Bowser keeps sidewalk funding

At a hearing on Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed FY 2016 budget, the D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) expressed cautious optimism that pedestrians will indeed be prioritized among transportation modes in the year ahead. Sidewalk repairs and corridor improvements would both get funding through the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) budget, which the D.C. Council will vote on in May. The April 21 hearing on the budget was held by the D.C. Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment, chaired by Councilmember Mary Cheh. Councilmembers Charles Allen and Kenyon McDuffie also attended and joined Cheh in asking DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo pointed questions about transportation infrastructure and safety in their wards and throughout the District.

The PAC’s testimony at the hearing praised sidewalk funding but questioned the sufficiency of funding for other types of infrastructure work, such as making intersections and crosswalks safer for pedestrians. (Click here to read the PAC’s testimony.) Highlights of the budget are below:

Sidewalks – Through a couple different funds, there would be nearly $18 million in the FY 2016 budget to repair uneven sidewalks and build sidewalk segments where they are missing.

Vision Zero – The Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Fund would be replaced by the Vision Zero Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Fund, which would be furnished with automated traffic enforcement fines paid by motorists and would be bigger -- stocked with $500,000 for FY 2016. DDOT is leading the District’s Vision Zero initiative, Dormsjo said at the hearing. Vision Zero is an approach to road safety that aims to prevent all traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries.

Safer corridors – The Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Enhancement fund would have about $2 million in FY 2016 for corridor design and implementation.

The proposed budget is available on the website of the D.C. Chief Financial Officer.