Introducing the Crystal City Business Improvement District, a Leadership Level Business Member!

WABA’s Business Members understand the importance of a community that bicycles. Their membership supports our advocacy, outreach and education. Our business members are committed to a sustainable future of our region and are adding their voice to a growing number of bicycle-friendly businesses supporting WABA. Today meet the Crystal City Business Improvement District.

If you follow regional bicycle events, then you are most certainly familiar with the bike-friendly accolades of today’s Leadership Level WABA Business Member, the Crystal City Business Improvement District.

Crystal City is well known as the host of the Air Force Association Cycling Classic, Wednesday Night Spins, and multiple iterations of the Phoenix Bikes annual fundraiser. They’ve challenged the region to make cycling to work a habit with Bike to Work Week where a number of lucky riders ride away with great biking gear – pretty sure you’ve seen some of their colorful jerseys, jackets, helmets, or commuter bags on the trails. The Crystal City BID also sponsors weekly pop-up bicycle repair with District Wrench, brought the region’s first and only bicycle product vending machine and Fix-It Station combo, and was a key player in the roll out of Capital Bikeshare in 2010.

But perhaps most importantly, Crystal City is exceptionally bicycle friendly with incredible regional trail access and a rapidly growing collection of protected bicycle ways to create an interconnected network. Regional trail access combined with an unparalleled ability to park and ride (free parking available after 4pm every day and all-day on weekends) plus dozens of destinations to grab a post-ride bite or beverage make Crystal City the perfect place to start your recreational, fitness, or sightseeing bicycle ride. Here are some of the Crystal City BID’s favorites:

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Trail Rides

Arlington Loop Ride (17 Miles)

The Arlington Loop is the official name of Arlington’s “bicycle beltway.” The continuous 17-mile loop consisting of the Mount Vernon, Four Mile Run, W&OD, and the Custis Trails offers riders with a great fitness and recreational ride that connects all of Arlington’s urban villages.

Old Town Ride (4.3 Miles – One-Way)

With its historic charm, beautiful waterfront parks, and boutique shopping, Old Town Alexandria is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Avoid traffic, the hassle of parking, and the long walk from Metro by utilizing easy two-wheeled transportation. The Mount Vernon Trail takes you directly to the heart of Old Town and all its offerings.

Mount Vernon Ride (14.8 Miles – One-Way)

Paralleling the Potomac River, enjoy spectacular river vistas along the Mount Vernon Trail on the way to George Washington’s famous estate. Learn more and plan your actual visit at http://www.mountvernon.org/

National Harbor Ride (8.7 Miles – One-Way)

Take advantage of the completed Woodrow Wilson Bridge project’s addition of a dedicated bicycle path across the Potomac. The new pathway takes you directly to the heart of Prince Georges County’s new downtown neighborhood, National Harbor offering an eclectic mix of shopping, entertainment and dining options.

Leesburg Ride (38.3 Miles – One-Way)

Escape from the bustle of the city by riding out to historic Leesburg via the W&OD Trail. Given the proximity to the W&OD Trail, many of the downtown Leesburg businesses and Lodgings cater specifically to cycling market making for the perfect overnight getaway that will make you feel miles away!

Purceville Ride (48.6 Miles – One-Way)

As the terminus of the W&OD trail, the Purceville Ride is often seen as a must-do for area cyclists. Although it is possible to fit into a single day’s ride, the Purceville Ride provides the perfect opportunity for an overnight trip.

Harpers Ferry Ride (66.4 Miles – One-Way) A touch over a single day’s round trip ride, a trip to Harpers Ferry offers a challenging but worthwhile overnight excursion. Traveling along the historic C&O canal, you’ll be treated with views of the historic C&O canal, a number of lockhouses (some of which offer overnight accommodations through the National Park Service), and a serene natural setting. Plan a tour of Harpers Ferry by visiting the National Park Service website.

DC Site Seeing Rides

Branches of Government Ride (13.6 Miles)

Brush up on your civics lessons from the seat of your bicycle with this casual Branches of Government Ride. The ride visits the home of each branch of the U.S. Government – the U.S. Capitol (Legislative), the Supreme Court (Judicial), and the White House (Executive).

Monuments Ride (8.6 Miles)

The National Mall is deceptively large and hitting all of the sites by foot can be exhausting. Turns out, the best way to fit it all in is on two-wheels! Catch all of the highlights including Thomas Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, and the newest addition to the Monumental Corps, the MLK Memorial with this easily ridden Monuments Ride.

Nationals Park Ride (5.3 Miles – One-Way)

Avoid ballgame traffic and get to and from Nationals Park by bike! This quick ride is a piece of cake with the park offering tons of bicycle parking for two-wheeled ticketholders.

Fitness Rides

East Potomac Park Fitness Ride (9 Miles, Each additional Haines Point loop is 3.2 miles)

A favorite of competitive cyclists and triathletes, the East Potomac Park Fitness Ride takes advantage of a low speed and low trafficked loop around Haines Point with beautiful river views along the Potomac. From Crystal City, the ride (including one Haines Point Loop) is approximately 9 miles. You can then add additional mileage by completing additional loops, each of which adds another 3.2 miles.

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Do you own, work for, or patronize a business that is a good candidate for our business membership? For just $300 or $800 per year, you can show your support for a bike-friendly region and WABA’s advocacy and get all sorts of perks, including your very own blog post! Details here.

The MBT One Step Closer to Completion

Last night, the Met Branch Trail got one step closer to completion.

Before beginning construction on the 0.6 mile portion of the Met Branch Trail in Silver Spring, Maryland – the section across from the Montgomery College Campus on Fenton Street and King Street and along the CSXT Railroad to Ripley Street- Montgomery County was required to hold a public hearing, so area residents gathered on a misty Wednesday evening to learn more about the trail design and submit their feedback. When this segment is finished, the 1.1 mile Maryland portion of the Met Branch will be complete.

One highlight of the design is the 14-foot wide bridge that will allow trail users to cross Georgia Avenue far above the busy corridor. This above-grade crossing is an absolute necessity from a safety perspective, and Montgomery County sets the right precedent by ensuring that the bridge is an non-negotiable absolute.

One trail supporter analyzed the design as “95% Awesome.” The five percent in question? The access around the B&O Train Station. Because of concerns from the station’s owner, Maryland Preservation Inc. (MPI), the trail deviates from a direct route along the rail corridor and zig-zags on the edge of the property instead.

This zig-zag alignment seems manageable, and we thank the county for patience in working with MPI, and providing them multiple alignment options in an effort to move the project forward. From the trail user’s perspective, it’s not perfect, and certainly a straighter shot would be preferred, but the proposed alignment represents a compromise for which the county deserves a “thank you.”

We were reminded by a few supporters that this trail will transform how we interact with our surroundings. Jeff Kohn recalled a bike ride he took with his young son to Bethesda, and he reports not being able to identify a safe way to get there. “I wouldn’t try that again, I didn’t feel safe,” he said. “But once the trail is done, I’ll ride it frequently.”

Many in the room could relate to Michelle Terry’s experience of fear for her own well-being on Fenton Street, having to share the road with fast traffic and large trucks. Her front tire was clipped by a car, and while she wasn’t physically hurt, it scared her enough to keep her off her bike for a few days. And as a regular bike commuter, that means a lot. She’s awaiting the trail because it means a safer commute. “Building the trail isn’t just about recreation. It’s about public safety,” she said.

The construction bid will go out soon for Phase I, and construction is estimated to begin June 2016, with an estimated completion date of August 2016. Phase II will begin November 2017, the section west of Selim Road, which includes the bridge over Georgia Ave., will begin in November 2018 and phase completion is estimated for November 2019.

The record remains open until May 24 at 7 p.m. If you’d like to submit your comments to the record, email Gaila Lescinskiene at gaila.lescinskiene@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Do you think Bike Month is rad?

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Yes, I think Bike Month is rad

Yeah it is. Bike Month is super rad.

Can you lend a hand for just an hour and a half after work this week to help us hang some posters around town?

Yes, I’ll help spread the word

WABA staff will be leading teams of volunteers in a few neighborhoods to hit all the business, restaurants, shops, bars, coffee spots, and stores that we can from 6:00-7:30pm to hang up posters and fliers on Wednesday May 4th and Thursday May 5th. Sign up or learn more at www.waba.org/spreadtheword.

Want to earn a free WABA membership? If you volunteer with WABA three times in a year, you get a free membership!

Want to earn a spot in WABA’s famous 50 States Ride this September (the ride that everyone loves and that sells out in 36 hours)? We will randomly pick one volunteer who helps us out this Wed or Thurs to get a free registration!

Yes, I want free entry for WABA’s 50 States Ride!

WABA hopes you have a very happy Bike Month. We’ll see you out there in a bike lane or protected cycle track. Have any questions about volunteering? Email volunteer@waba.org.

April Advocacy Roundup

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VIRGINIA

VA Dooring Bill Signed into Law

Brief Explanation: SB 117 requires drivers to wait for a reasonable opportunity to open vehicle doors on the side adjacent to moving traffic. A violation constitutes a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $50. Getting “doored” is an all too common cause of crashes between bikes and cars, often resulting in severe injury to the bicyclist.

Current Status: Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of Virginia residents, advocates, and legislators, SB 117, the “dooring” bill, passed both the Virginia House and Senate. On April 1, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the bill into law.

Funding for Complete Streets in Alexandria

Brief Explanation: Alexandria’s Complete Streets program is key to the city’s strategic objectives — protecting the safety of residents, building a multi-modal transportation network, enhancing the health of citizens, and supporting the wellbeing of our youth and children.  Last year, the program delivered nearly $1.5 M in safety fixes for intersections, schools and neighborhood streets. But if the city’s proposed budget is enacted as-is, funding for the Complete Streets program will be reduced to about 1/3 of it’s current budget in FY17. This will have direct negative impacts to the safety and well-being of Alexandria residents and visitors.

Current Status: After years of neglect, the city is to be commended for more than doubling the Street Reconstruction (Paving) budget, from $2.6M in FY14 to $5.6M in FY16 and proposed for $5.3M in FY17. But by not providing commensurate funds for Complete Streets, the city is prioritizing the convenience of motorists over the safety of people who walk and bike. WABA members and supporters have weighed in on this issue and we will have more updates after we see the final budget.

Update Arlington’s Bike Plan

Brief Explanation: Arlington’s bike plan is obsolete. It was written in 2007, when sharrows were the most exciting development in bike infrastructure.  It predates protected bike lanes, Capital Bikeshare and Vision Zero. Implementation of many of the projects called for in the plan have faced significant citizen opposition, because the plan lacked the robust, inclusive public process that is needed to generate consensus and support.

Current Status: Earlier this month, hundreds of Arlington residents sent in comments asking that the County update the Transportation Master Plan’s Bicycle element in the coming fiscal year. While specific funding was not identified in the 2017 budget, the County Board did make updating the plan a clear priority for staff in the coming year. We will continue pushing for robust public engagement as staff approach the planning process.


MARYLAND

A New Campaign for Montgomery County: Create the Silver Spring Circle

Brief Explanation: With the dense mix of transit, offices, entertainment, shops and homes, Silver Spring should be a paradise for walking and biking. But it’s not. Due to high speed traffic and a lack of dedicated space for bikes on the busy streets in downtown Silver Spring, most residents don’t feel safe biking in the road.  The Silver Spring Circle would trade excess road space for protected bike lanes, creating a connected, low-stress bike network in downtown Silver Spring.

Actions to Take: Come to the Campaign kickoff May 14th. Sign the petition to create the Silver Spring Circle.


Washington D.C.

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Contributory Negligence

Brief Explanation: Contributory Negligence is an antiquated legal doctrine that limits bicyclists access to justice and compensation after a crash with a motor vehicle. The District of Columbia is a national outlier, as it is one of only five states that still use contributory negligence to allocate fault. The vast majority of states have updated their negligence standard to a fairer system.

Current Status: On April 21st, the Judiciary Committee voted 3-0 to move the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act out of committee and recommended it for consideration by the full D.C. Council. The bill will now be considered by the full DC Council when it meets as the Committee of the Whole sometime before summer recess. It needs seven votes to pass the Council, and the Mayor’s signature to become law.

Action to Take: Sign up to receive action alerts about opportunities for further public comment and testimony as they arise. We’ll need everyone’s involvement to get this across the finish line.

L St and Safe Accommodations

Brief Explanation: The L Street protected bike lane is a key part of the city’s transportation infrastructure. Following its completion in 2013, bike ridership on L Street exploded, increasing 65 percent within the lane’s first year of installation. The 1500 block section is a particularly important piece of the network because it intersects with the protected bike lanes on 15th Street and M Street.

Current Status: A permit issued to Carr Properties for the old Washington Post building site construction completely eliminates the protected bike lane and the sidewalk on the north side of the street, while leaving two vehicle lanes open. For more than two years, the publicly accessible portions of L Street will consist of a 13 foot motor vehicle lane (with sharrows) an 11 foot motor vehicle lane (formerly used for parking) and the southern sidewalk.

Action to Take: Report suspected violations of the Safe Accommodations Act to District Department of Transportation (DDOT) staff at the Public Space Regulation Administration. They will ask for information on the location, entity occupying public space (e.g. Pepco, Ft. Myer, etc.), and a brief description of what you encountered.  Photos of the location are especially helpful.

15th Street Bike Lane Connections at the White House

Ramparoo! New Paint and ramps make it easier to bike through Lafayette Park on segment of the 15th Street protected bike lane.

Brief Explanation: Thanks to some hard work by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and a bit of prodding by WABA, navigating past the White House on the 15th Street bikeway just got a little easier. DDOT, in collaboration with the National Park Service (which oversees the property) and the Secret Service (which is in charge of security for the area), installed new paint and curb ramps at the intersection of H St NW and Madison Pl NW.


TRAILS

The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail—Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Segment

Brief Explanation: Construction of the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Segment  is in full swing, and expected to be completed by this fall. This 4-mile segment fills a gap from Benning Road to Bladensburg Waterfront  completing an almost 70-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian trails on the Anacostia River and its tributaries.  It includes boardwalk sections that meander around trees and wetlands in the Aquatic Gardens and other National Park lands.

As it passes through the Mayfair and Parkside communities, the trail travels on widened sidewalks and protected bike lanes, linking these neighborhoods to more than 40 miles of trail, numerous schools, businesses, libraries, museums, shopping centers and transit stations. 

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Current Status: The protected bike lane is one of the first to be developed in Ward 7, and it is nearly completed.  Extensive public outreach was done during the years of planning from 2004 to 2014. Unfortunately, some neighbors of the project have complained about the loss of the parking in front of their townhouses and are asking the city to remove the protected bike lane on Hayes St.  

Action to take: Residents of Ward 7 who want more safe places to walk and bike in their neighborhoods should contact their government officials at DDOT and the City Council to speak up in favor this and future projects.

Purple Line and the Capital Crescent Trail

Brief Explanation: WABA has been working for more than two decades on making the vision of a seamless trail from Georgetown to Silver Spring a reality. The Purple Line will make substantial improvements to a portion of that route, transforming the Georgetown Branch Trail segment into a safe, viable transportation and recreation connection between two of the county’s hubs of activity (Bethesda and Silver Spring).

Current Status: Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved a contract for a team of companies to build, operate and maintain the Purple Line, a 16-mile transit line that will link the Red, Green, and Orange lines in the Maryland suburbs. We will continue to track progress on the development of the trail, and will keep you informed along the way.

Met Branch Trail

Brief Explanation: When completed, the MBT will be a 8-mile multi use trail from Union Station in the District to Silver Spring, MD. The finished segment we have today is the result of more than 25 years of  steadfast effort from committed residents, advocates, and planners through a lengthy public process. But we aren’t there quite yet.

Current Status: There are two segments that MCDOT is currently engaged in. From the Maryland line to the Silver Spring Transit Center, the designs look good, with one exception: the B&O train station just off of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. Montgomery Preservation Inc (MPI), the nonprofit that controls this site, has spent years resisting proposed solutions, rejecting compromise design alternatives, and declining the County’s attempts to compensate them for the space the trail requires.

Action to Take:  Sign up to receive updates and action alerts from WABA about the Met Branch Trail.

Rock Creek Park Trail

Brief Explanation:  The Rock Creek Park Trail is in deplorable condition. Since 2014 when 2,500 WABA members and supporters signed a petition demanding action to rehabilitate the trial, a lot of work has been done. Over the next three years, the trail and beach drive will be completely reconstructed and improved.

Current Status: The funding is allocated, the engineering designs are complete and construction contracts are issued. We anticipate construction starting any day now. Beach Drive will be fully rebuilt and repaved over the next two years. It will be a long construction project but the road will a last another 50 years. 

Stay tuned for a more comprehensive update on this trail in coming weeks.

Washington Baltimore and Annapolis Trail

Brief Explanation: The Washington Baltimore & Annapolis trail (WB&A) is a paved multi-use trail that runs from Maryland Route 450 in Prince George’s County to the Patuxent River at the border of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties. Efforts are underway to extend the WB&A trail north-eastward over the Patuxent River and toward the Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Current Status: WABA released a report that provides a preliminary analysis of extending the current WB&A trail in the opposite direction: southwestward to connect with the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail (ART) at the Washington, DC border. Extending the WB&A trail to the ART at the Maryland/Washington DC border would provide analogous trail connectivity for a large area of central Prince George’s County serving residents and visitors.


Meet Advocates in Your Neighborhood

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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 and more reason to bike. Whether you’re looking for a fun group, a new cause, or a wonky policy discussion, our Action Committees have it covered.

Click here to see what we’re doing in your community and join us for the next meeting.

We’re fine tuning the way this monthly(ish) update works, so if you have thoughts on how to make this information more useful, send a note to communications@waba.org.

Introducing Excella Consulting, a WABA Business Member!


WABA’s Business Members understand the importance of a community that bicycles. Their membership supports our advocacy, outreach and education. Our business members are committed to a sustainable future of our region and are adding their voice to a growing number of bicycle-friendly businesses supporting WABA. Today meet Excella Consulting.

Excella Consulting is a technology consulting firm based in Arlington, VA, but with strong community roots all over the Washington, DC region. Their ability to transform big problems into lasting solutions through technology stems from their team of everyday superstars and great office culture. Excella employees can expect fun perks like an in-house award-winning Rock n’ Roll band, monthly catered lunches, and, of course, bike commuting incentives. They are actively recruiting smart, talented individuals, so if Excella sounds like a good fit for you get in touch!

Partner David Neumann has been riding, commuting, and racing on bikes for 30 years, and has led Excella in supporting the bicycling community on many fronts since 2011, when it became a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business and Corporate Member of the League of American Bicyclists. Excella also sponsors the Veloworks-Spokes, Etc racing team. We are excited to have such a strong part of the biking community become a WABA Business Member and lend its support in making the DC area better for anyone riding a bike.

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Do you own, work for, or patronize a business that is a good candidate for our business membership? For just $300 or $800 per year, you can show your support for a bike-friendly region and WABA’s advocacy and get all sorts of perks, including your very own blog post! Details here.

 

Introducing DC Cycling Concierge, a WABA Business Member!

WABA’s Business Members understand the importance of a community that bicycles. Their membership supports our advocacy, outreach and education. Our business members are committed to a sustainable future of our region and are adding their voice to a growing number of bicycle-friendly businesses supporting WABA. Today meet DC Cycling Concierge.

We all know bikes are the best way to explore DC and the region. Now there is a new business offering fully customized and guided rides to make this safe, easy and fun for visitors or anyone who wants a personal cycling assistant. DC Cycling Concierge is WABA’s newest Business Member, and is the venture of longtime local and national advocate Jeff Miller, former CEO of the Alliance for Biking & Walking and longtime WABA Member.

In the words of Jeff himself, “Cycling is my passion. DC is my city. Becoming the DC Cycling Concierge is not just a new business — it’s an extension of my life’s work to share the benefits and joys of bicycling.”

“Your Ride, Your Pace” is his motto. Want to go for a 30 or 40 mile road ride? Great! Whether it is for training or to just get in some fun miles and hit a coffee shop, your ride can be customized to meet your goals. Or maybe you want to do something completely different. Rides around the major landmarks or some of the lesser-known sites around DC are just as easy to arrange. For instance Jeff’s Rising Tides of DC Tour flows around well-known landmarks that were once waterways or that are flood prone.

And while his initial focus is on recreation and fitness rides, Jeff is also happy to help new commuters who want a little extra assistance. He provides a free consultation to make certain folks know about all the great resources that WABA and others already have. If a bicyclist wants to have some help planning the best route and a partner to ride with them the first couple of times, DC Cycling Concierge can help.

Take advantage of Jeff’s decades of experience cycling across more than 20 countries around the world, as well as through every corner of DC, to create the perfect customized ride for you and your family or friends.

Find out more at dccyclingconcierge.com!

Do you own, work for, or patronize a business that is a good candidate for our business membership? For just $300 or $800 per year, you can show your support for a bike-friendly region and WABA’s advocacy and get all sorts of perks, including your very own blog post! Details here.

What’s Next for the Contributory Negligence Bill?

Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee voted 3-0 to move the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act out of committee and recommended it for consideration by the full D.C. Council.

The version of the bill that came to markup had two minor but substantive changes from the one that was introduced last January. First, it now includes a definition of “non-motorized user” to mean “an individual using a skateboard, non-motorized scooter, Segway, tricycle, and other similar non-powered transportation devices.” These vulnerable road users are now explicitly  covered by the bill, in addition to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Secondly, the bill expressly retains the last clear chance doctrine, something that is already available under the law in the District. Reserving it will likely result in greater protection for bicyclists, because in circumstances where the bicyclist is contributorily negligent, for example, where the bicyclist’s negligence exceeds 50% of the harm, the bicyclist still has the last clear chance doctrine at his or her disposal, which would allow the bicyclist to recover— even if the bicyclist was contributorily negligent— when the motorist had the last clear chance to avoid the collision. In our view, it cuts in favor of bicyclists. We support both changes to the bill.

What’s Next?

We’re not done yet! The bill will now be considered by the full DC Council when it meets as the Committee of the Whole sometime before summer recess. It needs seven votes to pass the Council, and the Mayor’s signature to become law. The bill’s sponsors are Councilmembers Cheh, Grosso, Evans, Bonds, and Allen; Councilmember Alexander is a co-sponsor.

We are closer than we’ve ever been to fixing this obvious problem in the law—something we’ve been told couldn’t be done. Our opponents didn’t think could be done, and they’re still working to keep the legislation from becoming law.  Between now and the final vote, we’ll need to do everything we can to make sure we have sufficient support on the full Council. Keep your eyes out for action alerts about opportunities for further public comment and testimony as they arise. We’ll need everyone’s involvement to get this across the finish line.