Quick Release: WABA Blog Front Page

This Week in Bike Reads

WABA Ambassadors Megan and Pete

A business publication notices that bicycles mean business. (It’s based in Oregon, but still!)

The Pennsylvania Avenue zebras are D.C.’s best nonfunctional road art.

DDOT is installing a curbed bike lane along 1st Street NE.

And, the M Street cycletrack should be finished in a week or two.

Complete this survey about Florida Avenue NE on Tues., April 15 if you’d like to vocalize the need for bike accommodations. You can read more about the options for Florida Avenue NE that we think are good for cyclists here.

Have you registered for Bike to Work Day yet?

Photo by Flickr user Joe Flood. Join our Flickr pool and register for Bike to Work Day, seriously!

Contraflow Bike Lanes Coming to G and I Streets NE

g-st-ne-contraflow

Freshly painted contraflow bike lane on G Street NE

Now that winter is mostly behind us, DDOT can begin painting new bike lanes. In February, we shared the proposed bike lane installation plan for 2014. Among the planned lanes were new contraflow bikes lanes on G and I streets NE from 2nd Street NE to Maryland/Florida Ave NE. Now that it’s warm enough to stripe pavement markings, DDOT has gotten installation of these lanes underway.

Bike lanes throughout the city are generally 5 feet wide and placed on the far right of the street, next to on-street parking. People riding bikes in the lanes travel in the same direction as the cars to the left. Contraflow bike lanes allow bicyclists to ride in the opposite direction of traffic.

G and I streets are narrow one-way streets on Capitol Hill that see low volumes of traffic. After community outreach with the two affected ANCs, the decision was made to install long contraflow lanes on the streets. (See the considered alternatives in a Greater Greater Washington blog post.) Shared lane markings (sharrows) are being installed in the center of travel lane for bicyclists traveling in the direction of traffic. The contraflow lanes are being placed on the far left side of the street and will be striped with a double yellow line. Bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction of traffic will use the 5-foot wide contraflow lane. The project also includes signs warning drivers that bicyclists are using the one-way streets in two directions.

Generally, contraflow lanes are installed with a painted buffer or are physically separated from traffic. There is a one block example of a parking-buffered contraflow lane on the 200 block of R Street NE near the Met Branch Trail. G and I streets are too narrow to float parking away from the curb and place the buffered contraflow in that space. Neighbors objected to losing parking to provide the necessary space for buffered contraflow lanes.

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gi2iTypical blocks of G & I Streets NE with sharrows and 5 foot contraflow bikes lanes. 

G and I streets were chosen for improvements to help provide an additional route for bicyclists traveling east and west in the H Street NE corridor. The streetcar tracks on H Street NE have caused a large number of crashes, including some very serious injuries, for bicyclists. Adding contraflow bike lanes to G and I streets creates two new east-west routes along the H St corridor.

Unfortunately, DDOT began installation of traffic signs related to the contraflow lanes back in December; this confused drivers and bicyclists alike. The yellow warning signs and small stop signs were installed four months ago, but the pavement markings didn’t begin to go in until last week. DDOT should have kept the signs covered until the bike lanes were painted. An especially harsh winter pushed the installation later expected, but the poor timing of the sign installation demonstrates that DDOT needs to plan better for construction of bike facilities.

DDOT will monitor the bicycling traffic and traffic operation on G and I streets. Its engineers will assess the contraflow bike lanes’ effectiveness and safety. Learn more about the project from DDOT. In a city with many narrow one-way streets, contraflow bike lanes are another tool for connecting the bicycle network where the conditions are just right.

While hard to know for sure, we believe the contraflow lanes on G and I streets are the longest continuous contraflow bike lanes in the country. It’s great to see them finally be installed, especially as the busy spring bike season begins.

We’re Hiring! Be Our Communications Coordinator

2012 Video Ride

You could, among other things, tweet about happenings like this.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) seeks a Communications Coordinator to tell the story of our advocacy, outreach, education, and events programming. Much of the work of building a better region for bicycling occurs in meeting rooms and classrooms, on the bike lanes and trails, and in the office—reading laws, regulations, and plans. 

The job of the Communications Coordinator is to share that work with WABA members and supporters, key decision-makers and elected officials, potential funders of future programming, and the general public.

You must love biking, share WABA’s vision for better biking in the region, and enjoy a fast-paced environment in which strong  and strategic communication content is key to organizational success and is a daily (sometimes hourly) need.

See the job description below the jump, and apply for the job here. Read the rest of this entry »

National Park Service Responds to Norton’s Request About Rock Creek Park Trail

Rock Creek Park Trail-6

As reported by DCist yesterday, the National Park Service responded to Eleanor Holmes Norton’s request for a progress report on the Rock Creek Park Trail.

Per DCist:

In a letter Norton released today, Tara Morrison, Superintendent of Rock Creek Park, says an Environmental Assessment (EA) is currently with the Federal Highway Administration for approval. A Finding of No Significant Impact (or, delightfully, FONSI) document is expected to be signed by FHWA in the “near future” and NPS is currently drafting their own, which will also be reviewed by the District Department of Transportation.

“Construction could begin on the project as early as Fiscal Year 2015,” the letter states.

While any movement is welcome news, Greg Billing from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association says the pace thus far has been frustrating.

Read NPS’ full response here and the press release from Norton’s office below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

April Trailer Challenge: Week 1

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

To kickoff the spring season, the Bike Ambassadors started a month-long project: the April Trailer Challenge! For our inaugural week, we had 12 volunteers participate for a total of 65.8 trailer team miles.

The ATC is a campaign to message WABA’s offerings of bike education, outreach, and advocacy to a broader audience in a fun way! Our goal for the month of April is to get the Bike Ambassador trailers around as much of the city as possible. We’re aiming for 500 trailer team miles in just 30 days.

To get things started, we trained volunteer Bike Ambassadors to pull the rolling billboards through the streets of Adams Morgan, near WABA HQ. Each ambassador got a chance to learn the basics and ride with the team at Monday’s kickoff event.

During the first week of the challenge, the trailer made it to all four quadrants of D.C., including special pitstops at Nationals’ Opening Day, five embassies, the downtown cycletracks, and everywhere in between! Next week, we’re aiming to bring the trailer to all eight wards.

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

Have you seen our trailer? You can participate in the April Trailer Challenge! Take a photo and post it on social media. Tag us @wabadc using #bikeambassador (on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and you’ll be entered to win a free bike tune-up.

Check out all the photos from the April Trailer Challenge!

For more information, contact the D.C. Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator Megan McCarty at megan.mccarty@waba.org. See you in the bike lanes in April!

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

April Trailer Challenge

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

DDOT Proposes Bike Improvements for Florida Avenue NE

florida-ave-ne-alt-3On Thurs.,  April 3, the District Department of Transportation held its third and final meeting for the Florida Avenue NE Multi-Modal Study. After a rash of crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists, the surrounding neighborhoods called on DDOT to make safety improvements that would slow the speeds of drivers, upgrade sidewalks, and add bicycling facilities.

The area of study is Florida Avenue NE from New York Avenue NE to 14th Street NE. Also being considered for improvements are 6th Street NE from K Street to Penn Avenue in Florida Market, and West Virginia Avenue NE north from Florida Avenue alongside Galludet University. Greater Greater Washington has an in-depth discussion of the proposed alternatives, which area also available on the project website.

There are three major alternatives (and a few sub-alternatives) for Florida Avenue NE. Determining what is the most bicycle-friendly option is a bit of a challenge at first glance. All alternatives include wider sidewalks, additional crosswalks, and more street trees. We have examined the all of the proposed alternatives and have concluded that the following elements are the best for bicyclists:

Florida Avenue NE

  • Alternative 3 with buffered bike lanes from 3rd Street NE to 6th Street NE
  • Alternative 3A with 5-foot bikes lanes from 6th Street NE to West Virginia Avenue
  • Alternative 3 with 5-foot bike lanes from West Virginia Avenue to 14th Street NE

6th Street NE

  • Alternative 2 with cycletracks north of Florida Avenue NE and bikes lanes to the south

West Virginia Avenue NE

  • Alternative 2 with bike lanes north of Florida Avenue NE

This is a planning study. It will lead to design work, engineering, and, finally, construction. Currently, DDOT has proposed painted buffered bike lanes and cycletracks throughout these alternatives. Painted lanes were successful in demonstrating cycletracks in D.C. would attract new riders by providing a safer and more comfortable place to ride. Now is the time to build permanent, protected bike lane lanes with curbs, concrete, and planted buffers.

DDOT is accepting feedback through an online survey. The deadline for completing the survey is next Tuesday, April 15. Submit your comments and support for a safer and more bikeable Florida Avenue NE.

This Week in Bike Reads

April Trailer Challenge

The Bike Rack and Filter are opening a bike store/coffee shop in Brookland.

We agree that every day should be Bike to Not-Work Day. But while you’re at it, go ahead and register for Bike to Work Day anyway!

Texans have realized that its sprawling metro areas have too much traffic and are, thusly, beginning to embrace bicycling.

Are you following our April Trailer Challenge?

Contraflow lanes have gone in on G and I streets NE.

Biking is healthy, round 100.

Advice from Virginia lawyer Bruce Deming regarding what to do in the event of a crash.

Join our Flickr pool!

What’s New on the Met Branch Trail?

As we dig ourselves out of what promises to be the final snowstorm before spring, there are many new faces on the Met Branch Trail and two coming attractions that promise to keep the trail busier than ever this year.

Pedestrian bridge construction is moving along
Anyone who rides the Red line through the Rhode Island Avenue Station or the MBT beside it has likely seen some interesting new structures growing near the trail. As construction continues, a ramp, staircase, and bridge over the rail tracks will take shape. Here is what to expect.

RI Ave. Metro Pedestrian bridge

Rhode Island Avenue Metro pedestrian bridge progress as of March 20, 2014

When complete, the project will provide a direct connection from the Met Branch Trail to the Rhode Island Avenue/Brentwood Metro station and places east by foot and bike. The bridge will be a dramatic improvement from the current winding, cage-like ramp to Rhode Island Avenue and a much needed trail link for the area. It will shorten the circuitous route from the Metro to MBT from over a third of a mile to just a few hundred feet. With a new Capital Bikeshare station, shops, apartments and Metro gaining an easy trail connection, we expect to see many new faces on trail. The project is on track for completion in early 2015. Read more on the project website.

Project rendering from the District Department of Transportation

New Capital Bikeshare Stations
If you live, work, or play near the northern end of the built Met Branch Trail, three new Capital Bikeshare stations may come in handy. The following new stations are located at:

  • Rhode Island Metro Station: 3 minute ride from trail (map)
  • Fort Totten Metro Station: 4 minute ride from the trail and 1 minute ride from interim MBT route (map)
  • Takoma Metro Station: directly on the interim MBT route (map)

Bikesharing Commuter Benefit to Be Introduced Tomorrow

Photo credit: Mr.TinDC

Tomorrow is a big day for bikesharing in Congress.

Senator Charles Schumer of New York will introduce an amendment that allows commuters to pay for bikesharing with their transportation benefits. Last summer, the IRS ruled that paying for bikesharing was not allowed under the bike commuting fringe benefit. This amendment will fix this issue and allow commuters to pay bikesharing-related expenses with their benefits.

The Senate Finance Committee will vote on a tax extender package tomorrow that includes commuter parity, giving those who take the bus the same tax breaks given to those who drive. In January, the maximum transit benefit was cut in half to $130 per month,  while the parking tax subsidy stayed steady at $250 per month.

In a statement released by his office, Schumer says, “Bike share programs are an efficient, healthy, and clean form of mass transportation, and they should be treated the same way under the tax code as we treat car and mass transit commuters. It makes no sense for cars, trains, buses, and private bicycles to be covered by this program but not bike shares, and this legislation will fix that.”

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia is co-sponsoring the amendment.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, the amendment will have the following effects:

  • Last summer, the IRS ruled that costs associated with bike share memberships were not eligible under the commuter benefit statute as currently drafted. This amendment would change that.
  • Specifically, it adds bikeshare costs to the list of recognized expenses eligible for the transportation fringe benefit.
  • Like the Bike Commuter Benefit (for those who ride their own bike to work), employees using a bikeshare program to commute to work would now be eligible to receive $20 per month on a tax-free basis from their employer to subsidize their bikesshare membership.

Please take one minute and ask your Senator to support the bikesharing commuter amendment now.

Welcome to the April Trailer Challenge!

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Perhaps it won’t snow in April.

The D.C. bike ambassadors kicked off the April Trailer Challenge yesterday. Expect a month of amped-up visibility from our bike ambassadors and the friendly, roving trailers to spread the love of bicycling.

Want to be involved? There’s a few ways:

Pull the Bike Ambassador Trailer: You can sign up to pull the trailer on your own or to an event, or ride alongside the team as support crew. Sign up here to let us know you want to pull the trailer. Check out our trailering calendar and e-mail dcba@waba.org to set up a time.

Snap a picture: Spot the trailer? Take a photo, and post it on social media! Tag us @wabadc using #bikeambassador (on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and you’ll be entered to win a free bike tune-up.

Read more about the ATC here! Happy April. We hope to see you on the streets.

 

 

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