Saturday, December 19, 2009

GW waiting for revisions to bike commuting benefit

I spoke w/ the tax people at GW, who spoke w/ GW counsel, who think that the legislation for the bike commuting benefit is written too restrictively to reasonably expect employers to offer at this time. Apparently, it is not written in the same way as the parking/metro benefits (which allow employees to deduct the benefit pretax from their paycheck). Instead, it is apparently written so that employers themselves must pay the benefit & then get reimbursed later (I'm not quite clear on this). At any rate, GW thinks employers will actually get into tax trouble if they're offering it as an employee pretax deduction. So they're waiting for revisions in the law, which are apparently in the works. Also, the current law disallows getting say a parking benefit while getting the bike benefit; revisions are proposed to allow multiple commuter benefits simultaneously.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 Bike Your Drive calculator

REI has posted a cool little online app that estimates average calories burned, dollars/cents saved, & carbon saved by biking your commute. My 30 mile round trip commute to GW yeilds 1400 calories, $6.60, and 29 lbs. (!) of carbon. Check it out: REI Bike Your Drive.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another true story: this time in front of my house

Another true story: in front of my house, Sept. 09

True story: March 2009 at the Key Bridge

There I was, JRA . . .
True Story: Key Bridge, March 2009
I was on the Custis Trail, crossing Lynn in the crosswalk, on my bike, w/ 5 seconds on the light; car coming up off GW Parkway was stopped, saw me, then turned right, for Key Bridge, crossing my path. I hit his front fender & went over his hood. Interesting legal issue here: Local practice--the officially designated Custis
Trail cross Lynn there in the crosswalk--contravenes state law, which says bikes can't ride in crosswalks. What trumps, apparently, is that drivers must stop for any people in crosswalks, regardless if said people are there legally or not. The very nice Arlington Police officer cited the driver and not me (this would not happen in all counties of Va.). Later I looked at the sign there for drivers coming up off the Pkway; that one says Yeild to all PERSONS [not Pedestrians] in the crosswalk.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

FB map: Roosevelt Bridge/Kennedy Center

Map of Roosevelt Bridge crossing, to GW, starting at end of Custis Trail in Rosslyn, Va. (at Lynn St./Key Bridge). Start by continuing straight at end of crosswalk onto asphalt trail leading down to Roosevelt Island. The recently renovated Kennedy Center Plaza creates what must be the grandest bike trail terminus anywhere.

MV map: Capital Crescent Long-cut

Adds about 15-20 minutes vs. going straight up Foxhall, but much nicer (except for that canal smell...). All turns marked on this map; view in Satellite/Hybrid to see trails.

MV map: Georgetown cut-through

W/ construction continuing along Foxhall, alternate routes are key. Here's one through Georgetown's campus that avoids the main student pathways. It also avoids most of Resevoir Rd. Must be viewed in satellite or hybrid to see the bike paths, etc.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

FABB's big bike map

The Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling have put together a great big Google map of FXCo, lined w/ bike routes. Take a look:
FABB's big Google Map of viable bike routes

Chain Bridge construction, but bike lane remains open

The Chain Bridge is undergoing construction/repair work until January 2010, but the sidewalk/bike lane remains open so far. Also, the C&O Towpath under the bridge has a short detour down/up the bank, but it still provides access to the concrete ramp up to the Chain Bridge sidewalk/bike path.

Here is the offical notice from DDOT:

DDOT to Repair and Repaint Chain Bridge

Work Scheduled to Start June 1; Traffic Will Be Impacted

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is scheduled to begin an eight month project on or about Monday, June 1, 2009, to repair and repaint Chain Bridge over the Potomac River and the C & O Canal. All of the work is anticipated to be completed in January, 2010.

To ensure the safety of work crews and motorists, one of the two inbound lanes on the bridge will be closed to traffic throughout the construction period. A single lane in each direction will be maintained at all times on weekdays, but delays are possible and motorists are advised to use alternate routes, especially during peak hours.

In addition, certain repairs on the bridge will require the contractor to close all of the lanes. Those closures will be temporary and conducted only on non-holiday weekends between 10 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Monday. Notice will be posted 72 hours in advance at the approaches to the bridge for these special closures.

The current Chain Bridge was completed in 1939 and sits on stone piers from the 1870’s. It carries close to 22,000 cars a day and the last major rehabilitation of the bridge was done in the early 1980’s.

The work on the bridge will include:

The replacement of pin and hanger assemblies for the steel girders
The installation of catcher beams
The repair and reconditioning of the bridge joints
Repainting of the bridge structure

DDOT will deploy variable message signs to alert motorists to the impending work, and detour routes will be posted.

Posted by EH
[end of DDOT notice]

Federal bike commuter benefit, up to $20/month

The federal Bicycle Commuter Act, passed as part of last year's stimulus bill (HR 1424), allows employers to grant employees a rebate of up to $20 per month to help defray the costs of bicycle commuting; I wonder how many employers have jumped at this opportunity....

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition provides info for employees seeking the benefit & links for employers as well (e.g. IRS guidelines to the benefit).

If anybody out there works at The George Washington University and would like to help me petition for this benefit, please contact me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Capital Crescent commuters

I counted 140 inbound riders on the Capital Crescent trail the other morning at 8:30 am.  Way to go Bethesda!