Building a Culture of Bicycle Commuting at your Workplace

World Resources Institute’s Innovative Active Commuting Program

Last year, World Resources Institute won goDCgo’s 2018 Ambassador Award for Bike-Friendliest Workplace for their active commuting program. Now in its second year, here’s why and how World Resources Institute’s summer commuter program makes their office one of the bike-friendliest workplaces in the region.

Align bicycle commuting with your organization’s values

World Resources Institute is a global research non-profit organization whose mission is to promote environmental sustainability, economic opportunity, human health and well-being across the globe. Sustainability is central to the World Resources Institute’s work. It was the first non-governmental organization to complete the Greenhouse Gas Inventory in 1999.

Then, through 2000-2010, WRI pushed organizations across the world to adopt their Greenhouse Gas Protocol which establishes a comprehensive, global, standardized framework for measuring and managing emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains, products, cities, and policies.

Anna Bray Sharpin of WRI’s Road Safety team connecting the organization’s work to their internal initiatives.

In 2010, WRI started to “walk the walk” and adopted their own Sustainability Initiative to implement culture changes and achieve zero carbon emissions by 2020.

The 2016 annual commuter survey results revealed significant opportunity to reduce carbon emissions through active commuting. The Sustainability Initiative at WRI used in-house expertise on topics like behavioral economics, cities, transportation, and mobility to launch a holistic bike program at WRI, and further the organization’s sustainability objectives.

Understand your organization’s unique challenges

To build an effective active commuting program, WRI established a comprehensive understanding of general behavior patterns around commuting, biking and walking for transportation, and the specific challenges their organization and staff faced.

WRI used data from their annual commuter survey that has had a 90% response rate among their 300+ DC-based staff to understand the unique staff commute patterns and interests. WRI used their commuter survey, thoughtful coworkers, and other data to answer some of the most important questions any organization needs to understand before implementing an active commuter program:

  1. How do your employees commute?
    • The survey showed relatively consistent transit mode share of 70% (Metro, VRE, MARC, and bus).
    • The survey identified a growing trend in the biking and walking at 14% of mode share!
  1. What commute incentives are there?
    • WRI worked with their benefits manager to learn that the staff in WRI’s DC office had several commute benefits available, including the pre-tax transit benefit and a $20 / month bicycle reimbursement.
    • WRI also learned that more than 200 staff used the transit pre-tax benefit and no one used the $20 / month bicycle reimbursement.
  1. What are the interests and limitations in biking and walking?
      • In WRI’s commuter survey, over 75 survey respondents noted an interest in biking for health and environmental reasons, but also a concern about safety and low comfort with biking.
      • WRI’s Road Safety team found that in the US, people have fairly low confidence bicycling compared to other countries.

Start small

In response to their research and the survey, WRI designed a 12-week summer bike program that not only incentivized biking but offered social support and training to increase confidence in city riding. WRI had three goals with their summer program:

        1. Get more people at WRI to bike,
        2. Encourage staff to help each other bike, and
        3. Increase biking confidence.

The bike commuter program included components to set social norms and garner enthusiasm:

  1. Subsidized Capital Bikeshare Memberships;
  2. A 12-week bike and walk commuting pledge (with data tracking) with prizes and events;
  3. An Everyday Biking Seminar with WABA over lunch;
  4. Bike maintenance workshops and free shared tools;
  5. A Bike Ambassadors program to pair new commuters with seasoned bicyclists;
  6. Weekly Bike Coffee Chats and ride-along happy hours; and
  7. Tours of bike amenities (showers, lockers, maintenance stand and tools, Capital Bikeshare stations, local bike resources, etc) for new and curious staff.

Measure, track, improve

World Resource Institute’s hosted an Everyday Biking Seminar for employees during lunch

The program was highly successful during its 12-week period in 2017. One hundred participants (approximately 50 staff riding more than they ever had and 50 serving as Bike Ambassadors) tracked weekly commute data. Data collected each week as part of the competition showed:

        • An increase in bike miles per person by 8%;
        • Increased rider confidence by 6%;
        • Reduced commute-related carbon emissions by 24% (accounting for 75 staff increasing their biking by 1-2 days from other modes); and
        • Resounding support for rider incentives, Bike Ambassadors, and route and gear recommendations.

Take the things that work and encourage them year-round

WRI used this entry period to help build confidence and establish habits. Even among those who already owned a bike or were already regular commuters, the program provided additional motivation and energy around biking.

Following the 12-week launch, the WRI Sustainability Initiative is maintaining many of the bicycle benefits and features, including the Capital Bikeshare memberships, Bike Ambassador pairings, and trainings and maintenance workshops throughout the year.

If you’re interested in learning more about WRI’s Sustainability Initiative, hosting a WABA Everyday Biking Seminar at your workplace, or have questions about how to make your business bike-friendly, contact business@waba.org.

How to Find a Trail Ranger Near You

The WABA Trail Ranger team has been everywhere this summer! Well, everywhere near the Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail and Metropolitan Branch Trail.

But as a primarily roving field-based team, we’re hard to find sometimes. Ever try to find two people in green shirts on 16 miles of one trail? Nah, thanks.

So we’re delighted that we’ll be at a bunch of different community events this month! A publicly announced exact location for a predetermined amount of time!

Need a 2018 bike map? Have a trail question? Come say hi!

Saturday August 4th – DC Bike Festival
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
2241 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE

Sunday August 5thCapitol Riverfront Farmers Market
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
200 M St NE

Saturday August 11th – SW Community Day
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
1098 Delaware Ave SW

Saturday August 18th – Quarels St Farmers Market
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
4404 Quarels St NE

Saturday August 25thDowntown Anacostia Farmers Market
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
13th and W St SE

We’re hiring a Program Director

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) seeks a creative, innovative and effective Program Director to manages a team of program staff to achieve the outreach and education goals of the organization outlined in WABA’s 5-year Strategic Plan.

The Program Director will provide visionary leadership to a team of outreach and education staff with the goal of encourage bikes ridership in diverse communities and educating existing riders in an inclusive environment. The Program Director supervises program staff and manages nearly $1 million in public grants through grant writing, budget and grant management, and reporting.

The Program Director is a member of the Senior Leadership Team working directly with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director, and other key organizational staff to achieve WABA’s fundraising, education, outreach goals in line with our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. The ideal candidate must share WABA’s vision for better biking in the region and enjoy a working in a fast-paced environment.

Job Responsibilities

  • Provide visionary leadership to create and implement creative, innovative, inclusive outreach and education programs.
  • Lead, manage, mentor, and inspire a team of program staff, including conducting regular performance reviews, promoting professional development, and hiring.
  • Manage the full lifecycle of WABA’s portfolio of nearly $1 million in education and outreach grants and contracts.
  • Provide program oversight and support on grant deliverables and outcomes, and ensure accurate and timely grant reporting and invoicing.
  • Direct risk management reporting, evaluation and training to ensure safe programs.
  • Facilitate collaboration across internal teams and organization.
  • Develop annual work plans and budgets.
  • Build and maintain external relationships partnerships with funders.
  • Develop and  implement new programs and initiatives inline in the 2020 WABA Strategic Plan.
  • Contribute to the organization’s fundraising and development efforts in collaboration with key staff.

Qualifications

  • Demonstrated management and leadership experience including leading a team, strategic planning, and capacity building.
  • Proven ability to supervise, mentor, motivate and evaluate employees.
  • Ability to write clearly and persuasively.
  • Highly organized, self-motivated, and able to work closely with others.
  • Demonstrated experience managing complex projects.
  • Experience working in diverse communities and on diverse teams of staff and volunteers.
  • Bachelor Degree or similar experience required, advanced degree perferred.

About WABA

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is working 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.

WABA’s programs, from youth education to grassroots community organizing, engage residents in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and Washington, DC. Six thousand dues-paying members and thousands more generous supporters have helped WABA transform bicycling in the region again and again over its 46 year history.

WABA is building a region where, in 2020, we’ll see three times the number of people riding bikes. And, by 2035, every single person will live within one mile of a dedicated safe place to bike. We envision a region in which biking is joyful, safe, popular, and liberating; supported by the necessary infrastructure, laws, activities, and investments; and where bicycle ridership mirrors the incredible diversity of our communities.

Employment Details

This position is full-time. Expected salary range is $60,000-$65,000. The position is based in the WABA Office in Adams Morgan, Washington, DC. All employees are expected to work some evenings and weekends with flex time in exchange.

Benefits include 100% employer covered health/dental/vision insurance premiums; vacation and sick leave; committed colleagues; fun working environment; optional voluntary accident/disability insurance; WABA’s 403(b) retirement program; indoor bike parking; and surprising amounts of ice cream.

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.

Apply

Send a cover letter and resume as one PDF to jobs@waba.org. Please include “Program Director” in the subject line. No phone calls, please.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis; the position will remain posted until filled. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply by or before Friday, August 10th, 2018. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Closer to Completion: New Construction on the Met Branch Trail!

A bird’s eye rendering of the Met Branch Trail around the Fort Totten Metro (Source DDOT)

This Saturday at 10am, DDOT is breaking ground on the next phase of the Metropolitan Branch Trail that will connect Brookland to Fort Totten Metro station. There hasn’t been any major construction on the MBT since 2013, so this is a huge win!

After a handful of delays, in November 2017, DDOT awarded the contract to complete design and begin construction on the next phase of the popular multi-use trail. WABA’s been working on getting this trail built since the 1990s; this new construction will link the trail to the Fort Totten Metro Station, provide direct access to three new neighborhoods, and cut out the steep (and smelly) Fort Totten hill.

And it moves the Met Branch Trail one step closer to completion.

Existing MBT in green, new segment in blue, interim on street route in red (Source Google Maps)

Once complete, the MBT will connect Silver Spring to Union Station, in a mix of on and off-road trail. The trail will also be a key connection the East Coast Greenway, the largest connected walking and biking route in the nation.

Details for the groundbreaking ceremony:

Saturday, July 28th

10:00AM to 11:00AM

Between Gallatin St and 1st Pl NE (map)

Click here to see the event flyer.

Attend our August Advocate Training

For more than three years, planners at the District Department of Transportation have been studying options for an Eastern Downtown protected bike lane to link Pennsylvania Ave to Florida Ave through Shaw. Through public meetings, stakeholder consultation, exhaustive reports and detailed design work, DDOT’s leadership and staff have turned over every stone. All that’s left is the decision on where it will go.

After a long wait, it looks like we may get a decision soon.

We need to be ready. So we are hosting an advocate training next week. Join WABA’s advocacy team to untangle DC’s transportation planning process, learn the tools of an effective bike advocate, and take a deep dive into the the Eastern Downtown project.

Better Bicycling Advocate Training
Thursday, August 2nd
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Shaw Neighborhood Library
1630 7th St NW, Washington, DC (map)
Sign Up

Questions about the training? Contact Garrett Hennigan at 202-518-0524 x210 or garrett.hennigan@waba.org

Volunteer with the Trail Ranger Team!

Want to explore and give back to the trails with an expert team? Join us on weekdays on the trails! Really like talking up trails? Join us on weekends doing outreach at festivals!

The Trail Ranger team is looking for a few folks to join our volunteer cadre. Volunteer Trail Rangers allow the program to have greater impact, build trail support through experience and bring fresh ideas to our program.

What you get: a chance to explore new trails, see behind the scenes of how our trails operate and help keep your community rolling and walking along our trails.

So what exactly are you proposing here?

Trail Ranger volunteer shifts are mostly 4 hours long. Trail shifts meet at a Metro station close to the day’s trail primarily during weekdays. The team meets you there with all the tools and supplies needed for the workday. You and the team ride to the trail and spend a few hours riding the trail, fixing or reporting maintenance issues and talking with trail users. You’ll likely stop for a few snack and water breaks, and potentially join the team for lunch.

The Trail Ranger team rides on Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail and Metropolitan Branch Trail.

We bring all the work tools – we do ask that volunteers come with everything to keep themselves safe and rolling: a working bicycle and helmet, water bottles, snacks, sunscreen and work appropriate clothing.

All shifts are coordinated via a signup form and sent to the volunteer group every two weeks.

But what about weekends?

Most weekends the Trail Ranger team is hosting events or joining festivals to talk up our trails. Do you like talking to folks and spreading the love of bicycling and trails? Oh boy, do we have the role for you!

We could always use a few more folks joining us at major festivals. All volunteer tabling is coordinated through the same process as shift volunteering.

So how do I join??

We require you attend a one hour training conference call to make sure that we’re all on the same page about legal road riding, how to do outreach and how to be a Trail Ranger. Sign up here.

Already been to a training call? Shifts are here.

Yesterday was an emotional day.

Yesterday afternoon, more than 120 of us gathered across from the Wilson Building to demand that Mayor Bowser deliver on her 2015 promise to put an end to traffic deaths on DC’s streets.

Together, we mourned the loss of more than 100 members of our collective community — mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, recent high school graduates — who were taken from us since that promise was made. We heard from the mother and brother of Malik Habib, sharing a story no family should have to tell.

And together we said enough is enough. “We’re doing the best we can” isn’t good enough. Mayor Bowser has the power to stop this, if she makes people not dying her priority.

Following the rally, we took our message to the Mayor’s office, where we met with Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Kevin Donahue. We hope to report more concrete updates from the Mayor and Council in the coming days.

Can we count on your to get involved in next steps? Join our DC Advocates email group and keep the pressure up!

Count me in!

Thank you to everyone who rallied with us, to our speakers, and to all who will continue to hold our elected leaders accountable to their promises.

Thank you for joining us in this fight.


A Memorial Ride for Malik Habib will be held on Tuesday, July 31 at 5:30pm.

If you missed the rally you can find video coverage on WABA’s Facebook Page and media coverage from WAMU, Greater Greater Washington, WTOP

To stay in the loop on WABA’s Vision Zero work and do your part to make streets safe for everyone, sign the Vision Zero Pledge.

Sign the Pledge


Here’s a gallery from yesterday’s rally:

What’s new with 50 States?

This year marks the 15th anniversary of WABA’s legendary 50 States Ride. First started in 2003, the 50 States Ride holds many superlatives. It’s WABA’s longest-standing signature event. It’s WABA’s biggest and most popular ride. It’s a local institution, coming in at #1 in Andrea Sieger’s “111 Places in Washington That You Must Not Miss”. For anyone new to the ride, it’s best described as an “urban scavenger hunt, by bike”.

The 50 States Ride is a well-loved tradition, but we think there’s room for some updates to keep things interesting. So, this year, we’ll be adding a few new features:

Route 66: If you’ve already registered, you saw that we’ve added a third route option. Route 66 is a 35-mile route that tours the eight streets named for states that the original US Route 66 passed through. You’ll ride these states in geographical order, east to west, without riding on any other state streets in the District. Route 66 is a middle distance option between the two classic routes, 50 States and 13 Colonies. But, don’t worry, there are still plenty of hills. Welcome to the new American road trip! We hope you enjoy it.

“State Style” Costume Contest: With Tour de Fat not coming to DC this year, there’s a vacuum where silliness on bikes is concerned. We want to recapture some of that silliness, so we’re running a contest: dress up in a costume, show off your style, or highlight your wacky or unique bike. The theme is *states*, so you can choose to show off your home state, or you can interpret the theme more broadly: state of mind, stately, etc. Full costumes may or may not be your thing—full costumes, team tutus, helmet decorations, or a simple state-themed jersey are all welcome*.

Rules: To enter the contest, just post a picture of yourself, all costumed up, during the ride to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, with #statestyle #50statesride by 6pm on the day of the ride. We’ll decide on the best costume, and the winner will get a free one-year membership, a 50 States VIP cycling cap, and a social media shoutout that will bring them everlasting fame and fortune.

*Please don’t dress up as anything offensive. This contest is for fun, and we’d really hate for you to bring the mood down for other people.

Scavenger Hunt: The 50 States route has always been a bit of a scavenger hunt. You explore the city, get lost, and find your way again, seeing new places in the city along the way. But unless you have the world’s greatest sense of direction, you don’t always really know where you are, or anything about the place. We want to give you the chance to know the District even better and add another level of fun—through an actual scavenger hunt! The hunt will be included in your cue sheet booklet. It’s totally optional, but it will be a fun way to connect with the neighborhoods you’re riding through.

Here’s to the next 15 years of riding 50 States!

Lotuses & Water Lilies: A Bike Guide

Ever seen a leaf four feet wide? You can at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens just off the Anacostia River Trail! It is probably THE bike ride for July and the Trail Ranger team is here to help you out.

Where are these lotuses?

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is home to a lot of lotuses though some can also be found at other sites around the region. The aquatic gardens is the only National Park Service site dedicated to aquatic plants and home to many unusual varietals.

1550 Anacostia Ave SE
Washington, DC 20019

Google Maps screenshot of Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens. Image Courtesy of Google Maps.

How do I get there?

The park has limited car parking and public transportation could use some investment (the closest Metro station is across a highway – quite walkable via an overpass). So biking is a great option!

From the Anacostia River Trail:

Note: Our Trail Ranger Matthew may not be there as pictured. (But the beautiful chalking will be!)

From the South: Go along the trail until 40th St and Anacostia Ave. It looks like:

But with more leaves and the grass is greener now! Ride along Anacostia Ave until you arrive at the parking lot for the park. Once in the gates, walk your bike to the first pond and take a right to find the bike parking.

Note: if you want a longer ride in the shade, keep going on the trail instead of Anacostia Ave and connect with the park via the north trail entrance described below.

From the North: Go along the trail past Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Ride until the trail dips under the Amtrak tracks and New York Ave. Just after the trail will arrive on land again and you’ll see:

You’ve arrived at the trailside park entrance!

Signal, stop and walk your bike (this helps protect the turtles and water chemistry of the surrounding wetlands) on the gravel path for a few hundred feet. You’ll come upon the bike parking just as you arrive at the main portion of the park.

From the neighborhoods if you’re east of 295: The best ways to cross the freeway are Deanwood Metro underpass to Polk St NE to the overpass to Douglass St NE, or on the sidewalk on Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave, right on Kenilworth and left on 42nd Ave NE.

When to go?

If you want to visit when its less crowded: weekdays! The lotuses are still kind of a hidden gem but less so every year. If you want the trail and park to not be crowded, visit during the weekday.

If you want programming: there will be lots of things happening in the park during the 2018 Lotus and Water Lily Festival July 21st to July 22nd. All of the details can be found here.

The WABA Trail Ranger team will be there all July 21st – stop by our table and say hi!

If you want to go for a bike ride:

Join us and DPR for a trail ride on Monday July 23rd! Registration required here.

Join us and NPS for a guided ride of park history and ecology on July 29th! Registration required here.

Meet James Ploeser, our new DC Bike Ambassador!

Hi. I’m James and I’m new here.

Prior to joining WABA as a part-time Bike Ambassador, I’ve been a lot of things. I’ve been a barista, a community organizer, and a truck driver. Recreationally, I’ve been a gardener, natural builder, and a musician. At present, I’m a yoga teacher, a religious educator working with high school students, and a seminarian training to become a Unitarian Universalist minister.

And all that time, I’ve always been a bike-rider.

I feel very fortunate to have grown up in Madison, WI, one of the best and safest cities for cycling in the country. Its downtown lies between two lakes, so shoreline nature trails are many people’s paths to work. That, plus an extensive network of protected bike lanes made it relatively easy to become comfortable biking most anywhere.

For the last 11 years, DC has been my home. Through prioritizing being a good neighbor in my immediate surroundings in NW, I’ve also been lucky to explore most parts of the city rather extensively- and not only by bike. In addition to cycling, here I’ve spent nearly equal time as a driver and a train- or bus-rider. Coincidentally, a recent part-time job had me driving a vegetable truck for a local food access organization, and my route took me along one of my favorite cycling destinations beyond the beltway, adjacent to the Custis and W&OD trails, into the horse and wine country of Loudoun County, VA.

I see cycling as not only healthy, sustainable and affordable (though it is all those things!), but as a means of empowerment and social change. Learning that you can take yourself great distances on just two wheels, and with just your own two legs, offers an embodied experience that we are more free and more capable than we often think. In 2010, a friend and I rode to the UN Climate Talks in Cancun. Along the way we not only promoted sustainable transportation but also highlighted local efforts to transition to a people-powered global economy.

That and other such experiences are why it’s important for me that safe, enjoyable cycling be available to everyone in the D.C. region. My belief in inclusion aligns with WABA’s vision for the region. In fact, it’s partly why I’ve been invited to join the team. I’m a fluent Spanish speaker, having spent time not only in Latin America where I studied and volunteered with social movement organizations, but also working as an organizer in Spanish-speaking communities back in the midwest and here in the DMV.

If you are also interested in expanding the accessibility of WABA’s program offerings to Spanish-speaking communities, and have the language skills to assist, email me at james.ploeser@waba.org to let me know.

So that’s me. I hope to meet many of you before and during upcoming activities, and that we’ll continue welcoming more new folks into the lovely and growing WABAverse. 🙂