Strong Women of the Future

WABA’s youth education team recently spent several hours with a girls empowerment group at Capital City PCS on a cool early spring day.  We worked in a safe, paved, off road space at the school to build confidence and skills. Starting from how to properly fit and adjust a helmet, we progressed through checking the bike for basic mechanical issues to combining more advanced looking and braking skills to successfully navigate the chaos box without a crash.

With increased confidence from skills development, we then went on two short rides of about two miles each out into the community.  When told how far we had gone, the group of 6th-8th graders were amazed at how far they were able to carry themselves on their bikes.  They were excited about the opportunities and freedom presented by traveling by bike and not having to rely on parents to drive them or what bus transfer they would need to take to get to a friends house. Watch for them to pedal on by headed to great things.

 

Capital City PCS Young Women on Bikes

Budget cuts in Montgomery County will hurt trails

Trails in Montgomery County need your voice- ASAP!

The County Executive’s budget recommends a $4.3 million decrease from the Planning Board’s proposed budget. Yikes.

This means that Montgomery County wouldn’t be able to maintain and repair major portions of our trail system. That is not OK.

Tell Montgomery County Council to restore funding for Montgomery Parks in the County’s FY18 budget! Email county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov or the councilmembers individual email addresses, which are listed here.

We’re racing the clock on this one, so get your comment in by tomorrow, May 16.

Don’t know what exactly to say? Here is some sample content: http://www.montgomeryparks.org/uploads/2017/05/Advocate-for-Montgomery-Parks.pdf

The Parks Department has found a way to absorb $2.6 million through careful belt tightening or through other funding sources. However, the department still needs $1.7 million of this funding request restored to continue to provide quality services for those who ride!

Find more information and contact Montgomery County Council, here: http://www.montgomeryparks.org/support/advocacy/

Will you take action to ensure Montgomery Parks has the resources to take care of the trails we love?

Make New York Avenue 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 for the corridor from Florida Ave east to Bladensburg Road NE. And they want your input!

The goal of the New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project is to improve pedestrian and cyclist connections and safety along New York Avenue. DDOT is accepting comments on the concepts until May 17.

Find more info, and take their survey here: newyorkavenueproject.com/


Here’s our take on what’s good, and what can be improved.

What is the scope of the project?

The project includes New York Ave and some of the neighborhoods to the south from Florida Avenue NE east to Bladensburg Road NE.

What improvements are being proposed?

The most exciting part of the study are the proposed concepts in Segment 2. Four concepts are outlined in that segment:

  • Concept 1: Raised cycletrack (2-way protected bike lane) on the north side of NY Ave, with sidewalks on both sides
  • Concept 2: Shared use path on the north side of New York Ave, with a wide sidewalk on the south side
  • Concept 3: Cycletrack on the south side of New York Ave, with a small sidewalk on the north side
  • Concept 4: Sidewalks only, with no bicycle accommodations on NY Ave, with proposed neighborhood routes instead.

Which concept is best for people who bike?

We encourage you to look at each of the concepts to decide for yourself what’s best, but here are some pros and cons to each concept:

Concept 1

  • Pro: Modes are separated, so bicyclists and walkers don’t need to share a sidewalk or trail. This reduces user conflict. Because the cycletrack is on the north side of New York Ave, there would be fewer interruptions by cars turning into businesses and roads on the south side. This means less interactions with cars than concept 3.
  • Con: Bicyclists would need to cross New York Ave to get to the south side of the street. This could be done at signalized intersections (Segment 3 shows what those intersections could look like), but might be less convenient for getting to the businesses and neighborhood streets along the corridor.

Concept 2

  • Pro: Because the trail is on the north side of New York Ave, there would be fewer interruptions by cars turning into businesses and roads on the south side. This means less interactions with cars than concept 3.
  • Con: Having bicyclists mix with pedestrians on a shared use path could mean more interactions (and possibly conflicts) between users, as compared to a sidewalk and cycletrack, like concepts 1 and 3. Bicyclists would need to cross New York Ave to get to the south side of the street. This could be done at signalized intersections, but might be less convenient for getting to the businesses and neighborhoods along the corridor.

Concept 3

  • Pro: Bicyclists would be closer to the businesses and neighborhoods along the corridor, because the cycletrack is on the south side. Bicyclists and pedestrians would be separated, reducing user conflict.
  • Con: The entire roadway would need to be shifted to the north in this concept. That would be incredibly expensive! There would be more exposure to turning cars, as drivers would come off of New York Ave and cross the cycletrack as they turned into the driveways and streets to the south. Segment 3 shows what those crossings could look like.

Concept 4

  • Pro: The neighborhoods south of New York Ave would get bicycle infrastructure. You can see those improvements here.
  • Con: No bicycle accommodations would be added to New York Ave itself. The corridor would remain an unfriendly route for bicyclists.

Give feedback to DDOT before May 17 via this survey: https://www.newyorkavenueproject.com/interactive-survey/

What’s missing?

While DDOT presents some promising concepts for Segment 2, there is much to be desired about the other segments.

Segment 1 Florida Ave to 4th St. NE: On the west end of the project, people walking and biking would reach Florida Ave and possibly the Metropolitan Branch Trail via the unmodified New York Ave Bridge. Unfortunately, this solution all but ignores the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians. The proposed plan would encourage bicyclists to use the north side sidewalk of the New York Ave bridge and pedestrians the south. But, these sidewalks are just 5 feet wide between two railings and will not safely handle two-way bicycle traffic or safely mix pedestrians and bicyclists. Furthermore, major changes are needed to the New York and Florida Ave intersection to create safe access to the bridge. In its current configuration, the bridge is not suitable for people on bikes.

How could this segment be improved?

  • It’s not OK to give bicyclists the scraps from the bottom of the barrel. People on bikes need more space on the New York Ave bridge, and if we are encouraged to use the north side, we need a safe way to get there.
  • At the bridge, while the bicyclists get squeezed to a too-small and inaccessible sidewalk, New York Ave widens from 71 feet to 82 feet across and driving lanes lanes widen from 11 feet to 12 and 13 feet with a generous median. Though expensive, this extra road space could be repurposed to widen the sidewalks.

Segment 3 – Montana Ave Intersection: The intersection of New York Ave and Montana Ave NE is tough to navigate by ANY mode, but is especially daunting for those on bike or foot.

How could this segment be improved?

  • Ask DDOT to include more safety improvements into the design for this intersection. DDOT should remove slip lanes, which encourage high speed vehicle turns, widen medians, and reduce the number of lanes entering the circle. While they are nice amenities, public art and green infrastructure are not enough, and do not make bicyclists and pedestrians safer from vehicles.

Segment 3- Bladensburg Road Intersection: The intersection of New York Ave and Bladensburg Rd. NE is dangerous. In fact, it ranks among DDOT’s Top 10 most dangerous intersections in the District based on crash data. The recommendations within the New York Ave Streetscape and Trail Project don’t go nearly far enough to address the safety concerns at that intersection.

How could this segment be improved?

  • DDOT has a list of recommendations generated from Vision Zero site visits. Encourage DDOT to implement those recommendations at this intersection.

 Give feedback to DDOT before May 17 via this survey: https://www.newyorkavenueproject.com/interactive-survey/

What’s the story with the abandoned railroad bridge concept?

After DDOT’s February meeting, they integrated a trail concept that uses two old railroad bridges- one that crosses New York Ave and one that crosses Montana Ave. (You can see that trail in Segment 3.)While this concept has the possibility of providing a car-free route north of New York Ave, the feasibility is unknown, and challenges listed in the segment profile are not promising (private railroad bridge ownership, cost of railroad bridge rehabilitation, etc.).

How could this segment be improved?

  • Encourage DDOT to show another option for bicyclists, in case the old railroad bridge concept isn’t feasible.

How can I give feedback to DDOT?

Take DDOT’s survey (https://www.newyorkavenueproject.com/interactive-survey/) by Wednesday May 17.

If you’d like to share your thoughts with WABA’s advocacy team, you can email us at advocacy@waba.org.

Daydreaming about stress free bikey goodness? We are too.

 

Can’t wait for Bike to Work Day?

Daydreaming about stress free bikey goodness? We are too.

Here’s our suggestion: sign up for DC Bike Ride!

What’s DC Bike Ride? It’s a huge bike ride event on Sunday, May 14th with monumental views and a finish line festival.

Here are five reasons why you’ve got to sign up for DC Bike Ride:

  1. Car-free, stress-free, wide open roads to ride your bike.
  2. Music. Fun. Entertainment. DJ BIZ MARKIE! Batalá! Dupont Brass Band!
  3. A good reason to tune your bike (or test out your new ride) before your big BTWD commute.
  4. Don’t miss out: all your friends and fellow bike commuters will be there having the time of their lives.
  5. It raises funds to support our important Vision Zero advocacy work.

You can learn more about WABA’s Vision Zero advocacy work here.

Sign up » 

Check out a few of our favorite photos from the inaugural DC Bike Ride last May below:

WABA is a DC Bike Ride Founding Partner. 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.

We really, really hope you will sign up for DC Bike Ride and join us for this spectacular event. And don’t forget to sign up for Bike to Work Day: especially if you bike every day. This is the one day of the year to be counted (literally). Have a great Bike to Work Day.

Riding with younger folks

Looking to inspire the next generation of bicyclists? Or just get the next generation of bicyclists to dance class without having to hunt for a parking space?

We’ve got a number of youth and family biking events coming up, check them out!

How to Teach a Youth Learn to Ride Class

May 8, 6:00 PM
WABA Offices.
Have you wanted to teach your PE class or Girl Scout Troop how to ride bikes safely and confidently in the city? Come join members of WABAs education team for a two hour course on what you need to know to teach a group of young people how to ride. We will cover curriculum, common challenges, and provide you with the information you need to succeed.
Join Us

Be a Bike Camp! Counselor

WABA is looking for 2 Camp Counselors and 1 Lead Camp Counselor with a love of riding bikes, experience with youth, and exuberance to spare.
Apply Now

And we’ve got just a few camper spots left in the July sessions of Bike Camp!
July 10-14 and July 17-21
KIPP DC Shaw Campus, 421 P St NW.
Skills, confidence, and the freedom of two wheels. Only two weeks in July still available, register now!
Details

Bike to School Day

May 10
Your school!
It’s time again for the annual Bike To School Day Competition. National Bike to School Day is Wednesday, May 10th.  For the last four years, DDOT and DCPS have sponsored a competition: the school with the highest percentage of students riding to school on that day wins the coveted golden bicycle trophy to proudly display for a year.
Register

Family City Cycling

Riding with kids can be a lot of fun, but it comes with some extra considerations. Join us for a City Cycling class that’s specifically focused on riding with kids! We’ll help you ride more comfortably and confidently without getting melted popsicle goop all over your brake levers. No matter your skill level, you’ll improve your abilities on two (or more) wheels.

First ride in a trailer

Parent Powered Family Bicycling Class

May 7, 9:30 AM
Anacostia Park 1500 Anacostia Dr. SE, Washington, DC

This class is designed for parents carrying kids on a bike or in a trailer.
Register here

learning bike handling skills

Youth Powered Family Bicycling Class

May 27, 9:30 AM
Anacostia Park 1500 Anacostia Dr. SE, Washington, DC

This class is designed for parents riding with kids who are pedaling their own bikes.
Register here

Help grow the DC bike network: attend a public meeting!

May is Bike Month, so if you are not spending your evenings riding a bike, check out a community meeting and show your support for projects that make bicycling better!

Here are some upcoming meetings in DC:

Grant Circle Community Meeting
Tuesday, May 2 6:30 – 8 pm
EL Haynes Public Charter School | 4501 Kansas Avenue NW

DDOT is hosting a meeting to discuss possible safety improvements for Grant Circle in Petworth. At the meeting, residents are invited to provide feedback on draft concepts, data, and analysis. Grant Circle is an obvious candidate for a lane reduction, raised crosswalks, curb extensions and protected bike lanes. Many of these options were direct recommendations of the Rock Creek East II Livability Study (pdf), completed last year. Click here for more information on the meeting.

DC Bicycle Advisory Council
Wednesday, May 3  6 – 8 pm
On Judiciary Square | 441 4th St NW, Room 1112

Attend the May BAC Meeting to learn about some emerging long term projects. Agenda here.

NoMa Bicycle Network Study, Public Workshop
Thursday, May 4 | 6 – 8 pm
Lobby | 1200 First Street NE

DDOT planners are taking a close look at the future bicycle network that will connect people who bike from NoMa to Mount Vernon Square. Come provide feedback on existing conditions for cycling through and from the study area. The project study area is from 6th Street, NW to 6th Street, NE between N Street NW and K Street NW. Priority corridors within the study area for consideration include K, L, and M Streets; 4th and 6th Streets NW/NE; and New Jersey Avenue. Click here to learn more.

Long Bridge Project Open House
Tuesday, May 16 | 4 – 7 pm
L’Enfant Plaza Club Room | 470 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Presentations at 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm.

Now over one hundred years old, the Long Bridge carries trains from SW DC to Arlington. Sometime soon, it will need substantial rehabilitation or replacement. Initial concepts included a new bridge with additional train tracks and a multi-use trail connecting the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail to the Mount Vernon Trail and Long Bridge Park. Attend the informational meeting to review and comment on the preliminary concept screening results for the Long Bridge Project and help us ensure that any new bridge includes more options for crossing the Potomac and connecting the region’s trails by bike. Click here for more information about the meeting, including detailed directions to the meeting room.