Cold Days and Camaraderie with your PALs

Not quite ready to be back on the road yet…but soon! #BEaPAL #PALvsJONAS

A photo posted by @predictablealertlawful on

There’s no way around it, February is still winter, and winter is chock full of excuses to stay inside. But in the words of a famous Michigander (my best friend), “If the weather feels too cold, you’re just not dressed warmly enough!”

Pulling the Arlington PAL bike trailer around this month has convinced me that my best friend is 100% right! Layers, wool everything, rain gear, and wellingtons are trusted companions these days. There’s a certain type of satisfaction, too, that comes from taking a break or concluding a winter ride as well–a feeling of coziness and satisfaction that just can’t be replicated in the summer!

So, whether you’ve fallen into a winter funk, have a resolution you want to double down on, or are just going completely stir crazy, February is the time to get out on a bike and banish those winter blues. You can join a new friend on a ride though the Washington Area Bike Forum or get your volunteer on as a PAL Ambassador or DC Bike Ambassador. Both of these programs are powered by awesome folks like you, spreading the bike-love and having fun on the streets of DC and Arlington.

To Join the DC Bike Ambassadors, click here.

To Join the Arlington PAL Ambassadors click here.

Or come on out and #BEaPAL with us at the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade! Click here for details and to sign up!

Use the button below to follow us on Instagram:

Instagram

DC Bike Ride: WABA Early Access Discount Extended

An update from our partners at DC Bike Ride:

Since the WABA Early Access registration launch on Monday, we have received great interest in DC Bike Ride within the last 48 hours. Thank you so much! The outpouring of excitement around DCBR has been great and we really appreciate your support. We will be extending the $48 discount, for WABA members only, for another 24 hours. The offer will now end on February 4.

You Asked, We Listened.
We have had a number of inquiries around our age policy and we have been paying close attention to your suggestions! At this time, we have made the decision to:

  • Adjust the participation age requirement to 3 years old as of 5/22/16
  • Offer a youth ride-along rate for children ages 3 to 7 years old at $30 per participant (we will be reaching out to all current registrants within this age group, at the provided contact information, to issue an $18 refund)
  • Eliminate the 1-to-1 adult to youth rider ratio requirement for ride-along youth ages 3 to 7; the 1-to-1 adult policy will only apply to youth riders on their own bike, ages 8 to 13

Please note, all participants must be registered regardless of age or riding method. To view DCBR’s updated Youth Rider Policy, click here.

Join the Ride Today.
We appreciate your continued support and hope to see you at DCBR on May 22, 2016! WABA members check your email for your discount code to receive the discount. Offer will end on February 4.

WABA is a DC Bike Ride Founding Partner. This means the organizers of DCBR are paying for our promotion of the ride. In addition, 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.

You should sign up. It’s going to be great. 

Reporting Maintenance Issues in DC: A Trail Ranger Skill Share

 

IMG_20150916_095058930_HDR (1)

As Trail Rangers we wear a lot of hats: we’re cheerleaders, question answerers, coffee hander outers. But we also work to keep DC’s urban trails in tip top shape both by fixing issues and reporting maintenance issues that require more tools than a broom or a trash bag. The storm last week was not kind to infrastructure—the heavy plows, reduced traction and a buried streetscape resulted in a substantial uptick in potholes and worn away lanes. We’re reporting the issues we notice but we don’t see everything, here is how to join us:

In DC, city service and maintenance issues are reported through 311, the citywide call center, either by directly calling 311 or reporting through the mobile app available for iPhone and Android by searching “DC 311.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 1.19.03 PM

Issues are reported by service category:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 1.31.10 PM

So the trick is to know what kind of issue you are reporting so that the report goes to the team that can fix the problem. For this storm, common issues are:

Roadway Marking Maintenance

Great for reporting:

Damaged Park-It

Damaged Park-Its

Broken flexpost

Broken flexposts

Faded/missing lane marking

Faded/missing lane markings

Once you’ve told the city what kind of issue and where it is, the next page will ask for specific details.

All of the Roadway Marking Maintenance examples pictured above can be categorized as a “bicycle line” on the page for additional information:

Example report


Potholes:

IMG_20160129_101248294 (1)

Pothole on Champlain Rd NW

Aptly named, a whole category just for potholes! Be as specific as you can about the location.


Cars parked in bike lanes:

For the folks who have “forgotten” with the snow cover that bike lanes are not for vehicle storage. 

car parked in bike lane

Painted lines and bike symbols are just SOOO confusing. What’s a driver to do?

Illegally parked vehicles can be reported as a “No Parking Anytime” enforcement concern.

Then add the details – what precisely the issue is and any details that will help the crew know what to bring out into the field and where to go. The more information, the better!

 


One important note:

The trick for a prompt response is to report the issue to the folks who can fix it – those with the tools to fill in potholes, paint asphalt, write tickets. Therefore avoid the service type “Bicycle Issues” – these issue reports go directly to the bike planning team at DDOT. It adds extra steps and time for them to forward requests to the appropriate maintenance teams of DDOT.

Happy 311-ing!

Montgomery County Endorses Vision Zero

vision zero campaign banner

The Montgomery County Council has introduced a resolution in support of Vision Zero.  Members of the Council held a press conference on January 19th to announce their support for the program, which is aimed at ending traffic-related deaths and serious injuries.

On Monday, February 1st, the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Action Committee for Transit and WABA sent the Montgomery County Council a letter in support (Letter in PDF) of Vision Zero. The letter also calls on the Council to set a target date for zero traffic-deaths. A target year for achieving Vision Zero is necessary to keep up the pressure and urgency this issue deserves.

Mayor Bowser in Washington, DC committed to achieving Vision Zero by 2024 last year. In December 2015, the mayor’s administration released an ambitious two-year action plan for Vision Zero. Montgomery County will begin the planning process shortly, with a final plan release for later this year.

For Vision Zero to work, public investments in traffic engineering, enforcement and education must be aligned with a data-driven approach to meeting its goal. Everyone deserves to travel freely by car, foot, transit and bike without the risk of being killed.

2015 was an especially tragic year for road users in Montgomery County. Frank Towers died on his new bike crossing Veirs Mill Road on the Matthew Henson Trail. In Bethesda, Tim Holden was struck and killed by a driver while on his morning ride. And, Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta was killed by drunk driver during a traffic stop. In total, over 80 people died in traffic crashes on County streets in 2015. Each person leaves behind a grieving family and a devastated community. We can stop traffic violence.

Thank you to the Montgomery County Council for their leadership on traffic safety issue and WABA is committed to being an engaged partner in addressing this critical community issue.

 

 

ANNOUNCING: DC Bike Ride – Let’s Celebrate Life on Two Wheels

From our partners at DC Bike Ride:

17 MILES. CAR-FREE STREETS.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, D.C. is becoming a better bike region everyday. We’ve been hinting about a brand new riding tradition coming to the city on May 22nd but we can no longer keep the secret to ourselves. We’re beyond excited to finally announce the Inaugural DC Bike Ride (DCBR)!

SPECIAL OFFER FOR WABA MEMBERS: $48 FOR 48 HOURS!

We’ve cleared the roads! You clear your calendar. For 48 hours BEFORE registration opens the general public, DCBR invites WABA members to be the first to register for the Ride, at a special discounted rate. This deal won’t last long, prices will increase February 3.  If you’re a WABA Member, check your email. You’ll have a code that allows you to participate in this special pre-registration. If you’re not a WABA member, JOIN RIGHT NOW and we’ll send you a code within a few minutes.

GREAT PEOPLE

Our city has one of the biggest and most welcoming biking communities in the country, and you’re part of it. DCBR gives you the chance to connect with fun-loving active types, just like you! D.C.’s biking culture is something to be proud of – let’s celebrate life on two wheels!

GREAT PLACES

Tell your riding buddies to get ready. The biggest cycling event of the year is almost here. Cruise the city at your own pace. Just you (and your friends), 17 miles of car-free streets and some of the most iconic sights in the world. Ride past everything from the Washington Monument and the Pentagon to the White House and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. All culminating with a huge post ride festival in front of the United States Capitol.

GREAT PURPOSE

We’re bringing people together for the pure joy of biking in the city you love. Proceeds from DCBR will benefit WABA in their efforts to deliver meaningful street safety programs in support of D.C’s Vision Zero Campaign. Learn more here.

GREAT PARTY

End your epic journey at the DCBR finish line festival in front of the Capitol on America’s Main Street with great food, music and drinks! More information to come on DCBikeRide.com.

JOIN THE RIDE TODAY AT DCBIKERIDE.COM

To find out more about the DC Bike Ride, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Join the conversation by using #DCBR. Circle May 22nd on your calendar, because this year’s National Bike Month is going to be the best one yet!


WABA is a DC Bike Ride Founding Partner. This means the organizers of DCBR are paying for our promotion of the ride. In addition, 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.
You should sign up. It’s going to be great. 

Stay Tuned For A New Springtime Tradition

A guest post from one of our partners:

Image 2_WABA Blog

WABA friends – there’s never been a better time to ride a bike in the D.C. region! In the last year we’ve seen everything from a visible increase in bike lanes to Mayor Bowser’s Vision Zero Action Plan, and D.C. was named Walk Score’s Most Bikeable City of 2015! Biking around town is on it’s way to becoming a truly safer, more reliable, more fun form of transportation for everyone.

So it’s about time we celebrate! Mark your calendars! On May 22nd, we’re bringing a new riding tradition to our biking community inspired by a previous beloved event. While we can’t share all the details with you just yet, we can tell you a few things about it. We promise you that not only is it going to be one of the biggest events on two wheels, but it’s also going to celebrate the people, places, and our region’s riding culture. 

No matter what type of bike you ride, no matter your experience level or your age, this event will be a springtime must for you and all of your friends and family.

As a WABA member, you are a crucial supporter of the regional bike movement, so on February 1st WABA members will get first access to register – and at a discount! Keep a close eye on Twitter and Facebook for more hints and circle February 1st on your calendar because you won’t want to miss this!

To be safe, go ahead and sign up for the event updates.

FAQ: Plows, Trails and Bike Lanes Oh My!

As the region digs itself out from the 2 feet of snow that fell this weekend, we wanted to provide a few updates. With such a historic snowstorm, it is an endeavor to get the transportation network back to normal.

We’re doing our best to keep up on trail and bike lane conditions over on Twitter. Head on over and let us know how your ride went.

https://twitter.com/WABADC

When are bike lanes plowed?

During last year’s comparatively lighter snowstorms, the bike lanes were plowed on the second go around. The first pass with the big plows pushed snow to the sides of the streets (often into the bike lane) and the second pass removed this pushed snow from the bike travel lanes. With the amount of snow added to our roads this storm, bike lanes will take some time. In DC, DDOT is predicting that it will take several days for them to clear the lanes and for DPW to clear bridge sidewalks. The 14th St Bridge has been cleared. 

So, is the same thing true for the protected bike lanes?

No, not quite. The flexposts of the protected bike lanes often mean that a smaller specialized snowplow is required rather than the primary plow crew. They will be plowed but the plow is having challenges with the volume of snow. A frontloader has been hard at work removing snow from the 15th St cycletrack.

The Pennsylvania Ave cycletrack this morning.

The Pennsylvania Ave protected bike lane Tuesday morning.

Trails!?!?!?!

Each jurisdiction and maintenance entity operate independently under different protocols. But trail plowing is becoming an accepted part of repairing the transportation network after a snowstorm. Not everyone is on board yet but we are getting there. This storm is particularly tricky because the sheer volume of snow is difficult for the small snowplows to handle.

The Metropolitan Branch Trail late Friday night.

The Metropolitan Branch Trail late Friday night.

 

As of the morning 1/27/16, we have reports of the following trail conditions:

Capital Crescent Trail: Montgomery County Parks and Recreation Department has plowed the Montgomery County section and National Park Service has plowed the DC portion.

Arlington has been clearing their Snow Removal Priority Trails in tandem with the roads. The Custis Trail was plowed and the W&OD has been plowed north of the junction with the Custis though sections of compacted snow remain. Four Mile Run from Shirlington to Route 1 has been plowed. The W&OD south of the Custis Junction remains unplowed though portions eastbound in Fairfax from Vienna were plowed yesterday. Arlington County policy can be found here.

Metropolitan Branch Trail – DDOT was out on Sunday plowing and successfully plowed from Edgewood St to New York Ave. The pedestrian bridge to the Rhode Island Ave Metro has been plowed. DDOT is working on plowing south of New York Avenue.

Mt. Vernon Trail – Current policy is to not plow the trail. NPS is considering changing their policy to potentially plow next winter.

Anacostia Riverwalk Trail – Status unknown.

Anacostia Tributary Trails – Current policy is to not plow the trails.

Rock Creek Trail – Current policy is to not plow the trail.

Georgetown Branch Trail – Current policy is not plow the trail.

Holmes Run Trail – Unplowed.

Alexandria – Trails are unplowed. County policy ranks trails as third priority for sidewalk removal for the city after school walking areas, accessible curb ramps and sidewalks near key transit stops such as Metro stations, & retail zones, and walks expanding out from schools, parks, and municipal locations.

Fairfax – Current policy is to not plow trails.

So my commute is full of snow-blocked lanes, how do I report them?

DC: Report blocked lanes as “Snow/Ice Removal” through DC’s 311 system or by giving them a call at 311. If you are calling from outside the district, call 202-737-4404. 

Arlington: Issues can be reported here. Alternatively call 703-228-6525 for a trails issue and 703-228-6485 for local roads.

Prince George’s: Issues can be reported here. Alternatively call 311 or if you are calling from outside the county, 301-883-4748. County policy can be found here.

Montgomery: Call 311. If you are calling from outside of Montgomery County, call 240-777-0311. County policy can be found here.

Alexandria: Call 703-746-4357. County policy can be found here.

Fairfax: Call 703-877-2800. County policy can be found here.