Meet the newest members of the PAL trailer team!

An intrepid PAL trailer-puller takes our message to the people!

The Arlington PAL (Predictable, Alert, Lawful) Ambassador program wants to communicate with everybody who is using Arlington’s roads, whether they are walking, driving, taking the bus or riding Metro. We PALs would like to be everywhere, all the time, reaching out to people and reminding them to be friendly and safe in the streets. However, much like you, we don’t have unlimited time or money! The closest we can come to universal message domination is to have as many ambassadors as possible taking to the streets when we have events, and to have ambassadors pull around the colorful PAL banner trailers behind a bicycle.

We call it “trailering” and it’s done by me–Annmarie, your Arlington PAL Coordinator!–and two new PALs who have joined my team: Evelyn and Ashley. Trailering, though often fun, can definitely  be a bit tricky at times, particularly in high winds or heavy traffic. One trailer-er, who had her trailer-pulling training session on a particularly gusty day observed “It’s like learning to ride my bike again!”

Evelyn, a lifelong Arlingtonian, who graduated from Washington-Lee High School in 2016. Now she’s in school again and working at Pheonix bikes in South Arlington. When asked why she is drawn to the PAL message, she said “I think it’s important for everyone to be aware of cyclists and of each other,”

Ashley, a filmmaker and bicyclist, has been involved in the PAL program for a year as a volunteer. She likes the community building aspect of being a PAL. She was really excited to have the opportunity to pull the trailer, because, as she put it, “when you have a desk job, it’s nice to do something that’s outside and engage with people.”

Curious about how you can #BEaPAL? Come out and join us for our next outreach block party: Saturday, 1/29 at 12:00 PM @ Pentagon City Metro

Volunteers Turn Out to Spruce Up the Metropolitan Branch Trail

Early last Monday morning, the trail was jammed with a different sort of traffic–113 rock-star volunteers who gave up their holiday to help make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day a Day of Service on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. We removed debris throughout the trail corridor, pulled bags and bags of trash from the ravine at Rhode Island Ave, trimmed vegetation, weeded the garden bed at Rhode Island, and cleaned the contraflow bike facility on R St. NE.

Check out some pictures from the event:

Many thanks to our event partner Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, to Career Path DC, HITT Construction and the R St NE Cubesmart for donating dumpster space, to Friends of Edgewood and DDOT for advice and to Officer Tate of the Metropolitan Police Department for offering day of support. It takes a community to put on a community event!

Trail is Integral to Buzzard Point Park Plans

Buzzard Point Park, a two-block section of waterfront at the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, will soon become a part of the Anacostia River Trail network.

National Park Service (NPS) is looking for feedback on two concepts for the Buzzard Point Development Concept Site Plan. The agency is looking for your feedback, and the deadline is January 27. Share your thoughts with NPS here.

Concepts for Buzzard Point Park, courtesy of National Park Service.

WABA is pleased to see that the Anacostia Riverwalk (an urban segment of the entire Anacostia River Trail system) was a prominent element of both concepts.

With development plans adding more than a thousand new residents to the neighborhood, increasing non-motorized transportation options is critical to the design of Buzzard Point Park. A connected trail that links into the street network is a vital piece of the park’s design, and we applaud NPS for including the Anacostia Riverwalk as a prominent feature.

Elements of the design concepts that WABA supports:

  • Inclusion of the Anacostia Riverwalk. WABA believes that the trail is a community asset and integration into Buzzard Point Park will enhance both the park and the trail.
  • Trail user separation. Providing the trail and an additional pedestrian promenade separated by landscaping lessens the chance for negative interactions between trail users. WABA supports providing this dedicated space for pedestrians.
  • Width of the trail. WABA appreciates that the width of the trail will be 20 feet and encourage NPS to maintain that width.

Which of these two concepts do you like best? Tell NPS what you think!

Concept 1, courtesy of National Park Service. The trail and pedestrian promenade are within the park.

Concept 2, courtesy of National Park Service. The trail is offshore, elevated over the Anacostia River, while the pedestrian promenade stays on shore.

Concept 1 and 2 both include elements that are essential for successful multi-use trails. This includes suitable width for an urban trail (both concepts have a 20-foot wide trail) and separate space for bicyclists and pedestrians. Both concepts include a pedestrian promenade that is distinct from the trail.

Which of the two concepts do you prefer? Submit your comments to NPS before January 27 at 11:59 pm EST.

(Want more information about the plans for Buzzard Point? You can find additional resources on the project website, here.)

Biking on Inauguration Weekend 2017

It’s Inauguration weekend again! It happens every four years. Roads close. Bike lanes close. The federal core of our city turns into a labyrinth of chain link fences and lost tour buses. Here’s our best understanding of how to navigate on your bike this weekend.

The short version: “To, but not through.”

On Friday and Saturday, plan to take the long way around the National Mall and environs if it’s not your destination.

Below is a map of planned road closures. Bikes are not permitted inside the solid red line, and bicyclists may be asked to show ID to pass into the area within the dotted line. Depending on circumstances, you may not be allowed to enter with your bike. 

Areas within the red line will begin to close at 3am on Thursday and continue to be closed in certain places through Saturday. We don’t have a specific setup/breakdown timeline. This means that some key bike routes, like the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, will be closed for several days.

WTOP has a handy zoomable map with more details:

And DDOT has a handy printable map with recommended walking routes from transit.

On Saturday, The Washington Post reports these closures for the Women’s March:


Other places to avoid if possible:

  • The RFK Stadium parking lot will be the staging area for tour buses all weekend. Expect thousands of large vehicles with drivers who may not be accustomed to seeing bicyclists or bike infrastructure. Also, of course, you should expect several hundred thousand pedestrians. The area will not be closed but plan on some extra time, caution, and patience.
  • Starting at 5am on Thursday, The Memorial Bridge will be closed to vehicles but open to pedestrians. As of Thursday morning, the Park Police have indicated that the bridge is closed to bikes.
  • On Saturday, expect rolling closures along Independence Ave and 14th Street between the Capitol and the White House for the Women’s March.
  • Hains Point and West Potomac Park are functioning as event staging areas, so expect closures there all week.
  • Metro has prohibited bikes within the system on Friday and Saturday.

Bike Parking:

On Friday: Two Wheel Valet will operate a bike valet on 16th St NW between K and I streets.

On Saturday: There is currently no planned bike valet for the Women’s March. You also won’t be able to bring your bike into the rally area or along the march route. Organizers are hoping to have a bike parking area, but don’t have any details yet. You might want to consider locking up (to bike racks or signposts, not trees or other people’s bikes!) a few blocks away from either the start or the finish. Details on the Women’s March FAQ page. If you’d like to ride to the march with a group, there’s a list of convoys here.

Our pals at BikeArlington have a nifty crowdsourced map of bike rack locations across the region, including around the Mall: rackspotter.com


Bikeshare:

All Capital Bikeshare stations within the security area will close at noon on Wednesday. They’ll reopen on a rolling basis beginning Saturday. Full details from Capital Bikeshare are here.

On Friday, there will be corral service at 17th and K St NW, and at 4th & E St SW from 7am until 5pm.

On Saturday, there will be corral service at 4th and E St SW  from 7am until 5pm.

Capital Bikeshare is also recommending that if you’re local, consider riding your own personal bike if you have one. The influx of visitors, combined with a limited ability to move the rebalancing vans through the city means that bikes and docks may be scarce.


General Advice:

Give yourself plenty of extra time, caution, and patience. Traffic will be a mess, and frustrated drivers are more likely to make dangerous decisions. Take it easy and pay attention.

Where you are allowed to take or ride your bike may change unexpectedly. Have a bike map handy in case you need to take an unexpected detour.

 

Nominate your favorites!

Nominations for the third Annual Washington Area Bicyclists’ Choice Awards are now open and we want to hear from you:

Nominate

The Bicyclists’ Choice Awards is WABA’s way of celebrating the people and organizations that are working to make bicycling safer, easier, and more popular. Plus, we just want another excuse to party with you.

We want YOU to tell us who you think is the “Best of the Best” when it comes to biking: the bike lanes, policies, and infrastructure that you love; your favorite shop; your favorite social ride; the bike friendliest business you know, and more.

Nominate your favorites, and RSVP for the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards event, today! You can read more info about the Awards event here.

Nominations will be open through Friday, January 27th. Voting for the winners of the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards will be open from Tuesday, January 31st through Friday, February 17th. Winners will be announced at the event in late February. More details about the exact date and location of the Awards event are coming soon.

 

Serve WABA on the Board of Directors

The WABA Board in 2016

WABA’s Board of Directors is looking for people with a passion to help make the Washington area a safer and more welcoming environment for people using bikes. To this end, the WABA Board Nominating Committee is searching for director candidates with strong leadership skills and experience in helping non-profit organizations execute strategy and development plans.

WABA continues to enjoy a growing base of loyal members and a diversifying funding base. As we did last year, we have a particular interest in candidates who can help us further expand our partnerships with a broader pool of private organizations and individuals who share and will support WABA’s goal of making the Washington area the most bicycle friendly in the world. The ability to connect WABA to the broader Washington area network of donors with missions that overlap with WABA’s is a plus. We are also looking for a candidate who can help us ensure that our financial monitoring and oversight mechanisms are robust and efficient.

WABA continues to look for board members and partners who can help us ensure that our mission and programming serves the needs of bicyclists in low-income, underserved or local immigrant communities.  The WABA board’s commitment to diversity is real, and weight will be given to candidates that broaden the board’s views and experience.

WABA board members are volunteers who serve two year terms and are expected to participate in regularly scheduled board meetings (6-7 per year), serve on board committees as needed, provide counsel to WABA staff in their areas of expertise, and make WABA a significant part of their individual philanthropy.

WABA’s board also has a number of committees focused on areas that include advocacy, administration and finance, development, programming, and membership. Board membership is not required for membership on these committees, and some candidates may find service on these committees may be better suited to their time and interests. If you think that you might be interested in appointed (i.e., non-board member) service on these committees, please email mark@waba.org.

Candidates who are interested in exploring whether their skills and interests align with WABA’s are invited to make an initial expression of interest in board membership by filling out the form here.  If you have previously filled out an expression of interest, and remain interested, please email me at mark@waba.org.  While the search for director candidates is an ongoing one, the board expects to present a slate of candidates at the February 28th annual members’ meeting.

Mark Blacknell is the President of the WABA Board of Directors.

That Was Fast! A New, Safer Trail Crossing in Bethesda!

Great news for riders, walkers, and all users of the Capital Crescent Trail! Crews began work on Thursday (Jan 5) on major safety improvements to the Capital Crescent Trail crossing at Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda. Using flex posts, lane striping, and new signage, Little Falls Parkway is reduced to one travel lane in each direction, down from two, west of Hillandale Rd. Soon, signs will be in place to reduce the speed limit from 35mph to 25mph. These changes, made with relatively inexpensive materials, will dramatically reduce the chances of crashes, fatalities, and serious injuries at this busy trail intersection.


After these changes were announced, WABA circulated a petition to area residents and trail users offering an opportunity to thank county staff and elected leaders for taking quick action to prevent future crashes. As of Friday, January 6, 291 area residents signed on with enthusiastic support for the change.

Michael Riley, Director of Parks, Montgomery Parks
Casey Anderson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board

Thank you for taking fast and decisive action to make the Capital Crescent Trail at Little Falls Parkway safe for everyone. You and your staff deserve enormous credit for your quick work to prevent future crashes at this intersection with this road diet and speed reduction.

291 Signatures (Click here to see the petition responses)

We applaud the county leaders and staff involved in this decision. Their action recognizes that this intersection’s design creates a crash hazard that puts vulnerable road users and drivers at unnecessary risk. The solution puts the focus on what factors contribute to crashes (multi-lane crossing, visibility, speed) rather than who deserves the most blame. We hope that this case serves as a catalyst for safety upgrades to similar intersections across the county.

Click here to read more about the changes.

Want to show your gratitude? Sign onto the above petition here.