Council Returns, Dockless Vehicle News

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The D.C. Council is in the final week of its annual legislative recess, as Council members and staff begin to prepare for the first legislative meeting since July. Be on the lookout for announcements of the public roundtable and hearings of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, which I chair, in my electronic newsletter during the week of Sept. 17. If you are not already receiving this biweekly newsletter, please send an email to jevans@dccouncil.us or call my office at 202-724-8058 and ask to be placed on the list.

As we transition into fall, there are some updates from the District Department of Transportation regarding bikes and scooters for rent around the city. DDOT released new guidelines for its Dockless Vehicles Program in an Aug. 30 statement.

First, the pilot program will extend through December, with the requirement that all dockless bikes must contain a lock. I’m pleased that this is one of the measures DDOTpursued. Since the beginning of this program in September of 2017, dockless bikes have obstructed walkways — either by being left in the middle of pedestrian paths or by being knocked over. Currently, only one company requires a rider to lock the bike to an appropriate rack or post. I’m looking forward to the remaining companies complying withthe new regulations.

Second, DDOT will install additional bike racks to accommodate private bikes as well as dockless bikes. If the city is requiring bikes to be locked, then we need more infrastructure, plain and simple. Currently, each bike company is allowed to roll out 400 bikes within the city. By this fall, 600 additional racks will be installed. Some areas of Ward 2, including Georgetown, will benefit from this additional bike parking.

With the recent announcement from DDOT, I’m beginning to see a framework for regulations on the dockless bike operators. Over the past year, my office received many expressions of concern about dockless bikes and electronic scooters. I’m glad that some of these concerns are being addressed. However, we need to know more about DDOT’s findings come December. Pease feel free to share with my office any concerns you have or hear about.

Whenever a new transportation option is introduced, it changes traffic patterns and travel habits. DDOT piloted this program in a way that has been and will be convenient for riders. But DDOT also has a responsibility to make sure that users of dockless bikes and the companies that supply them are respectful of the need to share space with pedestrians. I’meager to learn of more findings, which will help determine how this program can best be implemented for all concerned.

Jack Evans is the District Council member for Ward 2, representing Georgetown and other neighborhoods since 1991.

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