Every Wednesday leading up to Bike to Work Day, we’ll post here about ways you can get ready for the region’s biggest annual celebration of bike commuting. Register for Bike to Work Day now!
Marriot International has always been a big supporter of bike commuting. For example: A few years ago, it turned an on-site gas station at one of its hotels into a dedicated bike pavilion with lockers, canopies, and storage. A 10-year supporter of Bike to Work Day, Marriott has its own bike club, MarrVelo, which encourages employees at Marriott’s headquarters in North Bethesda to start commuting by bike on a daily basis. Jim Young, vice president for facilities at Marriott International, says he knows that Bike to Work Day has been a way for many Marriott employees to convert to daily bike commuting.
Originally, Marriott hosted the BTWD pit stop at its headquarters, but as participation exploded about three years ago, it was moved near the White Flint Metro station. Over the years, Marriott has continued to incentivize participation by offering bike-commuting seminars and promoting Bike to Work Day itnernally.
Marriott goes over and above to have bike-happy employees: It offers a bike commuter subsidy, provides showers and lockers, and secure, covered bike storage. It keeps a bike information station loaded with bike maps, WABA information, and guides. But I’ve been most impressed by Marriott’s bike repair station, which is staffed by the company’s own garage mechanics, has a bike-mechanic stand, and is kept
stocked with the most-needed supplies for simple repairs, like bike tubes. Marriott even has two loaner bikes that their employees can sign out and bring back the next day. It’s the company’s own “bikeshare” system!
With Capital Bikeshare soon coming to 50 locations in lower Montgomery County, Marriott International has proven that a little encouragement can go a long way. The demand for bike commuting is increasing in Montgomery County and Marriott is already ahead of the curve: There, support for an alternative way to commute has been created and sustained by a thoughtful, progressive, green-minded employer.
On the verge of Bike to Work Day 2013, we hope that other businesses will gain inspiration from Marriott’s support of bike-commuting and follow its lead toward creating a truly supportive bike commuting environment.
See photos from Marriott International’s Bike to Work Day pit stop last year below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been able to live out my personal pledge to reduce my carbon footprint by living car-free since I moved to DC four years ago. Using a bike as my primary mode of transport has been made much easier through WABA’s efforts. I am delighted to give back to WABA by riding in Climate Ride!”
Please consider donating to Leah’s ride! For her fundraising page, click here.
Here’s a quick WABA quiz:
A. The number of WABA supporters
B. The number of schoolchildren who have received instruction this year through our bike education curriculum
C. The staff hours spent working on our 2012 advocacy initiatives
D. All of the above?
D-It’s something that helps make all of those things possible- It’s our Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) number.
Over the years, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association has been the lucky beneficiary of tens of thousands of dollars through the Combined Federal Campaign organized by the United Way for the National Capital Region. Our loyal supporters, many of whom are also federal government workers, make this possible every year by writing in the WABA CFC #93587 on their form, and then a set donation amount is taken out of their paycheck as often as they choose. The United Way collects the money and sends WABA a check twice a year. In the past, it’s been difficult to determine the individuals who give their hard-earned money through the CFC to support better bicycling throughout Washington DC. But recently the United Way has improved their data collection process and it’s easier for us to track and thank those who support us so generously.
The CFC sign up season runs from September 1 to December 15th so we are right in the middle of this important annual ritual. To those who have supported us through the CFC over the years, we thank you. To those who are federal workers but have never signed up to donate through the CFC, please consider donating this year to WABA. Every penny you direct to WABA will go to support our efforts in creating the most convenient, safe and reliable network of bicycle trails, cycletracks, bike lanes and routes.
CFC donations also pay for us to testify at a council hearing, weigh in on a plan at a transportation planning board session or send one of our League Certified Instructors to a local elementary school to deliver our bike education course. Whether you choose to donate $1, $5, $25, or more every pay period, please know that any amount is very much appreciated and takes us a long way towards creating the transportation system our region deserves.
Help us spread the word about WABA and the CFC program. Print out and post the attached flier in your office so that others will have the number handy when it’s time to sign up.
PS-If you make, or are making, a contribution through the CFC currently and would like a WABA membership to be included, please contact us.
Thanks to our dedicated WABA members and supporters, we have reached 10,000 trips today on the CLIF Bar 2 Mile Challenge. This means we’ll receive the full $10,000 donation from CLIF Bar that will go to support our local advocacy work. We are so thankful to our members and other riders who dutifully logged an average of 550 trips every day over the first 18 days of July. Even through two record-setting heat waves, floods, thunderstorms, downed trees, and massive power outages we proved that getting around by bike is happening in DC, even in less than favorable weather conditions.
Now we’re going to help our fellow bike advocates in Kansas City and Los Angeles. Since they didn’t quite make it to the maximum donation, CLIF Bar has graciously agreed to allow us to continue to log trips after we reach 10,000 and split the difference between those two groups. We still have 13 days to help BikeWalkKC and the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition make it all the way to 10,000. They need a combined 4519 trips logged to help each organization reach the $10,000 mark. That’s only 347 trips per day. We know we can do it thanks to the amazing response we’ve already seen from all of the WABA 2 Mile Challengers.
There’s 13 days left in July to keep logging those trips and make a difference for bike advocacy in two other great cities. Let’s do it!
WABA is thrilled to announce that we’ve been selected as the July beneficiary of the CLIF Bar 2 mile challenge! Each month, CLIF Bar picks a different bicycling non-profit as beneficiary of its nationwide challenge to get people out of their cars for trips under 2 miles. For every trip logged on 2milechallenge.com during the month of July, CLIF Bar will donate $1 to WABA, up to $10,000! With thousands of WABA members and dedicated cyclists throughout the region, we are confident that we’ll hit that 10,000 trip mark!
We only need 165 cyclists to log 2 trips a day in order to reach 10000 trips by the end of July. And since this contest is nation-wide, cyclists in other states and cities can log their trips as well to benefit WABA. So call your sister in Chicago, your brother in law in Nashville, your nephew in Ann Arbor and ask them to register!
Create an account at 2milechallenge.com by clicking “Join the Ride” and filling out your information. Then you can easily enter your trips each day.
So please, today, go to 2milechallenge.com and register to begin logging your bike trips! Every trip logged now will help the Los Angeles Bike Coalition reach their goal of 10,000 trips by the end of June. And it’s good practice for July, when we’ll need every trip duly logged to raise funds to support our advocacy and outreach efforts in the Washington area.
(The GPS smartphone version is a bit more complicated, but provides a ton of additional features for those who want to map and share routes and track training statistics. You can create an account on Bike Brain by downloading the app onto your iphone or Droid and entering your information. Then, when you start pedaling, click START TRIP. After each trip, click FINISH TRIP, ensure “Log Miles to 2 Mile Challenge” is checked, and click SHARE.)
With Bike To Work Day happening tomorrow, it seems fitting that WABA shares the news that the Federal Communications Commission has won the first annual Bicycling and Active Commuting Champion of the Year award. Reinvigorated last year by WABA member, Ed Fendley, FedBikes created a scorecard to evaluate federal agencies on their bicycle commuter friendliness. FedBikes members then collected the scorecards and compiled the data, determining a winner and honorable mentions. WABA is thrilled to have this resource available for all federal agencies and hope that it will inspire other agencies to accommodate, encourage and thereby tap the unlimited potential of bicycle commuters to their offices.
Read on for more details and information on how your agency can participate!
WABA will be hitting the streets tonight to begin our “Got Lights?” program for 2012, giving away 1,000 free sets of front and rear lights (provided by DDOT). The program is designed to target bicyclists riding after dark without lights. This post is a personal story from Gina Arlotto, who handles WABA’s Planning and Organizational Development, about teaching her kids about bike safety and the importance of having lights (and other safety equipment) on bikes.
One Parent’s Perspective
It will come as no surprise to you to learn that kids really don’t like being told what to do. And they dislike it even more when they hit adolescence. Trust me, having to repeat the same lessons (pick your battles!) a million times gets old from a parent’s perspective, too.
Happily, teaching and practicing safe bicycling habits is one of those battles that we pick. It’s how I combat the anxiety I feel about them riding to school alone every day. I know they have the skills to control what they can–by following the rules of the road, by signaling, by stopping at stop signs and red lights–and the proper safety equipment. And I hope they can handle what they can’t control, especially the drivers commuting through our neighborhood without regard for bicyclists. My kids know that following the rules of the road and having the proper bike safety equipment is not only the law, it’s also the safest way to ride.
My son (15) has taken many of my lessons to heart, but he takes the Metro to school (and as a teenage boy, will be a safety work-in-progress for some time regardless). I usually ride with my daughter (9) to school before I head into work, so I am able to observe her bike behavior closely.
A Bike Safety Prodigy
But for my 12-year-old daughter MaryGrace, it is imperative that she follow our safe cycling rules as she rides the 10 blocks to Stuart Hobson Middle School alongside car commuters. If you’re at all familiar with middle schoolers, you know they especially don’t like being told what to do, and my daughter is no exception. For a long time, I couldn’t be sure if all our lessons on bike safety were sinking in.
Thankfully, I periodically get reports from neighbors complimenting her for stopping at red lights and riding safely around the neighborhood. And if I needed any more reassurance, I only have to think of her response when I praised her on a long ride about how well she was doing. “Mom, I’m a bike safety prodigy,” she said with all the attitude of a typical 7th grade girl. Nevertheless, I could tell she was proud of herself.
Bike lights as critical bike safety equipment is a common theme in our house. We installed lights on the kids’ bikes before they rode them for the first time, so the conversation mostly consists of reminding the kids to turn the lights on, even during the daylight hours. When we’re out and about on Capitol Hill we see a lot of bicyclists riding around without lights, and my kids are often the first to point them out. “Wow. That’s not safe,” they say, “You can’t even see them!”
Needless to say, I was thrilled when, a few weeks ago, I came home to find MaryGrace out on the sidewalk installing a set of lights on her friend’s new bike. When MaryGrace saw the bike, she said the first thing she told her friend was that she needed a set of lights. After school let out they rode to our house and, after rummaging around in my husband’s basement work bench, fortunately located a spare set. Not content to just give the lights to her friend to mount on the bike later, MaryGrace had grabbed a screwdriver and they worked together to get everything attached for the now-dark ride home. A “bike safety prodigy” indeed!
Visibility is Your First Priority
All of this is to say that if a slightly stubborn (but always adorable) 12-year-old middle school girl can recognize the importance of a set of bike lights, then you probably should too. And to any other parents out there, sometimes you really do have to repeat an important lesson a million times before it sticks. If you’re very lucky, you’ll be there when it does.
WABA’s “Got Lights?” project begins today and will continue in various locations throughout the District until we’ve given away all 1000 sets. We are committed to giving each and every light set to cyclists who are riding without lights when we find them. If you already have lights on your bike, please consider helping us put these lights on the bikes that need them. Call 202-518-0524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to help out!
Recently we invited Ed Findley, a daily bike commuter and employee of the EPA, to write about his efforts to expand the network of federal cyclist commuters in and around Washington DC. Read on to hear about an exciting opportunity for this important commuter cycling group.
As a civil servant and activist cyclist for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen a number of DC-area Federal facilities improve bike access. But we’ve got a long way to go before every Federal office recognizes the economic, environmental and health benefits of cycling — and further still until the Federal government is the model employer for making bikes belong.
So, my fellow Federal cyclists — here’s your chance to help!
Along with several other Feds, I’m helping to reconvene an interagency task force to promote cycling among Federal offices throughout the DC region.
We’ll be meeting on February 8 at 3 p.m. at the EPA West Building, and if you’re a Federal employee or contractor interested in promoting active transportation, we’d love for you to join us!
Among the things we can consider are the 2010 guidelines, “Implementing a Successful Bicycle and Active Commuting Program in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.”
These were an important step forward, and we need to find out what agencies are doing in response, hold up the positive examples and coax the laggards.
We could work with OPM and other agencies to consider
o Bike share participation at the agency level
o Health and wellness among Federal employees and links to cycling.
o Sharing information on commuter cycling benefits.
o Working with the National Capital Planning Commission and the National Park Service – two agencies of particular importance for cycling in our area.
We can also talk about how to move the conversation on cycling facilities beyond us activists and ensure that Federal facility managers and human resource offices are working to make bike programs and infrastructure an integral part of their work.
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) regional network is ending the year with several major successes in Fairfax County. After convening a special SRTS working group within Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Transportation and Safety division in June, FCPS has agreed to several initiatives that will highlight SRTS activities and increase the numbers of students walking or biking to school everyday.
FCPS will add SRTS specific language to their “Golden Wellness Award” scorecard, which is used to determine how closely the individual schools are implementing the FCPS Health and Wellness Policy. This sought after award will now include specific recommended activities, like Walking Wednesdays, Bike Trains, Walking School Buses, participation in International Walk to School Day (IWTSD) as well as Bike to School Day. In addition, delivery of bicycle and pedestrian safety education at the individual school will be a required element in order to win the award. The schools system’s 95210 A Day (9 hours of sleep, 5 fruits and vegetables, less than 2 hours of screen time, at least 1 hour of exercise and 0 sugary drinks) will be updated to include walking or bicycling to school as a suggested activity to get to the 1 hour daily activity goal.
FCPS has also agreed to create and host a SRTS focused webpage with resources for school administrators, parents, community champions and children who would like to see more SRTS activities at their school. This site will include policy, curriculum standards and sample lesson plans, state and local contacts, grant application resources, sample newsletter articles and resources for planning walking and bicycling events. FCPS will also prepare scripts and create videos specifically geared to youth bicycling and safe pedestrian practices for the Fairfax County public access television channels as well as the internal FCPS channels.
An annual survey of schools will be continued (modeled after the first one in May 2011) in order to adequately account for how every student is transported to and from school. Counts will be made of bus riders, walkers, kiss and ride users as well as data collected comparing those numbers to the assigned mode. The survey in May proved invaluable, allowing us to create a list of the top ten schools where with a little encouragement, FCPS could see an increase in the numbers of students walking or bicycling to school, thereby alleviating the extreme traffic jams due to the kiss and ride queues. Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) is contemplating creating a “Green Transit” award for the top schools in Fairfax Co who increase their assigned mode numbers, whether it is by bus transportation or walking or bicycling. A survey of the 27 schools who participated in IWTSD will also be completed to determine their strategies, success and participation rate.
FCPS officials also committed to working in tandem with Fairfax County transportation planners to submit an application for a SRTS non-infrastructure grant in the spring and also agreed to begin the process of determining which school locations would most benefit from an infrastructure grant, when the application is revised and those grant opportunities announced.
The FCPS SRTS Working Group will continue to meet quarterly throughout 2012 to update partners on progress, monitor initiatives and strategize for system wide events, including Bike to School Day (in conjunction with Bike to Work Day) in May and International Walk to School Day in October.
Author’s Note: This article inadvertently left out those on our Fairfax County SRTS Task Force who have worked tremendously hard to achieve this progress in the County. Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), Trails for Youth as well as Wolf Trap Elementary parent, Jeff Anderson and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Advisory Committee member Jenifer Joy Madden were central to this effort.
On your way into work tomorrow, you may notice vast hordes of children walking, bicycling and making their way down the street. It’s quite likely that they will be pretty loud and boisterous, making you look out your window to see what the commotion is. Have no fear-it’s just International Walk and Bike to School Day!
Seeing kids walking or bicycling to school used to be as common as butterflies in your stomach on the first day. Now however, not so much. Parents’ work schedules, ultra heavy backpacks, speeding commuter traffic and worry that your child is not safe on their walk to school have all contributed to the decline of walking to school from nearly 50% in 1969 to only around 13% in 2009. Walking or bicycling to and from school every day shows children that incorporating an active lifestyle into their daily routine is easy, and as a bonus, it’s fun!
This year the District of Columbia has a record number of schools participating-22 spread out all over the city. WABA, DDOT and Children’s Hospital representatives plan to celebrate the day at our main event at Anne Beers Elementary in Ward 7 where US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is going to lead one of their four “walking” school buses. So join us by starting your day off with a nice brisk walk or an invigorating bike ride with your child tomorrow, to school, to your bus stop, or even around the block. And if you have to drive, be extra aware of those roaming bands of children and parents making the most of their morning by walking to school.