Spring Advocacy Roundup

Hello there!

It’s been a while since our last Roundup, but that just means we have more to share.

Here are a few of the major highlights of our recent advocacy work:

Vision Zero Summit

WABA Executive Director Greg Billing, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and DDOT Director Jeff Marootian at this year’s Vision Zero Summit.

Too many people die on our roads in predictable, preventable crashes. On March 15th, WABA gathered policymakers, advocates, experts, and implementers to explore systemic ways to turn Vision Zero commitments and action plans in to substantive change. Read the recap here.

Long Bridge improvements need to serve bicyclists

Long Bridge is the rail bridge you can see from the Yellow Line as you cross the Potomac River. It’s getting a long-planned, much-needed upgrade from two tracks to four. This project is a once-in-a-century opportunity to attach a biking and walking trail to the new bridge, creating a continuous non-motorized connection between Arlington and DC, but the current trail designs only go halfway—from the Mount Vernon Trail to Hains Point. Read more.

Bethesda needs a complete, protected bike network

The abrupt 5+ year closure of the Georgetown Branch Trail made the long-standing challenges of getting to and through Bethesda by bicycle an urgent safety problem. With only a handful of disconnected, unprotected bike lanes, Bethesda’s streets are too stressful and hazardous for most people to bike on, and are certainly no substitute for the Georgetown Branch Trail. Hundreds of WABA advocates in Montgomery County called for the County to expedite plans to design and build the proposed Bethesda network. Executive Leggett’s proposed budget for FY2019 now includes $3 million over the next three years for that work. Read more.

Silver Spring celebrates its first protected bike lane

Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer rides along the first protected bike lane in Silver Spring, Maryland.

More than 70 bike advocates and neighbors gathered with county officials in Woodside Urban Park to celebrate the completion of Silver Spring’s first protected bike lanes on Spring Street and Cedar Street. Read more.

Ensuring dockless bikeshare is a net positive for biking in the region

Dockless bikeshare has the potential to expand bike sharing and bike ridership in the District and local neighboring jurisdictions. With opportunity comes risk, however, and that is why we have been involved in conversations for the past months with a task force convened by DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST) that included District Department of Transportation (DDOT), several DC Business Improvement Districts, and DC Council staff to discuss priorities for ensuring that this new technology is a positive addition to the menu of transportation options in the DC region. Read more.

Metropolitan Branch Trail clears another hurdle

Final design can now begin for the critical 1.6 mile segment of the Metropolitan Branch Trail (and traffic calming project) through Ward 4 to connect Fort Totten to Takoma Park, MD! A hardworking team of neighborhood advocates, community leaders, WABA and DDOT staff, and hundreds of trail supporters built a consensus of support for the trail on Blair Rd. We signed petitions, sent emails, attended corridor walks, strategy sessions, and discussions. Read more.

Incentivize biking and walking to work? DC Council is considering it

Any employer in the District can voluntarily offer commuter benefits to its employees. However, those benefits tend to be car-centric. In March 2017, the DC Council introduced a bill that would require employers that already provide a parking benefit to also provide alternate transit benefits. The bill is currently under review by the DC Council, but you can read the bill’s history here.

A new trail bridge over the Patuxent!

The Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis (WB&A) Trail will receive $4.7 million for a bridge over the Patuxent River, connecting Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties! This long-awaited bridge will close a key gap in the trail network by linking two segments, connecting communities on either side of the river to jobs, retail, parks, amenities, and much more. The WB&A Trail has been a WABA priority for decades, and this funding commitment is an important win. Read more.

The Capital Trails Coalition convened at fourth annual Trails Symposium

The Capital Trails Coalition leads the movement to bring world-class trails to the region’s backyard. At the Symposium, coalition members dove into topics related to trail use and trail development, including economic development, converting potential trail users into current trail users, how bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure fits into mega million dollar infrastructure projects, and how changing technology will help us build out the regional trail network. Read more here.

Lifting up victims of traffic violence on World Day of Remembrance

Cities around the world participated in the World Day of Remembrance to honor those who have lost their lives in traffic crashes. We gathered at Grant Circle in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC with four local families to remember loved ones lost to traffic violence. Read more.

DC awarded gold status for bike-friendliness by the League of American Bicyclists

More than 400 communities across the country are recognized with the bike-friendly community award, but only 30 have earned gold, a level earned by communities that have made gains in various areas, including bike infrastructure, bike laws, enforcement that protects riders, and educational campaigns. Read more.

Upcoming Trainings and Workshops

Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan – Planning Workshop

March 28, 10:30 AM – 12:15 PM

Carroll County Office Building, 225 North Center Street, Westminster, MD 21157

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is hosting a planning workshop to inform the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan (MBPB). The MBPB outlines a 20-year vision for biking and walking in Maryland Updated every five years, and is updated every five years with the 2040 Transportation Plan.

Sign Up

Next Steps to Extend the WB&A Trail

March 31, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Glenarden Library, 8724 Glenarden Parkway, Glenarden, MD, 20706

The Washington Baltimore & Annapolis Trail in central Prince George’s County is an incredible multi-use rail-trail and park, stretching nearly seven miles from the Patuxent River to Annapolis Road (MD-450). However, the WB&A Trail is six miles (!) from the nearest trail – join us in our campaign to extend the trail toward D.C. along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue!

Sign Up

What To Do After a Bike Crash

April 26th, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

WABA Office, 2599 Ontario Road NW, Washington, DC 20009

Bruce Deming, the Bike Lawyer, will review bike laws in the region and talk about what to do if you witness a crash, or are in a crash yourself.

Sign Up

Ward 4 Vision Zero Community Roundtable

March 29, 6:30 PM – 8 PM

Petworth Neighborhood Library, 4200 Kansas Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011

Want to talk about unsafe roads in Ward 4? We want to hear your experiences!

We’ll talk about some of the projects that are already planned for the area, then go for a walk down Upshur Street, look at some of the most dangerous intersections in Ward 4, and have a conversation about the ways they could be made safer.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Jonathan R Stafford at jonathan.stafford@waba.org

New faces!

Have you met Hannah and Jonathan, our new Community Organizers?

Are you on your local WABA Action Committee?

All across the region great people are working to fix our streets to make biking safe and popular. They meet each month to share ideas and work together for better places to bike. Whether you’re looking for a fun group, a new cause, or a wonky policy discussion, our Action Committees have it covered.

See what we’re doing in your community and join us for the next meeting.

We’re Hiring!

Advocacy Director

Membership and Development Coordinator

Part-time Bike Ambassador


WABA in the News

‘Ghost Bike’ memorial for DC cyclist killed in hit and run – WUSA, August 5, 2017

District Transportation Head Dormsjo Bids Farewell to DDOT – WAMU, August 11, 2017

Should Electric Bikes Be Allowed On Trails? – WAMU, August 16, 2017

Virginia lawmakers oppose plan to sandwich I-66 trail between a sound wall and traffic – Washington Post, August 17, 2017

Beach Drive rehab progress: Nearly 2 miles of roadway built, 4.6 miles to go – Washington Post, August 19, 2017

In 1973, a young GSA employee in D.C. had a bright idea: a fleet of loaner bikes – Washington Post, August 30, 2017

Entire Georgetown Branch Trail Will Close For Years During Purple Line Construction – DCist, September 1, 2017

Changing trail design could jeopardize entire I-66 widening project – Washington Post, September 3, 2017

Cycling to work means better health and a longer life. Here’s how to get started. – Washington Post, September 9, 2017

Takoma City Council debates bikes on sidewalks – The Sentinel, September 15, 2017

Dockless bike-share companies race to Washington – Washington Post, September 19, 2017

Bicycles and D.C.: How cycling has grown into a legitimate transit option for the nation’s capital – Curbed, September 20, 2017

Business Groups Attack D.C’s Parking Cash Out Proposal – WAMU, September 25, 2017

Hyattsville asks for public input on transportation improvement – Hyattsville Life, September 28, 2017

Bike-Sharing is Flourishing in Washington. Can the City Handle It? – New York Times, October 1, 2017

Pilot program in Silver Spring to offer dockless bike sharing – Source of the Spring, October 4, 2017

8 Ways to Help Someone Start Riding a Bike – Bicycling.com, October 16, 2017

New York terror attack set to intensify calls for more security to protect pedestrians, cyclists – Washington Post, November 1, 2017

‘Keep on riding.’ Bicyclists pedal on after deadly terror attack on America’s busiest bike path – Washington Post, November 2, 2017

Jones Point Pier Restoration Yields Hands-On Learning – The Connection, November 10, 2017

A Tiny Tax Hike On People Who Bike To Work Helps Explain The Whole GOP Tax Law – Huffington Post, January 11, 2018

No Dock, No Lock, No Problem? Assessing Dockless Bike Sharing In The District – The Kojo Nnamdi Show, January 25, 2018

Gear Prudence: Dockless Bikes Leave Me Cold – Washington City Paper, February 5, 2018

D.C. wins gold in bike-friendliness – Washington Post, March 6, 2018

Traffic deaths continue to soar despite cities’ pledges to get them to ‘Zero’ – Washington Post, March 14, 2018

With Traffic Deaths Going Up, Is Vision Zero The Right Roadmap For DC? – The Kojo Nnamdi Show, March 19, 2018


Sad face.

This will be my last Roundup as your Advocacy Director because I’m moving back to the midwest. I am deeply appreciative of the opportunities I have had at WABA to work with a staff and volunteer team of smart, dedicated, hilarious people I like and respect. I’m extremely proud of the Advocacy team we’ve built over the last two years. WABA has a deep bench of talented, capable advocates in all of you, and I am bursting with excitement for all the great things I see on the horizon for biking in the region.

Thanks for reading, and thank you for your advocacy.

Tamara Evans

Advocacy Director

P.S. Your membership dollars directly fund our advocacy work!

Donate

What’s WABA’s position on dockless bikeshare?

Dockless bikeshare has the potential to expand bike sharing and bike ridership in the District and local neighboring jurisdictions.  With opportunity comes risk, however, and that is why we have been involved in conversations for the past months with a task force convened by DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST) that included District Department of Transportation (DDOT), several DC Business Improvement Districts, and DC Council staff to discuss priorities for ensuring that this new technology is a positive addition to the menu of transportation options in the DC region.

Among our top concerns are:

  1. Safety and maintenance of the bikes – how well are the bikes built and do they receive routine maintenance? How easy is it to report issues and how quickly are they addressed?
  2. Parking  – how well are companies educating users about good/bad parking behavior? How quickly do companies relocate bicycles that have been problematically parked? Are companies helping advocate for better bike parking options to improve conditions for all bicyclists, particularly in areas downtown where bike parking demand exceeds supply?
  3. Troubleshooting –  How easy is it for non-bikeshare users to report problems? How quickly are reports of an issue rectified? Do companies have procedures in place to proactively address issues without the need to have someone report them? Are they making the complaints/response times available to the public?
  4. Data-sharing –  the data generated by bike share users is important for transportation planning and decision-making. Companies should make this data available to the public.
  5. Equity –  WABA is invested in ensuring the benefits of dockless bikeshare accrue to all, whether that is by committing to a minimum level of coverage in lower-density, lower income neighborhoods, or creating a requirement that companies participate in an en-lieu fee system so that the government can provide bike share services in underserved areas.

To see the full set of recommendations by DCST, click here.

UPDATE (3.26.18) Read the DCST letter to DDOT about the future of bikeshare here: Dockless bikeshare statement

What are your thoughts on the dockless bikeshare pilot so far? Send them to advocacy@waba.org

You can also contact each Dockless bikeshare company directly:

Send policy suggestions to DDOT at: dockless.bikeshare@dc.gov

 

Improve the Georgetown Branch Trail Interim Routes

When the Georgetown Branch Trail closed in early September for the start of Purple Line construction, trail users faced the frustrating task of finding alternatives to an irreplaceable piece of the biking, walking, and recreation network between Bethesda and Silver Spring. And though Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has signed a trail detour, it leaves much to be desired for the individuals and families who depended on the trail for their daily routines.

On Wednesday, November 1, Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Hans Riemer, along with the Planning Department, MCDOT and WABA, are hosting a community meeting to discuss bicycling issues, planned improvements, and opportunities in the Bethesda area. This is an important chance to voice constructive concerns about the existing trail detour and help build consensus and urgency for improvements that fill the void left by the trail, while creating new low-stress connections in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and beyond. We hope you will join us for this important discussion.

Bethesda Community Meeting on Bicycling 
Wednesday, November 1 from 7:30 to 9 p.m
Jane E. Lawton Community Center
4301 Willow Lane Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Learn more | RSVP

WABA supports the Purple Line because it will create a new reliable transit connection for inner suburban Maryland and a world-class multi-use trail from Silver Spring to Bethesda. As construction continues, we have called on Montgomery County to provide safe and useful alternatives to the trail that accommodate all trail users. You can read our recent letter here.

For more information on the signed Georgetown Branch Trail detour route, click here. For more on the Bethesda Master Plan’s recommended bicycle network, click here (see p. 59).

WE’RE HIRING: VISION ZERO CAMPAIGN COORDINATOR

Update: As of 12/13/17 this position is still open, but we’re moving quickly, so interested candidates should get their applications in ASAP, and no later than December 19th. 


The Washington Area Bicyclist Association seeks a strategic community organizer to lead our program to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the Washington Region within the decade. (Learn more about our Vision Zero campaign here.)

Position Overview

Traffic fatalities are preventable. For too long, we have been conditioned to accept that crashes on our roads are the inevitable price we pay for convenient and efficient transportation. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We know how to design roads to be so safe that even when people make mistakes, no one gets killed. We know what kinds of traffic laws and enforcement make the streets safer for all users. What we need is the public support to implement these solutions. That’s where you come in.

The Vision Zero Campaign Coordinator will act as a community organizer, mobilizing support to keep the District moving forward with commitments to Vision Zero, and support neighboring jurisdictions to make their own Vision Zero commitments. The Coordinator will work to build better relationships between the bicycling community and law enforcement.

Vision Zero Coordinator Job Activities:

Vision Zero Advocacy

  • Build community support for Vision Zero through Safe Street workshops, days of action, neighborhood safety audits, and other community engagement activities;
  • Analyze publicly available crash data to produce think pieces and reports that support our advocacy for safer streets;
  • Act as a resource to victims of crashes through the WABA Crash Tracker;
  • Organize “What to do after a crash” and other relevant community workshops;
  • Help organize a regional Vision Zero summit

Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

The ideal candidate will demonstrate experience or background in the following:

  • Grassroots or community organizing
  • Event planning
  • Commitment to equity and social justice
  • Policy or legal work (preferred, not required)
  • Experience working with a regional transportation department or planning agency (preferred, not required)

Additional required skills:

  • Strong communications skills, both written and verbal
  • Technological fluency. The coordinator will create and maintain spreadsheets, run reports, and communicate with our members and the public via a myriad of online organizing tools, including WordPress and Salsa. The advocacy team uses Google office tools (G-Suite) and Microsoft Office tools to collaborate on work.

About Us

Washington Area Bicyclist Association works to create a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children, adults, and motorists about safe bicycling.

Employment Details

The salary for qualified candidates is mid-40s. The position is full-time. Benefits include employer covered health/dental insurance, generous flex and comp time policy, vacation, sick and personal leave, committed colleagues, fun working environment, and WABA’s 403(b) retirement program.

The position is based in the WABA office in Adams Morgan, Washington D.C. Occasional evening and weekend work is required.

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

How to Apply:

Submit a cover letter and resume in one PDF to Tamara Evans at jobs@waba.org with “Vision Zero Campaign Coordinator” in the subject line. In your application materials, please help us understand how you would contribute to the diversity of WABA’s staff, and let us know where you learned about the position.

If you are selected for an interview, we will request three writing samples, one persuasive and one policy analysis.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position has been filled.  We’re moving quickly, so interested candidates should get their applications in ASAP, and no later than December 18th. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Please, no phone calls.

Meet the Climate Riders of Team WABA

 

Meet the Climate Riders on Tuesday September 26

The Climate Ride Red White and Blue Ridge Finale, will be in Washington DC, September 26, 2017. This is one of the most thrilling parts of Climate Ride into Washington DC. Please invite your family and friends to pedal with us, or to meet us at the Upper Senate Park for the riders’ arrival.

You can invite your friends to gather at the pedestrian circle near the Thompson Boat Center, west of 30th St. NW. They can bring their own bike or pick up a Capital Bikeshare bike. Meet-up will be at 2:30.

Or, if your folks aren’t into cycling, have them meet you at Upper Senate Park to watch you and your crew role in! Details on the Climate Ride website.

 


On Saturday, WABA members began the Red, White and Blue Ridge Climate Ride, a grand three-day bike adventure from the Blue Ridge Mountains in beautiful rural Virginia to the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Some of the highlights include the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park, the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, and the National Mall ending with a hero’s welcome and rally at the steps of the US Capitol. The East Coast version of Climate Ride is more than a bike trip – it’s an inspiring journey with 200 like-minded people who are united by their passion for sustainability, renewable energy, and bicycles – the ultimate carbon-free form of transportation.

Here are some of the cool WABA members doing the Ride:

Cammeron Girvin


I moved to Arlington from Berkeley, California this April and wanted from the start to get more involved in biking—and the Climate Ride seemed to be a great way to throw myself into it! My morning commute along the Potomac, across the National Mall, and up Capitol Hill is the highlight of my day, and I would love to have more DC-area folks experiencing this healthy and grounding way of getting around. But in order to build up the community, bicyclists need to know that they can rely on safe, dependable infrastructure and strong protections for their rights and well-being on the road. WABA does excellent work in advocating for these goals, and I’m pleased to have the organization as one of my beneficiaries.

Darrell Chodorow

I live in Silver Spring, MD and I got started biking during middle school in response to a lack of other public transit options in Albuquerque. I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s a fun and predictable great way to get around DC, particularly during rush hour. I arrive at work energized rather than cranky.

Why are you doing the climate ride?

I’ve been concerned about preservation of natural resources for a long time, and recent shifts in US policies about climate change have created significant concerns for me. Climate Ride is a (really fun) way to help to address those concerns.

Why have you chosen to be on team WABA or to support WABA?

I’m riding to raise money for WABA because I’ve seen great changes in the DC area as a result of their efforts. When I started biking to work, options were extremely limited; now I have my choice of many different routes, all of which are safer. WABA was the key to helping make those changes happen.

Any other fun facts about you?

Every morning before I go, I look at the weather to pick out the necessary gear: long-fingered gloves (below 55º); long sleeves (below 50º); long pants (below 45º); shoe covers (below 35º); ski goggles (below 20º); car to metro parking lot (below 0º).

Grace Clegg

Grace “Kitty” Clegg is a transplanted Michigander who has resided in Arlington for the past 8 years. Upon arrival, she commuted to grad school, and then work by bike and Metro. Overtime she built up to being a daily, year-round bike commuter,  now relying on her Trek Crossrip, “Kali,” for nearly all of her transportation. Similarly, she gradually increased her recreational cycling on weekends–adding a few more miles each Saturday–until she eventually was able to attempt WABA’s 50 States Ride. It was the idea of that ride that prompted her to join WABA over 5 years ago. A decision which ultimately set her on the path of becoming a distance cyclist (completing the 13 Colonies ride lead to 50 States, then a Century, and so on), and opening the door to DC’s vibrant cycling community. She is now riding for Team WABA  for the Climate Ride. Like “50 States” was for her some years ago, this 230+ mile 3-day ride will be her greatest cycling challenge to date.
Mountain climbing and sore legs aside, she feels that WABA is worth every cent of the of support she raised this summer. “WABA is one of the rare organizations where I can see their positive impact with each passing year. I am able to swap my car for my bike precisely because of their efforts to make the roads, laws, and attitudes of the DC area more accommodating to bicycles. I chose to ride for WABA to help more of my friends and neighbors choose to ride wherever their daily lives take them.” Regarding climate change she added, “when facing a challenge of global magnitude, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the problem. However, I believe that local-level actions can have a wider impact, and are where individuals can make a difference. Even if it’s as simple as picking up your helmet to go to the store instead of your car keys.”

Peter Gray

I live in Silver Spring, MD (10 miles north of The White House) and after not being on my bike for many years, I decided to get on my bike – first for short rides, and then building up to being a regular bike commuter. Now, with no car access for most of my now retired days, I find my bike to so useful to do short and long trips, shopping for groceries, going to the movies and visiting friends. I am doing the Climate Ride to help highlight to my family and friends the urgent need to support organizations, like WABA, that are organizing around climate issues, and to have fun on my bike with a couple of hundred other cyclists.

I am supporting WABA because we advocate to make bicycling a reasonable mode of transport for all ages and biking levels, from helping those who need to learn how to ride, to remaking the road fabric to carve out separated space for bicycles, not just in the city of Washington, DC, but also in the suburban areas of Maryland and Virginia adjacent to DC.

Katie Bolton

WABA has been a major part of my biking journey. They gave me my first set of bike lights around 2009, and two years later I was working for them as a bike ambassador, where I gave many other riders their own bike lights, good advice, and encouragement to go by bike. In 2016, they trained me so that in 2017 I could start teaching their fantastic Confident City Cycling and Learn to Ride classes. They’ve had a hand in the best bike infrastructure the city has to offer, in improving laws to protect bicyclists across the region, and in throwing incredible parties. WABA has always had my back and now I have the great fortune to have theirs. I’m doing the Climate Ride because I want to help them keep doing the great things they’re doing to make every bike ride safe, normal, and fun.

Meaghan O’Connor

Where do you live? 
I grew up in the Boston area and have lived in the District for eight years. I’m one of those city kids who never learned how to drive, and I get around by bike, foot, and public transportation.
How did you get started cycling/what’s your favorite thing about biking? 
I was interested in bike commuting for a while, and finally become a regular when my kid started school and there was really no better way for me to get from his school to my work. Now that I bike pretty much everywhere, I know the city in a totally different way and love how connected it all feels, much better than going through a dark tunnel and the popping up in a different place. I also love the city smells, from the spring flower bloom to the chicken rotisserie and bakery that I regularly pass. Biking engages all five senses in a way that other modes of transportation just don’t.
 
Why are you doing the climate ride? Why have you chosen to be on team WABA or to support WABA? Any other fun facts about you?
This is definitely a personal challenge – I’ve never done a ride like this before – and I’m also excited to support WABA. DC is a great biking city, and the infrastructure that WABA advocated so hard for enabled me to become a confident urban cyclist. WABA also helps create an inclusive, supporting cycling community. I can’t say enough about Women & Bikes!

 

Support commuter benefits for bicyclists

In DC, more than half of residents walk, bike, or take transit to work. But our commuter benefits don’t match up. Right now, when an employer offers a commuter subsidy benefit, it might only be for driving and parking.

A new bill in the DC Council for flexible commuter benefits would change that. Instead of only a parking benefit, flexible commuter benefits give employees the choice to use the parking benefit or take the cash equivalent of a parking benefit to get to work another way, whether that’s transit, walking, or by bicycle.

Take Action

The Transportation Benefits Equity Amendment Act, introduced in March by Councilmember Charles Allen, will build upon the existing commuter benefits law in DC by providing employees more choice and flexibility in their commute.

Under the bill, employers who already provide a parking benefit* will be required to also offer the following:

  • Employer-paid transit benefit. If the transit benefit is less than the value of the parking benefit, then the employee receives the balance in taxable cash up to the value of the parking benefit.
  • Employer-paid, tax-free bicycle commuting benefit up to the federally allowable $20/month expense reimbursement, plus taxable cash up to the value of the parking benefit.
  • Taxable cash for employees walking to work, equal to the value of the parking benefit.

If an employee prefers the parking benefit offered by their employer, they can keep it.

This bill has the potential to create a national model for promoting sustainable commuter benefits.

Take Action

Giving commuters more choice in how to get to work has shown to decrease the number of drive-alone commutes by 10-12%, reduce traffic, improve air quality, and promote health and well-being.

Want to know more? Check out this fact sheet and list of FAQ prepared by the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

*This bill would not require all employers to provide a commuter benefit. Rather, if an employer voluntarily provides a parking benefit, this bill would require them to also provide an equivalent benefit to employees who walk/bike or take transit.

Fairfax County has two bike-relevant meetings on Thursday

A chance for a new bike-ped bridge:

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) will host a community meeting to discuss proposed bicycle and pedestrian crossings on the Fairfax County Parkway Trail at the Dulles Toll Road Ramp on Thursday, Sept. 14, 6:30 to 8 p.m., in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School, 12300 Glade Drive, Reston. Two options that are under consideration include at-grade intersection improvements and a pedestrian-bicycle bridge. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/bike/pkwytrail-dullestollrd.htm

More bike lanes!

Fairfax County will hold a public meeting on September 14, 2017, to solicit comments on the proposed FY 2019 Transportation Alternatives Projects. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax, VA 22033. At the meeting, county staff will make a presentation about the program, followed by a question-and-answer session. More details here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/news/2017/17_004.htm

 

Summer Advocacy Roundup

Hey there! Welcome to our semi-monthly advocacy Roundup. WABA’s most ambitious advocacy campaigns are directly funded by our members. Your support gives us the freedom and flexibility to work on the issues that matter most, and to expand the limits of what is possible. If you appreciate the improvements you see for biking around the region and the value of having your voice heard, please chip in.

Donate

Click here for upcoming trainings and workshops.

Community honors a Metropolitan Branch Trail advocate

WABA and the Capital Trails Coalition recently honored Paul Meijer with a dedication of the tulip garden near the Rhode Island metro station. Paul was one of the Met Branch Trail’s “super-advocates,” who worked since the mid 1980s to get the trail built. Read more.

 

New Bethesda Downtown Master Plan has big improvements for bikes 

The County Council has officially adopted the Bethesda Downtown Master Plan. It includes a massive improvement to the reach and quality of the Bethesda bicycle network, to be built out over the next 20 years. Big improvements to the plan include more proposed bikeways, great specificity, and some good news for Arlington Road!  You can read the full list of approved changes here. A final complete version of the plan should be available soon.

I-66 Trail design needs fixing

As part of the I-66 highway expansion, the Virginia Department of Transportation is building a new trail from Dunn Loring to Centreville. This is an amazing opportunity to create trail access to the W&OD, the Cross County trail, the Custis Trail and others, creating one of the longest trails in the region. Unfortunately, in many sections, the trail is squeezed between the highway and the sound barrier, which limits access, exposes users to pollution, and makes for an extremely unpleasant trail experience. VA residents may take action here. Read more about the Transform I-66 project here, at Greater Greater Washington here, and on the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling blog, here.

 

Bad news, then good news for the Purple Line and Capital Crescent Trail

WABA has supported the Purple Line for many years because it will improve the trail connections between Bethesda and Silver Spring and along much of the transit corridor in Prince George’s County. In early July, a federal appeals court ruling allowed the Maryland Transit Administration to restart construction activities on the 16 mile transit and trail project.  Read more.

Fixing Maryland State Highway 198

MD-198 is in desperate need of major safety fixes. It is an important connection between neighborhoods and activity centers, but its design is unsafe for everyone who uses it; impassable for walkers, and too stressful for people on bike. To address some of these problems, the State Highway Administration (SHA) is making plans to improve MD-198. On June 19, SHA hosted a public meeting to present their plans for the corridor and to get feedback from residents. Read more about the project here.

Rock Creek Park Trail construction update

We’re eight months into the reconstruction of Beach Drive and the Rock Creek Park Trail. In total, this will be a 3.7 mile trail reconstruction, but it’s broken into four segments. Let’s take a look at the status of the project, and what’s on the horizon for this summer and fall. Read more.

Virginia’s $44 billion transportation spending plan

Virginia residents submitted comments asking the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to fully fund the bicycle projects included in the “TransAction” plan, which will guide transportation funding decisions in Northern Virginia through 2040. The plan includes some great bicycle projects, including extending and improving the Custis Trail, building dedicated bike facilities in Arlington to connect major east-west corridors, and improved bicycle connections and Bikeshare stations at East Falls Church metro. You can see the full list of projects here.

Protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave west of the White House to Washington Circle

Great news! The preferred design to improve the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House includes protected bike lanes on both sides of the street, and wider sidewalks. View the project documents here.

DDOT hosts training for contractors and utility companies about how to work around bike infrastructure.

After three years of work, The District Department of Transportation has released guidelines that advise Public Space Permit applicants how to properly accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians during construction or other road closures. Read more.

But if they get it wrong:

We built this complaint form to report construction blocking a bike lane or sidewalk. Details. The form notifies DDOT’s permitting office and our advocacy team.

DDOT considering a road diet and bike lanes on Alabama Ave SE

Alabama Avenue is a key east-west corridor for Wards 7 and 8, providing connections to neighborhoods, commercial areas and the Metro. But crash and speed data show that it is a hazardous road for anyone who uses it. Read more.

Sherman and Grant circles will get bike lanes

DDOT has been considering safety changes to Sherman and Grant circles for years. Reducing speeds and reducing lanes are among the best options for increasing safety and decreasing crashes. Unfortunately, citing concerns about traffic congestion, DDOT has determined it’s not feasible to remove a traffic lane from Grant circle. However, Sherman circle will go to one lane and get a protected lane and Grant circle will get buffered bike lanes. View the slides from the last public meeting here.

Visiting dangerous intersections across DC

Over the past year, our Vision Zero team has been holding neighborhood workshops in each of the District’s eight Wards. We meet up with neighbors, commuters and community advocates to visit a dangerous intersection or two, then talk about what might make it safer. Out of those conversations, we put together a report card for each intersection. Here are our report cards so far.

Families for Safe Streets chapter forming in Alexandria to push Vision Zero

If you or a close relative have been harmed in a traffic crash, your story can be a compelling part of the public discourse that moves decision makers to action. Alexandria residents who have been personally harmed, or have a close family member who has been harmed or killed in a traffic crash, are coming together to form a local chapter of Families for Safe Streets a group first formed in New York City that has become a powerful voice for ending traffic deaths and serious injuries. Read more.

Wanted: Videos of the good, the bad and the ugly on Washington’s Roads. 

Have you captured photos or video of road behavior that makes you cringe? Help make the experience of bicyclists and pedestrians easier to see and understand by posting it to our social media: #streetsforpeopleDC and tag @wabadc

Read more.

Upcoming Trainings and Workshops

Workshop: Ward 7 mobile traffic safety

The Marvin Gaye Trail is one of the best-kept secrets of Washington DC. This 2-mile trail is quiet and beautiful but it crosses some intersections which have had some crashes. And we’d like to see these intersections be less dangerous for those who bike and walk along this trail.  August 5, 10am-12pm, Minnesota Avenue NE and along the Marvin Gaye Trail

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Workshop: What to do after a bike crash

Cory Bilton from the Bilton Law Firm will discuss bike laws in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and how to take care of yourself—physically and legally—if you are in a crash. August 10, 6:30-8:30, Takoma Park Library

Sign up

Training: Be a better bicycling advocate

Every city transportation project has opportunities to make bicycling safer and more convenient. Come learn how to effectively engage in this process. August 30, 6-8pm, Shaw Library

Sign up

Are you on your local WABA Action Committee?

All across the region great people are working to fix our streets to make biking safe and popular. They meet each month to share ideas and work together for better places to bike. Whether you’re looking for a fun group, a new cause, or a wonky policy discussion, our Action Committees have it covered.

See what we’re doing in your community and join us for the next meeting.

WABA in the news

Cyclists are told to use crosswalks, but Maryland law left them unprotected  – Washington Post, June 10

What was once a ghost road becomes DC’s newest trail – WTOP, June 24

Biking advocates worry I-66 expansion project puts a bike trail too close to traffic – Washington Post, July 9

The Trolley Trail gap – a half mile can make a difference – Hyattsville Life & Times, July 15

Free repair clinic in bike-shop desert gets Anacostia cyclists back on their wheels – Washington Post, July 15

As DC Bike Party Turns Five, Cyclists Are Feeling Optimistic About the Future – DCist, July 18

A Bike Trail on a Highway? Cycling Advocates Ask Virginia To Reconsider Plan For I-66 Widening – WAMU, July 21

Montgomery County Used to Have the Stupidest Bike Lane in America. Now It’s Leading the DC Area in Cycling Infrastructure – Washingtonian, July 27

Thanks for reading! Your membership dollars directly fund our advocacy work.

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How to report construction blocking your bike lane in DC

You may have noticed. . . the bike lanes we’ve worked so hard to get built over the years are frequently closed or unusable because of construction, road maintenance, and utility work. Beyond being annoying and scary, these closures are also frequently illegal.

What does the law require?

DC law requires that when a bike lane or sidewalk is closed for construction, an equally safe accommodation, free of hazards and debris, must be provided. This has been the law since 2013. Unfortunately, we know from experience that violations occur around the city on a daily basis.

This has real consequences. Closing a bike lane— especially without adequate signage— forces bicyclists to quickly merge into a shared traffic lane with motor vehicles, putting bicyclists in danger, upsetting drivers, and discouraging less confident bicyclists from riding at all.

The District is experiencing a construction boom with no end in sight. Bicycling is more popular than ever. It is essential that the city keep bicyclists safe where construction impacts bike infrastructure. That won’t happen without advocacy.

We’ve created an online reporting form to walk you through the information DDOT needs to investigate the suspected violation.

report a problem

Why report violations?

Short term, we want dangerous conditions on the roadways fixed as quickly as possible so no one gets hurt, and so bicyclists have confidence that when they set out by bike, the protected lanes they rely on will be available and safe.

Long term, WABA and DDOT will use this reporting data to help identify recurring problems and repeat permit violators. This will help with developing systemic solutions— like trainings, permit guidance and targeted enforcement.

Things to report:

Any time construction closes a protected bike lane, trail or sidewalk, the contractor must provide a route through the construction area that equivalent to the level of protection of what is being closed (subject to a few exceptions covered below). So, in the most basic sense, if it’s a protected bike lane, like this:

it should have a protected accommodation, like this:

Note on the far left behind the fencing is the original protected bike lane. Everything has been shifted right to make a sidewalk and bike lane from taking over a lane of traffic.

 

If it is a striped bike lane like this:

There should be a separate place on the road for the exclusive use of bicyclists.

In the example above, the bike lane is shifted to the left, marked by traffic cones.

The accommodation should be free of obstructions and debris.

unlike this…

and this:

and this.

Exceptions:

Sometimes, there simply isn’t enough space to provide an equivalent accommodation. However, before providing a less than equivalent accommodation, the city must first close an adjacent lane of parking (if there is one) or close a lane of traffic.

So, if an equivalent accommodation has not been provided, but there is still an adjacent row of parking, or more than one lane of vehicle traffic open in either direction, the Safe Accommodations law is being violated.

Should I report this? A flow chart:

(click image for a larger version)

 

Don’t overthink it. The point of the law is to keep bicyclists and pedestrians safe. If it seems unsafe, it probably isn’t compliant with the law.

How to report violations in DC

We’ve created an online reporting form to walk you through the information DDOT needs to investigate the suspected violation.

Fill out the required questions (email, date, construction site address, etc).

When you submit the form, it will send you an automated email response. If you are able to snap a few pictures of the site you are reporting, reply to that confirmation email and upload your photos as an attachment.

The form will generate a report to the Public Space Regulatory Administration staff, who are responsible for approving and inspecting the traffic control plans in public space permits. They have the authority to shut down a construction site if it is violating the safe accommodations law.

You can use the email chain from the confirmation email to follow up with WABA and DDOT as-needed.

report a problem

Want to know more?

Check out the slides from our Safe Accommodations Training:

Still have questions? Send an email to advocacy@waba.org.

May Advocacy Roundup

Very rarely do bike lanes and trails get built, or laws that make bicycling safer get passed, without advocacy.  And while WABA works across the region— in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and the District, we only contact you, our members and supporters, to take action on bike infrastructure projects and laws specific to your neighborhoods.

This semi-monthly Roundup is a bigger-picture view of our work across the region and behind the scenes.

Want this update by email every month?  Yes!




1.3 Million in funding restored for Montgomery County Parks Budget

Earlier this year, the Montgomery County Executive’s budget recommended a $4.3 million cut from the proposed budget for the County’s parks. This would render the County unable to maintain and repair major portions of its trail system. WABA supporters contacted County Board members requesting that funding be reinstated, and testified at the County Capital Improvements Program public forum. You can read our letter to the County Board here.

How about a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Patuxent River?

The Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Trail (WB&A) is a 12-mile rail trail in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel County. It’s a wonderful trail— except that it has no connection over the Patuxent River. No bridge means the two segments of the trail are totally disconnected. This critical gap that stands in the way of what could be an incredible trail experience. Hopefully, that’s about to change. Read more.

Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lanes – Build them both!

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) was supposed to select a preferred route for building a protected bike lane through Shaw more than a year ago. Rather than selecting just one of the four preliminary alternatives, DDOT is taking the highly unusual step of moving two alternatives to 30% design, slowing down the process even further. Design and construction of the final selected alternative could take another 12 to 18 months. Tired of delays? Read more and take action here.

Plans for bike lanes on Washington Boulevard weakened to save parking

To appease a vocal minority, Arlington County weakened what had been popular plans to add almost a mile of bike lanes in both directions from East Falls Church Metro to Westover.  In the revised plans, five blocks of eastbound bike lane are detoured off the Boulevard to keep on-street car parking. This adds unsafe conflict points at seven intersections, an uncontrolled crossing of N Ohio St, and many driveways. Read more.

Making New York Ave a better place to bike

Biking along New York Avenue NE is not for the faint of heart. High speeds and no bicycle infrastructure along much of the corridor makes it a loud, scary ride. To address these concerns, DDOT is working on streetscape improvements from Florida Ave east to Bladensburg Road NE. Read more.

Maryland Legislation

Laws passed in Maryland this session that prohibit coal rolling, create a task force to study bicycle safety on Maryland highways, and clarify the rights of bicyclists to use crosswalks where they are allowed to use the sidewalk or trail. A bill that would have allowed Montgomery County to lower speed limits and a bill clarifying that State Highway Administration can use HAWK signals did not pass.

What to do when construction blocks your bike lane

DC law requires that when a bike lane is closed for construction, an equally safe accommodation, free of hazards and debris, must be provided. This has been the law since 2013. Unfortunately, we know from experience that violations occur around the city on a daily basis. Here’s how to spot and report suspected violations.  Read more.

Vision Zero in Alexandria

In January, Alexandria committed to Vision Zero, the initiative to end all roadway fatalities and serious injuries by 2028. The first step in reaching that goal is developing an action plan. The city is soliciting feedback from citizens via this survey and crowd-sourced map to help them locate and fix dangerous road conditions.

WABA hosts the region’s first Vision Zero Summit

This spring, WABA hosted the first regional Vision Zero Summit, presented by AAA-MidAtlantic and The George Washington University Hospital. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser gave a keynote address. The event was sold out with a long waiting list. Read more.

Are you on your local WABA Action Committee?

All across the region great people are working to fix our streets to make biking safe and popular. They meet each month to share ideas and work together for better places to bike. Whether you’re looking for a fun group, a new cause, or a wonky policy discussion, our Action Committees have it covered.

See what we’re doing in your community and join us for the next meeting.

Upcoming Public Meetings and Events

Summer Bike Tour of Fairfax –  A free 12.5 mile tour of recently implemented bike improvements in Fairfax, led by Bicycle Program Coordinator Adam Lind.  Saturday June 3, 11-4pm

Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE Revitalization Project – The project will improve the transportation network, pedestrian and vehicular safety, and the corridor’s aesthetics in support of the Mayor’s Vision Zero Initiative. Wednesday, May 31, 6:30 to 8 pm at 2730 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.

Downtown West Transportation Study Citizens Advisory Group Meeting -The goal of the study is to improve east-west travel for pedestrians and cyclists on Pennsylvania Avenue NW and public transit along H and I Streets NW.  Planners will present a summary of public feedback, give an overview of the three alternatives and discuss next steps for the project. June 20, from 6:30-8pm at George Washington University’s Funger Hall (2201 G St NW, Washington, DC 20052) in Room 223.

Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues SE Intersection Improvement Project –  This project proposes to make street intersections safer for pedestrians and transit users around the Potomac Avenue Metrorail Station and the numerous area bus stops. Public meeting to get input on designs on June 1st, 6:30-8:30pm; Hill Center, Abraham Lincoln Hall, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE Washington, DC 20003

Montgomery County Bicycle Master Plan – The County Planning Department is seeking public input about the bicycle network. They will host a series of five meetings to present the bicycle master plan and address questions and concerns. Click here for more details.

WABA in the news:

How Is D.C. Doing One Year Into ‘Vision Zero’ Plan To Eliminate Roadway Fatalities?

WAMU – March 31

Mayor Bowser says reducing traffic fatalities is a regional issue everyone can support

Washington Post – March 31

car2go NA Pledges Full Support For “Vision Zero” Road Safety Initiative

Yahoo! Finance – March 31

Plan for Continuous Washington Blvd Bike Lanes Nixed

ARL Now – April 17

The DC Region’s Top Five Family-Friendly Bike Rides

WTOP – April 17

6 Tips to Stay Safe When You Bike in DC

NBC4 – May 9

3 things to check before you hop on your bike

WTOP – May 15

Thanks for reading!

Have comments, suggestions, or questions about WABA’s advocacy work? Send them to advocacy@waba.org.