Thursday, June 5, 2008

Capitol Crescent Speed Limit?

This is a copy of WABA's latest newsletter detailing the wackiness that is going on in regards to the Capitol Crescent Trial. A 15 mph speed limit is a ridiculous idea when no effort has been made to educate the public on how to behave properly on a trail. There are trail users out their who can't figure out which lane is theirs let alone know when to call audibles, walk single file, or pull in their dog's 10 foot leash. Granted, I have had many cyclist decide that they would rather mix in a little game of high speed chicken when passing than to draft for 12 more seconds. Just like any other mode of transportation there are going to be assholes, be them on a bike, walking, jogging, or whatever. Education always helps, lets start with the basics.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), has called for a public discussion over the recent decision to erect new speed limit signs on the popular Capital Crescent Trail in Montgomery County. While the speed limit signs are just one part of a broader plan to help address concerns over trail safety, they have proven to be the most contentious. WABA, which was not consulted on the changes, urges all local cyclists that enjoy the trail to contact Mary Bradford, Director of Parks for the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission to express your displeasure and to urge her to open up a dialog among all trail user groups to better address safety.

Trail safety is the responsibility of all people who use the trail, whether they are cyclists, runners, skaters or people walking their dogs. However, with the new safety plan cyclists bear the brunt and MNCPPC's press release on the subject makes no mention of any efforts to educate all trail users on proper etiquette.

WABA's other concerns about the safety plan are:

  • A 15 mph speed limit implies that 15 mph is always a safe speed, though in more heavily congested sections of the trail 15 mph may be too fast.

  • The behavior of other trail users such as runners, walkers and those with dogs is unaddressed.

  • The safety plan includes no educational efforts to help address problems of trail etiquette.

  • Widening the trail in order to separate user types was not considered.

Only strong support from the cycling community will help us develop a safety plan that balances the needs of all users. Please click the "take action" link below for additional information and an email form you can use to send your comments.

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