That’s a wrap for the 2016 Bike Camp!

Bike Camp 2016

Bike Camp! 2016 wrapped up last week. Over the 10 days of the City Explorers program, we rode about 120 miles, visited sites in all four quadrants of the city (and beyond!). Our team of students developed a better understanding of D.C. geography and history, and learned how to navigate the city, taking advantage of protected bike infrastructure like on 15th St NW, trails like the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, and to identify lower stress streets and when to use the sidewalk to arrive safely at where we were going.

We took tours of the Kennedy Center, Frederick Douglass’s House, RFK Stadium, the National Zoo and more. We had lunch under the airplanes at Gravelly Point, on a boat on the Anacostia and under the tree canopy at the National Arboretum.  We rode here and there, nearly melted in the heat, and ran through more than one sprinkler.

We had so much fun and can’t wait for Bike Camp! 2017.  There may be changes for 2017, with the potential for a younger camp and an older camp. To get Bike Camp! Updates sent directly to you, sign up at the


Want to get updates about Bike Camp 2017? Yes!




Bike Camp 2016 climbing Einstein

Bike Camp 2016 at the Einstein Statue

Bike Camp 2016 Anacostia

Bike Camp 2016 looking at the  Anacostia River

Bike Camp 2016 R St

Bike Camp 2016 R St

Bike Camp 2016 Gravelly Point

Bike Camp 2016 at Gravelly Point

See you next year!

Beach Drive Rehabilitation is Finally Here

Vasa 2015_0088

The green heart pulsing through Washington DC is Rock Creek Park, but for bicyclists, the current trail conditions are less than ideal- but not for much longer.

Big changes are on the horizon for Rock Creek Park, especially Beach Drive and the adjacent paved trail. National Park Service (NPS) recently announced that construction on the much-anticipated rehabilitation project that WABA has been advocating for for years will begin after Labor Day of this year! There is a huge demand for this project. More than 2500 WABA supporters demanded rehabilitation back in 2014, and many have fought for years prior to prioritize this project with NPS and other relevant agencies.

The construction project will happen in four stages, beginning in the south and working north, and various agencies have their roles in effort. The first wave of construction is managed by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)- Eastern Lands Division. FHWA will rebuild the trail along Beach Drive on the east side of the creek. District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will tackle the trail sections west of the creek and a trail extension on Piney Branch Parkway. DDOT’s trail construction will come after FHWA is done with their work.

While Beach Drive will be closed to car traffic in both directions for the segment under construction, bicyclists and pedestrians will still be able to travel through the corridor. While the road is being reconstructed, the trail will remain open, and when the road is completed but not yet open to car traffic, and the trail is being reconstructed, then bicyclists and pedestrians will have access to the road.

The funding is allocated, the engineering designs are complete, and the contract has been awarded. You can see a project map on our April 2015 update, and find more information on the NPS project website.

National Park Service is hosting a public information meeting on July 28 at the Cleveland Park Library. Join us and learn more about this exciting project!

 

Introducing Events DC, 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 Events DC.

Events DC is the face of conventions, sports, entertainment and cultural events within our nation’s capital.  As the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, Events DC leverages the beauty, history and diversity of the most powerful city in the world to attract and promote an extensive variety of events, resulting in amazing experiences for residents and visitors alike, and generating economic and community benefits for the city.

Throughout the year, Events DC is actively involved in planning and support of some of the city’s most anticipated events, attracting thousands of attendees to locations around the city. As varied and diverse as the city itself, these events bring economic impact to our nation’s capital while offering a wealth of can’t-miss dates on the social calendar for District residents and visitors alike.

Events DC also hosts a broad range of events on the Festival Grounds, including the Maloof Money Cup at the Maloof Skate Park, The Red Bull Global Rallycross Washington, DC and ShamrockFest, as well as a number of activities designed to promote youth sports and fitness in the District of Columbia, such as the annual Title IX Classic, featuring the city’s best high school teams and players.

 

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.

One step closer to reforming Contributory Negligence in DC

At the #FixContrib Rally

At the #FixContrib Rally

Today the DC Council voted unanimously to approve the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2015  as part of the consent agenda. This vote is a huge step towards final passage of the bill, and is the result of years of organizing efforts. In spite of roadblocks, delay, and concerted opposition from AAA and the insurance lobby, we’re the closest we’ve ever been to changing the unfair doctrine of contributory negligence for vulnerable road users.

The bill has now cleared the major obstacles to passage. The Council will vote on the bill a second time in late September / early October, after which it will require a signature by Mayor Bowser, and will undergo a 30 day Congressional review.

We would never have gotten to this point without our members and supporters. Thank you for becoming an expert on this arcane issue, signing petitions, sharing information with your networks, writing and calling your Councilmembers, attending rallies, and all the other ways you’ve leant your support to this campaign.

Kudos to the D.C. Council for doing the right thing. In particular, we recognize the leadership of Councilmember Mary Cheh for crafting, introducing and championing the bill, Councilmember McDuffie for bringing it before the Council, and Councilmembers Allen, Silverman, Grosso, Evans, and Nadeau for their early and steadfast support. This is a huge step towards a necessary reform that’s been a long time coming.

We’re so close, but we’re not done yet. We will stay vigilant through the final stages of the process to ensure there are no surprises, and keep you updated along the way.

We’re hiring: Women & Bicycles Coordinator (part-time)

women and bicycles

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for a part-time coordinator for the Women & Bicycles program, an innovative grassroots approach inspiring more women to bike, teach, advocate, and lead the bike movement.

The heart of the program is peer-to-peer mentorship through volunteer Roll Models. Roll Models are women who already bike and commit to recruiting 5-10 biking protégés from their personal networks. The protégés are invited to a dinner party with their mentor and use conversation and our comprehensive biking guide to work through all their personal questions, concerns, and unknowns when it comes to biking. The position also consists of monthly event coordination, planning, admin and strategy, online forum moderation, and fundraising.

The Women & Bicycles Coordinator is responsible for all aspects of the Women & Bicycles program, including Roll Model recruitment, training and coordination, event coordination, online forum support, and developing strategies to grow the program in a way that is successful, sustainable, and equitable. The position will report to WABA’s Programs Director.

Responsibilities

The Women & Bicycles Coordinator will:

  1. Recruit, train, coordinate, and engage the Women & Bicycles Roll Models and track their mentorship efforts.
  2. Develop and implement Women & Bicycles events (with WABA’s program staff as needed), including: partner coordination, content development, scheduling, planning, promotion, volunteer coordination, event logistics, staffing events, and follow-up.
  3. Work to create new partner relationships with non-traditional bicycling groups to build the reach and resources of Women & Bicycles across diverse networks throughout the region.
  4. Facilitate and diversify the Women & Bicycle forum and its guidelines to maintain its culture of respect, information-sharing, and joy.
  5. Fundraise annually (with support from the WABA development staff), through events, online campaigns, etc. to sustain the program.
  6. Integrate Women & Bicycles with WABA’s broader work regionally and align programmatic goals/outcomes with WABA’s 2020 Strategic Plan.

Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have:

  1. A strong commitment to WABA’s mission and be a skillful and committed bicyclist with a solid understanding of the principles of bicycling safety and traffic law.
  2. Experience in: project management, events planning/management, fundraising, marketing and/or volunteer coordination.
  3. Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills.
  4. A flexible schedule and willingness to work evenings and weekends as needed.
  5. Experience with Microsoft Office, Google Apps (Gmail, Calendar, Drive/Docs/Sheets, Forms), Facebook and Twitter.
  6. The ability to organize time wisely and multi-task in a relaxed, fun environment, and work independently.

This position is part-time, 20 hours/week and compensation is $15 per hour.

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, WABA promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With 6,500 members region-wide, WABA serves bicyclists throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Contact

Send one PDF with both your cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Women & Bicycles” in the subject line by Friday, July 22nd. No phone calls please. For inquiries please email jobs@waba.org. 

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: Bike Ambassador (part-time)

A Bike Ambassador helps pull a trailer down in SE DC

A Bike Ambassador helps pull a trailer down in SE DC

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is looking for an outgoing, energetic, and motivated person to help run the D.C. Bike Ambassador program. The program’s goal is to establish WABA’s presence city-wide, to foster a positive impression of bicycling and bicyclists and to educate residents and local organizations about bike laws, roadway safety, and potential benefits of bicycling to individuals, families, workplaces, and communities.

The D.C. Bike Ambassador will promote WABA’s programs and the Bike Ambassadors’ core messaging, as well as coordinate volunteer Bike Ambassador outreach events, and help recruit local residents to become volunteer Ambassadors and attend WABA classes, programs, and events.

This position is part-time, 20 hours per week and compensation is $15 per hour.

Responsibilities

  • Coordinate and implement Bike Ambassador outreach, education, encouragement, and community organizing efforts for WABA city-wide.
  • Recruit and energize our team of volunteer D.C. Bike Ambassadors.
  • Lead one hour-long presentation on bicycling per month with a WABA community partner.
  • Distribute print resources to community members, such as D.C. bike maps, Quick Start Guides, D.C. Pocket Law Guides, Capital Bikeshare information, and WABA education and promotional materials.
  • Pull the WABA Bike Ambassador billboard trailer (7 hours per week).
  • Complete weekly administrative and reporting requirements.
  • Report to, communicate and coordinate regularly and effectively with supervisor about goals, planning and logistics, reporting, challenges and issues.

Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A strong commitment to WABA’s mission
  • Willingness and excitement to learn bicycling safety, traffic law, skills, and WABA’s bike encouragement philosophy.
  • Experience planning events and coordinating volunteers.
  • Excellent presentation and public speaking skills.
  • A flexible schedule and willingness to work evenings, and/or weekends.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office, Google Apps (Gmail, Calendar, Drive/Docs/Sheets, Forms), Facebook and Twitter.
  • The ability to pull a bicycle trailer weighing 10 lbs. for 1-3 hours.
  • The ability to lift at least 40 lbs.
  • Organized, good time management skills and ability to multi-task in a relaxed, fun environment.
  • Conversational fluency in Spanish strongly preferred.
  • League of American Cycling Instructor (LCI) certification a plus.

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With 6,500 members region-wide, WABA serves the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and communities in Maryland and Virginia.

To Apply

Send a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Bike Ambassador” in the subject line by Friday, July 22nd. 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.

What does the Monroe Street Bridge rehabilitation mean for the Metropolitan Branch Trail?

The Monroe Street Bridge in Brookland is in bad shape. Planning for the rehabilitation began a year and a half ago, and has been fast-tracked due to its crumbling condition. Emergency repairs have given the bridge a little more time but rehabilitation can’t wait any longer.

Monroe Street Bridge. Photo courtesy of Flickr user dbking (creative commons).

Monroe Street Bridge. Creative Commons usage, Flickr user dbking.

The Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT), a partially completed trail which will eventually connect Union Station to Silver Spring Maryland, is connected with this project. Or so we thought.

For years, advocates were told that the time for routing the trail under the bridge, through a tunnel behind the west abutment, would be when the Monroe Street Bridge was ready to be rehabilitated. The time for bridge rehabilitation has come. But the tunnel for the trail is off the table.

We’re disappointed that this alignment is not moving forward. Let’s take a look at what happened.

DDOT engineer Ali Shakeri, P.E. reported that the team looked at several different options, including initial exploration into a tunnel for the MBT behind the bridge abutment. That option, which is defined as A1 and presented at the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Brookland Alignment Options Public Meeting in 2004, is now off the table.

The DDOT engineering team assigned to the bridge rehabilitation says it’s because of the lack of right of way on the south side of the bridge. When design option A1 was presented in 2004, the lot at the corner of 8th Street and Monroe Street NE on the south side of the bridge was a “wooded lot.” Since then, it has been developed, and the trail right of way was not secured beforehand. The engineering lead says that if the right of way was secured before that building was constructed, then the tunnel beneath the Monroe Street Bridge would have been a possible option. But with the current set up, the trail alignment beneath the bridge is not going to happen because there is not enough space between the buildings and tracks.

As long as the building is within their property line, DDOT should have asked for the easement before the construction happened. That didn’t happen. Now the buildings are built and the alignment is much more difficult.

Another challenge to aligning the trail under the bridge is the west abutment. It isn’t going to be replaced (they will fix the piers, but the abutments will not be improved). The engineering team determined that the abutment is still in fine shape and leaving the abutment will save a significant amount of money. The engineering team also clarified that when the A1 alignment was presented, it was simply an idea, and that full engineering was not completed on it.

But the abutment is in the way of the proposed alignment, and its presence, along with the lack of right of way on the south end of the bridge, means that DDOT has ruled out a tunnel beneath the bridge as a viable option.

While DDOT has taken advantage of opportunities to close the gaps in the trail by working with developers to follow the plan and build trail segments on either side of the Monroe Street Bridge, the decision to nix option A1 is hugely frustrating to many trail advocates. The bridge rehabilitation seemed like a golden opportunity for a grade separated crossing. Now, after all these years of waiting, the bridge is finally getting its due attention, the trail is not included, and we are stuck with an at-grade crossing of Monroe Street.

We’re disappointed that option A1- the is not moving forward. This represents a loss for the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

So what’s the proposed solution? The scope of the bridge rehabilitation does include the installation of a traffic signal at 8th and Monroe Streets. In its current condition, this intersection is unsafe for trail users. When waiting to cross Monroe Street at 8th Street, it is difficult to see westbound traffic coming over the Monroe Street Bridge. Left-turning (southbound) vehicles make many bicyclists waiting on 8th Street to cross Monroe Street feel unsafe. Additionally, the crosswalk is not aligned with the northbound lane on 8th Street, presenting cyclists with a less-than-ideal choice about where to situate themselves to cross Monroe Street.

Clearly the intersection needs major help, and in light of the tunnel being off the table, we know that trail users need a well-engineered intersection that puts the safety of the most vulnerable users (including bicyclists) first.

What does that look like on the ground? Features like:

Dedicated bike signals
Bike Boxes on 8th St. NE
Separated green lanes through the intersection
Raised crosswalks
Design features to slow westbound traffic on Monroe, coming over the bridge
Signal Detection and Actuation
Addition of an ADA compliant ramp

(Many of these design elements are also included in a protected intersection.)

Blueprint of a protected intersection

Blueprint of a protected intersection, courtesy of Nick Falbo.

We are still waiting for the intersection designs, but we want to hear from you- What would it take for you to feel completely safe at the intersection of 8th and Monroe Streets NE? What have you seen work in other places? Take this quick survey and share your ideas with us.