At a recent Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting for Public Space and Transportation, commissioners and local residents discussed ways they can better care for the people who don’t rely on vehicles for their daily commutes.
Aysha Ghadiali, a Logan Circle resident who was hit by a car last year while crossing the traffic circle, said the incident left her with broken bones, trouble chewing and in a wheelchair for months. Ghadali also noted that the neighborhood needs to make more changes faster.
“Some changes are happening, but safety needs to improve in Logan Circle,” she said.
Similarly, Janice Ferebee, an ANC commissioner and member of the Pedestrian Council, said the walk signals need more time and are not convenient for elderly pedestrians. As a pedestrian, she said, people have to watch and be aware of your surroundings while crossing.
She said the ANC’s Public Space and Transportation Committee made a request to the District Department of Transportation to do a study that could result in longer walk signal times. Ferebee also added that, in neighborhoods near Logan Circle, the same problem is present.
“Thomas Circle is dealing with the same issues. The walk signals don’t give enough time for people to get across and cars get reckless,” Ferebee said.
According to District Department of Transportation, there are areas where bicyclists and scooters are not permitted to ride. Ward 2F (Logan Circle) is one of them.
During the same ANC meeting, transportation committee members said they requested a different traffic study from DDOT pertaining to accidents involving pedestrians and bikes.
Committee Vice-Chairman Harrison Grafos, a bicyclist himself, talked at length about how vital protected bike lanes are and how the implementation of them in the Logan Circle area is needed.
Somer Atawneh, a Logan Circle resident who bikes frequently, said he sometimes rides the sidewalks when they are not congested, but he tries to take advantage of alleys and other routes if possible. He was also steadfast in saying that pedestrians always have the right-of-way in any situation.
“Road is your primary, but the sidewalk is for pedestrians, so let them have it,” Atawneh said. “Keep up with the cars if you want. If the sidewalk is busy get off the bike.”
Uniquely, Cecily Robbins a Logan Circle resident who uses a wheelchair, said she rides her wheels in the bike lane even when the bike lane can be unclear at times because when she rode on the sidewalk the presence of her wisping by would startle pedestrians. She also claimed that all wheels need to stay off the sidewalk.
“If you are in an area where there are established sidewalks use the bike lane,” Robbins said.
On the other hand, ANC Commissioner Janice Ferebee does not want to see any scooters or bikes riding on the sidewalk crowded or not, but she does support better bike lanes to prevent these forms of mobile transit from using the sidewalk.
“Pedestrians have right of way, I should never hear a bell ringing to tell me to get out of the way,” Ferebee said.
Among the various issues within the community, District officials have decided to build the first ever protected bike lane in the District starting at 14th and N streets.
According to the project website, the developers of this protected bike lane operation, hope that the finished product will improve mobility and pedestrian safety on a grand scale.