DC budget proposes street repairs, trails, traffic cameras

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is going big in her next budget to fund infrastructure in the city, in an attempt to repave streets, smooth out new bike lanes and create some free transportation around town.

The budget also includes more traffic cameras.

Bowser’s 2022 budget aims to repair roads, sidewalks and alleys, and add 30 miles of bike lanes and 70 miles of trails by 2025.

“This budget makes huge investments in the transit systems we manage,” said interim D.C. Director of Transportation Everett Lott.

Bowser’s proposed budget would also keep the DC Circulator free to ride, “continuing our work to make affordable transportation a reality in the District,” Lott said. (Fares on the Circulator have been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic).

If the D.C. Council approves the mayor’s budget, Lott said it will also add 80 new Capital Bikeshare stations and 3,500 e-bikes — meeting the city’s goal of having one bike share station a quarter mile from anyone’s home.

As road repairs are set to ramp up, parking enforcement will as well.

“We are enhancing our traffic enforcement capabilities with more and more cameras in places where we know that they will make our streets safer,” Bowser said at a news conference on Thursday.

Bowser says she wants all DMV employees to return to work

Bowser also addressed the long wait times and limited appointments that residents have encountered at D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles offices across the city, saying she wants all DMV employees to return to the office to help meet demand.

“We’ve made a decision that we need all of our staff …  We don’t currently have all of our staff back. But that’s happening,” Bowser said, noting that some DMV employees are still off work on leave.

For now, appointments are necessary unless residents are booking an inspection or renewing  registrations, which can be done online.

“We’re getting closer and closer to 100% capacity,” Bowser said. “There will be a period of time where we need the appointments, so we will avoid a crush of people coming into the centers and having to stand in lines. And so when we feel like we’ve gotten over that crush of demand, we will be able to come back to a first-come, first-serve operation.”

The scramble for DMV appointments was likened by D.C. Council member Janeese Lewis George to “The Hunger Games.”

Earlier this month, D.C. restarted parking enforcement and ticketing cars, leading to a scramble for DMV appointments in part by people who needed to update their registrations.

Later, D.C. announced it would extend a July 1 deadline for residents to renew expired licenses and ID cards to July 9.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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