Meet Doug, our New Education Coordinator

Doug Smith

Hello everyone, I’m Doug Smith. I’m very excited and fortunate to be the new Education Coordinator here at WABA. I was encouraged to apply for this position by my family because the role directly aligns with my personal passion. I love to ride a bike. I don’t care if I’m riding down to the corner store, across town to meet friends, or repeatedly up and down the largest hill near my house so my son (on the “tag-a-long”) can feel the thrill of going downhill fast. I am looking forward to sharing my love of riding the bike with you in the community.

Professionally, leading up to this position I found myself mostly working from the road. For ten years, I worked in the natural care and wellness industry with a special focus in values-based business and leadership practices. I was a member of the customer development team for the leading producer of natural toothpaste and deodorant. I regularly saw people riding in town while I was stuck at a light and I envied them, I was tired of always looking through my windshield.

In this role as the Education Coordinator I’m getting back to where my passion lives, bikes. I’m looking forward to working with the community to get people safely on bicycles that have never ridden before. I believe everyone should be able to experience that joy and freedom. If you’re already comfortable on a bike, I’m looking forward to working with you to help you achieve whatever your goals are, be it greater confidence riding in the city, or experiencing the wonderful roads and trails that are available outside the city. Cheers!

You can meet Doug and the rest of our Education Team tonight (2/11) at the Mad Fox Tavern in Glover Park

Put a smile on everyone’s face!

We announced the Trail Ranger job position openings a few days back but wanted to spend extra time emphasizing exactly how much fun this spring and summer is going to be: lots of fun.

Our fourth year of being the trail-based outreach for bikes, trails and WABA, we are taking last year’s fabulous season and making it even better for staff and trail users. We will be out on the trail for two more months to take advantage of that great spring weather and already have 35 outreach events in the works. Scavenger hunts, vegetation cutting, trail history tours, wacky bingo – we do it all. It is the only job I’ve ever had that from day one people are enthusiastically waving at you and so excited to see you on the trails again.

Seriously, it is a hoot! As a dynamic team of four, we wear a lot of hats. Giving high fives to kids? Totally in the job description. Fixing that tree branch that gets in your way? Part of the job. Being outside when its 70F and gorgeous? Part of the job. Exploring DC’s hidden gems? Job! Making folks day by fixing their flat tire? Yep, part of the job.

Come join – full job description here. Please send a resume and cover letter to jobs@waba.org by February 24th with “Trail Ranger” in the subject heading.

Shaw Businesses Support Safe Streets

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Since October, our staff, along with a growing team of committed volunteers, have been out on the streets of Shaw, building support for Safe Streets as part of the Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane Study. In conversations with commuters, shoppers and residents on 6th and 9th streets we have found strong support for safe streets and heard more than enough concerns about speeding traffic, dangerous intersections and the frustrations of sharing the road between people walking, biking and driving. Danger and frustration are not great for business, so we are pleased to find that many businesses support Safe Streets in Shaw.

We want to recognize and especially thank a number of community businesses leaders for their support of protected bike lanes and related traffic calming for Shaw’s 6th and 9th streets.  Each recognizes that safe streets that accommodate and protect all ways of getting around are important for any community and necessary for bringing customers and employees to their stores. They know that protected bike lanes mean business.

We are pleased to have the support of the following businesses.
Calabash Tea – 1847 7th St NW
Chrome – 1924 8th St NW
Dacha Beer Garden – 1600 7th St NW
Frank and Oak – 1924 8th St NW
Pizza D’oro – 717 T St NW
Lettie Gooch Boutique – 1921 8th St NW
Right Proper Brewing Company – 624 T St NW
Rito Loco – 606 Florida Ave NW
Steven Alan -1924 8th Street NW
Uprising Muffins – 1817 7th St NW
Wanda’s on 7th – 1851 7th St NW

Read the full letter of support here.

As we continue reaching out to businesses in the busy Shaw to downtown corridor, we look forward to adding to our business support. Do you have a favorite business not on this list? Ask them if they support the project or send them our way.

Second public meeting for the Shaw Protected Bike lane project– coming up

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More than 1700 people have urged city officials to move forward with plans to calm traffic and install protected bike lanes from Florida Ave to Pennsylvania Ave on 6th or 9th St NW. Unfortunately, not everyone in the community is on board yet. If we want protected bike lanes through Shaw, we have to show strong support for this project every step of the way. DDOT will hold a second public meeting to hear feedback about this project this Saturday, February 6th from 12pm-4pm at KIPP DC (421 P St NW).

This week, we got a sneak preview of the project updates DDOT will present at the meeting.  The results are promising: many new potential miles of protected bike lanes with minimal impacts to parking and traffic flow. The proposals reflect our request that DDOT find a compromise that preserves the safety goals of the project while addressing community concerns.

Here are just a few ways this project will make DC a better place to live:

1. DC’s kids need safe places to play. Did you know the D.C. Public School system now teaches every second grader to ride a bike? That means thousands of six and seven year olds every year, eager to use their new skills, ride with their families, and explore their neighborhoods. These kids deserve to be safe when they head out to school and to play.

2. Low-income people need a safe, reliable mode of transportation.  Bicycling costs a fraction of transit fares and virtually nothing when compared with the cost of driving. Reliable transportation improves employment prospects, reduces transportation expenses, and frees up money to be spent on other needs, such as housing and education.

3. Everyone benefits from bike lanes. More protected bike lanes mean more people choosing to get around by bike—which improves traffic flow and parking options for those who choose to drive, and reduces crowding on public transit. 
 More protected bike lanes mean fewer roadway conflicts between vehicles and bikes, fewer people riding on the sidewalk, cars traveling at safer speeds, and shorter street crossings for pedestrians—which is especially important for our children, the elderly, and the mobility-impaired.



4. 83% of residents around the 15th street cycletrack consider it a valuable neighborhood asset.  The 15th St protected bike lanes see 300-400 users per hour during peak times. When they opened, the number of people riding bikes on sidewalks on 15th street immediately fell by an average of 56 percent, making the sidewalks safer for pedestrians.

Everyone should be safe on our streets, no matter how they choose to get around. Protected bike lanes can help.

Let’s get these bike lanes built.

Submit comments in support of the project here.

 

Finding a New PAL on the Mount Vernon Trail

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My trusty trailer, undaunted by unplowed paths.

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of going for a ride through Arlington. I meandered my way around the County, opting to ride on streets rather than on paths until I got to Crystal City. Once there, I got the urge–as I often do–to ride my favorite bike path.

I began down the access road, but was quickly and unpleasantly surprised to see that the snow deposited by our little flurry a week ago (#PALvsJONAS) had yet to be cleared. “Surely,” I thought, “this is a fluke. The rest of the trail must be clear.”  I persisted, struggled through the slippery, slushy mess and found what I was searching for: clean, bare pavement at last. And then, to my dismay, a few minutes later I was mired in more snow!

This was a pattern I quickly became used to: patches of perfect pathway interspersed with stretches of snow, slush and slippery ice. Nevertheless, I persevered until under the fourteenth street bridge I found the thickest piece of ice yet. I groaned.

But…

What to my wondering eyes should appear...

Meet Josephine! To her, snow and ice = a good afternoon’s work.

Standing on the other side of this patch of ice was a woman. My savior. She told me her name was Josephine Liu. In her left hand was a device for breaking up ice, and in her right, a red plastic snow shovel. After I introduced myself, she handed me the red shovel, and I pitched in to help. The snow was packed into a thick sheet of ice, and our progress was measured in inches, rather than feet. People walking, jogging, and on bikes stopped to thank us and cheer us on. One man, an ardent bike commuter and trail lover by the name of Rob Plum, stopped and joined in!

Bob just being Bob.

Rob just being Rob!

I asked Ms. Liu what her motivation was behind clearing the trail:

“It’s not just me,” she explained. She had read a January 25th letter from DDOT on the WashCycle blog that explained how the Mount Vernon Trail was under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, which doesn’t clear snow off of trails.1 Then she discovered that other people she knew through the Washington Area Bike Forum community were organizing to clear the path. “It’s my daily commute”, she explained as she scraped ice off the path. Liu regularly rides from her home in Alexandria to her office in Penn quarter by bike.

I called Josephine a couple days later to let her know I was writing this post about our adventure. She didn’t answer the phone. The next morning I had an email from her: “Sorry I didn’t pick up”, she wrote. “I was out shoveling the trail.”

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Job well done, new PAL!

 

1 The Mount Vernon Trail, along with the DC portion of the Capital Crescent trail and the Rock Creek Trail, are maintained by the National Park Service. Only the DC portion of the Capital Crescent Trail is regularly cleared of snow. According to this article, NPS may consider plowing the Mount Vernon Trail in the future. 

We’re Hiring: Part-Time Trail Rangers

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for passionate and energetic trail champions for our 2016 Trail Ranger Team to serve trails and the people who use them throughout the District of Columbia.

WABA’s Trail Ranger program, now in its fourth season, encourages trail use through daily trail presence, improved upkeep, trail user assistance and community engagement. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence on DC’s mixed-use trails to make them more approachable, enjoyable, and dependable for transportation and recreation.

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Reporting to our DC Trail Ranger Coordinator, Trail Rangers roam nearly 20 trail miles within the District, including the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, and connecting street routes. 

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Support and encourage trail use with friendly and helpful trail presence, regular outreach efforts, and occasional basic bike repairs
  • Patrol DC’s mixed use trails by bicycle with a partner, pulling a lightweight trailer and supplies
  • Develop and maintain relationships with regular trail users and community members
  • Plan and lead cleanup days and community events alongside the program coordinator
  • Perform inspections of trail conditions and maintenance of trail corridors including pruning branches, gathering trash and clearing debris
  • Make regular reports on daily trail conditions, needs, and trends
  • Work with the program coordinator and city agencies to respond to recurring trail issues
  • Document events, trail updates and developments to keep trail users informed
  • Assist at WABA events as needed

Requirements

Candidates must have:

  • A proven track record and enthusiasm for working within a team in an outdoor setting
  • A positive, outgoing and approachable personality
  • Availability 15-25 hours per week including early mornings or evenings, and weekends
  • The ability to ride a bike up to 25 miles in mixed city traffic and off street trails
  • The ability to lift up to 40 lbs
  • A commitment to being a safe and exemplary bicyclist

Ideal candidates will have:

  • A firm commitment to WABA’s mission
  • Excellent oral communication skills
  • Familiarity and comfort with self-directed, self-supervised work
  • Confidence interacting with and serving the public
  • The ability to organize time wisely and juggle multiple priorities
  • Knowledge of the principles of safe bicycling and traffic laws in DC
  • Competence with basic bicycle maintenance including patching a flat and adjusting brakes
  • Spanish proficiency or ASL proficiency a strong plus

This position is part-time from March 30th, 2016 through September 30, 2016 for approximately 23 hours per week. Compensation is $15 per hour.

Please send a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Trail Ranger” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted until February 24th. No phone calls please.

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

We’re Hiring: Staff Education Instructor

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) seeks a part-time Staff Education Instructor for our bicycle education and outreach programming dedicated to serving adults and children in the Washington region.

WABA’s education and outreach programs are highly regarded and successful, helping adults throughout the DC region to learn to ride bikes, to ride safely and comfortably on city streets, and to use bicycles to commute to and from work. These programs create opportunities to engage with and educate adults no matter how they ride.

Reporting to the Education Coordinator, this position will implement several of WABA’s existing education programs for both adults and youth, WABA is a small but growing organization, and on occasion, all staff are asked to assist in general WABA duties and major events.

Responsibilities

The Staff Education Instructor will:

  1. Teach Adult Learn to Ride classes, City Cycling classes, Community rides, and Everyday Biking seminars.
  2. Supervise teams of 2-4 Instructors in preparing for and delivering these programs.
  3. Deliver high-quality bike education experiences for adults.
  4. Promote classes, rides and programs online and through fliers, in-person outreach, and coordination with partner organizations.
  5. During the month of July, assist the Youth & Family Coordinator to deliver WABA’s Bike Camp! summer experience for youths aged 10-14.
  6. Work primarily on evenings and weekends, for 20 hours per week.

Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have:

  1. Current League Cycling Instructor (LCI) certification or equivalent OR the willingness/ability to obtain certification in early March.
  2. 1-2 years of physical/experiential education experience OR 1-2 years of adult education experience.
  3. 1+ years of direct supervisory experience.
  4. The ability to pass DC Public Schools’ volunteering requirements: tuberculosis test and criminal background check.
  5. Excellent public speaking and teaching skills.
  6. The ability to organize time wisely and work independently away from the office.
  7. A current driver’s license and a clean driving record.
  8. The ability to lift 45 lbs.
  9. The ability to ride a bike comfortably and confidently in urban/suburban situations.
  10. The ability to carry/tow up to 75 lbs. by bike.
  11. A strong commitment to WABA’s mission.
  12. An exceptional understanding of the principles of bicycling safety and traffic law.
  13. A commitment to being a safe and exemplary bicyclist.
  14. Marketing and social media skills a plus.

This position pays $15/hour and is part-time, 20 hours/week from mid-March until mid-November, 2016 subject to market demand.

Contact

Send a cover letter and a resume to jobs@waba.org.  No phone calls please.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Expected start date is March 21, 2016.