Upcoming Project Meetings in the District

Construction crews are on their winter breaks, but the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) are ramping up planning on a number of projects relevant to people who bike in the District. Please consider attending these meetings this month and speaking up for the needs of bicyclists.

 

Alabama Avenue SE Corridor Safety Study
Saturday, February 11, 2017 | 10 am – 12:30 pm
THEARC 1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE

DDOT is hosting the first meeting to discuss safety along the Alabama Avenue SE corridor.  DDOT aims to identify and address multimodal safety concerns and to improve the overall quality of the network for all users.  At this meeting, existing conditions and current traffic/crash data will be shared to capture ideas and suggestions from participants. Alabama Ave is an important bike corridor and would make an ideal protected bike lane corridor.

Tactical Urbanism at North Capitol Street and Lincoln Road
Monday, February 13, 2017 | 6:30 –  8 pm
NoMa BID Lobby 1200 First Street, NE

DDOT invites you to a meeting to discuss the Tactical Urbanism project at North Capitol Street and Lincoln Road, NE. The purpose of this project is to increase safety at the North Capitol/Lincoln Road, NE intersection through immediate, short-term improvements that will lead the way for a larger intersection safety project. DDOT will present a draft design concept and gather comments from the community at this public meeting. Rapid implementation of safety projects like this are a key part of DC’s Vision Zero Action Plan.

VRE Midday Storage Facility Public Meeting
Thursday, February 16, 2017 | 4:00 – 7:30 pm | Presentation at 4:30pm and 6:30pm
Bethesda Baptist Church 1808 Capitol Ave NE

Virginia Railway Express intends to replace its current storage space leased from Amtrak at the Ivy City Coach Yard in DC with a new storage yard alongside New York Avenue. The project will include planning, designing, and constructing a permanent midday storage facility for VRE trains that travel into the District from Virginia. VRE will work with members of the community, stakeholders, and property owners to assess potential impacts and determine ways VRE can be a good neighbor.

Florida Avenue Multimodal Transportation Project
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 6:30 pm – 8 pm | Presentation at 6:30 pm
New Samaritan Baptist Church 1100 Florida Avenue NE

DDOT will share 30% designs for multimodal transportation improvements along Florida Avenue NE from First Street NE to H Street/Benning Road NE. This project will add new wider sidewalks, bike lanes, new signalized crossings and streetscape improvements for a safer street. In the last project update in March 2016, DDOT’s preferred alternative eliminated many of the popular and safety-critical elements such as protected bike lanes and a road diet to curtail speeding. We hope that a year of work has found opportunities to point the project in the right direction.

New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project
Thursday, February 23, 2017 | 6 – 8 pm | Presentation at 6:30 pm
Gallaudet University’s I. King Jordan Student Academic Center 800 Florida Avenue, NW (map)

DDOT is in the early stages of planning significant streetscape improvements to beautify New York Avenue from Florida Avenue to Bladensburg Road. The project will study improvements to public space in the corridor, including curb, gutter, streetlights, plantings, trees, benches, public art and other public space improvements. Additionally, DDOT will develop concepts and designs to improve safety and quality of life for people who use New York Avenue, including a new multi-use trail connecting the National Arboretum and Metropolitan Branch Trail, and future transit services throughout the corridor. Read more at the project website.

Introducing HDR Architecture, a Leadership Level 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 HDR Architecture.

HDR Architecture is proud to become the newest member of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. HDR is a global architecture and engineering firm with nearly 10,000 employees and 220 offices worldwide. We think global and act local, which is exactly why we want to continue supporting our greater Washington, DC community through WABA.

At HDR, we’ve been delivering solutions through smart design for 100 years. Through our projects near and far, we take pride in enriching the ways in which people work, live and play. Ensuring a sustainable world now and in the future is a big deal to us, therefore supporting a bike-friendly community is most certainly a cause we can support.

Learn more about HDR by visiting www.hdrinc.com and follow the hashtag #HDR_DC on Twitter for a view from the local lens of our DC Architecture practice.

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.

Legislation to watch in Virginia this session

These are the bills we’re supporting in Virginia in the 2017 legislative session. We’ll keep you posted as the session progresses.

Bicycle lane; penalty for driver to pass another vehicle using lane –  SB 1338 

Prohibits the driver of a motor vehicle from using a bicycle lane to pass or attempt to pass another vehicle.

Highway maintenance funding –  HB 2023

Provides that cities and towns that receive highway maintenance payments from the Commonwealth based on moving-lane-miles of highway will not have their payments reduced if moving-lane miles of highway are converted to bicycle-only lanes.

Use of handheld personal communications devices while driving; penalty –  SB 860 

Expands the prohibition of using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle to all communications unless the device is specifically designed to allow voice and hands-free operation and the device is being used in that manner. (Current law prohibits only the reading of an email or text message and manually entering letters or text in the device as a means of communicating.)

The bill expands the exemptions to include devices that are used for navigation or generating audio transmissions if the device is physically mounted to the vehicle.

The bill provides that any violation of this prohibition that occurs at the same time as an additional traffic offense, or if the violation results in an accident, is punishable as reckless driving. Current law provides that a violation of this prohibition is punishable as a traffic infraction only.

Handheld personal communications devices; use of devices in highway work zones –  HB 1606

Prohibits any person from texting or otherwise using a handheld personal communications device while operating a motor vehicle in a highway work zone, defined in the bill, when workers are present.

Careless driving; cause of injury to vulnerable road user – SB 1339

Provides that a person who operates a motor vehicle in a careless or distracted manner and is the proximate cause of serious physical injury to a vulnerable road user, defined in the bill as a pedestrian or person riding a bicycle, electric wheelchair, electric bicycle, wheelchair, skateboard, skates, foot-scooter, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle, is guilty of a traffic infraction.

When physical education becomes bike education

 

Youth on a bike stopped at a stop sign.

Students at Center City Public Charter School in Petworth discovered the ins and outs of bike riding during WABA’s Bike Week Takeover

Kids around DC are discovering biking indoors this winter thanks to WABA’s Bike Week “takeovers” of Physical Education classes. We recently completed at two Center City Public Charter School campuses—Brightwood and Petworth. WABA coordinated with City Center’s PE teachers to provide a full week of bike-centric education for every 2nd-8th grade PE class.

Each class of students had a wide range of abilities, from those who had never sat on a bike to one tremendous 7th grader who could wheelie or track stand for days. Our curriculum is designed to help every student progress and learn, no matter where they start out. We are able to put all students on a bike by removing the pedals to turn some into balance bikes. Balance bikes work to engage students in learning to ride, without excluding them from the class. While participating, they are also starting down the path to being safe and competent riders. For those that already know how to ride, we help them improve their control and teach them specific skills like the quick stop.

The curriculum includes basic traffic safety, where the students learn how to respond to traffic signals and other road users in safe, predictable, and legal manner. By the end of the week no one was saying that you had to wait for the stop sign to turn green to go!  Students also get to practice their handling skills on an indoor course that includes traffic signals and crossing bike traffic.

Our youth program in DC is supported by DDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools programming, but with your membership and support we can expand to other areas. Join WABA today!

If you work for or know of a public charter or private school that might be interested in hosting our program, please email youth@waba.org and let us know.

Bike Week at City Center PCS by the numbers:

  • Number of schools: 2
  • Number of students: 276
  • Number of class periods taken over: 35
  • Number of student-hours ridden: 604.5
  • Number of smiles: Unlimited

 

Center City PCS Petworth PE Bike Week

Center City PCS Brightwood PE Bike Week

 

 

 

Be a trail superstar, come join the Trail Ranger team!

Ever wanted people to enthusiastically shout “Thank you, you’re awesome” to you on the job? Feel like a trail celebrity? (actual quote from a former Trail Ranger) Be part of a dynamic team of outreach trail champions? Get to directly improve your community through events and maintenance? Be paid to be outside on your bike for six months?

If the answer is yes to any or all of these questions, consider applying to be DC’s trail superstars as part of our fifth annual cohort of Trail Rangers. We have a whole host of plans lined up for this season and we are looking for our team. More information and the job description can be found here. Applications are due February 20th 2017.

We’re Hiring: Part-Time Trail Rangers

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for six passionate and energetic trail champions with a wide diversity of skills for our 2017 Trail Ranger Team to serve trails and the people who use them throughout the District of Columbia.

WABA’s Trail Ranger program encourages trail use through daily trail presence, improved upkeep, trail user assistance and community engagement. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence April through September on DC’s mixed-use trails to make them more approachable, enjoyable, and dependable for transportation and recreation.

Reporting to our DC Trail Ranger Coordinator, Trail Rangers roam nearly 24 trail miles within the District by bicycle, including the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia River Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, and connecting street routes.

You can learn more about the Trail Ranger program here.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Spend the majority of your work hours outside, biking on or between trails.
  • Work in shifts with a partner riding bikes at a relaxed, conversational pace, up to 25 miles in a 8 hour shift.
  • Support and encourage trail use with friendly and helpful trail presence, regular maintenance efforts and consistent outreach events, including:
    • Morning coffee outreach.
    • Trail rides.
    • Activity days with local organizations.
  • Help lower barriers to bicycling, build community and build a more robust trail network.
    • Develop and maintain relationships with regular trail users and
      community members.
    • Bring new users to the trail through community outreach and
      engagement.
    • Individual conversations with trail neighbors and community groups.
  • Plan and lead cleanup days and community events alongside the program coordinator.
  • Perform inspections of trail conditions and maintenance of trail corridors including pruning branches, gathering trash, removing obstructions and clearing debris.
  • Make regular reports on daily trail conditions, needs, and trends.
  • Work with the program coordinator and city agencies to respond to recurring or major trail maintenance issues.
  • Document events, trail updates and developments to keep trail users informed.
  • Be outside in all weather, with the exemption of thunderstorms and other hazardous conditions.
  • Assist at other WABA events as needed.

Requirements

Candidates must have:

  • A proven track record and enthusiasm for working within a team.
  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely and communicative.
  • The ability to be positive, engaging and approachable in a public setting.
  • The ability to thrive in a day-to-day self-directed, self-supervised work environment.
  • The capacity to be available for 16-24 hours per week in 8 hour shifts,
    • Shifts are 6:30 am – 2:30 pm and 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekdays, and
      10:00 am – 6:00 pm on weekends.
  • A commitment to work March 31st to September 30th 2017.
  • The ability to ride a bike up to 30 miles in mixed city traffic and off street trails pulling an up to 40 lbs trailer.
  • The ability to lift up to 30 lbs.
  • A commitment to being a safe and exemplary bicyclist.
  • A commitment to respect, include, and be kind to all.

Ideal candidates will have:

  • A firm commitment to WABA’s mission.
  • Excellent oral communication skills.
  • Confidence interacting with and serving the public.
  • Creative problem-solving skills and capacity to innovate.
  • The ability to organize time wisely and juggle multiple priorities.
  • Knowledge of the principles of safe bicycling and traffic laws in DC.
  • Competence with basic bicycle maintenance including patching a flat tire and adjusting brakes.
  • Spanish proficiency or ASL proficiency a strong plus.

WABA is committed to:

  • Providing opportunities to learn new skills.
  • Promoting and building an inclusive, collaborative team environment.
  • Doing our best to have a consistent schedule that respects your time and outside obligations.

This position is part-time from March 29th, 2017 through September 30, 2017 for approximately 16 – 24 hours per week. Compensation is $15.50 per hour.

Please send a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Trail Ranger” as the subject line. Applications will be accepted until February 20th though candidates are strongly encouraged to apply earlier. No phone calls please.

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, arrest record or criminal convictions, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

Do you know how to safely open a car door?

So, you’ve parked your car. You’ve unbuckled your seatbelt. You’ve taken the key out of the ignition (or pushed the button, or waved a magic wand, or whatever).

Now, which hand do you use to open your car door?

Odds are good that here in the United States, you have always used your left hand. Of course you do, you probably have never even thought about it until right now. And you’re not alone.

But, changing your habit and opening the door with your right hand–increasingly known as the “dutch reach”–could save a life.

One of the most serious hazards bicyclists encounter is an unexpected, flung-open car door. When drivers throw open their doors without thinking, bicyclists can be caught unawares and crash into the doors. Or worse, a bicyclist may swerve into traffic unexpectedly, putting themselves at even greater risk.

These “dooring” crashes account for 13% of all crashes reported in WABA’s Crash Tracker and are a very real, and increasing, danger for bicyclists as more cars and bicyclists are sharing the road. Thanks to the dutch reach, you can help!

The dutch reach began in the Netherlands (hence the name), where people understand the risk of an opening car door to cyclists and the intrinsic benefits of opening the door with the “inside hand.” In fact, they recognize that this technique is so useful that students in primary school are taught this method. Outside Magazine recently made a fun video about the dutch reach and posted it here on You Tube.

In the United States the Dutch Reach Project is working tirelessly to increase awareness of the dutch reach, along with coming up with some very clever haikus. Locally, the District of Columbia is working to increase the fine on motorists found responsible for dooring someone. In the proposed revisions, vehicle operators would be fined $50 for, “opening door or permitting a door to open on either side that poses danger to a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motor vehicle.”

It should be noted that there already is a law in place in DC that prohibits dooring. Rule 18-2214.4 states, “No person shall open any door of a vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with moving traffic, bicyclists, or pedestrians and with safety to such person and passengers.” This rule makes it clear that the responsibility to verify that it’s safe for a car door to be opened by any passenger is the operators.

It seems so simple – but practicing the dutch reach regularly could have exponential ramifications as your friends, family, coworkers, Uber/Lyft passengers, and random passers-by witness your technique. The next time you’re getting out of the car, give it a try!

How it works:

Reach to the door handle with the hand closest to the center of the car, notice how your body is already rotated so you can look over your outside shoulder and see if anyone is passing close to your door. Share the dutch reach with your friends and family, you never know, it could be me and my son you see riding by your parked car.

In the not-too-distant future, the WABA Education team will be reaching out to vehicle operators in the region to have discussions on how to be a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly driver. These conversations will serve as an opportunity for drivers to understand the challenges that bicyclists have while riding on the road and for bicyclists to hear the same from drivers. Ultimately, our roadways can be shared by all modes and everyone should be able to get to their destination safely. Keep watching for the announcement and launch of this program.