Can we have a protected bike lane yet?

Ten percent of all trips originating in the Shaw neighborhood are by bicycle. That is more than double the average bicycle mode share for the District. Yet, the best corridors for getting to destinations north and south of Shaw are streets with multiple lanes, high speeds, and aggressive driving. Safe places for people to bike are sorely needed throughout the city, and Shaw is no exception. And when streets are safe for bicyclists, they are safer for pedestrians and motorists.

Last year, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) went through a lengthy public comment process to select a preferred alternative out of four possible streets for a protected north/south bike lane through Shaw. Thousands of citizens participated, and the majority spoke up in favor of bike lanes on 6th or 9th streets NW.

According to the project timeline, a preferred alternative for this project was supposed to have been selected a full year ago— in April 2016. In February 2017, fully ten months past that deadline, DDOT announced that, rather than selecting just one of the alternatives, they were moving two alternatives to 30% design, a process that it says could take up to 9 months. Final design and construction of the selected alternative could take another 12 to 18 months.

Take Action

DC is a city that has committed to completely eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries, all while increasing the number of people who walk, bike and take transit, and accommodating an influx of 800+ new residents every month who need transit options other than their personal automobiles to get around. Yet important projects like this one, which would help accomplish all of those goals, are being slow-walked to the finish line, if not in danger of being scrapped entirely.

In the time it has taken DDOT to issue a “final” report on the initial study, more than 19 people were hurt in crashes in the study area. (We don’t know the actual number because crash data has only been made publicly available through May of 2016). This is unacceptable. Can we wait until the Summer of 2019 for a safe route through Shaw?

Take Action

We need this project to be built on a faster timeline than what DDOT is projecting, or hundreds of other people could get hurt while the city delays. Or, we need DDOT to build both of the final alternatives currently moving to 30% design, not just one. Both 6th and 9th streets are dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. People need to travel to locations on both. A protected bike lane on 6th St may give bicyclists a safe place to ride, but doesn’t make 9th street easier for elementary school kids or senior citizens to cross, or calm traffic for neighbors, and vice versa.

Street calming and safe places to bicycle through Shaw will induce DC residents to take more of their trips and commutes by foot and bike. Making the streets more hospitable for pedestrians and bicyclists will help local businesses and improve health outcomes for residents. And, incidentally, it would help DDOT start to catch up on the five miles of protected bike lanes each year they need to build to meet their 20 year goals. (They have been nowhere near that target in the past three years.)

Tell Mayor Bowser: No more delays. Build protected bike lanes through Shaw. Build both final alternatives. Build them faster than currently planned.

Advocacy Training: Construction Permits, Bike Lanes, and Safe Accommodations

 

Tired of seeing bike lanes closed by construction?

You may have noticed . . . the bike lanes we’ve advocated so hard for over the years are frequently closed or unusable because of construction, road maintenance, and utility work.

DC law requires that when a bike lane is closed for construction, an equally safe accommodation, free of hazards and debris, must be provided. This has been the law since 2013. Unfortunately, we know from experience that violations occur around the city on a daily basis.

This has real consequences. Closing a bike lane— especially without warning— forces bicyclists to quickly merge into a shared traffic lane with motor vehicles, putting bicyclists in danger, upsetting drivers, and discouraging less confident bicyclists from riding at all.

The District is experiencing a construction boom with no end in sight. Bicycling is more popular than ever. It is essential that the city do all it can to keep bicyclists safe where construction impacts bike infrastructure. If the past 4 years are any indication, that won’t happen without advocacy.

Will you help?

On Wednesday, we’re hosting a training where you can learn more about the safe accommodations law, how to identify and report violations, and other ways to advocate for short and long term solutions to the problem.

Sign up here.

What: Advocacy training
Where: WABA headquarters: 2599 Ontario Rd NW, Washington DC 20009
Date: April 12, 2017
Time: 6:30PM – 8:30PM

Hope to see you there.

This weekend is going to be amazing.

Seriously! Look at this forecast:

So pack some sunscreen and do one (or several) of these SUPER FUN things:

Opening Day for Trails with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Saturday, April 8, 8:00 AM
Bluemont Park, Arlington.
This free, family-friendly event is a great way to explore your local trails, get outside and enjoy your community—plus, there will be giveaways, food and entertainment!

Sign up


Anacostia River Fest animation

Anacostia River Trail Cleanup

Saturday, April 8, 9:00 AM
Good Hope Dr SE and Anacostia Dr SE.
We’re joining Anacostia Riverkeeper in a massive cleanup of the Anacostia River Trail before the Anacostia River Festival. Join 200 of your new best friends in making the trail a cleaner place to be! Snacks and tools provided.

RSVP

Anacostia River Festival

Sunday April 9, 1:00 PM
Good Hope Dr SE and Anacostia Dr SE.
Come celebrate the Anacostia River, trails and community at the third annual Anacostia River Festival. This year’s theme is biking so there will be quick bike repair, helmet decoarting, free bike valet, and a big bike parade! Have time to lend a hand? We’re looking for a few more folks to help out!

VolunteerFestival Homepage


Rally Cry IPA Release Party

Sunday, April 9, 3:00 PM
REI DC
REI brewed this session IPA with our friends at Atlas Brew Works and DC Brau to celebrate the Capital Trails Coalition, an alliance of regional power players linking DC’s bike trails into a coherent network. Beer, gold sprint bike races, energizing eats, bike clinics, great music, giveaways. So come on down to the REI DC Flagship to raise a glass for better biking!

More info

Speak up for a bridge across the Patuxent River!

The Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Trail (WB&A) is a 12-mile rail trail in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel County. It’s a wonderful trail- except for one critical gap.

The trail has no connection over the Patuxent River. No bridge means the two segments of the trail are totally disconnected. It’s a critical gap that stands in the way of what could be an incredible trail experience.

But, with your help, that could change! Anne Arundel County has proposed a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the river. Please sign the petition to show your support!

Why is the connection important? With the bridge, the trail could connect communities on either side of the river to jobs, retail, parks, amenities, and much more.

Why is this significant, regionally? The WB&A Trail is not a stand-alone project. It’s an important piece of a handful of regional and national trails, including the East Coast Greenway, the American Discovery Trail, and the September 11th National Memorial Trail. It’s also a key spoke of a network being defined by the Capital Trails Coalition, a collaborative effort to connect the regional trail network in the Washington, DC region.

Where are we in the process? Anne Arundel County is considering three alternatives (a no-build alternative and two build alternatives) and accepting public comments. From that point, the county will move into the initial design of the bridge, which will allow the counties to pursue funding to complete the design work and construction.

Patuxent River bicycle and pedestrian bridge- Alternative #2

Patuxent River bicycle and pedestrian bridge- Alternative #3

What are the two build alternatives? There is a northern and a southern option.

Alternative #2 is the northern option. It is the shortest distance and the most direct route. During the initial assessment, the County noted this alternative will have the least negative environmental impact, although the approach to the bridge will be a bit steeper than Alternative #3.

Alternative #3 uses a previously cleared segment on the Anne Arundel County side of the river, and would include building a longer section of trail to approach the bridge. The bridge would cross into Prince George’s County a bit further south than Alternative #2. The County anticipates a larger environmental impact, and would require that easements from an adjacent homeowners’ association be secured. Both of these factors could slow the process down.

How else can I take action? WABA will submit the petition signatures to Anne Arundel County before the deadline, but if you’d like to dive deeper with your comments, you’re welcome to send your thoughts directly to the county, using this form.

When is the deadline for submitting comments? The deadline is April 17.

Did you know? The WB&A Trail is one of WABA’s advocacy priorities. You can learn more about our continuing work on the development of the trail here.

Tour de Fat is coming to DC on July 22!

We have a very exciting announcement to make: New Belgium Brewing’s “Fat Tire Presents the Tour de Fat” is coming to Washington, DC on July 22!

The traveling philanthropic beer, music and bike festival is a great fundraising opportunity for WABA. You should come! This super fun event helps us fund our bicycle advocacy and outreach efforts.

Vintage Trouble will headline the DC show, along with costumes, cirque performers, and lots of fun. This year, the event will be ticketed and tickets are available in advance online.

About the Tour de Fat:

Date: Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Time: 4:00pm to 9:00 pm

Where: 136 N St SE, Washington, DC

Tickets: Purchase tickets from New Belgium here.

For more information about the event, check out New Belgium’s Tour de Fat event page!

Proceeds from beer sales at Tour de Fat are donated to local bicycle non-profits: WABA, Black Women Bike DC, Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, Phoenix Bikes, and Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling. We hope you will come dance, celebrate, have a blast, and drink a beer with us. See you on July 22nd!

Purchase Tickets

Meet Ashley, the new Arlington PAL Ambassador Coordinator!

Ashley Blue

Hello PALs! I’m so excited to be the new PAL Ambassador program coordinator. Spring is in the air and as we all know, Arlingtonians will be out and about. Let’s go remind them to be Predictable, Alert and Lawful!

While I’ve been biking since I was a kid, I really embraced it as a new way to explore in Alexandria. Biking made me feel so much more connected to the world around me than I had before. I started biking everywhere – the grocery store, friend’s places…I couldn’t get enough!

The most enriching part of my newfound love was becoming a part of such a fun, supportive community of cyclists. As I started attending Women & Bicycles events and local community rides, I really found a sense of belonging in my new city.

I then moved to Arlington where I began getting involved with BikeArlington as a volunteer and regular community ride participant. I met the lovely Annmarie Hansen after a taco-themed ride where we bonded over our love of both biking and dancing. She then told me all about the PAL Ambassador program, and I soon became a regular PAL – attending pizza parties, block parties, and even pulling the trailer around town!

As a year-long PAL volunteer, I experienced first-hand the positive impact that Annmarie and the PAL Ambassadors have had on the Arlington community. I’m thrilled to contribute my own enthusiasm to the program and continue to build on our message to help people stay safe on our sidewalks and streets.

To become an Arlington PAL Ambassador, sign up here!

March Roundup

A ghost bike memorializes Frank Towers at the intersection of Viers Mill Road and the Matthew Henson Trail.


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Progress on safe crossings in Maryland:

After more than a year of advocacy, the Maryland State Highway Administration (“SHA”) has at last announced plans to install a signal at the Veirs Mill and Matthew Henson trail crossing in Montgomery County where, in the past two years, at least four bicyclists have been hit and two of those killed.

SHA traffic engineers have long opposed pleas from advocates and elected leaders to install a HAWK signal at the crossing, claiming they were not permitted under Maryland law, and would confuse drivers. With legislation pending in Annapolis that would clearly allow the use of HAWK signals, used commonly throughout the US, including in DC and Virginia, SHA now says it is seeking approval from the Federal Highway Administration to use a modified version of the HAWK signal in Maryland. 


Bike Laws and Policies

Virginia Legislative Session:

Governor McAuliffe approved the highway maintenance funding bill! Now, cities and towns that want to convert motor vehicle lane miles into bike lanes will not have their highway maintenance payments reduced. This eliminates a financial deterrent for localities that want to do road diets and other street safety improvements that help bicyclists. The law goes into effect July 1, 2017.

Maryland Legislative Session:

As the session winds down, four bike related bills remain under consideration in the Maryland Legislature. Read more and take action.

Alexandria City Commits to Vision Zero

The city of Alexandria has committed to reducing traffic deaths and serious injuries to zero by 2028. City officials are working on an action plan for how they will accomplish this goal. Read more.

DC Vision Zero Regulations

The DC Council’s committee on Transportation and Environment held a public roundtable on the city’s second draft of Vision Zero Regulations.  The current proposal decreased the fines for driving infractions and created new infractions and increased fines for bicyclists and pedestrians. You can read our testimony here.

District Council Oversight Hearings

WABA presented testimony at the oversight hearings for the Department of Public Works, Department of Parks and Recreation and Department of Transportation. (Click the links to read our comments.)


Low-Stress Bike Network

NPS is updating the Anacostia Park Management plan

National Park Service is accepting comments about its management plan for Anacostia Park, 1100+ acres along the banks of the Anacostia River. The park includes Poplar Point, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Langston Golf Course, and James Creek Marina. The deadline for comments is Friday March 31. Read more and take action.

Arlington County proposes bike lanes on Washington Boulevard 

Earlier this month, Arlington County staff showed off plans for proposed bike lanes on Washington Boulevard between Mckinley Rd and Sycamore St in Westover.  The new lanes could provide a much needed link in the bicycle network, allowing more people to bike between the East Falls Church Metro and the shops, restaurants, school and community center in Westover. Read more.

The plan for Florida Ave is better, but there’s plenty of room for improvement

The 30% design plans for the Florida Avenue NE Multimodal Transportation Project are an improvement to the recommendations released last year. DDOT has included a new two-way protected bikeway between 2nd St and West Virginia Ave. However, the plan still leaves many challenging conflict points and safety issues unresolved, particularly east of West Virginia Ave. Read more.

Arlington considers cuts to trail snow removal, trail lights, and more

Thanks to the advocacy of WABA members and the leadership of the County Board, Arlington treats 10 miles of county trails at the same snow removal priority and response time as primary arterial streets. Unfortunately, funding for this cherished plowing initiative is under threat. Read more and take action.


Looking ahead:

We’re hosting a sold-out, wait-list-only Vision Zero Summit on Friday, March 31st.  Regional policymakers, transportation professionals, law enforcement, advocates, and other key stakeholders will convene to discuss how to bring traffic deaths and serious injuries in the Washington region to zero. See our summit page for more details.

Safe Accommodations Training: Is construction on your bike route shutting down your bike lane? Learn how to find out if it’s legal, and what to do if it’s not. This training is specifically about DC laws and infrastructure.

  • April 12, 6:30-8:30pm, WABA headquarters. More info.

What to do After a Crash workshop: Do you know what to do in the event you’re in a bike crash? Bruce Deming, The Bike Lawyer, will talk about bike laws in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and how to take care of yourself—physically and legally—if you are in a crash.

Vision Zero Workshops: Learn about the Vision Zero initiative and how to help make your neighborhood streets safer.

  • Make the intersection of MLK and Good Hope Rd SE safer!
    April 15, Anacostia Public Library. More info. 
  • Make the intersection of Wisconsin Ave and Albermarle St NW safer!
    April 27, Tenley-Friendship Library. More info.

Make bicycling better in YOUR neighborhood – Join an Action Committee!

WABA is working to bring advocates together in our local jurisdictions to further our mission of a more bikeable region. Our Action Committees empower residents with the tools, training and support needed to win campaigns for better biking infrastructure, policies, and programs. Read more.

Public Meeting Calendar:

Alexandria Vision Zero Community Workshops 

  • April 10  7:00 – 9:00 PM, Cora Kelly Recreation Center, 25 W Reed Avenue
  • April 12  7:00 – 9:00 PM, William Ramsay Recreation Center, 5650 Sanger Avenue
  • April 26  7:00 – 9:00 PM, TC Williams Rotunda, 3330 King Street
W&OD Trail
  • Bridge Planning Workshop – April 5 6:00 – 8:00pm Yorktown High School,  5200 Yorktown Boulevard, Arlington
    Hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation to gather input from the public on bridge options and design details for the W&OD Trail Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge over Lee Highway.
  • Benjamin Banneker Park Project meeting –  April 4th, 7:00 – 9:00pm, Tuckahoe Elementary School Cafeteria, 6550 N. 26th Street, Arlington, VA.
    This project will redesign and reconstruct the W&OD Trail through Benjamin Banneker Park.

Fairfax County Street Design Improvements 

  • April 5 – Woodford Road (Providence District) More info.
  • Hunter Mill Street: Comments Due March 31. More info.
NoMa Green Community Meeting – April 24, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Hilton Garden Inn, 1225 First Street NE, DC
The NoMa Parks Foundation is hosting a meeting to discus the design of the future “NoMa Green,” a park planned along the Met Branch Trail near R St. NE. The park may include changes to the trail, including removal of the Z curve at R St. Attend to learn more about the park and weigh in on the designs. RSVP here.


WABA in the News

Md. bill would ticket drivers who block 4-way intersections

WTOP – February 22, 2017

Drivers who enter an intersection but fail to cross it by the time the light turns red would be subject to a ticket and fine under a “don’t block the box” bill.

Is Maryland Sacrificing Safety to Shorter Commute Times?

WAMU – March 13, 2017

Pedestrian and bicycling safety advocates are charging Maryland lawmakers and state transportation officials with putting motorists’ convenience over public safety after legislation aimed at making it easier to cross busy state highways died in a legislative committee last week.

Possibility of Passage Dims for for State Bill Calling for Pedestrian Traffic Beacons

Bethesda Beat –  March 17, 2017

A state Senate committee voted against a proposal that would have enabled transportation officials to add a new type of pedestrian signals to Maryland’s roads.

Bicyclists Claim A Win As Maryland Promises Signals At Two Dangerous Intersections

WAMU – March 28, 2017

A pedestrian beacon will be installed at the scene of two fatal car-into-bike collisions in Montgomery County: the intersection of Veirs Mill Road (MD 586) and Turkey Branch Parkway, also known as the Matthew Henson Trail.