What Predictable Alert Lawful (PAL) means to me

Three months ago, I took a job as the Arlington PAL ambassador coordinator. Since then I have reminded more people than I can possibly count to be more Predictable, Alert, and Lawful on our roadways. This message is simple. We’re asking people to practice common courtesy and awareness when they are walking, driving and biking on the streets of Arlington.

When I first started, I assumed my work would be as simple as biking around at a leisurely pace, smiling, waving, and being nice to people. But it turned out to take an incredible amount of self awareness. I learned to really interact and connect with people. This work and my regular everyday experiences have had a profound impact on me.

I learned that we have constant opportunities to have positive interactions with people, and that sharing our personal stories is the most reliable way to build empathy and understanding.

It amazed me to realize that before this job I was biking inside of my own bubble. I didn’t really interact with people and didn’t know what I was missing. When I started to bike around and actively engage with my community, I had a totally different experience. The streets of Arlington are crowded, crowded with our neighbors and community members doing what they need to do to get around town.

I went from just seeing a car in front of me or a bicyclist beside me, to seeing actual people. I began to really feel connected to people- and every one of these people presented an opportunity to share the PAL message and a smile.

This human connectedness is what the PAL program is all about. We’re all neighbors, we’re all going in the same direction, and we all just want to get home safely.

We have a fun Block Party next week! Join and help us remind folks to be a little more Predictable, Alert, and Lawful! Click here to learn more.

Save the date: WABA Holiday Party

When: Thursday, December 17th from 6:00-10:00pm

Where: Johnny Pistolas, 2333 18th St NW,Washington, DC, 20009 (Adams Morgan)

Who: WABA Members and your family and friends

RSVP: Join the Holiday Party event on Facebook and invite your WABA friends

All WABA members are invited to join the WABA Staff, Board of Directors, and your fellow WABA Members on Thursday, December 17th at Johnny Pistolas in Adams Morgan for an evening of bicycle cheer.

Come eat and drink with us in celebration of this year’s advocacy successes and mingle with fellow WABA members. WABA will also be releasing our new organizational Strategic Plan!

The party is free and there will be food and drink specials available at the bar. WABA’s Executive Director Greg Billing will give a brief presentation about WABA’s five-year Strategic Plan and the exciting things it means for bicycling in DC, MD and VA.

*Please note this party is for WABA Members and their close friends and family. WABA is a member supported non-profit organization and your yearly membership dues fund our ongoing advocacy and outreach work. If you have friends that are not WABA Members, bring them and they can join WABA at the party!*

WABA Ride Recap: The 2015 Cider Ride

Last weekend on Saturday, November 14th, WABA’s third annual Cider Ride took place. Check out the ride in photos below, and we hope you will join us in 2016 for next year’s Cider Ride.

And if YOU took any photos yourself, we encourage you to share them with us by adding them to the WABA Flickr pool.

The ride started at The Dew Drop Inn, a perfect spot in an old brewery along the train tracks in NE DC and right on the Met Branch Trail. The ride also finished at The Dew Drop Inn where beer was flowing and the bar was serving up grub to hungry riders – there was even a local bluegrass band, The Capitol Hillbillies! What’s even better is that several of the Capitol Hillbillies are lifetime WABA members.

From NE DC, The Cider Ride took cyclists to the Anacostia Tributary Trails and out toward Hyattsville and College Park, MD. Riders enjoyed hot cider and donuts at Proteus Bicycles at the first pit stop. From there, the 47-mile route riders continued on to Beltsville and down miles of farm roads, through the forests of the Patuxent Research Refuge, and wooded roads of Greenbelt Park. The riders enjoyed hot chocolate and pie at the second pit stop hosted by the City of Greenbelt at Buddy Attick Lake Park.

The Cider Ride did sell out this year, so make sure you register for the ride early in 2016!

A BIG BICYCLE THANK YOU to our ride partners who made the Cider Ride possible:

proteus logoGreenbelt logoDDI-logo-greenyellowclear


Your holiday shopping can benefit WABA!


The Ring of Charity is similar to the silicone bracelets used for charitable programs and campaigns.

This holiday season we’ve partnered with Necessary Recycling, a handmade bag maker, to increase the impact of your holiday gift giving.

Now through December 16th, purchase a Ring of Charity and a portion of sales goes to WABA.

What’s a Ring of Charity? It’s a couple of different things, really. Watch the video below to find out.

Click here purchase a Ring of Charity.

Necessary Recycling is a company built on the foundation of combining “Personal Baggage & Giving” as a way of doing business. For every product sold they donate to a project to help meet a need. Their Giving Project is committed to give support in the areas of health and education through the sale of recycled products.

Your Ring of Charity comes with one of their limited edition saddle bags!



Progress on Safer Suitland Road Campaign in PG County

by Phill Melton and Garrett Hennigan

Since we launched our campaign for a Safer Suitland Road in Prince George’s County last winter, we’ve been listening and gathering input from Suitland residents, community activists, and interested citizens about their hopes for what Suitland Road could be. So far, the consensus has been clear: we all want a safe street where walking and biking are easy. Since it has been a while since our last news, here is an update on where we are in this campaign.

Following our April community walk, we worked with community leaders and local organizations to find a shared list of priorities — issues like speeding traffic, crumbling or missing sidewalks, hostile riding conditions and poor lighting. In July, we shared our priorities and vision with the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) which owns and maintains the road. In a joint letter, we expressed the urgent need for reducing speeding and creating safe, protected places to walk and bike. Read the full letter here (pdf).

Our initial research showed that with the road’s width and low traffic volume, installing a protected bike lane would not be very costly, especially where repaving and restriping was already necessary. Indeed, since 2015, SHA engineers have been conducting a feasibility study exploring low cost improvements to walking and biking on this same stretch of Suitland Road. That report is finally complete, marking a major milestone in this campaign. This first look shows some encouraging possibilities. Read the full report here.

In the report, SHA found that by repurposing existing shoulders and narrowing wide travel lanes, buffered bike lanes can easily fit between Southern Avenue and Silver Hill Road. While not the protected bike lanes we were hoping for, buffered bike lanes, in which bicyclists are separated from travel lanes by a wide painted buffer, are an enormous improvement from the 18 foot lane speedways in place today. If implemented, this will be the first use of buffered bike lanes on a Maryland state road since SHA updated bikeway guidelines earlier this year. If designed well, buffered bike lanes can easily be upgraded to protected lanes in the future once maintenance-related concerns over protected bike lanes are resolved within SHA.

Buffered Bike Lane Arlington

Buffered Bike Lane in Arlington. Photo by J Sanchez

Protected Bike Lane

Protected Bike Lane in Arlington. Photo by Michael Schade

The study also explored options to add sidewalks along Suitland Road. Currently, sidewalks run less than half a mile of the 1.5 mile road, but block-long gaps, crumbling curbs and uneven ground force pedestrians into the street. Under any of the options proposed, existing sidewalks would be upgraded and repaired to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, but the study also showed that building sidewalks the remaining mile is possible, though expensive. To include expanded sidewalks in the project, the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) needs to commit to assisting in right-of-way acquisition and 25% of construction costs. Thanks to SHA’s Sidewalk Retrofit program, the county has a terrific opportunity to make Suitland Road more walkable. We urge DPWT to step up and commit to making this road work for all users.

We are glad to see the SHA’s commitment to buffered bike lanes in this project and hope to see good walking options included as this project moves towards design and engineering. We look forward to continuing our work with the SHA, the DPWT, and, most importantly, the residents of Prince George’s County.

Click here to sign up for updates on the Safer Suitland Road campaign.

Suitland Road Bikeway Retrofit Feasibility Report

Phill Melton is an active member of Action Committee for Prince George’s County and a WABA Member

Lights, Coffee, ACTION!

This week’s weather theme has been GO RIDE YOUR BIKE! Today’s 80 degree weather is no different. Since Daylight Savings Time ending caught many of our friends off guard, we decided to catch up with them while they’re out riding! DC Bike Ambassadors set up friendly bicycle light sting operations around town to equip lightless bicycle riders with their very own pair of bicycle lights.


DC Bike Ambassadors set up in front of the Columbia Heights Metro on 14th Street NW…AT NIGHT!


DC Bike Ambassadors stop bicyclists on the 15th street cycletrack

DC Bike Ambassadors stop bicyclists on the 15th street cycletrack at P Street NW…AT NIGHT!

It gets dark so early these days, that 6 pm looks like midnight…AT NIGHT! Check out these handy tips about riding at night…AT NIGHT!

Aside from handing out bike lights, Ambassadors love giving out free coffee, bike maps, and law guides to our unsuspecting friends! Your smiling faces brings us joy that lasts all day long! Be on the lookout for our bicycling experts who ride around the city in bright red Ambassador shirts spreading the love of bicycling to all.


DC Bike Ambassadors give a bicyclist a cup of coffee and a new copy of the DC Bike Law Guide


Want to become a DC Bike Ambassador? Email jon.gonzalez@waba.org for upcoming trainings.