Great News! The Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety bill passed!

On June 28, the DC Council voted unanimously for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Amendment Act of 2016 (B21-335). Mayor Bowser signed the bill in late July. It will become DC law at the end of August after 30 day period of Congressional review. 

Highlights of the Act:

  1. Open access to data and information, including monthly reports published on the DDOT website making available collision data that includes geographic and demographic data, death and injury counts, and possible contributing human factors like intoxication, distraction, or failure to yield. This is an unprecedented level of transparency that will enable independent research and analysis by advocacy groups and public citizens.
  2. Creation of Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Areas, based on factors such as areas with a high volume of people riding bikes or walking, or areas with frequent or severe crashes. Safety modifications to an area selected to be a Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Area could include interventions such as prohibiting right turns at red lights, reducing speed limits, installing protected bike lanes, or increasing levels of automated enforcement like safety cameras.
  3. Codification of a Complete Streets policy, with the expressed goals of encouraging walking, bicycling and the use of public transportation, establishing a District-wide integrated system of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, involving residents and stakeholders in planning and design decisions, actively looking for opportunities to repurpose roads to enhance connectivity for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders, and improving non-motorized access to schools and parks. The Act directs DDOT to incorporate the policy into the agency’s Transportation Strategic Plan, Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, and other manuals, rules, regulations, and programs, including construction and reconstruction and maintenance of all roads.
  4. Bicycle insurance consumer protection— the Act contains an entire section on bicycle insurance regulations.
  5. Bicycle and pedestrian safety provisions, including an explicit prohibition against dooring bicyclists, and mandating universal traffic and street safety curriculum for public school children in 1st-5th grade.
  6. Motor vehicle safety provisions, which include updates to taxi and vehicles-for-hire driver training requirements— explicitly instructing them in the rights and duties of motor vehicles not to stop in an intersection or a bike lane; mandate a study for a deferred disposition program for traffic infractions that would allow someone to reduce fines and points if they attend a safety training; increased penalties for aggressive driving; the installation of side guards and blind spot mirrors on registered trucks, and a ban on the use of ATVs and dirt bikes in the District.
  7. Drunk driving provisions that increase penalties for first time drunk driving offenders and offenders with blood alcohol content above .08 but less than .20., mandate participation in the interlock program for all offenders that have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, and permanently revoke the license after a third conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving while intoxicated, or operating a vehicle while impaired.
  8. Establishment of a Major Crash Review Task Force that will consist of staff from MPD, DDOT, Office of Planning, the Bicycle Advisory Council, the Pedestrian Advisory Council and the Multimodal Accessibility Advisory Council. The Task Force will review crashes handled by the Major Crash Investigation Unit of the MPD.

We didn’t get everything we wanted here, but it is a step in the right direction to making D.C. a truly multi-modal city. The legislation is the culmination of the efforts of the Bicycle Pedestrian Working Group convened by Councilmember Cheh last summer, on which our Executive Director Greg Billing served.  As-introduced, this bill represented the consensus items of that working group—which meant some good ideas generated by the group were not aired in the legislative process. Despite initial consensus, stop as yield (aka, the Idaho stop) was removed from the bill amidst last-minute opposition by AAA and MPD.  WABA also pushed the Council to include a city-wide speed limit on local streets of 20 mph and a city-wide ban on right turns at red lights; neither of which are included. Additionally, while other major components of the Mayor’s Vision Zero bill were incorporated into the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act, distracted driving provisions were not included. We hope to see those provisions strengthened and combined into a stand-alone bill next legislative session. 

Registration now open for Aug 27 Advocacy 101 Training for Prince George’s Advocates

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Want to learn how to be an effective bike advocate in Prince George’s County? Register for training on Saturday, August 27th.

What: The training, hosted by WABA’s advocacy team, is for Prince George’s folks interested in making their community more bike-friendly. We’ll explore how decisions are made in the County, dive into some of the fundamental tools and approaches to influencing those decisions, and see how we, as individuals or groups, can push Prince George’s County to be more bike-friendly.

Why: Every week, our advocacy team gets emails from local citizens, asking what seems to be a simple question: “I have a great idea that will make it easier and safer to bike in my community. How do I make it happen?”

We love these questions because behind every one is someone riding a bike on the way to work, to the grocery store, or with their kids, thinking “biking is great, but it could be better, and I know how.” Sometimes that idea is as simple as restriping a lane or trimming a bush to improve sight lines. Sometimes it is bigger: a new protected bike lane, lighting a dark stretch of trail, improving an intersection or changing a city policy. We hope that the ideas never stop coming because while parts of the region have made great strides recently, we have  a long way to go.

But the idea is usually not the challenge. Getting a solution implemented is. And that’s what advocacy is all about. That’s what we work towards every day. And while advocating for a great solution can be challenging, it doesn’t take a degree or years of training. Anyone can be an effective bicycle advocate. A little training helps, though.

When/Where:

9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Hyattsville Municipal Building— 4310 Gallatin St. Hyattsville, MD

 

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

Register Here

 

Community Meeting in Petworth about open streets project

WABA is excited to announce we received a grant from the DC Office of Planning to hold a creative placemaking project in DC’s Petworth neighborhood. Office of Planning’s initiative, Crossing the Street: Building DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking, funded by the Kresge Foundation, will promote community-building in neighborhoods that are experiencing rapid demographic and social change.

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Together WABA and the Office of Planning, along with our grant partners, Street Plans Collaborative and Equitable Cities, will use this opportunity to bring open streets to DC.

What is open streets? It’s when you temporarily close a roadway to vehicle traffic and open it up to the people – so that the neighborhood and the city can walk, run, play, push strollers, bike, hulah hoop, hopscoth, dance, and have fun in the middle of the street.

Why are open streets projects awesome? Open streets encourage active transportation and community engagement. By opening up streets to people, this project will:

  • Create a safe and welcoming place for residents to come together and enjoy playing and moving through a car-free space
  • Serve DC residents and connect neighbors
  • Invest in the community
  • Draw national attention to DC’s commitment to safe streets and active transportation
  • Encourage community members and decision makers to think about public space in a new way

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Petworth residents, DC community groups, and those interested in open streets  are invited to join us, DC Office of Planning, Street Plans, and Equitable Cities for a Community Meeting on Tuesday, August 16th to help envision what an open streets project in Petworth could look like. Meeting details are below:

Petworth Placemaking Project Community Meeting
When: Tuesday, August 16th from 6:00-8:00pm
Where: Petworth Library, downstairs large meeting room, 200 Kansas Ave NW, Washington, DC

Anyone is welcome to come to the meeting to learn about open streets – the platform we are using for this community placemaking project – and share your ideas for what you would like to see as part of this Petworth community celebration.

If you live in Petworth, we hope to see you, and if you have friends or coworkers  who live in Petworth, please share this community meeting with them.

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You can also find us at the weekly farmer’s market, the Petworth Community Market, tomorrow morning from 9am-1pm! We’ll be there asking the Petworth community what they would like to see as part of a community event, what makes Petworth special to them, and how they typically get around their neighborhood and utilize public spaces. Stop by and say hi!

WABA has spent the past couple of months talking with community members, ANC commissioners, neighborhood organizers, and other Petworth stakeholders about this opportunity and what it means to hold an open streets event. Because of the length of time it takes to secure street closure permits and the necessary permissions from the Mayor’s Special Event Task Group, we are planning for a Spring open streets event.

Stay tuned for more information about our open streets campaign. And if you would like to receive regular (think: monthly) updates on our open streets efforts or get involved with volunteering for this effort, sign up for our open streets working group list here.

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50 States Registration Opens TODAY!

50 States 2016 Banner

Guess what? Registration for WABA’s biggest signature ride opens TODAY at noon!

You know what that means — get your eyes ready to watch for the email, fingers ready to do some clicking, and credit card ready to donate to WABA (and register for the ride, of course). The ride usually sells out in just a couple of days and this year, even though it’s bigger than ever before, you should still register as soon as possible to ensure you get a spot!

Don’t know anything about the 50 States Ride? No worries. Check out this page to learn more.

Also, make sure you’re a member of WABA — being able to join this ride is privilege we only offer to members. You can join WABA here.

Don’t miss one of the coolest events DC has to offer — just ask Washingtonian Magazine!

All of These People Want a Gap-Free Trolley Trail in Hyattsville

On July 13, over 50 people gathered at a city park at the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and Charles Armentrout Drive in Hyattsville, MD to learn about WABA’s campaign to Finish the Trolley Trail.  Joined by numerous elected officials, community leaders, and members of WABA’s Prince George’s Action Committee, attendees walked north along the proposed trail alignment to see why this a half mile trail extension is so important to the regional trail network and to talk through the remaining hurdles to building the trail.

This busy road intersection is also an important crossroads for the Anacostia Tributary Trails, which extend for miles in each direction, connecting to Silver Spring, College Park, Beltsville, Bladensburg and, this fall, DC’s Anacostia Waterfront. While these connections are seamless, traveling directly north into downtown Hyattsville, Riverdale Park and University park by bike requires mixing with the fast and busy auto traffic of Rhode Island Avenue.

As we walked, we discussed the many new connections the trail will enable, the challenges of building a trail between a state highway and an active railroad, the work already done, and the many, many steps and complications ahead. We heard from leaders, officials and staff who have put so much work into this extension, including State Senator Paul Pinsky, State Delegate Alonzo Washington, Aaron Marcavitch of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, and Fred Shaffer of the Prince George’s County Planning Department. Just as important were the local leaders, mayors, councilmembers and business owners, also in attendance from University Park, Hyattsville, Edmonston, Riverdale and Brentwood. It will take many partners to see this trail to construction, and we are grateful that this campaign has so much interest and support.

Thanks to everyone who came out to walk with us. Want help make this trail a reality?

  1. Sign our petition to voice your support
  2. Join the Prince George’s Action Committee and attend our next meeting
  3. Register for our Advocacy 101 Training for Prince George’s Advocates on August 27

Introducing Two Wheel Valet, a 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 Two Wheel Valet.

 

We’re passionate about making events and venues more bike-friendly.  Whether you’re an event planner looking for a one-time parking solution or an institutional location looking to offer permanent, premium bicycle parking, Two Wheel Valet makes it easy and 100% user friendly.  Offering a bike valet at events, universities, stadiums, and real estate developments has proven to increase bicycle mode share.  Our services are sponsored by event organizers, sponsors, or institutions to make the service free for users.  This helps to incentivize bike travel, reduces the need for pricey parking spaces, and helps promote healthy living.

Our attendants take care of all of the logistics for your two-wheeled guests and tenants.  Security is out highest priority, which gives users peace of mind and breaks down one of the biggest barriers to cycling – fear of theft.  Our electronic check-in system sends a text claim-check ID to users’ phones, making Two Wheel Valet faster and more secure than using clunky locks and cables.

We provide bike valet services for events and venues of all sizes.  Two Wheel valet was founded in 2013 and has operated multiple large-scale valets in the DC area.  We are great for smaller events, too! We regularly provide valet service at events like NoMa Summer Screen, Anacostia River Fest, and the Arlington County Fair.

We recently launched daily valet service for brick-and-mortar locations like real estate developments, universities, and stadiums/arenas.  Many buildings and venues are already offering bike valets, and we expect the trent to gain momentum.  Daily valet also includes mechanic service and has proven to encourage regular cycling. This is a low-cost alternative for organizations looking to ease parking demands, relieve public transit, and offer an alternative to overcrowded roads.

Get in touch with us today for a free consultation. We can’t wait to help your organization become more bike-friendly!

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.

We’re Hiring: Community Organizer

Vision Zero Saves Lives

Position Overview

There is a growing movement in cities across the country to recalibrate our expectations for safety and mobility on our roads. The campaign is called Vision Zero, and at the heart of it is the idea that no loss of life on our roads is ever acceptable.

When someone dies in a crash, it leaves a terrible hole in the community that can never be filled. For too long, we have accepted crashes as inevitable. We call them “accidents,” as though nobody is to blame. But traffic fatalities are preventable. They aren’t accidents— they are the price we pay for designing roads for convenience and speed over safety and inclusion. It doesn’t have to be this way.

People are fallible. But when someone makes a mistake, it shouldn’t be deadly. We already know how to design roads to be that safe. We know what kinds of traffic laws and enforcement make the streets safer for all users.  What we need is the political will to implement these solutions. That’s where you come in.

The community organizer will mobilize support to secure commitments to Vision Zero in the Washington metropolitan region, and then to hold leaders accountable to the vision and those commitments: Zero deaths and serious injuries on our roadways.

Key Skills

We are looking for a strategic people-person who can toggle rapidly between nuanced policy arguments rooted in data and statistics, and big-picture talking points for a public audience. The ideal candidate will demonstrate experience and accomplishments using the following skills:

  • Relationship Building: A dynamic, articulate connector, you will proactively seek out and build partnerships at all levels to advance our work on Vision Zero with community leaders, agency staff, public officials, and families impacted by traffic violence.
  • Event planning: A self-directed, organized, and detail-oriented planner, you will build community support for Vision Zero by organizing safe street workshops, days of action, neighborhood safety audits, a regional Vision Zero Summit, and other education and outreach activities.
  • Communications: A poised and eloquent public speaker with strong writing, editing, and presentation skills, you have the ability to distill complicated policy ideas into compelling messages easily understood by the general public. You will create and deliver campaign trainings, respond to press inquiries, act as a resource to victims of crashes, contribute to the WABA blog and social media accounts, and deliver public testimony as needed.
  • Coalition Building: A goal-oriented collaborator with strong facilitation skills, you will convene a diverse cross-section of Vision Zero stakeholders to facilitate cooperation and communication, and to drive implementation of action plans.
  • Technological fluency. You will create and maintain spreadsheets, run reports, and communicate with colleagues, WABA members and the public via tools like Google Apps for Work, WordPress, Microsoft Office and our customer relations manager Salsa Labs.

Bonus Skills and Experience:

Please be sure to let us know if you have experience with the following—

  • Grassroots or community organizing
  • Social justice issues
  • Foreign language skills, particularly Spanish
  • Campaign strategy
  • Transportation policy
  • Local government
  • Data analysis

About Us

Washington Area Bicyclist Association works to create a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children, adults, and motorists about safe bicycling.

Employment Details

The salary range for qualified candidates is mid-40s. The position is full-time. Benefits include employer covered health/dental insurance, generous flex time policy, vacation, sick and personal leave, committed colleagues, fun working environment, and WABA’s 403(b) retirement program.

The position is based in the WABA office in Adams Morgan, Washington D.C. Occasional evening and weekend work is required.

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

How to Apply:

Submit a cover letter and resume in one PDF to Tamara Evans at jobs@waba.org with “Community Organizer” in the subject line. In your application materials, please help us understand how you would contribute to the diversity of WABA’s staff. We will consider promising candidates on a rolling basis, effective immediately.