Bike Camp! 2017 registration is now open!

Bike Camp! is back and bigger than ever! We are super excited to offer four sessions of Bike Camp! this year, three sessions of City Explorers and a week of Bike Build. City Explorers focuses on having a blast and building the skills take longer group rides and discover fun activities across the city. Campers at the Bike Build Camp will (surprise!) build up a bike from an empty frame to a safe and ride-able bike that they will get to keep! Registration is only available while space lasts.

For all of the exciting details, including how to register, visit the Bike Camp! page.

city explorrers
Session I | June 19-22 | Ages 8-10 | $300/child
Session II | July 10-14 | Ages 10-12 | $300/child
Session III | July 17-21  | Ages 12-14 | $300/child

  • City Explorers Camp will focus on building bike comfort and skills, route creation, group riding, and longer rides.
  • Campers will ride every day (weather dependent), and as much as 20 miles per day!
  • Campers will bike to different field trips and volunteer opportunities across the city.
  • This camp will include basic bike maintenance, such as how to fix a flat tire.
  • This is a great camp for campers who want to see the city, visit new places, and build community.
  • While campers outside of the age ranges will not be turned away, the activities at each session will be geared to those ages.

bike build camp
 Bike Build Camp | June 26-29 | Ages 8-14 | $400/child

  • Bike Build Camp will focus on mechanics training and mastery of bike parts.
  • Campers will build a bike from the frame up under the guidance of Gearin’ Up Bicycles.
  • Campers will have the opportunity to go on multiple shorter rides during the session.
  • This camp will include at least one hands-on visit to a local bike shop maintenance department.
  • This is a great camp for campers who want to work with their hands, make a bike that they can keep, and explore a little too.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday
Location: KIPP DC Shaw Campus, 421 P St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Click here for all the details on Bike Camp!, including how to register.

If you have any questions, please email bikecamp@waba.org or call 202-518-0524 x222

Tom Sherwood of NBC4 Washington will host the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards

We are excited to announce that Tom Sherwood of NBC4 Washington will host this year’s Washington Area Bicyclists’ Choice Awards on February 28th.

Photo Courtesy of NBC Washington

The Awards will take place at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health on Tuesday, February 28th from 7:30-9:00pm. Anyone is welcome to attend the party and admission is free. There will also be complimentary food from Cava as well as beer and wine. We hope that you will celebrate the people and places that make our region a great place to bike. If you wish to attend, please RSVP for the Awards event here.

It is also the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards and that means that we need YOU to decide the winners. Voting will be open through February 21st. Vote for your favorites here.

Additional information about our annual Bicyclists’ Choice Awards can be found here.

Don’t let DDOT ignore bike safety on Florida Ave NE

Florida Ave NE is a crummy place to bike and walk (Source Google Street View)

Since 2013, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has been studying ways to make Florida Ave NE between First St. NE and H St. NE a safe corridor for people who walk, bike, and drive. After a tragic 2013 pedestrian fatality, DDOT began a planning study, and finally released a final report last February. On Tuesday, February 21st, DDOT will host a long-awaited meeting to share preliminary engineering designs for what we hope are major changes to this car-focused corridor.

Meeting Details

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 6:30 pm – 8 pm | Presentation at 6:30 pm
New Samaritan Baptist Church 1100 Florida Avenue NE
Please attend and insist on a design that reduces speeding, protects vulnerable road users, and encourages multimodal transportation.

I’ll Be There

Florida Ave Has a Chronic Speeding Problem

Statistics and personal experience tell us that Florida Ave is a dangerous and stressful place to bike and walk. As an example, between 7th & 8th Street, DDOT analysis shows that the average driver exceeded the 25mph speed limit by between 5 and 10 miles per hour. In the same block, the 85th percentile speed, or the speed that 85% of drivers will drive at or below during free-flowing conditions, was 33 mph at morning rush hour, 38 mph at evening rush hour, and almost 45 mph overnight. During the study period, the fastest recorded speed was 70 mph.

Speed and Volume analysis on Florida Ave NE (Source DDOT)

A growing body of research shows that speed kills, and lower vehicle speeds result in fewer and less severe crashes. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle at 20 mph has a 90% chance of survival, but a 90% chance of death at 40 mph. Florida Ave NE, as designed, is undeniably and unacceptably dangerous. If DDOT is serious about Vision Zero, its initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries, then it must address this chronic speeding problem.

Pedestrian and Bicycle crashes in the study area (Source DDOT)

Florida Avenue Needs Fewer Lanes, Wide Sidewalks, and Protected Bike Lanes

Sidewalks on Florida Ave NE

Speeding is a chronic problem in this corridor because the road design encourages high speeds. Florida Ave is up to 6 lanes and 67 feet across. Some lanes are up to 17 feet wide. And while this width may help move cars during rush hour, it far exceeds the needed capacity during off-peak times, leading to a wide-open road and comfortable speeding. Even DDOT’s own traffic models show that the road could function quite well with one fewer travel lane in each direction.

Since so much width is dedicated to moving cars, pedestrians face a long list of challenges on Florida Ave. The sidewalks are in poor condition, but also comically narrow. On one block, the sidewalk is just 2 feet wide due to a light pole in the middle, rendering it impassable to anyone with a walker, stroller, or wheelchair. Pedestrian crossings are very long, and many of them are unsignalized. These challenges are particularly dangerous for senior residents, wheelchair users, and deaf students attending Gallaudet University. Wider sidewalks and shorter crossings are sorely needed.

Finally, Florida Avenue NE is a key link in the bicycle network, yet lacks any kind of bicycle facilities. The high stress environment does not serve the needs of people who bike today. A continuous, low-stress, protected bike lane is required for most people to even consider riding in this otherwise convenient corridor.

DDOT’s Preferred Alternative Misses the Mark

In 2014, DDOT presented 3 alternatives covering a range of options including fewer travel lanes, widened sidewalks, buffered bike lanes, and streetscape improvements. DDOT asked the public to weigh in both at a public meeting and in an online survey (WABA supported these alternatives). Almost two years after the last public meeting, DDOT released a final report. This Washcycle blog post provides a helpful summary.

Surprisingly, even though the issues of speeding, excess road capacity, wide lanes, inadequate sidewalks, nonexistent bicycle accommodations and the resulting major safety issues are discussed thoroughly in the report, the recommended alternative clearly sacrifices essential bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements to keep extra travel lanes and minimize vehicle delay. Citing the need to balance local and regional uses of Florida Ave, the study’s recommended alternative keeps most of the features that the study admits contribute to illegally high vehicle speeds and undeniable safety concerns.

The recommended alternative is not at all beneficial to bicyclists. Even though 85% of those surveyed chose as their #1 choice an alternative that included buffered bike lanes and fewer travel lanes, the recommended alternative adds only 6 blocks of narrow, unprotected bicycle lanes flanked by 2-3 travel lanes. These very stressful bike lanes will not connect to West Virginia Avenue to the east or the Metropolitan Branch Trail on the west end, which leaves gaps on either end of the proposed bike lane. The recommended alternative adds unsafe bike lanes where it is easy for DDOT to put them in, and nowhere else.  For a project explicitly about safety, this project does not promise to do much for bicycle safety.

Read the full planning study here.

You Can Help Improve the Plans

On Tuesday, DDOT will present its 30% engineering designs. Despite what you may hear, there is plenty of time to improve the plans. DDOT’s planning study includes many great ideas for a safe and inviting Florida Ave corridor that encourages biking and walking and keeps safe even the most vulnerable road users. Please join us on Tuesday to hold engineers accountable and demand that this project make Florida Avenue a place where safety is a reality and not a dream.

Join Us At The Meeting

We’re Hiring: Part-time Arlington Ambassador Coordinator

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for a part-time Coordinator for the Arlington PAL (Predictable, Alert, Lawful) Ambassador program, a community-oriented outreach and encouragement program to inspire more road-users to be predictable, alert, and lawful.

This is a short-term part-time position through June 30th, 2017 with the possibility of extension depending on the availability of funding.

The PAL Ambassadors are educators and enthusiasts who engage with motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians of Arlington County to change roadway behavior for the better.  Ambassadors help by attending volunteer nights and PAL block parties where we promote our messages, get creative, and get interactive at intersections.

The Coordinator position is responsible for most aspects of the program, including volunteer recruitment, event scheduling and staffing, and developing and executing new outreach ideas. The PAL Ambassador Coordinator will also maintain and expand the program’s bike message trailer program, involving rolling bike billboards with PAL messaging. The position will report to WABA’s Programs Director.

This position is part-time, up to 30 hours/week and compensation is $15 per hour.

Responsibilities

The Arlington PAL  Ambassador Coordinator will:

  • Be responsible for all aspects of the two monthly PAL events and appear in public as the face of area bicycling:
    • Pizza parties are volunteer engagement and recruitment events where people are introduced to PAL concepts and given a chance to brainstorm ideas for future activities.
    • Block parties are outreach events, geared towards either motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians. Often, block parties will involve a unique message, tied to seasonal themes, other campaigns, or external events.
  • Use social media to communicate an effective and encouraging message about bikes and bicycling to volunteer PAL ambassadors, and bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians, including:
    • Facebook,
    • Twitter,
    • Instagram,
    • Washington Area Bike Forum.
  • Run the PAL Ambassador trailer program, which involves pulling our advertising/public awareness bike trailer specific to bicyclist, motorist and pedestrian behaviors, as well as coordinating 2-4 trailer puller contractors.
  • Administration tasks, including: volunteer recruitment/coordination, data entry, equipment maintenance, clerical work, and grant reporting.

Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A strong commitment to WABA’s mission and be a skillful and committed bicyclist with a solid understanding of the principles of bicycling safety and traffic law.
  • Some experience in project management, events planning/management, marketing and/or volunteer coordination.
  • Great writing, presentation and public speaking skills.
  • A flexible schedule and willingness to work some evenings and weekends.
  • Experience with google suite programs (gmail, hangouts, drive, docs, sheets, forms, calendar).
  • The ability to pull a bicycle trailer weighing 10 lbs. for 1-4 hours per shift (up to  20 hours per week)
  • The ability to lift at least 40 lbs.
  • The ability to organize time wisely and multi-task in a relaxed, fun environment.
  • Supervisory experience a plus.

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With 6,200 members region-wide, WABA serves bicyclists throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Contact

Send a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org by Friday, March 3rd. No phone calls please. Position available immediately.

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, arrest record or criminal convictions, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

You Make Our Hearts Go “Peddle”-Patter!

What’s the best part about the day after Valentine’s Day? The discounted chocolate, of course. But what’s the second best part? Basking in the glow of some bike-love! The DC Bike Ambassadors spent the holiday distributing handmade Valentines and candy yesterday during #bikedc’s morning commute. The cards were made by our volunteers at our craft night a few weeks ago. The crafting and delivering went so well, that we’re hoping to do something similar in March!

We handed out the Valentines at 15th & R NW, near one of the city’s busiest bike facilities.

And the Valentines were warmly received by all!

If you would like to join the DC Bike Ambassador program we are having our next outreach brainstorming session on Tuesday February 21 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm at our offices at 2599 Ontario Rd. All are welcome!

RSVP here

You can also sign up here to join our email list and be notified about future events.

Hope to see you soon!

Met Branch Trail Coming to Fort Totten

Last week, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) took the next major step to extend the Metropolitan Branch Trail from Brookland to the Fort Totten Metro. In a press release, DDOT announced that it is seeking proposals from firms to complete final design and build the new trail segment. Once the contract is awarded, construction could be complete in about 18 months. This will be the first major trail construction since the southern 2.2 mile section opened in 2010.

Existing trail in green, new trail in blue, interim on-street route in red (Source Google Maps)

This new phase will extend the sidepath on the east side of John McCormack Dr to the base of the hill across from the Fort Totten waste transfer station. Instead of heading up the hill, as it does today, the trail will continue north alongside the CSX tracks east of the Transfer Station. At the Fort Totten Metro, the trail will climb up and over the Green Line tunnel portal, then descend back to street level.

A bird’s eye rendering of the trail alignment around the Fort Totten Metro (Source DDOT)

This phase of construction will add nearly a mile of new trail, improving walking and biking access to the transit hub and the new development surrounding it. The project will include stairs for a direct route down to the Metro entrance and an improved trail through Fort Totten Park westward to Gallatin St, where the interim route continues northward. The new 10-12 foot wide trail will include lights, security cameras, and a relatively gradual grade compared to the steep climb up Fort Totten Dr. For more renderings and detailed design drawings, go to metbranchtrail.com/resources/.

When complete, the Met Branch Trail will span more than 8 miles between Union Station and the Silver Spring Metro Station. So far, the southern 5.5 miles are a mix of off-street trail, protected bike lane, and low traffic streets. Once built out from Bates Rd to Fort Totten, about 2 miles will remain to be built through Manor Park and Takoma to the Maryland line. DDOT finished 30% design for this last phase in 2016 and aims to complete final design in 2017.

February Advocacy Roundup


Want this update by email every month?  Yes!






Welcome to our February Advocacy Roundup!

Before we dive in, we wanted to let you know that we recently received an honor for our work: Bike Law, a national network of bicycle crash attorneys, awarded WABA its Advocacy Win of 2016.

Now, here’s that roundup:

Bike Laws and Policies

Maryland Legislative Session:

The Maryland legislature has several technical but extremely important bills on its agenda this session. These bills would:

  • Legalize the use of hybrid pedestrian activated beacons or “HAWK” signals in MD,
  • Ensure that bicyclists riding in crosswalks are legally entitled to the right of way,
  • Give Montgomery County the authority to lower speed limits on certain roads, and
  • Create a task force to study bicycle safety on Maryland’s Highways.

Read our more detailed analysis here, and if you’re a Maryland resident, sign this petition in support of the legislation.

Virginia Legislative Session:

Virginia also has several bills we’re watching: One ensures that towns won’t lose state funding for maintenance if they convert travel lanes into bike infrastructure, the others are aimed at curbing dangerous driver behavior. We’ll have more details later in the month, but you can read our summary here.

The City of Alexandria has made two important decisions recently:


Low-Stress Bike Network

Two good options for a short new section of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail

Buzzard Point Park, a two-block section of waterfront at the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, will soon become a part of the Anacostia River Trail network. WABA is pleased to see that the Anacostia Riverwalk (an urban segment of the entire Anacostia River Trail system) was a prominent element of both concepts. Read more.

A Safer Trail Crossing of Little Falls Parkway

In January, Montgomery County implemented a road diet and speed reduction on Little Falls Parkway around the intersection with the Capital Crescent Trail. These changes, rolled out quickly with inexpensive materials, dramatically reduce the risk of crashes at this busy trail intersection. Read more.

Silver Spring’s 2nd & Wayne Ave Bike Lanes

In December, Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation shared early designs for the county’s fifth protected bike lane project in Silver Spring including what will be the County’s first protected intersection. Read more.

DDOT decides to decide later on a Shaw protected bike lane

DDOT released its final report on the Eastern Downtown protected bike lane project. It’s a long report, and we’re still putting together our analysis, but the short version is:

  • DDOT will advance two options to 30% design, then decide which (if either) to build. The two options are both two way protected bike lanes, either on 6th St NW or 9th St NW.
  • A ‘no-build’ alternative is still on the table.
  • Assuming a build option moves forward, the timeline for project completion would be in sometime in 2019.

New sidewalk on the Interim Metropolitan Branch Trail:

That steep, smelly section of Fort Totten Drive has a new “climbing sidewalk.” Details here.

Alexandria Bike Campus Takes A Big Step Forward

A team of volunteers spent an enjoyable morning with crowbars, preparing the space at Jones Point Park for bike campus installation once it warms up enough to paint. Read more here.


Looking ahead:

DDOT released revised Vision Zero traffic regulations. We’re still working on our analysis, and will have an action alert soon. You can read a summary in the Washington Post.

DC Council Agency Oversight Hearings (PDF link) are coming up over the next few months. Keep an eye out for our testimony.

We’re hosting a regional Vision Zero Summit on Friday, March 31st. If you’re a policymaker, transportation professional or law enforcement professional, or you know one who might be interested, keep an eye on our summit page for more details about speakers and panelists next week.

The National Park Service is looking for feedback on the Anacostia Management Plan. You can read the plan and share feedback here. WABA will be submitting comments and asking members and supporters to do the same! The deadline for submitting comments is March 18, 2017.


Public Meeting Calendar:

DC: Alabama Avenue SE Corridor Safety Study

Saturday, February 11, 2017 | 10 am – 12:30 pm
THEARC 1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE

DDOT is hosting the first meeting to discuss safety along the Alabama Avenue SE corridor.  DDOT aims to identify and address multimodal safety concerns and to improve the overall quality of the network for all users.  At this meeting, existing conditions and current traffic/crash data will be shared to capture ideas and suggestions from participants. Alabama Ave is an important bike corridor and would make an ideal protected bike lane corridor.

DC: Tactical Urbanism at North Capitol Street and Lincoln Road

Monday, February 13, 2017 | 6:30 –  8 pm
NoMa BID Lobby 1200 First Street, NE

DDOT invites you to a meeting to discuss the Tactical Urbanism project at North Capitol Street and Lincoln Road, NE. The purpose of this project is to increase safety at the North Capitol/Lincoln Road, NE intersection through immediate, short-term improvements that will lead the way for a larger intersection safety project. DDOT will present a draft design concept and gather comments from the community at this public meeting. Rapid implementation of safety projects like this are a key part of DC’s Vision Zero Action Plan.

DC: VRE Midday Storage Facility Public Meeting

Thursday, February 16, 2017 | 4:00 – 7:30 pm | Presentation at 4:30pm and 6:30pm
Bethesda Baptist Church 1808 Capitol Ave NE

Virginia Railway Express intends to replace its current storage space leased from Amtrak at the Ivy City Coach Yard in DC with a new storage yard alongside New York Avenue. The project will include planning, designing, and constructing a permanent midday storage facility for VRE trains that travel into the District from Virginia.

Fairfax: Lee District Bike Lanes Meeting

Thursday, Feb. 16 |  6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Groveton Elementary School, 6900 Harrison Lane, Alexandria

Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a community meeting to discuss proposed bike lanes in the Lee District. Representatives from FCDOT and VDOT will present plans for the project, which includes sharrows/shared lane marking, bike lanes, pedestrian improvements and overall safety.

More details here.

DC: Florida Avenue Multimodal Transportation Project

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 6:30 pm – 8 pm | Presentation at 6:30 pm
New Samaritan Baptist Church 1100 Florida Avenue NE

DDOT will share 30% designs for multimodal transportation improvements along Florida Avenue NE from First Street NE to H Street/Benning Road NE. This project will add new wider sidewalks, bike lanes, new signalized crossings and streetscape improvements for a safer street. In the last project update in March 2016, DDOT’s preferred alternative eliminated many of the popular and safety-critical elements such as protected bike lanes and a road diet to curtail speeding. We hope that a year of work has found opportunities to point the project in the right direction.

DC: New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project

Thursday, February 23, 2017 | 6 – 8 pm | Presentation at 6:30 pm
Gallaudet University’s I. King Jordan Student Academic Center 800 Florida Avenue, NW

DDOT is in the early stages of planning significant streetscape improvements to beautify New York Avenue from Florida Avenue to Bladensburg Road. The project will study improvements to public space in the corridor, including curb, gutter, streetlights, plantings, trees, benches, public art and other public space improvements. Additionally, DDOT will develop concepts and designs to improve safety and quality of life for people who use New York Avenue, including a new multi-use trail connecting the National Arboretum and Metropolitan Branch Trail, and future transit services throughout the corridor. Read more at the project website.


WABA in the News

Thanks for reading!