The latest on the Eastern Downtown Protected Bike lane project

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Let’s get these bike lanes built.

Submit comments in support of the project here.

 

Finding a New PAL on the Mount Vernon Trail

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My trusty trailer, undaunted by unplowed paths.

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

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

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

But…

What to my wondering eyes should appear...

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

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

Bob just being Bob.

Rob just being Rob!

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

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

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

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Job well done, new PAL!

 

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

We’re Hiring: Part-Time Trail Rangers

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

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

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

Roles & Responsibilities

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

Requirements

Candidates must have:

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

Ideal candidates will have:

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

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

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

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

We’re Hiring: Staff Education Instructor

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

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

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

Responsibilities

The Staff Education Instructor will:

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

Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have:

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

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

Contact

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

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

Cold Days and Camaraderie with your PALs

Not quite ready to be back on the road yet…but soon! #BEaPAL #PALvsJONAS

A photo posted by @predictablealertlawful on

There’s no way around it, February is still winter, and winter is chock full of excuses to stay inside. But in the words of a famous Michigander (my best friend), “If the weather feels too cold, you’re just not dressed warmly enough!”

Pulling the Arlington PAL bike trailer around this month has convinced me that my best friend is 100% right! Layers, wool everything, rain gear, and wellingtons are trusted companions these days. There’s a certain type of satisfaction, too, that comes from taking a break or concluding a winter ride as well–a feeling of coziness and satisfaction that just can’t be replicated in the summer!

So, whether you’ve fallen into a winter funk, have a resolution you want to double down on, or are just going completely stir crazy, February is the time to get out on a bike and banish those winter blues. You can join a new friend on a ride though the Washington Area Bike Forum or get your volunteer on as a PAL Ambassador or DC Bike Ambassador. Both of these programs are powered by awesome folks like you, spreading the bike-love and having fun on the streets of DC and Arlington.

To Join the DC Bike Ambassadors, click here.

To Join the Arlington PAL Ambassadors click here.

Or come on out and #BEaPAL with us at the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade! Click here for details and to sign up!

Use the button below to follow us on Instagram:

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DC Bike Ride: WABA Early Access Discount Extended

An update from our partners at DC Bike Ride:

Since the WABA Early Access registration launch on Monday, we have received great interest in DC Bike Ride within the last 48 hours. Thank you so much! The outpouring of excitement around DCBR has been great and we really appreciate your support. We will be extending the $48 discount, for WABA members only, for another 24 hours. The offer will now end on February 4.

You Asked, We Listened.
We have had a number of inquiries around our age policy and we have been paying close attention to your suggestions! At this time, we have made the decision to:

  • Adjust the participation age requirement to 3 years old as of 5/22/16
  • Offer a youth ride-along rate for children ages 3 to 7 years old at $30 per participant (we will be reaching out to all current registrants within this age group, at the provided contact information, to issue an $18 refund)
  • Eliminate the 1-to-1 adult to youth rider ratio requirement for ride-along youth ages 3 to 7; the 1-to-1 adult policy will only apply to youth riders on their own bike, ages 8 to 13

Please note, all participants must be registered regardless of age or riding method. To view DCBR’s updated Youth Rider Policy, click here.

Join the Ride Today.
We appreciate your continued support and hope to see you at DCBR on May 22, 2016! WABA members check your email for your discount code to receive the discount. Offer will end on February 4.

WABA is a DC Bike Ride Founding Partner. This means the organizers of DCBR are paying for our promotion of the ride. In addition, DCBR organizers are making a substantial grant to support WABA’s advocacy work and community organizing for Vision Zero. So, while we are not directly involved in the operation of the event, we’re thrilled it’s taking place and invested in its success.

You should sign up. It’s going to be great. 

Reporting Maintenance Issues in DC: A Trail Ranger Skill Share

 

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As Trail Rangers we wear a lot of hats: we’re cheerleaders, question answerers, coffee hander outers. But we also work to keep DC’s urban trails in tip top shape both by fixing issues and reporting maintenance issues that require more tools than a broom or a trash bag. The storm last week was not kind to infrastructure—the heavy plows, reduced traction and a buried streetscape resulted in a substantial uptick in potholes and worn away lanes. We’re reporting the issues we notice but we don’t see everything, here is how to join us:

In DC, city service and maintenance issues are reported through 311, the citywide call center, either by directly calling 311 or reporting through the mobile app available for iPhone and Android by searching “DC 311.”

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Issues are reported by service category:

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So the trick is to know what kind of issue you are reporting so that the report goes to the team that can fix the problem. For this storm, common issues are:

Roadway Marking Maintenance

Great for reporting:

Damaged Park-It

Damaged Park-Its

Broken flexpost

Broken flexposts

Faded/missing lane marking

Faded/missing lane markings

Once you’ve told the city what kind of issue and where it is, the next page will ask for specific details.

All of the Roadway Marking Maintenance examples pictured above can be categorized as a “bicycle line” on the page for additional information:

Example report


Potholes:

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Pothole on Champlain Rd NW

Aptly named, a whole category just for potholes! Be as specific as you can about the location.


Cars parked in bike lanes:

For the folks who have “forgotten” with the snow cover that bike lanes are not for vehicle storage. 

car parked in bike lane

Painted lines and bike symbols are just SOOO confusing. What’s a driver to do?

Illegally parked vehicles can be reported as a “No Parking Anytime” enforcement concern.

Then add the details – what precisely the issue is and any details that will help the crew know what to bring out into the field and where to go. The more information, the better!

 


One important note:

The trick for a prompt response is to report the issue to the folks who can fix it – those with the tools to fill in potholes, paint asphalt, write tickets. Therefore avoid the service type “Bicycle Issues” – these issue reports go directly to the bike planning team at DDOT. It adds extra steps and time for them to forward requests to the appropriate maintenance teams of DDOT.

Happy 311-ing!