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.

As a technology consulting firm, our employees are rarely in the same place at the same time. A small number of us work out of our headquarters in Arlington, VA, but most of our hardworking consultants are stationed at client sites across the DC Metro area. We know that commuting is inevitable in our world, so to ease the burden we offer Excellians a monthly commuter benefit whether they drive, metro or cycle.

In honor of Bike to Work Day, we asked one of our own cycling enthusiasts, Jennifer Forrest, Business Analyst, Scrum Master and Account Lead at Excella, about her bike commute.

What kind of bike do you ride? Nothing fancy, I bought it from a former colleague for $50 – the good thing is that no wants to steal it.

How long does it take you to bike to work? I live in Northeast DC and work in Southwest DC, so 15 minutes if the lights are right, 30 minutes if not. I occasionally cycle to Arlington, which takes about an hour and a half!

How long have you been a bike commuter? About three years. I started out with a city bike to practice my commute before I bought my bike. Sometimes I supplement with Uber or WMATA in the winter, but I’ve found that DC is surprisingly bike-able.

What’s the best part about biking to work? So many things. I get fresh air and exercise every day. It’s faster and on my own terms. It’s also a de-stressor – my ride home is a time to transition to my personal life.

How does Excella support cyclists? Excella has an environment-friendly commuting expense policy that offers you $20 per month if you ride to work eight or more times in a month. If you work at HQ you can park your bike for free in the parking garage, but many client sites in federal buildings also have bike parking. It’s easy to get in and out of the office on time!

Advice for novices? Assume that no one sees you! Also, helmets are not cute, but traumatic brain injuries are not cute either so make sure you have a helmet. Lastly, you don’t have to be a triathlete to have a bike commute – you can do this!

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.

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.

Reaching Out to Restaurant and Hotel Employees

Last fall, the DC Bike Ambassadors began a new, targeted outreach campaign focused on restaurant and hotel workers. We wanted to provide bike lights (as well as information about bike laws and safe bicycling) to these folks, who are often late-night or early-morning bike commuters.

Since then, we have travelled throughout all eight wards in the city making connections with employees and managers. One thing we heard over and over is that changes to bus and train schedules have a large impact on many of these people’s ability to work. We believe that bicycling can help provide reliable safe, effective transportation for employees in these fields (and others!), so we’ll continue reaching out and connecting with the foodservice and hospitality industries. This work is really just beginning!

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, or recommend a business for our program, please email Jon at jon.gonzalez@waba.org

Six Reasons To Join Us On The Climate Ride

Ride to make our region a better place to bike! 

Join us, September 24 – 26th! When you join the WABA team on the Red White and Blue Ridge Ride, you join a lively group of people who support you from the moment you click register, to the moment you step foot on the Capitol. We’ll be your teammates in organizing, fundraising, preparing, and planning for our ride.

Here are six reasons to go in and register today!

  1.  100% of participants on our 2016 team would recommend it to friends and family.
  2. We heard some pretty nice feedback. Like, “I LOVE WABA!!!” and, “Dang, I love WABA and so enjoyed getting to know everyone on the ride,” and “We had amazing discussions about WABA’s efforts in bike advocacy while on Climate Ride. This will definitely strengthen our individual advocacy within our own neighborhoods and communities.”
  3. On the team, we’ll help you out when it comes to fundraising, training, packing, and all the hearty morale-boosting fun along the ride!
  4. Your funds raised directly support WABA’s campaigns and projects in your backyard.
  5. There are less than 30 spots left on the ride! Hurry!

 

To join WABA’s Climate Ride Team 

  1. Fill out our form.
  2. Register for the 2017 Red White And Blue Ridge Ride
  3. During registration, select “Team WABA” as your team, and WABA as one of your designated beneficiaries.
    • If WABA’s your one and only beneficiary, you’ll get to rock a Team WABA jersey and socks! ! If you select multiple beneciaries, great! Share the love. We’d still love to have you on Team WABA.

Tips for biking in the heat

Well, it’s hot again, but with a little preparation you can still get where you’re going on your bike in relative comfort.

Here are our tips for riding in the heat:

Give yourself some extra time. 

This gives you a chance to do a few things:

  • Take it slow. Exertion can make you feel even hotter. Vary your speed and find the balance between keeping up a nice breeze and not pedaling too hard.
  • Take an extra five minutes at your destination to cool off, have an iced coffee, wash your face, change your shirt, and whatever else you need to do get back to comfortable.
  • Find a flatter, shadier route if you can. Seek out trails and side streets that offer a break from sunbaked concrete and hot exhaust.

Protect yourself from the sun.

A little shade and breeze can go a long way toward making you comfortable, even when the forecast calls for airborne swamp.

  • Seek out a shady route.
  • Wear sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Light-colored, loose-fitting clothes that let some air flow around you and keep the sun off (even long sleeves!) can sometimes be more comfortable than a t-shirt or tight-fitting bicycling clothing.

Hydrate!

Drink whatever works for you: water, fruit juice, sports drink, (sorry, beer is not recommended), but make sure you’ve got some with you when you’re riding. DC Water has a network of partners across the city that will let you refill a water bottle for free. Details are here.

Sweat: it’s fine.

Really, it’s more than fine, it’s good! Sweat cools you off as it evaporates. The thing we mostly don’t like about sweat is being sweaty once we get off our bikes. Here are our perspiration management tips:

  • Time! As we mentioned above, giving yourself a little extra time to take it slow, finding a less exerting route, and cooling off when you get to your destination all make it easier to not feel like a sweaty mess when you get to your destination.
  • Many employers offer showers, or access to a gym with showers. If not, don’t despair. If you carry a change of clothes and a washcloth, it’s pretty easy to get tidied up.
  • If you can, carry your stuff on your bike, not your body. A backpack is a sweat trap—it prevents air from flowing around your back and keeps all that sweat from evaporating. Carrying your stuff on a rack or in a saddlebag or basket lets your sweat do its job.

We also like this suggestion:

Know what trouble looks like.

Take a moment and make sure you know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration. Keep an eye on yourself and those around you. We’re all a big bike family!

Take it easy.

With these tips, you should be able to have a still-pleasant ride even in unpleasant circumstances. But if you’re not feeling it, that’s OK. Metrobuses are air-conditioned!

What to expect on Bike to Work Day

It’s almost here!

Bike to Work Day is tomorrow! It is the one day each year that our region celebrates what you love to do: ride your bike! And WABA wants to make sure you register and participate in the big day.

You get to wake up a little earlier (maybe even catch a beautiful sunrise), get on a bicycle, and smile. You’ll stop by a pit stop on your way to work, enjoy a free breakfast, grab that sought after free t-shirt, and then ride your bike to work.

The event is organized by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), in partnership with WABA. Check out COG’s Bike to Work Day website for helpful resources, like finding a buddy to ride with, joining a commuter convoy, and information for employers. Bike to Work Day is meant to promote bicycling as a healthy alternative to driving to work.

Each year, Bike to Work Day grows more massive. Last year, more than 17,500 people registered to bike to work and each of them stopped off at one of the many pit stops along their commute. This year, there are 86(!) pit stops across DC, Maryland, and Virginia, proving just how huge BTWD really is!

So, here’s what you should do in the next few days before May 19th:

1. Register. For real. It is SUPER important that you register so you can be counted as a person who bikes in the region. These numbers help show growth in ridership and will help further and direct WABA’s advocacy in the future. You can register here. If you need to figure out which pit stop is on your way to work, check out this handy map.

2. Get your bike ready. If you haven’t ridden your bike in a while, there’s still time to take it out of the garage and dust it off, give your ride some TLC (lube that chain and tighten those brakes), or take your best buddy to a local bike shop for a quick tune up (hint hint: WABA members get discounts at many local shops and coops). If you don’t have a bike, borrow one from a friend. You can also try Bikeshare or rent one from somewhere like Bike and Roll.

3. Invite a friend or coworker to ride along. Riding your bike (and drinking free coffee) is always more fun with a friend. So shoot out some texts, Gchat your office buddies, or make a few phone calls. And make sure they register too! Then make plans to meet up that morning and ride to your pit stop together.

4. If you really want to show your colors, then consider joining WABA today (or renewing your membership!) or volunteer with us. Sign up here to volunteer with WABA at your local pit stop on Bike to Work Day to help spread the bicycling love.

Sign up 

Don’t forget to sign up, especially if you bike every day. The continued growth of this event is one of the ways we demonstrate the need for more and better bike infrastructure.

Event: Bike to Work Day
Date: Friday, May 19th, 2017
Location: Find your pit stop here. There are 86 pit stops across the region.
Time: Various times, but most pit stops are open from about 6:30am to 9:30am. Some are afternoon stops.
Cost: FREE! Don’t forget to register.
More Info: www.waba.org/aboutbiketoworkday

 

Sign up