DDOT Begins Safety Act Data Disclosures

We are happy to report that the DC Department of Transportation has begun taking steps to implement the new requirements of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Amendment Act of 2016, which became law on October 8.

Among other things, the new law requires DDOT to publish a weekly report on its website showing public space permits issued for construction projects and other activities that would block a street, sidewalk, bike lane, or bike path in DC.

public space permitsAn interactive map (pictured above) that shows locations where such blockages occur is up and running on the DDOT website http://geospatial.dcgis.dc.gov/templates/dcfinder/s2.html?appid=a17962c8f8554e469697324c736c9505

The map went online in August, according to Michelle Evans Phipps, a communications specialist with DDOT. “It’s updated automatically every day,” she told All Walks DC.

Collision Data Disclosures

The new law also mandates that DDOT publish monthly reports with information about vehicle collisions, including when and where the collision occurred, the number of people killed or injured, and why the collision occurred.

The intent of the provisions is to allow DDOT, with citizen input, to establish and make improvements at bicycle and pedestrian “priority areas,” meaning those areas with high volume vehicular-pedestrian-bicycle traffic and collisions.

Jonathan M. Rogers, a policy analyst in the DDOT director’s office, told All Walks DC that DDOT will soon begin publishing these reports.

However, he said the department first needs to make sure it does not violate health privacy act requirements when it discloses certain personal information about victims. “We’ll continue to publish the crash and violation data in the open data format in the meantime,” he said. The information is available at http://opendata.dc.gov/datasets/95254fae17bc4792bd47b53f71c2e503_19

All Walks DC was part of a 15-member working group that advised DC Council Member Mary Cheh, a chief sponsor of the safety measure, on aspects of the proposed legislation, which was introduced in September 2015.

Other provisions in the law include:

  • integration of  bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure throughout the District in a “Complete Streets Policy”
  • taxi and vehicle-for-hire instruction, updating such services on their obligations not to block pedestrian and bicycle activity
  • a new traffic offense for aggressive driving
  • a program for individuals convicted of drunk driving that could result in the installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for repeated violations
  • creation of a Crash Review Task Force to review every crash handled by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Crash Unit and recommend changes to DC law or policies to reduce the number of crashes.

Great News: DDOT Grants Access to Traffic Control Plans at Construction Sites

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The mess on L Street

Photo by Dave Salovesh

The demolition of the old Washington Post building and work on new construction in its place caused an uproar when the many pedestrians and bicyclists who regularly travel routes near the 15th Street NW and L Street NW site realized their protected spaces were being taken away, a move expected to last a whopping two years. There is currently no route for pedestrians along the northern side of L Street, and we have already heard of at least one incident in which a pedestrian was struck in the unsafe mixing zone. The closure came as an insult to advocates who pushed for the 2014 law and subsequent DDOT rulemaking that required construction sites to provide safe accommodation to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Now DDOT has taken an important step toward Open Data. As of today DDOT will begin publishing Traffic Control Plans (TCPs) for occupancy permits at construction staging areas online.  People who rely on city sidewalks can now use this tool to identify potential problems and demand better accommodations from the city and construction permit holders.

The information in an open data format through the Transportation Online Permitting System (TOPS).

DDOT announced that through TOPS, residents can now download TCPs and any permit issued by DDOT. To view TCPs for construction staging events, users must search for occupancy permits. The data will be available in open format to facilitate analysis, and can be accessed using DDOT’s mobile app. The TCPs show where portions of roadways, sidewalks, bike lanes and other types of public infrastructure will be temporarily occupied or altered as part of an approved occupancy permit.

Searches for construction and occupancy permits can be performed on permits that are up to 6 months old. Additionally, unlike some TOPS features, you do not have be a registered user to perform a permit search.

For more information about TOPS, please visit www.tops.ddot.dc.gov.

Following advocacy efforts by All Walks DC and others, Mayor Bowser announced that as part of her Vision Zero Action Plan, DDOT will begin offering greater access to agency data, including approved TCPs. DDOT has also taken steps to release better information on crashes in which bicyclists and pedestrians are struck. However, much of this information is siloed in different agencies, meaning DC is still falling short in making available the kind of comprehensive data on crashes that our peer cities are releasing.

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