Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dockless Bikeshare Parking Example

MoBike in front of Library of Congress Madison building
MoBike in front of Library of Congress Madison building

The most recent rider left it near the front door. The nearest bike rack is about 100 feet away, just barely visible in this photograph (if you click on it and zoom in). As it happens, the nearest bike racks were all full, but a plaza like this isn't intended for bike parking on a random basis like this.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Perceptions of Bicycle Safety Have Changed (Since 1991)

Man and boy on bike in DC
Man and boy riding a bike with a dog perched on the man's shoulder near the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool

This photograph from the Library of Congress collection taken in near the Capitol reflecting pool in Washington DC suggests that in the 25 years since 1991 safety in cycling has changed a little bit.

Contributor Names - Patterson, Laura, active approximately 1989-2000, photographer
Created / Published - [Sept. 1991]
Subject Headings
- Reflecting pools--Washington (D.C.)--1990-2000
- Cycling--Washington (D.C.)--1990-2000
- Dogs--Washington (D.C.)--1990-2000
Format Headings - Film negatives--1990-2000.
Notes
- Title devised by Library staff.
- Date from caption information for contact sheet ROLL CALL-1991-507 or corresponding negative sleeve.
- Contact sheet available for reference purposes: ROLL CALL-1991-507, frame 20/20A.
- Contact sheet or negative sleeve caption: "Reflecting pool."
- Forms part of: CQ Roll Call Photograph Collection.
Medium - 1 photograph : negative ; film width 35mm (roll format)
Source Collection - Roll Call portion of CQ Roll Call Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)
Repository - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id - ppmsca 38847 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.38847
Library of Congress Control Number - 2015646966
Reproduction Number - LC-DIG-ppmsca-38847 (digital file from original item)
Rights Advisory - No known restrictions on publication.
Description - 1 photograph : negative ; film width 35mm (roll format)
LCCN Permalink - https://lccn.loc.gov/2015646966

LimeBikes on the Mall (Dockless Bikeshare Arrives in DC)

LimeBikes on National Mall
While jogging during lunch Friday September 22 I came across these two LimeBikes

I almost wonder if the LimeBike people put these here like this, or if some users actually left them aligned with this bike rack. I have yet to see a MoBike bicycle around, but two days after these were announced as being available (I think that's right) here these are at lunch time on Friday September 22.

When I rode home hours later, I saw another one parked on a sidewalk along Independence. It was not near a rack, just standing on the sidewalk held upright by its kickstand. Because people here are used to bicycles being locked to something, these bikes seem odd just standing with a lock merely disabling the back wheel (using a Dutch bike approach). In the above case, the bikes are nicely placed near bike racks, which I suppose keeps them more likely to remain upright but also makes it harder for anyone else to use the rack as intended. Hmm.

I loaded the MoBike and LimeBike Android apps. The MoBike app was a lot more intrusive, more or less asking if it could have access to everything on the phone. Really? Why? I declined to give access to anything other than location, so perhaps that it why the map labels displayed in Chinese - a map of Washington DC, but still. The MoBike app was also in a big hurry to have me "top up" an account with some $ from a credit card. Whoo, let's see where these bikes are, first! The LimeBike app seems to be tailored for the US, which is a better approach I would say, and only wanted to know my location, which makes sense. It noted that the first ride is free and didn't start hitting me up for $. So aside from the fact that I have seen LimeBikes near where I work in DC (and not a MoBike) I already like LimeBike better than MoBike.

I'm curious to see if dockless bikeshare can work in Washington DC that already has a successful "regular" bikeshare system. My doubts include whether people will really park them properly (whatever that might mean, which isn't clear to me, except that certain kinds of bike parking will not work well) and whether a system that only locks the bike wheel and not the bike to a fixed object can work. Among other doubts . . .

I might give one a try. We'll see. First ride is free, after all.

As an aside, I did manage easily enough not to use a car on "Car Free" day (9/22/2017) but it was pretty much business as usual, commuting to/from work on a bike and not going anywhere in the evening requiring a car. So I'm not thinking I should give myself too much credit for that one . . .



Saturday, September 9, 2017

My 2,000 Character Response to WaPo Article on Bicycle Commuting

The Washington Post has an article, "Cycling to work means better health and a longer life. Here’s how to get started." that I made a comment on (that will be lost in the sea of comments, which is probably just fine). I have reproduced it here. You only get 2,000 characters for a comment!

Bike to Work Day, 2011
Line of bicycle commuters on Mt Vernon trail several years ago on "bike to work" day

"Cycling to work means better health and a longer life. Here’s how to get started." The first part of this title is surprising since typical headlines for stories like this include the word "may" - as in, it MAY mean better health and a longer life - or it may not. I guess that the author (and editor) felt OK with leaving that out is encouraging.

I'm not sure that the approach provided that much useful "here's how to start" guidance but as a selection of somewhat inspiring stories with some selected suggestions it is fine.

About the e-bike commuter, it says, "And she gets to work without sweating, traveling nearly as fast as a car." Since we are talking about pedal assist bike, and since this is Washington DC, this seems unlikely on hot days. Simply standing around outside is enough to start sweating in much of July-August, and although the self-generated breeze from riding does carry away some perspiration, you can't get away from some sweating. And the "traveling nearly as fast as car" suggests a high rate of speed but it is really more the slow-and-steady-wins-the-raise over automobiles that kill a lot of time in traffic jams. Those e-bike commuters I see who want a high rate of speed, which is certainly possible with some of them (over 25 mph on some pedal assist bikes) often create hazards for themselves and others, particularly when on multiuse trails that were intended for around 15 mph max.

The article doesn't include the suggestion that seems most useful to me - anyone thinking about this is likely to have seen a neighbor who is a bike commuter - the thing to do is to ask that person their advice. A lot of getting started is overcoming certain seeming obstacles specific to a location that a neighbor can likely help with. And this ties in with a pleasing aspect of bicycle commuting, which is that most of us eagerly help each other. It's a community you get as part of being a bike commuter.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bike Parking at Nationals Ball Park & Clothing Options

Nats bike parking lot as changing station
Bikes can serve as a drying rack, but leaving this much stuff in a public parking area is an interesting notion

Also, the part where he changed his clothes made an impression on the folks managing the parking area - I asked. They of course have no guidance on what to tell such people. "Hey mister, change your clothes in privacy!" I do give him credit for having arrived even earlier than I did (this was the only bike there when I got to the park) and he tucked it back out of sight of the street at least.

The saying that when you go to a baseball game you never know what you will see is usually understood to pertain to the play on the field. Ha ha - small joke, sure.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Bicycle Messengers of 100+ Years Ago

The Fast Flying Bike Messenger

From http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1908-08-23/ed-1/seq-43/
Evening Star newspaper. (Washington, D.C.), 23 Aug. 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
In Washington, a city of few hills and with asphalt streets and but little congestion, the messenger boy prefers to ride a bicycle to the more ancient but slower method of walking. The bicycle boy, if he is working by the "piece," of course, makes more money than his rival on foot, so that the spirit of emulation drives many messengers to save enough money to purchase wheels, so consequently they have no money to spend on novels.
From an odd article about what messengers in Washington DC read.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hertz Rent-A-Bike? (1971)

Bike story [Bicycle rental store, District Hardware]
A "Hertz rent-a-bike" in Washington DC in 1971

The Library of Congress has a collection that was given to the Library for which rights were also given, the U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection. This includes photographs from the 1960s and 1970s.

This odd example apparently was a possibility to go with a magazine story about cycling. I was surprised to see the "Hertz Rent-a-Bike" sign on the door. I had never heard of such a thing. It does not appear as convenient as Capital Bikeshare!

Title-Bike story [Bicycle rental store, District Hardware]
Contributor Names Leffler, Warren K., photographer
Created / Published-1971.
Format Headings-Film negatives--1970-1980.
Genre-Film negatives--1970-1980
Notes
- Title and date from log book.
- Contact sheet available for reference purposes: USN&WR COLL
- Job no. 25159-A, frame 17/17A.
- Forms part of: U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection. Medium 1 photograph : negative; film width 35mm (roll format)
Call Number/Physical Location LC-U9-25159-A- 17/17A [P&P]
Source Collection U.S. News & World Report magazine photograph collection (Library of Congress)
Repository Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Rights Advisory No known restrictions on LCCN Permalink lccn.loc.gov/2017646391

Saturday, January 21, 2017

To the Women's March on Washington by Bike

Bike Valet at Women's March on Washington
Bike valet parking at L'Enfant Plaza SW & Independence Avenue

It is about nine miles from my house to where the bike valet parking was set up for the Women's March on Washington - I decided to take my ancient 1973 three-speed Raleigh Sports bike that is indestructible and also not a bike that would be a loss if something bad did happen to it (like it disappeared).

According to the Women's March on Washington web site, there were 1,500 parking spots at this bike valet service for bicycles, which they seemed to suggest would not be enough, but alas the bike valet service was not much used. The above photo was taken at around 9:30, about 30 minutes before the rally started, and there were maybe a few dozen bikes parked total. Hmm. When I left the area around 2:15, heavy crowds extended down Independence Avenue further than this - far too crowded to try to walk a bicycle in that direction - I was able to leave the area by going south, away from Independence, crossing over the railroad tracks and SW freeway on L'Enfant Plaza, then down to Maine Ave and the usual bike route from the Jefferson Memorial area onward across the 14th St Bridge and into Arlington. So for me at least the bike valet parking was well situated.

Given the huge number of people who attended and the stories of how Metro was overwhelmed, it appears bicycle was a good solution, but apparently not an obvious one, although I understand many people came in groups and a group bike ride to something like this probably isn't the first idea one has. Still, the bike valet must have been one of the more over-provided (or under-utilized) resources connected with this event.

Both on the way to the March and on the ride home, I saw more attendees riding Capital Bikeshare bikes than their own bikes.

Women's March on Washington
Listening to speakers at the March

It was an uplifting experience in many ways, even if the historical fact that drove the organizers to create it isn't a positive one in my view. I was glad to be there. Who knows how many people were really there, but Lord that was a lot of people.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Women's March by Bike?

The Women's March on Washington information about bicycle parking still a work in progress.
Local Transportation - By Bike

Q: Can I bike to the march?
A: You are welcome to ride your bike as transportation to the march. However, bikes are not allowed in the rally area or the march route. We are currently identifying a place for bike parking. We will update people over the next week with more details.

According to the what to bring page (which really should be titled, "please don't bring anything!") it seems you are only to have a relatively small, absolutely clear bag if you have any sort of bag at all. I guess I can put a sandwich in my pocket, and an apple. And my phone, which (thanks T-Mobile!) probably won't work but no worries, life proceeded before there were mobile phones.

While it is clear where the March starts, it isn't clear where they are planning to march to, but since it is stated it will be a March of only one and a half miles, it seems like down Independence Avenue to the Washington monument or something like that. Probably best to try to park towards the destination end and walk back to the march start.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Robots to Deliver DC Packages on Bike-Free Sidewalks



The above video isn't specific to DC



Apparently the delivery bots are a little late in arriving since it is November and they have not yet appeared

This article from a transportation think-tank suggests deliveries will start later this year.

By the end of this year, Washington, D.C. will be the inaugural testbed for a new type of delivery service: last-mile ground deliveries, performed by robots, for the low cost of $1.

Starship Technologies, a European company, is working with the D.C. City Council to establish a first-of-its-kind pilot program that will allow the company’s robots to conduct package, grocery, and food deliveries within city limits.

The company’s robots are a couple of feet tall and take up the same amount of space on the sidewalk as a pedestrian. Weighing in at 30-35 pounds, the inexpensive robots are equipped with nine cameras, two-way audio capabilities, and a lockbox for its cargo.

“They’re social robots,” explains Henry Harris-Burland, Starship’s marketing and communications manager. “The robot acts like a pedestrian and it knows it’s at the bottom of the food chain.”

From a cyclist's point of view, it is interesting and perhaps amusing that DC's central business district legal ban on riding a bike on the sidewalk is suggested as a plus - "Another advantage to testing in D.C., in addition to its low-density development, is that cyclists are banned from riding on sidewalks within its perimeter." The article has a map of the DC "no riding on the sidewalk!" area, which I suspect would be news to many who ride bikes in DC, based on my observations. Hopefully the robots won't be too surprised when it turns out there are some bicycles on the sidewalk being ridden after all.

Per this article the droid-delivery-bot operates autonomously unless it gets into trouble, in which case the remote operator would take over.

One wonders what if any cues the robot takes from pedestrians walking along with it - DC pedestrians are not known for being law abiding, I would say. (When I travel to Seattle I always have to remind myself of this local trait that I have acquired.)

What may have worked in Estonia to deliver pizzas may be more challenged by the US capital city. I guess we'll see. I can't say I'm looking forward to having short bots to watch for in addition to all the rest of it.

Of course there is the other aspect of it - didn't people on bicycles used to deliver stuff? Oh, sometimes they still do! Well, for the moment.

Special delivery messenger, U.S.P.O.
DC postman speedy delivery by bike (from a while ago . . . )




Monday, October 24, 2016

Washington Boy Shows Joy of Cycling

Boy on Bicycle (in Washington DC, 1890s)

Digitized image from a glass plate negative that shows some degradation. It was likely taken at a studio in the late 1890s. The descriptive record does not have an exact date. Studios sometimes had a bicycle and subjects would be posed sitting on a bike that belonged to the studio, but this I think this may have been the boy's bike - you wouldn't think a studio bike would have a headlight, and the front tire is quite dirty. But that's just a guess. He looks quite happy!

www.loc.gov/item/2016713286/

Title-Boy on bicycle
Contributor Names-C.M. Bell (Firm : Washington, D.C.), photographer
Created / Published-[between 1873 and ca. 1916]
Format Headings
Glass negatives.
Portrait photographs.
Genre
Portrait photographs
Glass negatives
Notes
- Title is unverified name of sitter or person who ordered the photograph, from handwritten label on negative sleeve or negative.
- Date based on span of years of C.M. Bell Collection.
- Negative number assigned by Library.
- Gift; American Genetic Association, 1975.
- General information about the C.M. Bell Collection is available at hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.bellcm
- Temp note: Batch 55.
Medium-1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in.
Source Collection-C.M. Bell Studio Collection (Library of Congress)
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Jefferson Memorial on Ride Home

Untitled
Jefferson Memorial floating in ground level fog

One of the pleasant parts of riding rather than driving is that it is easy enough to stop and enjoy the view.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Starting Up Bicycle Commute After 2 Feet of Snow

Snow, Washington D.C., car
Snow in Washington DC, January 1922 (from the Library of Congress)

Last weekend two feet of snow (give or take) fell from the sky, closing the government completely for several days, then various kinds of delayed arrival and the like through Friday. I teleworked through Thursday, returning to work on Friday - using Metro.

I am not crazy about using Metro, but I didn't feel like experimenting with the snow on the trails that day.

Yesterday, Saturday, I went about a third of the way to work, to see what conditions are like on the bike trails between my house and the Potomac river where I cross the 14th street bridge into DC.

Plowed trail Arlington County VA
Bicycle trail plowed by Arlington County

The trail for about a half mile from my house to the Four Mile Run Trail was not plowed, but it was mostly clear anyway. The Four Mile Run trail near Shirlington was plowed, continuing on in all the way to the Potomac near the south end of National Airport. Arlington County uses a Gator or something similar; it is difficult for them to stay on the trail consistently, as you can see by the tread marks in the grass where the small plow was off the trail for a while.

Mt Vernon Trail near south end National Airport
Mt Vernon trail near south end of National Airport

Once the trail leaves Arlington County and runs into the Mt Vernon trail, the plowing stops, and the conditions are much more mixed - that is, there is more snow and ice. I can route myself through Crystal City to avoid some of this; I'll see how it goes tomorrow.



Sunday, January 3, 2016

1896 Bicycle Map for DC and Area

Roberts' [bicycle] road map of the District of Columbia and adjoining portions of Maryland and Virginia.

Cover title: Bicycle road map : Roberts' road map of the District of Columbia and adjoining portions of Maryland and Virginia : with tables of distances ... character of roads.
Created / Published - Washington : W.F. Roberts, c1896
Library of Congress, Geography & Map Division
http://lccn.loc.gov/88693356

Roberts Bicycle Map Washington DC and area 1896
Click here for zoom view of this 1896 map

Roberts Bicycle Map Washington DC and area 1896 - detail
Detail showing Washington DC and then-Alexandria (not Arlington) County

Roberts Bicycle Map Washington DC and area 1896 - road quality
Indicators for quality of roads (for use by cyclists)

Roberts Bicycle Map Washington DC and area 1896 - Rides in VA
Runs (ie, rides) into Virginia from downtown Washington

Distances are from the U.S. Treasury Department building and not the U.S. Capitol.

I found a similar, but not the same, map from 1896 published in the Washington Times that I blogged about.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Car Crash (NOT involving me ~) on Bike Commute Route Home

Washington Post short story about this crash.

"A person is dead after a fiery crash near the U.S. Holocaust Museum in the District." - the story is dated 11/10. The accident happened some time between Monday the 9th and Tuesday the 10th - oddly the story fails to provide any time or date at all. I just know that I came upon the crash site when I rode to work Tuesday morning (the 10th). "The driver lost control and hit a large tree, according to the U.S. Park Police. The car then caught fire." The Park Police are involved because the tree the driver ended up crashing into is on Park Service land. "The driver ... was headed south on Raoul Wallenberg Place near Maine Avenue in Southwest Washington." Yes, the driver was on Raoul Wallenberg, but crashed at least 50 fifty after the turn onto Maine, so the accident took place on Maine. I would assume the vehicle made the turn from Wallenberg at very high speed cutting through the intersection but nevertheless failed to negotiate the turn properly, jumped the curb, demolished some bollards, then hit the tree.

Car crash site near Tidal Basin
Looking down Maine Avenue (to left) and Ohio Drive (to the right) - Ohio Drive continues past the Jefferson Memorial as well as access to the 14th Street bridge to Virginia

Car crash site near Tidal Basin
Here you can deduce more easily what must have happened, with the scorch marks and demolished bollards

Riding by this, the scorch marks made a considerable impression on me - generally I think of cars crashing and bursting into flames as something that happens in movies made in the 1960s-70s, not something that happens, but apparently it did here. I was reminded of the quote, "If you don't like the way I drive, stay off the sidewalk!" (A quote from where? I don't know. Bad librarian.) This is a part of my ride in - typically I ride inbound on this sidewalk because the alternative on-the-street route is circuitous and involves a stop light that I can otherwise avoid. But I am always alert even up on the sidewalk to what the cars are doing, because people here do drive fast and often do dumb things trying to cut across lanes, so I am not so sure I feel all that safe just because I am up on the sidewalk.

Thursday, after the Veterans Day holiday, I was surprised to see the tree draped in ribbons and balloons and a bottle of champagne at the foot of the tree, an apparently memorial to the driver who died. The Park Service was not, it seems, interested in that since by my ride home it was all gone, along with the yellow incident tape.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Joys of Commuting - Sunrise in DC


Stopped to take this with my camera phone

Not as good in the photograph as the impression made in person (so to speak) but you get the idea - sunrise, and so on. Nice after all the nasty weather.

The Capitol dome looks a little odd because it is covered in scaffolding.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Carefree Riding Days are Coming Soon - Again


1927 - riding in DC

From the collections of the Library of Congress
Bicycle rider;Washington Monument in background, Washington, D.C.
Creator(s): Harris & Ewing, photographer
Date Created/Published: [1927]
Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-hec-34542 (digital file from original negative)
Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
Call Number: LC-H2- B-2126 [P&P]
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Notes:
-Title devised by Library staff.
-Date based on date of negatives in same range.
-Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955.
-General information about the Harris & Ewing Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.hec
The trees with their leaves suggest this is probably fall and not early spring, but for some reason this photo reminds me that this winter is coming to an end and more carefree riding is ahead. No ice!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Christmas Bicycle - Washington DC Example


Christmas of 1930. Norma Horydczak on bicycle in front of Christmas tree, wide view

This photograph comes from the The Horydczak Collection at the Library of Congress and is of the photographer's daughter at collection - few of the photographs digitized are personal ones as this is. Most of his photographs do not feature bicycles, but there are nine that do.


A DC scene with bicycles from Horydczak, exact year unknown

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Kids & Bikes in 1917 DC News Photo


Dewey funeral photo, from the Bain News Collection (Library of Congress)

Admiral George Dewey's funeral procession - Saturday January 20, 1917. Looks like a street such as East Capitol, on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.


Detail from photo shows two boys with their bicycles

While children's bicycles were certainly produced during this period, like many photographs one sees of children with bikes, these boys have bicycles intended for adults that are by the usual sizing guidance much too large. Apparently once one was ten years old or so, an adult bike was considered close enough in size to work.