Montgomery County Passes New Road Code

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Under the new road code, we should be seeing many more protected bike lanes in Montgomery County, like this one on Woodglen Rd

Tuesday was a big step forward for people who walk and bike in Montgomery County’s urban areas!  The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed Bill 33-13 which redefines urban road standards and promises to make the county’s streets more inviting to bicyclists and pedestrians with slower vehicle speeds, better bicycle infrastructure, and pedestrian accommodations.  With a new emphasis on creating complete streets, especially in urban areas, this bill is an important step forward for the county.

The bill sets new standards that limit vehicle travel lanes to 10 feet and establish a maximum target speed of 25 mph in urban areas.  Narrowing lanes and lowering speeds will help create streets that are more welcoming to all modes of travel on increasingly busy urban street.  And to further accommodate vulnerable road users, new definitions and improved requirements for protected bike lanes, shared use paths, and sidewalks will ensure that road engineers are building facilities that accommodate, if not encourage, walking and biking.  The bill also includes new standards that decrease turning radii at intersections, meaning lower vehicle speeds at crosswalks and shorter crossing distances for pedestrians.  You can read the full text of the bill here.

In january, WABA testified (read) in support of the bill and today we applaud the council for taking these important steps for safer and more accessible streets.  We thank councilmembers Berliner and Riemer for sponsoring the bill and all those who contacted their councilmembers in support.  Though the road code changes are limited to county roads, this is a needed step  for the region and a bold example for other jurisdictions to follow.

Contributory Negligence Bill Tabled for 2014

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Today, D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety tabled a proposed bill to improve access to compensation for crash victim–effectively killing it for this legislative session. Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced the motion to table. Councilmember Evans (Ward 2) and Chairman Mendelson voted to table the bill. Councilmember Wells (Ward 6) voted against the motion.

The “Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Amendment Act of 2014″ (Bill 20-844) was introduced by Councilmember Grosso, Wells and Cheh in July to provide relief to vulnerable roadway users whose claims are inappropriately denied by insurers, and who cannot secure representation in the courts due to the economic effect of the liability standard.

We are deeply disappointed that the economic concerns of the insurance industry and the D.C. Trial Lawyers Association derailed progress on a bill that would have meaningfully helped hundreds of crash victims receive the recovery they are fairly due for injuries resulting from another party’s negligence. We will continue to work to resolve this systemic problem.

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Our Future Trails Celebration was a blast!

Last weekend WABA partnered with REI to bring the region an event that celebrated our amazing network of biking and walking trails.

Even though it was pretty chilly outside, hundreds of people came out to warm up with us in our heated tent, enjoy some free cookies and coffee, get their face painted, play some games and learn about the network of trails that exists and future plans for expanding trails in DC, MD and VA. Check out photos of the celebration and read on for more highlights of the event below.

One of the highlights of the event was the three trail tours of the nearby Metropolitan Branch Trail led by our very own Trail Ranger Coordinator. About 45 people joined us on bikes for informational tours on the trail, and many even took advantage of the free bike rentals we provided for the tours.

Another highlight of the day was REI. This celebration and WABA’s current advocacy project around the Arlington Boulevard Trail (you can read all about our concept plan for this new Virginia trail here) was made possible with REI’s amazing support. They even brought out an REI bike mechanic to the celebration, who became the star of the whole show with a line of bicyclists at least 10 deep the whole day, to help fix people’s bikes for free! REI also had their incredibly beautiful signature camp set up to let event participants see what it’s like to bike camp in style.

Interested in staying in touch and receiving updates about WABA’s work on regional trails? Sign up for trail-related news here.

WABA would also like to thank the NoMa BID for their partnership in helping to make this event happen.

ARTCRANK DC raised $2,300 for WABA

In case you missed it, a few weekends ago ARTCRANK DC came to DC’s 1776 venue (right on the 15th Street cycletrack, conveniently). With prints and posters from more than 20 local artists on display and for sale, the event brought together bicycle lovers, art lovers, and of course beer lovers for an awesome poster party for bike people.

We’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to Oskar Blues Brewery for donating the beer for the event so that WABA could take home the proceeds from all beer sales during the show to help fund our ongoing regional advocacy and outreach efforts.

Artcrank logo blackWABA would also like to say a big bicycle thank you to the ARTCRANK team for coming to DC for their first ever show in our Nation’s Capitol and for selecting WABA to be the non-profit cause partner of the show. Thanks to ARTCRANK and Oskar Blue we raised over $2,300! We can’t wait till they return in 2015.

And a huge thank you to all of our beautiful volunteers!

Volunteers

Last Week Tonight with the Bike Ambassadors

On November 1st, a shipment of 750 bicycle lights arrived at the WABA Office. By November 20th, our team of Bike Ambassadors distributed all of them to DC area bicyclists in need. Thanks to a heroic volunteer effort, WABA was able to quickly fill a need in the DC bicycling community. Along with our standard outreach near heavily traveled bike corridors, Ambassadors went to local restaurants in search of service industry employees who bike to and from work. More often than not these workers end their shifts well past midnight, so reaching them with the “Got Lights?” campaign was a top priority. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get everyone in DC a bicycle light, but it was a good start in the right place.

Phill helps to bicyclists riding at night without lights.

Bike Ambassador Phill helps two bicyclists riding at night without lights.

If you would like to join our efforts to make DC the friendliest bike town in all the land, consider becoming a DC Bike Ambassador. Our next orientation is on December 9th 2014 from 6 pm-7:30pm. You can register here. It will be held at the WABA headquarter in Adams Morgan. There will be plenty of bicycle parking and metro accessible. Light refreshments will be served.

Introducing Takoma Bicycle, a WABA Business Leader 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 Takoma Bicycle.

Takoma Bicycle is a full service bicycle shop located in Takoma Park, Maryland. Voted one of America’s Best Bike Shops by The National Bicycle Dealers Association, Takoma Bicycle has built a loyal following, which it appreciates and acknowledges with its rewards program. The full-service bike shop carries bicycles for the whole family, bicycle accessories and repair parts. And you can also find indoor trainers if you need that extra bit of training. Takoma Bicycle is a neighborhood bike shop with a neighborhood feel.

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Takoma Bicycles was rated one of America’s Best Bike Shops in 2013 and 2014. The shop holds periodic classes as well. We are happy to call Takoma Bicycles a Business Leader Member!

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.

Next Big Thing: The Arlington Boulevard Trail

Arlington Blvd Trail in Context

Some context for this exciting new project.

Arlington Boulevard runs just over twelve miles from the National Mall in Washington, DC to Fairfax City, VA, crossing several jurisdictional lines and the Potomac River along the way. The thoroughfare connects more than 100,000 people living in adjacent neighborhoods to offices, retail, parks, schools, and government services. What it lacks is a consistent, high-quality bicycling route. We came up with an analysis of what it would take to solve this problem.

As you can see in the map above, much of an Arlington Boulevard bicycle route already exists. On-road paths and wide service roads with little traffic run parallel to many sections of the road, but they don’t connect to each other. 1.3 miles of bridges and 8.1 miles of protected bicycle lanes (or on-road shared-use paths) would create a continuous trail, 22 miles in length, on both the north and south sides of Arlington Boulevard. Investing in linking this piecemeal infrastructure into a continuous trail corridor—and linking that corridor, in turn, to the regional trail network, would unlock the full potential of the corridor as a place for people, not just automobiles.

We put together a details analysis of the current infrastructure and recommendations for connecting and improving the network.  You can explore the full document here:

Arlington Boulevard Trail Concept Plan

We also have a limited number of paper copies of this document. If you’d like a copy, please send us an email.