Orbital Sciences Corp. Wins Bike to Work Day Employer Challenge

Yesterday, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and the Council of Governments’ Commuter Connections honored Orbital Sciences Corp in Sterling, VA in the Employer Challenge for Bike to Work Day.  Facilities Director Patricia Najera accepted the award on behalf of Ortibal who had 107 employees participate on May 20th’s Bike to Work Day.  The top five organizations, agencies and companies with employees participated in Bike to Work Day were identified and then a winner was randomly selected.  The winning organization is honored with a catered luncheon!  Want to win next year?  Start recruiting co-workers for next year’s Bike to Work Day which will be May 18th, 2012

Ortibal Sciences Corp accepts the 2011 Employer Challenge for Bike to Work Day

Wall Street Journal likes Bikes

Our neighbors to the north in New York City have had a tough spring of bike backlash as bicycling has been growing. DC has not been immune to the negative reporting either. Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay writes a sensible and civil piece entitled “The City and Bikes: Rubber Meets Road” and tones down the hyperbole and rhetoric around bikes.

As he discuss the state of cycling in NYC and it’s future growth especially the impending 10,000 bicycle sharing system on the near horizon, he gives DC the nod of victory. “[Bikesharing] is long overdue. It’s a little embarrassing New York doesn’t already have it. Washington, D.C. beat us.”

Gay reasonably finishes with, “look all around you. The bikes have won, and it’s not a terrible thing.”  We’d argue it’s a good thing.

Thank you for supporting WABA at this year’s 2011 Bike Fest!

Whether you were promenading on the dance floor, competing for raffle prizes and silent auction items, looking glamorous in the photo booth, or observing the many enchanting performers from afar,  it was obvious that fun was had by all at Bike Fest, our annual fundraiser.

The Bike Fest Bike Build Contest was the highlight of the evening. Three local shops, including City Bikes, Oasis Bike Works and Papillon Cycles, went head-to-head to assemble the most creative, hand-crafted bicycles from new and used parts, using less than $250. Votes were cast and the margins were slim. Papillon led the pack and was hailed this year’s champion with it’s sleek and sturdy english touring bike design. City Bikes’ reinvention of the cargo bike and Oasis’ “Thrixie” a three-spead fixie mountain frame were also star attractions.  We can only hope that next year’s Bike Build participants were taking notes!

This is the part where we show our appreciation for those who made this event possible, including Boeing, our event sponsor, as well as Vornado Charles E. Smith and the Crystal City BID for providing the unique venue.

We’d also like to thank…

Fortunately the evening was documented from start to finish by filmmaker Edward Eastep and photographers Eric Brewer Immel, Patricia McDougall and Jason McCool. For more pictures check out our event slideshow. Once again, thank you to all those who attended, we hope you enjoyed the sites, sounds and activities of the evening and we  look forward to seeing you all at next year’s Bike Fest!

DDOT Reminds Cyclists Not to Lock Bikes to Small Trees

From DDOT’s Urban Forestry Administration:

The District Department of Transportation’s Urban Forestry Administration would like to remind all bicyclists that locking a bike to a tree is an extremely harmful practice, which can stunt growth or even kill a tree. In addition, locking a bike to any tree less than 10” in diameter is illegal. Bicycling is a great way to get around the city, and excellent for our environment, but biking isn’t green if you harm a tree in the process. Look around for the closest bike rack, and secure your bike to it instead.  If you can’t find a rack but would like one, please contact the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center by dialing 311. If you are a business located in the District and would like one, please contact goDCgo at 202.299.2186. The District Department of Transportation thanks you for your support in this matter. Love trees? Become a Canopy Keeper by adopting one. Call (202) 671-5133 or visit ddot.dc.gov/trees for more information.

Maryland Cycling Survey

Maryland cyclists, please take a moment to complete this short survey.  As explained in an email by Maryland SHA Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator Dustin Kuzan:

This is part of the governor’s Cycle Maryland campaign and the idea of the survey is to collect more data on our cyclists throughout the state of Maryland, get their feedback on the current map and what features should be added to a bicycling map, as well as collect data on why other people do not bike. Anyone that has already taken the survey since it was sent from another source should refrain from taking the survey again.

Here is the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CycleMaryland

And please feel free to forward, Facebook, tweet, and re-tweet to engage as many Maryland cyclists as possible.

“Black Women Bike” Happy Hour Tonight

Black Women Bike Happy Hour
Friday, June 17 · 5:00pm – 7:00pm

The Liaison Capitol Hill And Art & Soul Restaurant
415 New Jersey Ave NW


Because in some circles the false perception persists that only young white hipsters appreciate the District’s multimodal transportation options and the joys of cycling, a few women pedalers of color in the city are getting together tonight for a little reality check, gear & girl talk, to discuss crucial safety issues and style concerns (ie: how to deal with helmet hair for those with ‘fros, dreads and those who spend jawdropping sums at the beautyshop) and have a few drinks without jeopardizing the ride home.

I’m sure my mom would join the group, but the commute from California over the Rockies would be a bit much for her at 74 (and I’m afraid she would actually consider it — for a minute).

(Martin Moulton is the Vice President of WABA’s Board of Directors)

Memorial Day Mobile Bike Shop: East of the Anacostia Program Update #2

The East of the River program is gaining momentum with each mobile bike shop.  We spent Memorial Day working on bikes with The Bike House and over 20 local cyclists outside the Anacostia pool.  So far we’ve put almost 60 bikes back on the road, taught a dozen cyclists to ride, and provided routing and safety information to many.

Our bike giveaway drawing is now closed with over 70 entries for one of our 5 bike packages, including: a Jamis Commuter 1 bicycle, OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-lock and cable, and helmet.

We will be judging the entries in the next week and making decisions on recipients of these bike packages and the 20 Capital Bikeshare memberships.

(Thank you to our many donors to the East of the Anacostia Program.  We are also extremely appreciative of the in-kind support from BicycleSPACE for the discounting and assembling of these bicycles, OnGuard for providing the locks, and DDOT for supplying helmets.)

Integrating the Metropolitan Branch Trail with Neighborhoods, Starting with R Street NE

Yesterday, Greater Greater Washington and The WashCycle initiated a discussion of the proposed R Street bicycle accommodations in Eckington.  Neighborhood listservs lit up on the topic, with many focusing on the details of the plan.  While the details of such a plan are always important, it is equally important to take a step back, look at the wider view, and recognize that the inclusion of bike facilities on R Street, NE is part of a much-needed effort to integrate the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) into the communities that surround it as well as the regional transportation network.

For many years, the train tracks and Metro’s red line presented a significant barrier to east-west travel across the District, and thus the roadway network was designed to filter people out of the local communities that bordered the railroad and onto the major east-west routes.  In the case of Eckington, this means Rhode Island Ave. (often via Lincoln Rd.), Florida Ave. or New York Ave. (often via Eckington Place).  But in all of these neighborhoods, the evolving transportation network did not easily accommodate travel toward the train tracks.

Today, after decades of work by DDOT, Rails to Trails, and WABA, significant portions of the completed MBT are open, creating a vibrant recreational and transportation space for residents to enjoy. Consequently, there is much greater demand from pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists and others for easier access to this area–the same area that the local roads are designed to get people away from. It is clear that the existing road network will require tweaks to adjust to these new patterns of demand.  In some cases, one-way streets may no longer be the best means of serving travel.  In others cases, one-way travel for automobiles not seeking access to the trail may remain appropriate, but adjusting roadways to allow opposite-direction travel for cyclists and pedestrians will be needed.  For cyclists, this means contraflow facilities such as the one proposed on R Street NE.

As the Metropolitan Branch Trail is completed and the adjacent neighborhoods develop, there will be increased cyclist and pedestrian traffic in these communities, and the roadway network must be adjusted to allow for safe access to the trail.  The failure to provide such facilities will only lead to cyclists taking less safe or illegal routes to get there, and that serves no one.

The MBT is a significant development that has the potential to bring numerous transportation, recreation, and economic benefits to the District and the communities that surround it.  But the District cannot simply replace a neighborhood-dividing rail line with a multi-use trail without adapting the surrounding roadway network to the change.  This segment of R Street is the first example of many small but important changes to adjust nearby roads to accommodate the trail itself, to integrate it into the surrounding communities, and to maximize its utility to both local residents and trail users across the District.

WABA hopes that the residents and leadership in Eckington will see this as part of a larger, necessary process to bring the benefits of an improved transportation network to these neighborhoods, and that others along the trail will see the benefits of improved trail connectivity for cyclists.  There remains much work to be done to improve wayfinding, signage, and access.  But not all of the changes must be big or difficult.

The MBT is there.  That was the big and difficult part.  Now, we simply need communities to work together to make it safely accessible to those it was designed and built to serve.  Eckington, by going first, has the opportunity to lead the way in embracing these minor changes to make the streets safer for everyone, and to demonstrate the community’s readiness for the sorts of significant investments the MBT represents.  That was the focus of the speech by Councilmember Thomas at the “Meet the Met” celebration almost exactly a year ago today.  Now that  Thomas is both the Council’s steward of economic development and representative of Ward 5 residents, we hope to be able to count on his support in maximizing the District’s investment in the MBT by making it safely accessible to as many residents as possible–including cyclists living in and connecting through Eckington.

Bike Month 2011 Recap

It’s been a busy May for WABA and for cycling in the region.  Here’s a quick recap:

With a month like that, how can you not want to become a WABA member and support our efforts?

What did we leave out?  Let us know in the comments.