Action Alert: Authorize HAWK Signals in Maryland

A ghost bike memorializes Frank Towers at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and the Matthew Henson Trail.

In the span of just six months, two bicyclists were hit and killed attempting to cross five lanes of fast-moving traffic on Veirs Mill Rd at the Matthew Henson Trail in Montgomery County. Following the death of Frank Towers, state highway engineers designed and installed a set of flashing lights to warn drivers to slow down when a bicyclist or pedestrian wanted to cross. But warning lights do not require a driver to stop, so most don’t. The driver who hit and killed Oscar Osario six months later did not stop either. In order to install actual stop lights at intersections like this, we need to make a technical change to Maryland law.

Take Action

HAWK signals (also called pedestrian hybrid beacons) use a red light to require drivers to stop, and are used in states states all over the country, including Virginia and DC. Studies show that HAWKs reduce pedestrian crashes by 69% and total crashes by 29% compared to unsignalized, painted crosswalks. They make it significantly safer to cross busy streets. HAWK signals save lives, but are not approved for use in Maryland. A bill before the Maryland General Assembly would change that.

House Bill 578 would explicitly allow the use of HAWK signals in Maryland. The bill has passed the House of Delegates and will be taken up by the Senate soon. Please ask your Senator to support this much-needed legislation to make biking and walking safer and more appealing in Maryland.

Take Action

Still not sure what a HAWK signal is? Watch this quick video for a rundown of how they work.

Speak up for Anacostia Park!

National Park Service (NPS) has a management plan for Anacostia Park, 1100+ acres along the banks of the Anacostia River. Do you want to have a bike campus in Anacostia Park, or do you believe there should be better neighborhood access to the park? It’s time to chime in! Share your thoughts with NPS.

Map of Anacostia Park, Alternative 3. Find more maps and details about each alternative here.

NPS is looking for feedback and are accepting comments until March 18. The park includes Poplar Point, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Langston Golf Course, and James Creek Marina.

Here’s how it works:

  • The management plan is a framework that provides guidance to NPS for the next 15-20 years.
  • Different parts of Anacostia Park are managed in certain ways. In some places, there is a skating rink, in other places there are historic lily ponds. So NPS manages those zones in different ways.
  • National Park Service wants your input on what portions of the park should be managed for certain activities. Does the community want to see more organized sports facilities? Do they want large sections of the park to be reserved for wild space and restoration?
  • NPS has developed four alternatives, plus a no-build option. Their preferred choice is Alternative #3, which provides a balance of conservation and recreation, and looks just fine to us.

WABA believes that bicycle access to and through Anacostia Park is an integral part of successful park management.

That’s why we’re encouraging NPS to do the following things:

  • We strongly support the use of bicycles being included in each of the six management zones. Biking should be considered an appropriate use throughout the park.
  • Capital Bikeshare should be included in the Organized Sports and Recreation Zone.
  • Bicycle facilities, like a Bike Campus, should be an appropriate use within the Organized Sports and Recreation Zone.
  • Bicycle facilities and use should be prioritized in the Natural Resource Recreation, Community Activities and Special Events, and Organized Sport and Recreation Zones.
  • Access to Anacostia Park from nearby neighborhoods is hugely important! Currently, there are major physical barriers to park, including Interstate 295. WABA supports the management plan’s attention on park access and connectivity with city neighborhoods.

And while this plan specifically focuses on the management zones, we encourage NPS to consider the following in all management discussions and park policies:

  • Keeping paved trails open for use at all times of day is incredibly important- for many residents in the region, trails are transportation infrastructure, and the hours of operation should be the same as a roadway.
  • Consistent access to bathrooms, trash cans, benches and shade should be a priority.

Do you share our opinion on what should be included in the plan? Share these recommendations, and any additional thoughts, with National Park Service here. The deadline for submitting comments is Saturday, March 18.

Washington Boulevard Needs More Than Sharrows

Proposed bike lanes on Washington Blvd between East Falls Church and Westover

Earlier this month, Arlington County staff showed off plans for proposed bike lanes on Washington Boulevard between Mckinley Rd and Sycamore St in Westover.  The new lanes could provide a much needed link in the bicycle network, allowing more people to bike between the East Falls Church Metro and the shops, restaurants, school and community center in Westover.

This project is a win in almost every way. It will reduce chronic speeding by narrowing very wide travel lanes, yet keep drivers moving by adding in a left turn lane. Pedestrians can enjoy more visible road crossings, a large buffer from moving traffic, and slower speeds. And bicyclists will see a mix of standard and buffered bicycle lanes which complete an uninterrupted two mile bikeway on Washington Blvd. Since the project is funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s road maintenance program, costs are minimal to the County.

But there are some vocal opponents to the plan. To make space for these improvements, on-street parking would be removed from in front of 21 of the 72 homes on Washington Blvd. While the majority of these homes have private driveways and numerous side streets to choose from, some residents are calling for staff to scrap the bike lanes wherever they impact parking. A parking utilization study showed more than 60 of the 136 street parking spaces unused, even at the busiest times of the week.

Parking utilization and proposed impacts Washington Blvd

The project staff need to hear loud and clear that we value continuous, safe places to bike far more than abundant street parking. Please send a message to the project manager supporting the project, and rejecting any effort to water it down to save unneeded parking.

Submit Comments

Email your comments to David Goodman dgoodman@arlingtonva.us by Friday 3/17 at 5pm. Not sure where to start? Here’s a sample email:

I support adding bike lanes on Washington Blvd in Westover. These lanes will provide a much needed link in the bicycle network, allowing more people like me to bike between the East Falls Church Metro and the wonderful shops, restaurants, schools and community centers in Westover. I would be more likely to bike in this area if there were bike lanes.

When people like me have an option to bike, there will be fewer cars on the road, which will make our streets safer for everyone. It will also free up space on the roads and parking spots for those who choose to drive. Bike lanes, not sharrows, on Washington Blvd will make this neighborhood easier and safer for everyone to get around.

Learn More

Statement on the death of Jane Bennett Clark

Early Thursday evening, Jane Bennett Clark was struck by a bicyclist while crossing 13th St. NW in downtown DC. According to the Washington Post, she was knocked over, hit her head, and died Friday morning. We don’t know the specifics of this crash, but it is terrible, and should not have happened. Our deepest condolences go to Ms. Clark’s family, friends, colleagues and community.

The Metropolitan Police Department has not announced who, if anyone, made a mistake on Thursday night, but we will be following the crash investigation closely in order to learn how to do our part to prevent it from happening again. One of the core principles of the District’s Vision Zero initiative is that when something goes wrong, it should not be fatal. People make mistakes, and the built environment should be engineered to render those mistakes as harmless as possible. We hope the lessons learned from this terrible crash can prevent it from happening again, not just at this intersection, but anywhere.

That said, the same principle applies to bicycling as it does to driving: if you can’t see and react to a human being on the road in front of you, you are going too fast. Yield to people who are more vulnerable. This is not just the law, it’s how to be a responsible member of the community. It is your responsibility not to hurt anyone with your vehicle, whether you’re riding a bike or driving a car.

WABA works hard to make sure that our region’s bicyclists know how to ride safely. Our education and outreach teams interact with thousands of bicyclists every year. We teach people the rules of the road and how to ride respectfully around pedestrians, drivers and other bicyclists.

Deadly crashes between pedestrians and bicyclists are heartbreaking and rare. Of the 317 fatal crashes in the District in the last decade, only one other involved a pedestrian hit by a bicyclist. Both should not have happened. Fatal crashes are preventable. Our region’s governments have started the process of building systemic solutions to traffic fatalities, but changing laws and infrastructure is a slow process.

We here at WABA hope that everyone who travels in the region takes some time to feel the full sadness of this crash. Our roads and trails and sidewalks are shared space. When we bike and drive, we have to move through that space with a complete understanding of the risks our motion poses to others, and we have to let that understanding guide our behavior every time we travel.

The staff and board of WABA send our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and community of Jane Bennett Clark.

Register for Bike to Work Day!

We are excited to announce that registration for this year’s Bike to Work Day is now open. Sign up for this free event today!

Sign up » 

Bike to Work Day will take place on Friday, May 19th, 2017.

The region’s largest celebration of getting to work on two wheels, Bike to Work Day is an annual event that celebrates those who ride a bicycle. Whether you commute to work by bike every single day or just want to give it a try for the first time this year, this event celebrates you! This is the one day each year that our regions recognizes bicycling as an everyday form of transportation.

This year’s Bike to Work Day event will feature 86 pit stops across the region in Maryland, DC and Virginia. Registration for Bike to Work Day is always free, and includes a free t-shirt, food/drink at your pit stop, and the chance to win pit stop giveaways.

You can read more about Bike to Work Day here. And you can sign up and select your pit stop here.

 

The 2017 Women & Bicycles Limited Edition Jersey is On Sale Now!

Women & Bicycles is a unique program of WABA. We are here to create a cycling sisterhood that empowers riders all around the region to achieve their goals on bicycles. You help us do that as a supporter.

Now you can also wear your hear on your sleeve—literally. The Women & Bicycles 2017 Jersey is here!

It is only on sale through March 12.  Get it now, because it won’t be offered again!

  • The cost is $65 per jersey.
  • Women’s and unisex cuts available.  (The unisex is the same as the current WABA jersey).
  • Sizes from XS to XXXL.  UPDATE on sizing: for jerseys, focus on your hip and your bust/chest size.  The women’s has a more shaped waist.  The unisex is a bit boxier.
  • Jerseys should arrive mid-May in time for the summer riding season!

All proceeds from the sale support Women & Bicycles and the work that we do.

Let me tell you why your support is important:

  • Bicycling, to us, will always be a justice-oriented work. Your support funds our education efforts in this community, teaching non-riders that bicycle riding is viable transportation. This year, we debuted How to Ride on a Dime, to teach non-riding residents and students that bicycle riding for transportation can get us to work and errands reliably, and as professionally as our peers who are stuck in traffic.
  • We build connection and community. You help us train mentors. The Roll Models continues to be one of our strongest elements of the W&B program. They exist because of women like you. Experienced riders around the area teach new riders to get around safely and confidently. Already this year, over a dozen new Proteges are being matched with Roll Models.
  • We have fun! You ride with each other because we introduce new friends. We had such an interest in the Strong Women Ride that we had to create a March encore ride. Future rides will take us out into Maryland, around the trail system, and into the suburbs of Virginia. It’s a blast to ride together.

Women & Bicycles is so proud to have you as our supporter. We hope you’ll share our excitement and snag a jersey so you can show your W&B pride.

Happy riding,

Betsy Tesi, Coordinator of Women & Bicycles

 

Your winners of the 2017 Bicyclists’ Choice Awards

We held our third annual Bicyclists’ Choice Awards event on Tuesday, February 28th at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, and the celebration was a huge success! Our host Tom Sherwood of NBC4 Washington graced the stage with humor and wit, and the awards event brought together close to 150 excited and passionate bicyclists, advocates, WABA supporters, VIPs, and award winners to celebrate the amazing achievements made in 2016 to make bicycling better in our region.

We want to thank Tom Sherwood for being a part of our event and making us laugh. Tom is a reporter for News4 specializing in politics and the DC government. He is the resident guest analyst each Friday on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi’s Political Hour. You can find Tom on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tomsherwood. Tom, we will snap a photo of you stopping at the stop sign at Hains Point East Potomac Park one of these days,  just you wait.

Tom Sherwood of NBC4 Washington hosting the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards.

Thank you to everyone who came out to watch and support the awards show: the event could not have happened without you – your nominations, your votes and your interest in attending the event.

The Bicyclists’ Choice Awards is an important opportunity for WABA to recognize the people and places in our region that make bicycling great, and we were so happy that many of you were a part of it.

Continue reading to find out who won and to see photos from the event.

We are pleased to announce the nominees and winners of the publicly-chosen Bicyclists’ Choice Awards:

Nominees for the Best Improvement for Biking in 2016 in the District of Columbia:

  • Rehabilitation of Rock Creek Park Trail and Beach Drive underway
  • 14th St NW bike lane connection through Columbia Heights with striping and green paint
  • Northern extension of the 15th St NW Protected Bike Lane from W St to Euclid St NW alongside Meridian Hill Park
  • Completion of the new Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment of the Anacostia River Trail

DDOT accepts the award on behalf of the entities who worked on building and completing the trail, which include the District Department of Transportation, National Capital Parks East of the National Park Service, the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commision, and the US Department of Transportation.

Winner: Completion of the new Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment of the Anacostia River Trail!

Nominees for the Best Improvement for Biking in 2016 in Maryland:

  • C&O Canal Towpath resurfacing near Great Falls
  • Safety improvements at Capital Crescent Trail crossing of Little Falls Parkway
  • New protected bike lane in White Flint on Nebel Street
  • Repaving of Sligo Creek Trail

Michael Riley, Director of Parks for Montgomery County, accepts the award.

Winner: Safety improvements at Capital Crescent Trail crossing of Little Falls Parkway!

Nominees for the Best Improvement for Biking in 2016 in Virginia:

  • Wilson Boulevard protected bike lane and improvements
  • Custis Trail and W&OD Trail maintenance and repaving
  • BikeArlington’s support and promotion of bicycling during Safetrack
  • Capital Bikeshare expansion in Fairfax County and to Tysons and Reston

Kevin Stalica, Park Manager at Arlington County, accepts the award.

Winner: Custis Trail and W&OD Trail maintenance and repaving!

Nominees for the Bike Friendliest Neighborhood or Business Improvement District in 2016:

  • Capitol Riverfront/Yards Park, DC
  • NoMa, DC
  • Crystal City, VA
  • Golden Triangle, DC

Bonnie Wright, Marketing & Communications Manager for the Capitol Riverfront BID, accepts the award on behalf of the BID.

Winner: Capitol Riverfront/Yards Park, DC!

Nominees for the Best Bike Shop in 2016:

  • The Bike Rack
  • BicycleSPACE
  • Proteus Bicycles
  • Bikenetic
  • Gearin’ Up Bicycles

Laurie Lemieux, co-owner of Proteus Bicycles, accepts the award.

Winner: Proteus Bicycles!

Nominees for the Best Social Ride in 2016:

  • The Tweed Ride
  • DC Bike Party
  • Kidical Mass
  • BicycleSPACE Cupcake Ramble
  • DC Bike Ride
  • Proteus Sunday Morning Coffee Ride

Laurie Lemieux, co-owner of Proteus Bicycles, accepts her second award of the night.

Winner: Proteus Sunday Morning Coffee Ride!

Nominees for the Bike Friendliest Business in 2016:

  • District Taco
  • The Java Shack
  • Vigilante Coffee Company
  • Right Proper Brewing Company
  • Swing’s Coffee
  • Filter Coffeehouse

Winner: District Taco!

Nominees for the Biggest Bicycle Advocacy Win of 2016 in the District of Columbia:

  • The Downtown West Transportation Study on protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave west of the White House
  • New York Ave Trail Concept Plan
  • Passage of the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2016
  • Passage of the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act (which fixes contributory negligence for vulnerable road users)

Accepting the award on behalf of the DC Council is Tony Goodman, Councilmember Grosso’s Chief of Staff.

Winner: Passage of the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act!

Nominees for the Biggest Bicycle Advocacy Win of 2016 in Maryland:

  • Dedicated funding for bicycle infrastructure (a $9 million increase in bike/ped funding over next 6 years) in Montgomery County’s budget
  • Montgomery County commits to Vision Zero
  • Prince George’s County Trails Master Plan
  • Silver Spring Circle planning

Councilmember Hans Reimer accepts the award.

Winner: Dedicated funding for bicycle infrastructure in Montgomery County’s budget!

Nominees for the Biggest Bicycle Advocacy Win of 2016 in Virginia:

  • New Transportation Master Plan for Alexandria
  • Passage of the dooring bill that made dooring illegal in Virginia
  • Bikeshare expansion to Reston and Tysons in Fairfax County

Winner: Passage of the dooring bill that made dooring illegal in Virginia!

Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners of the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards.

We are pleased to announce and honor the winners of the WABA Awards:

WABA Advocate of the Year Award: Chris Slatt, Chair of the Arlington County Transportation Commission and WABA’s Arlington Action Committee

Chris Slatt receives the Advocate of the Year Award for his dedication and hard work on the transportation commission and the Bike Friendly Ballston campaign. 

Chris Slatt wins Advocate of the Year.

WABA Future Trails Award: Tara Morrison, Superintendent of National Capital Parks-East, National Park Service

Tara Morrison receives the Future Trails Award for championing the Rock Creek Park trail rehabilitation while superintendent of Rock Creek Park.

Tara Morrison wins the Future Trails Award.

WABA Biking for All Award: Jessie Webb, DC Department of Parks and Recreation

Jessie Webb receives the Biking for All Award because of how much he has gone above and beyond to promote bicycling in his community and for being such a positive internal advocate at DPR. Jessie started a youth bike club at the Benning Park Rec Center, sought out additional training as a bike educator and became a League Cycling Instructor, expanded his bike club program to adults, and trained additional DPR staff.

Jessie Webb wins the Biking for All Award.

WABA Protecting Bike Lanes Award: Patricia Shepard, Montgomery County Department of Transportation Engineer

Patricia Shephard receives the Protecting Bike Lanes Award for leading Montgomery County’s efforts on installing protected bike lanes in the County, including the Woodglen and Nebel Street protected bike lane projects.

Pat Shepard wins The Protecting Bike Lanes Award.

WABA Volunteer of the Year Award: Lesly Jones

Lesly Jones receives the Volunteer of the Year Award because year after year, she continues to help and support WABA and our mission to make bicycling better. Lesly is committed to positive bicycling and going above and beyond for WABA

WABA Community Organizer Award: Dustin Scott, Color of Cycling Organizer

Dustin Scott receives the Community Organizer Award for being a shining star within the bike community and organizing the local Color of Cycling rides. This award recognizes your tireless work to bring together people who bike and to build up, strengthen, and grow the DC bike community.

Dustin Scott wins Community Organizer of the year.

WABA Public Leadership Award: DC Councilmember Mary Cheh

Councilmember Mary Cheh receives the award for Public Leadership for championing contributory negligence and for her dedication and support of making bicycling better and safer in the District.  

DC Councilmember Mary Cheh wins the Public Leadership Award.