Introducing Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel P.C., a WABA Legal Resource Member

We would like to introduce our newest WABA Partner and Legal Resource Member, the personal injury law firm of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel P.C., which has served the Washington, D.C., metro area community for over 40 years.

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Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel P.C. are dedicated to helping victims of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. They have extensive experience, including representing bicyclists who have been injured in “clipping,” and “dooring,” accidents, as well as bikers who have been run off the road by negligent drivers, or injured when a motorist made a negligent lane change. If you or any of your fellow cyclists have been injured in a crash, the attorneys from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel P.C. are available to help evaluate the case.

We are proud to have a Legal Resource Member with such a well-respected and trusted reputation. The active partners of CSCS, Ira Sherman, Joseph Cammarata, and Allan M. Siegel, have over 90 years of combined experience, and are licensed to practice in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. All of the partners have been repeatedly selected for inclusion in the Washington D.C. Super Lawyers® Magazine, which was recently published again in the Washington Post Magazine on April 24, 2106.   The partners have been awarded the highest AV® Rating by Martindale Hubbell®, which ranks attorneys nationwide through discerning criteria. Partners Joseph Cammarata and Allan M. Siegel have also been repeatedly named as Washington, D.C.’s “Top Lawyers” by Washingtonian Magazine. All three partners also served as Past Presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Partners Joseph Cammarata and Allan Siegel have earned the impressive achievement of Board Certification as Civil Trial Attorneys by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, which is only awarded to 3% of attorneys in the United States.

Bicycle crashes involving an automobile are often some of the most deadly crashes on our roadways. In 2005, the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute found that 92% of bicyclist fatalities were caused by a collision with a motor vehicle. When a crash is not fatal, common injuries that bicyclist may experience include traumatic brain injuries (TBI), crush injuries, facial injuries, neck injuries, paralysis, amputation, and road rash. While many of these injuries can have lifelong debilitating effects, TBI research and the understanding of a TBI’s long-term effects is a quickly evolving area. CSCS Partners Joseph Cammarata and Ira Sherman are the founders and President, and Vice President, respectively, of the Brain Injury Association of Washington, D.C., which is committed to improving the lives of those affected by TBIs.  Ira Sherman is also on the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of Washington, D.C. Based on this firm’s extensive experience, you can trust them to fight for your rights through every step of your case.

CSCS has a 5 Star ranking on Google and they are proud to have represented many satisfied bicyclist clients. You can read all of their 5 Star reviews here and check out numerous client testimonials here. We are pleased to have Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. joining WABA’s new Legal Resource Program!  You can contact them through their website at chaikinandsherman.com, or by calling them at (202) 659-8600.

Now That’s What We Call a Green Lane

For one glorious day—on September 16th, Park(ing) Day—Minnesota Avenue NE had public tables for gatherings and greenery.  The WABA Trail Rangers teamed up with District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Urban Forestry Administration to create a unique, welcoming pop-up park, part of an international effort to reclaim our public space and think creatively about its best use. And we had so much fun!

Two adjacent parking spots (240 square feet of asphalt) were transformed into an urban oasis—complete with trees, planters, lunch tables and half a hardware store’s worth of fake grass. Our park-let was hopping all afternoon long as people stopped for free coffee, to eat a snack, to check in with friends and to get to know the local trails with the Trail Ranger team. In the space that is typically occupied by two cars we had nine chairs, four tables, two garden planters, one redbud tree, two cherry trees, two oaks and vibrant street life.

A city’s street parking is public space, and Park(ing) Day aims to demonstrate to the public what just a little bit of that space (8′ x 20′ is the size of a standard parking spot in DC) can do, if it’s truly used for the public good.

And the best part of our park is that it will live on! All the trees will be planted this fall as part of Urban Forestry’s work and the smaller vegetation will planted near trails. We will keep using our trailers for their intended use, pulling Trail Ranger tools, and all the soil is off to fill in holes around the city.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to chat and enjoy the park! Thank you to DC Office of Planning for being a great park neighbor and to Eclectic Cafe for the coffee. See you next year!

New Connections: Proposed improvements between Capital Crescent and Rock Creek Park Trails

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The southern terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail. Photo by Kevin Posey.

Last week, I had one of the nicest bike rides of the summer. I cruised blissfully down the Capital Crescent Trail, soaking in the views of the Potomac and enjoying the shady tree cover. But the transition back to the on-street bike network was a harsh one, and my trail euphoria evaporated immediately.

For those of you who have ridden or walked along the Capital Crescent Trail and finished the trip at the southern terminus in Georgetown, you probably relate to the experience.

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The Capital Crescent Trail ends at the dead end of Water St. NW.

The K Street/Water St NW situation is a scary one for bikes. Between the U-turning buses, trucks and vehicles, frustrated rush-hour commuters, lots of back-in parking, and missing sidewalks that force people to walk in the street, there is no clear area for cyclists to position themselves to avoid conflicts. And despite thousands of people using the corridor every day, it remains a mess.

Fortunately, there’s a plan to transform the corridor into something that works for people on bikes and on foot.

The Georgetown Business Improvement District (Georgetown BID) and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) are working to provide a better solution for K Street/Water St NW (this is the road beneath the Whitehurst Freeway- it is Water St. on the western end, and turns into K St. at Wisconsin Ave.) between the southern terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail (near Potomac Boat Club) to Rock Creek Park Trail, just east of 29th St. NW.

With funding through Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Transportation-Land Use Connections Program, the project has taken off. Since January of 2016, Georgetown BID and DDOT have been gathering information and assessing the corridor, as well as reaching out to the public and business owners. They produced the conceptual design for the corridor in June 2016, and WABA and other stakeholders recently received an on-the-ground tour of what the concept plan entails.

Here’s what we learned:

The Capital Crescent Trail is a bicycle superhighway.

  • We all know it, but the numbers back up our instinct: The CCT is a bicycle superhighway. On this year’s peak day (Labor Day), more than 3,700 people rode under the Aqueduct Bridge at the southern end of the Capital Crescent Trail. That’s a boatload of folks on two wheels. In fact, if the Capital Crescent Trail traffic was measured like a road, it would be equivalent to a collector street! We must serve bicyclists better when they enter the on-road network.
    Beneath the Aqueduct Bridge, the Southern terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail, in Georgetown.

    Beneath the Aqueduct Bridge, the Southern terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail, in Georgetown.

Things will be A LOT better for bicycling.

  • Riding with car traffic along K/Water Street is not for the faint of heart. But the concept plan includes a two-way protected bike lane on the south side of K/Water Street. By providing protected infrastructure for bicyclists, it’s clear where to ride (away from cars) and allows many more people to access the corridor by bike.
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    Georgetown BID is proposing horse troughs as potential buffers for the protected bike lane in the K St./Water St. Bicycle and Pedestrian Enhancements project.

And it will be a lot better for walking.

  • By providing protected infrastructure for bicyclists, there is a clear directive of where to ride. This will reduce the number of bicyclists within Georgetown Waterfront Park. Many ride through the Park because the on-street traffic is so unpredictable (read: dangerous).
  • The trail adjacent to K/Water Street is a fantastic connector, but is not all the way connected, and some would argue is better suited for pedestrians.
  • Additionally, the concept plan includes widening sidewalks on both sides of the street, meaning more room in front of Malmaison to drink your coffee, more space in front of Gypsy Sally’s to meet your friends before a show, and more room to simply WALK.
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Will Handsfield from Georgetown BID explains the specifics of the concept plan.

But it’s not all about bicyclists and pedestrians.

  • The plan includes other enhancements that will make car traffic flow smoother, too, like the addition of a left turn lane for eastbound cars turning onto Wisconsin Avenue, and reducing the attractive nuisance of free parking spaces at the dead-end of the road, which causes significant traffic congestion.
  • Tour buses will also get a central drop off location on lower Wisconsin Avenue along with locations within a mile of Georgetown where they can reliably park and lay over.
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Looking down to Water St. NW and Georgetown Waterfront Park. Photo by Kevin Posey.

The concept plan is compatible with future long-term plans.

  • If/when the Streetcar makes it to Georgetown, or when additional boathouses are developed near the aqueduct by the National Park Service, the road and lane configuration can change to accommodate it. In the interim, using attractive planters as physical separation for bikes will create a cycling environment unlike anywhere else in the city.

There is an opportunity for a really neat bridge over Rock Creek at the eastern end of the corridor.

  • To connect to Rock Creek Park Trail, bicyclists would still need to squish onto a seven-foot sidewalk below an overpass, shared with pedestrians, and lacking safe sightlines. A temporary scaffolding bridge over Rock Creek where there is already a DDOT freeway overpass could be a temporary solution as NPS and others plan for a permanent bridge at the corridor’s east end. This area is nearly impossible to see from the road, but would be a vital solution for both walkers and bicyclists, and an innovative alternative to the too-narrow sidewalk that currently connects K St. walkers and bikers to the Rock Creek Park Trail.
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    A scaffolding bridge could span Rock Creek, an interim solution to connect the K St/Water St. improvements to the Rock Creek Park Trail.

This isn’t pie in the sky. It’s realistic, and many want to see it implemented.

  • The corridor is included in the 2005 DDOT Bicycle Master Plan, and is some of the lowest hanging fruit at this time.
  • Part of the corridor was also identified by National Park Service as one of 18 priority projects in their recently released Paved Trails Study (It’s project C1.1: Closure of Gap on Water Street NW b/w 30th and 31st St. NW.)
  • The community around this area is clamoring for improvements! The existing conditions are undesirable, and stakeholders from all different interest groups are eager to rally together to support a way forward.
  • This can be a great example of a public/private partnership. MWCOG, Georgetown BID, and DDOT have already shown a remarkable degree of cooperation in developing the concept plan, and the BID (a private entity) has stepped forward to offer various maintenance and implementation support that could make this streetscape the gold standard for a commercial area.

 

Something to note: The improvements in the concept plan relate to a current NPS Environmental Assessment regarding non-motorized boathouses in Georgetown. NPS has five proposed sites for new or refurbished boathouses along the waterfront. The Georgetown Nonmotorized Boathouse Zone Development Plan EA is open for comments until Sept. 30. We encourage you to comment!

We thank DDOT and Georgetown BID for their work on this project, and are excited to be part of the next stage.

Unlimited s’mores, miles of gravel, and this super sweet limited edition jersey

You can support better bicycling in just 184.5 miles while enjoying unlimited s’mores and trail snacks, miles and miles of stress-free and car-free gravel riding with scenic river views and vistas, and a new super sweet limited edition WABA in Wild adventure jersey!

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Be Part of this Epic Adventure

The registration deadline for signing up for WABA in the Wild is September 23rd (that’s tomorrow) at Midnight. Register today to save your spot!

The Details

WABA in the Wild is a fully supported peer-to-peer fundraising ride that raises support for WABA’s advocacy and outreach efforts in the DC region. The tour will take place on the Chesapeak and Ohio Canal Towpath from Friday, October 7th to Monday, October 11th.

WABA will bus riders and all their stuff (all you need to bring is your bicycle, tent, sleeping bag, and a couple changes of clothes) to Cumberland, MD on Friday. We’ll camp in Cumberland on Friday night, Hancock, MD on Saturday night, and bunk or camp at the Harper’s Ferry Hostel on Sunday night. We’ll spend three days (Sat, Sun, Mon) bicycling downhill on the canal towpath going about 60-65 miles each day, with plenty of snack breaks in between the miles.

It is a peer-to-peer fundraising ride, so every dollar you raise goes to support WABA – that means that if we get 35 riders to join us for WABA in the Wild, over $40,000 will go directly to support WABA’s efforts to make bicycling better.

We Will Downright Pamper You

We know bike touring, camping, and biking 65 miles a day can be a bit intimidating. That’s why we want to make it as easy as possible for you to check this off your bucket list. If you’ve never biked the entire C&O Canal – or even if you have and you’ve been wanting to do it again – this is your chance to do it.

  • We plan all the super boring and annoying logistics for you so all you have to do is show up
  • We arrange transportation to the tour start in Cumberland
  • We build the fire and cook delicious campfire meals for you
  • We load up and carry and your camping gear and luggage to each campsite
  • We take you out for lunch and dinner one day in Canal Towns along the towpath
  • We have a SAG vehicle ready to meet you at a trail access point just in case
  • We bring the bug spray, lanterns, candles, s’mores, music, clotheslines, evening story times, camp chairs  – and if it’s muddy we’ll even wipe down your bike for you

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You can #beapal just by being yourself (and volunteering)

Arlington PAL

There are many ways to enjoy an autumn weekend—yard work, football, washing the car—but now you can add “Reminding bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians to get along” to the list!

Arlington’s PAL ( Predictable, Alert, Lawful) program aims to keep people safe as they travel to and from work, school, or play in the nicest way possible. Instead of going around yelling “BE CAREFUL!” at one another, the PAL program takes a non-aggressive approach.

Our job isn’t to make people feel bad, it’s to give them tips and info to change their habits, to encourage them to think of their fellow drivers, bikers, and walkers as people, friends, and neighbors.

We all have to get along out there, and being Predictable, Alert, and Lawful (PAL) makes it easy!

We rely on our volunteer PAL Ambassadors to help out and spread the word. Sometimes, we’ll hold up signs, smile, and wave as cars and pedestrians slowly roll by a library in the afternoon. Other times, we’ll give away lights and reflective vests to people jogging and biking at night on a local trail.

It’s hard to feel like a hero sometimes while reminding people to be safe–we’re not running into burning buildings or pushing people out of the way of speeding cars—but we are making a difference. The people of Arlington let us know when they take our advice to heart. Whether that takes the form of a friendly wave from the inside of a car, a conversation in a bike lane, or a smile and nod at a crosswalk, it always feels good to be a PAL.

Upcoming opportunities to #BEaPAL

September Pizza Party!
Thursday, 9/22 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Come join us to eat pizza and brainstorm good ideas for future PAL events and outreach.

Sign up here!

September Block Party!
Thursday, 9/29 from 6pm to 8pm.
Once a month, PALs get together to send a message to road users. This month, we’ll be in Pentagon City.

Sign up here!

Fewer trail obstacles on the Suitland Parkway

It was a busy morning on the Suitland Parkway Trail last Monday. The WABA Trail Rangers, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Urban Forestry Administration and Earth Conservation Corp’s crew were out giving the trail a fall cleanup. The pole loppers, pruners, bow saws and chainsaw were out in full force as we worked to give more buffer between the trail and the encroaching hillside.

Built over a gasline to Andrews Air Force Base, the trail is on DDOT’s long term rehabilitation list. But in the meantime, the trail is still a more pleasant connection from the Anacostia River up the hills of Ward 8. As such, our goal was to make the trail as safe and pleasant as we could by making the entire trailbed passable. Parralleling a greenspace has many advantages but also a many challenges from invasive plants that are too good at growing sideways into the trail – mulberry, honeysuckle, porcelainberry. Good riddance!

Big storms tend to create a stream on the trailbed – we uncovered two storm drains that should reduce how much overflow happens.

Want to help out improving the city’s trails? We are looking for volunteers for our next cleanup on Ward 7’s Marvin Gaye Trail on September 24th!

Sign up here!

Contributory Negligence clears another hurdle!

Great news!!  After nearly three years of persistent organizing and advocacy by the WABA community, the DC Council just voted unanimously for the second time to pass the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act to fix contributory negligence!

Thank your Councilmembers!

This was something that, three years ago, we were told couldn’t be done. Together, we have changed what is possible.  It will now go to Mayor Bowser for a signature, and afterwards undergo thirty days of Congressional review. We aren’t across the finish line yet, but we are closer than ever. This could not have happened without strong leadership on Council, especially Councilmembers Grosso, Cheh, and McDuffie.

Click here to send a quick thank you email to all your representatives on DC Council.