WABA in the Wild was AWESOME!

A few weeks ago, we held our very first WABA in the Wild, a three and a half day bike tour and camping trip from Cumberland, Maryland at one end of the C&O Canal Trail to Georgetown, Washington, DC at the other end of the C&O Canal Trail.

Riders in Cumberland

A wet but happy start in Cumberland, MD

Simply put, WABA in the Wild was epic.

Take a look at the adventure below and read on to hear what a few ride participants had to say about their experience. Plus, this event was a peer-to-peer fundraiser ride that raised raised almost $14,000 for WABA! A huge thank you and props to all of our WABA in the Wild riders.

Here’s what people said about the trip:

Waba in the Wild was an incredible experience for more reasons than I even anticipated.The ride itself was an extraordinary immersion in nature and cycling all day; the WABA crew was amazingly hospitable and thought every detail through, allowing us to just ride, make friends and marvel at the scenery; and I got to try a short bike tour with all the logistics taken care of- and instead of paying a tour company, I got to raise money for an organization that directly makes me safer and happier on my bike.

I’m so happy WABA decided to organize this trip because I’ve wanted to bike the entire C&O canal for years but was having trouble with logistics. WABA arranged everything seamlessly and gave me the opportunity to do this not just for myself and my own achievement but also to raise money to support making biking safer. I learned so much about what I can do in my community, it was so inspiring!

Favorite parts of the event for me were the camaraderie and moments to ride and chat with both the riders and the WABA crew; Camping, campfire and camp meals; Learning more about the WABA mission and goals. Lastly, being completely consumed in the event from start to finish.

I am still basking in the WABA in the Wild afterglow! I’ll start by expressing my appreciation for the way you handled the logistics for this event. The guidance you provided in advance of the trip from fundraising through packing lists and daily schedules were thorough and immensely helpful. I felt a part of the WABA team in reaching the goals and from wheels up at Walter Pierce Park I also felt that friendships were formed among the WABA crew and all of the riders. I feel a connection to everyone who participated. There are many challenges presented in riding and camping the C&0 canal. Conditioning, hydration, nutrition, recovery are all a part of what each rider has to do. WABA injected massive amounts of fun into every aspect of this adventure. I truly felt like i was being taken care of throughout. WABA in the Wild was a memorable experience. Thank you!

Interested in WABA in the Wild 2017?!

Like what you hear? Are you up for the challenge? Join us for WABA in the Wild in 2017!

If you’d like to be the first to know about when information and adventure dates are available for the 2017 event, and to find out when registration opens, sign up for the WABA in the Wild C&O Canal Tour interest email list here.

November Advocacy Roundup

Mayor Bowser Signs the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act.

Mayor Bowser Signs the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act.

Bike Laws and Policies

Mayor Bowser Signed the Contributory Negligence Bill

On October 13, Mayor Bowser, Councilmembers Mary Cheh, David Grosso, and Elissa Silverman, DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo, and some of our favorite WABA members joined us for a very special member Happy Hour—to witness and celebrate the public signing of the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act.

Read more…

Oversight Roundtable on the Provision of 911 Services in DC

The DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary held a public oversight roundtable to examine the provision of  911 services in the District. WABA submitted testimony raising ongoing concerns about the dispatch system’s ability to respond to emergencies reported from bike trails.

Read our full testimony here.

Low-Stress Bike Network

Capital Trails Coalition Goes Public

The announcement ceremony for the Capital Trails Coalition, of which WABA is a founding member, was held October 13th. Speakers included Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va), multiple National Park Service leaders, a representative from REI, and transportation leaders from Maryland and DC, who lauded the collaboration the Coalition is fostering to connect the region’s trail network.

Read more…

Bethesda Downtown Master Plan

Montgomery County Council held a final round of hearings on the updated Bethesda Downtown Master Plan. The plan is a long term guide to future land use, parks and transportation, and includes an impressive network of protected bike lanes, trail access improvements, and standard bike lanes.

Read our full testimony here.

Public Scoping for North George Washington Memorial Parkway

The National Park service is in the early stages of an Environmental Assessment for reconstruction of a significant portion of the northern George Washington Parkway. This is an important opportunity to consider how the parkway and the land around it could better accommodate and ensure the safety of people biking and walking.

Read our full comments here.

Long Bridge Study Phase II

DDOT is exploring options to replace the century-old Long Bridge, which carries freight and passenger rail from Northern Virginia into downtown DC. Though the study’s scope is currently focused only on expanding the number of railroad tracks across the Potomac river, we made the case for including a high quality bike and pedestrian trail on the new bridge.

Read our full comments here.

15th St. NW protected bike lane extension

DDOT just finished work on a short extension to the 15th St. protected bike lane, including a terrific fix for what was a dangerous intersection.

Read more…

Georgetown Boathouse Zone Environmental Assessment

National Park Service  is examining sites along the Georgetown waterfront for development of a number of boathouses near the southern terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail. The project will affect bicycle traffic in and around that area. The timing of the project aligns with work that DDOT and Georgetown BID are doing to improve the K/Water Street corridor, which includes a protected bike lane to connect the Capital Crescent Trail with the Rock Creek Park Trail.

Read our full comments here.

Oxon Cove Hiker-Biker Trail Environmental Assessment

National Park Service, in cooperation with DDOT, is proposing to construct a multi-use hiker-biker trail in Oxon Cove Park in SE DC. We urged the agencies to create a seamless connection between the future South Capitol Street Trail and the proposed new trail.

Read our full comments here.

Trainings and Resources

Virginia Advocacy Training

Want to learn how to be an effective bike advocate in Virginia? Register for the Virginia Advocacy training, which will take place on Saturday, November 19th.

Read more…

Traffic Calming 101

Traffic calming is a term used to refer to the variety of strategies traffic planners employ to make streets safer for vulnerable users— like pedestrians, bicyclists, children, the elderly, and the mobility-impaired. But what does it mean, exactly?

Read more…

WABA in the News

Advocacy Behind the Scenes

Photo credit brixton under Creative Commons

A big part of successful advocacy is simply paying attention. The bureaucratic processes that bring about change are often slow, and can start quietly. Our team of advocacy staff and network of volunteers are always on the lookout for opportunities to have an impact, even if it takes a while. We work to make sure that better biking is part of the conversation from the beginning, not an afterthought.

If you subscribe to our advocacy action alerts, you know that we sometimes ask you to share your thoughts with a decisionmaker about the value of bike friendly infrastructure, laws and policy. Those action alerts are only one of many tools in an advocacy toolbox, and usually not the first one we reach for.

Often, a simple letter can start a project on the right path. Here are some of WABA’s comments and testimony from the past few months.

Georgetown Boathouse Zone EA

National Park Service (NPS) is examining sites along the Georgetown waterfront near the southern terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) for development a series of boathouses that would cater to non-motorized boating (including rowing, paddling and stand-up paddle boarding). The project affects bicycle traffic in and around the area. NPS acknowledges that “the current configuration of the CCT and its connection to Georgetown do not provide safe and compatible access for pedestrians and cyclists with motorized vehicles to and through the Zone.”

The timing of the EA aligns with work that DDOT and Georgetown BID are doing to improve the K/Water Street corridor, which includes a protected bike lane to connect the CCT with the Rock Creek Park Trail.

Read our full comments here.

Oxon Cove Hiker-Biker Trail EA

NPS, in cooperation with DDOT, proposes to construct a multi-use hiker-biker trail in Oxon Cove Park. In our comments we recommend a seamless connection between the future South Capitol Street Trail and the proposed new trail. We also note that the Oxon Hill Farm Trail (which begins just off of South Capitol St and continues south into Oxon Cove Park) is in poor shape. This vital connection is functionally unusable to many because it lacks bridges and the trail is poorly maintained.

Read our full comments here.

Public Scoping for North George Washington Memorial Parkway EA

The National Park service is in the early stages of an Environmental Assessment for reconstruction of a significant portion of the northern George Washington Parkway. This is an important opportunity to consider how the parkway and the land around it could better accommodate and ensure the safety of people biking and walking.

Read our full comments here.

Long Bridge Phase II

DDOT is exploring options to replace the century-old Long Bridge, which carries freight and passenger rail from Northern Virginia into downtown DC. Though the study’s scope is currently focussed only on expanding the number of railroad tracks across the Potomac river, we make the case for including a high quality bike and pedestrian trail on the new bridge.

Read our full comments here.

Bethesda Downtown Master Plan

In October, Montgomery County Council held a final round of hearings on the updated Bethesda Downtown Master Plan. The plan is a long term guide to future density, land use, parks and transportation, and includes an impressive Bethesda bicycle network of protected bike lanes, trail access improvements, and standard bike lanes. Joe Allen, Co-Chair of our Montgomery County Action Committee, delivered WABA’s testimony at the hearing.

Read our full testimony here.

Roundtable on the Provision of 911 Services in DC

The DC Council’s Judiciary Committee held a roundtable to discuss 911 services. WABA submitted testimony raising ongoing concerns about the limitations of DC’s 911 dispatch system which delay or prevent emergency response to emergencies on off-street trails.

Read our full testimony here.

 Photo: brixton on Flickr

“Who knew I would get a PhD before learning to ride a bike?”

Did you know that WABA offers classes to teach adults how to ride a bike? The classes are only 3 hours long and are offered almost every weekend in the spring and fall, in different locations throughout the region. You can view the schedule of remaining classes by here. If none of those classes work for your schedule, Sign up for updates on our 2017 class schedule.

Sign Up

Please send me updates about:








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Nervous about signing up for a class? Each class is taught by instructors that have been certified by the League of American Bicyclists. In addition, each instructor has gone through additional training in our nationally acclaimed approach to Learn to Ride classes. Here’s recent success story:

Who knew I would get a PhD before learning to ride a bike? There was always an excuse… I grew up on a hill in the country without access to a bike… I was traveling… I saw too many people get hit by cars to want to ride a bike. And then I felt too old, every time a man asked me on a date to go bike riding I would make up an excuse. Finally, at 33, on a beautiful Sunday I joined WABA for an adult bike riding class. We all trickled in nervously, as if not knowing how to ride a bike was shameful and a secret we’ve carried for years. The instructors were kind and enthusiastic and people started talking and making jokes. I decided there and then this was the day I was going to learn! My new friend Greg and I posted up at the end of the line, under the excellent instruction of Jeff, a kind older man who reminded me of my magnificent hippie parents. He taught us how to glide, we laughed through the awkwardness. We gradually got pedals for practice, and then got a taste for speed. By the end of the three hours I was weaving through the obstacle course, wanted to buy a bike, take new classes and become part of the club. Two new friends from class and I walked to brunch and talked about how excited we were. It felt like the first day of camp (in a great way). While I am still afraid of hills and cars I am excited for the next step. Thank you WABA – I encourage everyone to go out and give it a whirl!

So far this year we’ve taught more than 500 adults how to ride a bike. You can already ride a bike? Can your friend or neighbor or colleague? Wouldn’t it be great to go ride bikes together on the weekend? Send them to WABA—one of the ways we work to make bicycling better in the region is by putting more people on bikes in the first place!

 

Traffic Calming 101

In an earlier blog, we discussed some possible ways that Vision Zero may affect DC streets. Traffic calming is one of the tools for making streets safer for our most vulnerable users, like pedestrians, bicyclists, children, the elderly, and the mobility-impaired.

Our roads are designed by traffic engineers. They tend to use the same standards that they use to design highways, even though neighborhood roads are used by a variety of users. When roads are “overbuilt” (ie: have more lanes than necessary, or wider lanes) they send signals to drivers that it’s okay to drive much faster than the posted speed limit. This is a design problem that can be addressed by the traffic calming measures discussed below.

According to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, reducing vehicle speeds, also called “traffic calming,” makes a big difference in serious injuries and traffic fatalities. When a person is struck by a car traveling at 15 mph, the risk of death is less than 5%. At 25 mph, the risk of death more than doubles to 12%. And if a person is struck by a car traveling at 45mp, the risk of death is 60%! Slowing down traffic can greatly reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury for vulnerable road users.

According to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, traffic calming is the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for non-motorized street users.

Traffic calming is the deliberate slowing down of traffic through neighborhoods by building speed bumps or other obstructions. Traffic calming helps to reduce crashes and increases the safety and convenience of pedestrians and other non-motorized vehicles. Neighborhood Streets Network noted traffic calming measures can also give children more space to play, decrease noise pollution and improve the scenery.  

This week, I’ll discuss some traffic calming measures suggested by the Project for Public Spaces you have probably seen in and around DC.

Road Diet

road diet

In road diet, planners and engineers reduce the number of lanes, or width of existing lanes, on the street. This is usually done by creating a separate space for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel. Road diets help reduce crashes by separating bicyclists from cars with physical barriers, making everyone’s commute better.

To learn more, check out this 2 minute video, which shows how planners can redesign a roadway.

Protected Bike Lanes

15th St. protected bike lane extension

Protected bike lanes visually reduce the width of the roads which can reduce drivers’ speed and separate bicyclists from cars by using curbs, planters, or posts.  Protected bike lanes increase safety for bicyclists and encourage new riders to travel for shorter trips, which reduces traffic on the roadways.  

Curb Extensions

A curb extension in Montreal.

A curb extension in Montreal. Photo by Gerald Fittipaldi on Flickr.

Curb extensions physically and visually narrow the roadway without reducing the roadway capacity.  Curb extensions force drivers to be more attentive and drive closer to the speed limit since they lower the design speed of a road. Curb extensions increase pedestrian visibility while decreasing the amount of time it takes to cross the roadway.

Roundabouts

roundabouts-1

Roundabouts are large, raised, circular islands at major intersections. Because the road narrows as a cars approach a roundabout, drivers tend to slow down. Roundabouts help to calm traffic by creating a steady flow of traffic. Since all drivers are traveling in the same direction and at a slower speed, crashes are less severe. Roundabouts are also safer for pedestrians and bicyclists because they only have to cross traffic coming in one direction and the distance is shorter than a typical intersection.

These are just a few of the traffic calming measures that can be used in a city. They each help slow down drivers, which can reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries, join us for our community workshop:

Sunday, November 20th
1pm- 4pm
Dorothy Height Library
3935 Benning Rd. NE Washington,  D.C.  20019  

 

Register for the Nov 19 Virginia Advocacy 101 Training

advocacy on a map

Want to learn how to be an effective bike advocate? Register for our Virginia Advocacy 101 training on Saturday, November 19th.

What: The training, led by WABA’s advocacy team, is for Virginia folks interested in making their community more bike-friendly. We’ll explore how decisions are made in Virginia, and dive into some of the fundamental tools and approaches to influencing those decisions to make our communities more bike-friendly.

When: 10:30 am – 2:00 pm

Where: Westover Branch Library 1644 N McKinley Rd Arlington, VA

Why: You have an idea that will make it easier and safer to bike in your community and want to learn how to make it happen.

Whether it’s restriping a bike lane or trimming a bush to improve sight lines; getting a new protected bike lane, lighting a dark stretch of trail, improving an intersection or changing a city policy, coming up with great ideas to improve biking in your community is usually not the challenge; Getting a solution implemented is.  And that’s what effective advocacy is all about.

While parts of the region have made great strides recently, we have  a long way to go. That’s what we work towards every day. And while pushing for a great solution can be challenging, anyone can be an effective bicycle advocate— and a little training can help a lot.

Register Here

Breakfast and light snacks will be provided. Registration is free and open to all. No advocacy background or experience required.

Questions? Contact Garrett Hennigan at garrett.hennigan@waba.org or 202-518-0524

Arlington Celebrates Niños y Bicis 

If you missed Escuela Key (Key School)’s Fall Fiesta in October, you’re not going to like this blog post, because it was fantastic!

Hundreds of happy kids were there dancing to music, bouncing on trampolines, eating plates of food from an exceptionally international spread, and riding in the school’s second annual Bike Rodeo. 

The Bike Rodeo was organized by Melissa Dalio, a bicyclist and exercise physiologist who specializes metabolic testing. She’s a mother of six, the youngest of which, Eleanor, is a second grader at Key. Melissa’s rodeo was an obstacle course on a parking lot designed to let kids have fun as well as to challenge them to learn new skills on two wheels. She also incorporated safety elements such as a crosswalk–complete with little chalk pedestrians–to practice stopping and yielding.

Melissa reckons that parents were surprised to see how much their kids liked riding bikes. Some of the kids, she said, started off a bit wobbly, but were riding comfortable within an hour. 

Melissa is a supporter of universal bike education in schools, and says that “we become what we surround ourselves with.” In that spirit she would like to see her community become more healthy and fit-minded while encouraging kids to get out and pursue fitness by biking. Reminding kids to be Predictable, Alert, and Lawful, teaches them valuable lessons that they will carry on into adulthood and help keep the streets safe.

Remember, whether you’re walking, biking, or driving, it’s easy to #BEaPAL

Future PAL Volunteer Opportunities:

November 17th Block Party – Once a month, the PALs get outreachy on Arlington streets. We spread the #BEaPAL message through creative events all over the County. Join us, won’t you? All are welcome!

December 7th Pizza Party – Come out and join your PALs to plan over pizza! Every month we get together to brainstorm and scheme up future outreach ideas. These planning sessions are a great, low-commitment way to get involved for the first time. Plus free pizza. All are welcome!