.

The Secretary LaHood, has shared some photos on his blog.

Here are some photos from the day courtesy of DDOT.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

US Secretary of Transportation to walk with our children

Government of the District of ColumbiaDepartment of Transportation

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Media Contact:  John Lisle at 202-486-5838
DDOT and DC Schools to Celebrate International Walk to School DayU.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will Participate in Walking School Bus at Anne Beers Elementary in SE

(Washington, D.C.)  On October 5, students and parents in the District will join thousands of school communities across the nation in celebrating the simple act of walking and bicycling to school. Wednesday is International Walk to School Day, an annual event that promotes the health and environmental benefits of walking and bicycling and draws attention to the need for safer routes to school.
This year a record 22 D.C. schools have signed up including Anne Beers Elementary School in Southeast DC where U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Terry Bellamy will help escort students to their classes.

The event will feature four Walking School Buses that will walk from the neighborhoods surrounding the school starting at 8 am. The walk will be followed by a pep rally in the school auditorium. This event is the result of a partnership between DDOT, the DC Safe Kids Coalition, Children’s National Medical Center, FedEx, The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), and Anne Beers Elementary School and will also be attended by representatives from the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

WHAT:       International Walk to School Day – Walking School Bus

WHO:         Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Victor Mendez, Federal Highway Administrator
Terry Bellamy, DDOT Director
Kwame Brown, DC Council Chair
Yvette Alexander, Ward 7 Councilmember
Anne Beers Elementary School Community

WHEN:         Wednesday, October 4, 2011
    8:20 am

WHERE:       Fort Davis and V Streets, SE
(Group will walk to Anne Beers Elementary which is located at 3600 Alabama Avenue, SE)
In addition to students at Anne Beers, thousands of students from the following schools will also be walking to school with parents, teachers, and community leaders as part of International Walk to School events during the month of October:
·        Aiton Elementary School
·        Ron Brown Middle School
·        Burrville Elementary School
·        Capitol Hill Cluster School
·        Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan
·        C.W. Harris Elementary School
·        Drew Elementary School
·        John Eaton Elementary School
·        E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
·        Lafayette Elementary School
·        Lowell School
·        Kenilworth Elementary School
·        Maury Elementary School
·        Thurgood Marshall Elementary School
·        Kelly Miller Middle School
·        Nalle Elementary School
·        Ross Elementary School
·        Tyler Elementary School
·        Washington International School
·        H.D. Woodson High School
·        Whittier Education Campus
Across the nation, International Walk to School Day is expected to include 4,000 schools from all 50 states. Walkers from the U.S. will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world.

Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.

Year-round, DDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program offers planning assistance for DC Schools that are interested in improving safety for student walkers and cyclists. For more information please visit the Safe Routes to School page on DDOT’s website.